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Loco Wheels Trying to Run…But The Loco Stays Still – Why?

David writes:

“I have an HO Scale KATO 37-6110 Amtrak Phase V Late GE P42 Genesis Diesel #19 Standard DC. I have had this engine since Apr. 18, 2023 and purchased it online. It stopped running after about 5 months and passed the warranty date. I didn’t know how to fix the problem.

Is it possible my layout, is causing the issue as it has a grade % of a 3-inch drop and a run out of 10 foot? Could the problem have been caused by the engine running faster downhill and laboring going up? The wheels look clean.

Can that damage the engine in some way? If we cannot find the problem should I replace the truck motors front and back? I can do that because I have found the truck motors online. Thank You much!”

If you can assist David, please add your comments under this post.

6 Responses to Loco Wheels Trying to Run…But The Loco Stays Still – Why?

  • Garth Familton says:

    Hi David,
    I have had locos not running well and now know it is often an electrical contact issue. Take the trucks off the loco, remove the wheels and contact strip, place in a cleaning solution (I use Kerosine) and reassemble. Even if the wheels etc look clean, there maybe enough dirt to stop electrical contact.
    Hope that helps.

  • jacques976 says:

    on my smaller locos the gears seem to get old and crack . they are a plastic not nylon you have to check real close for the hair line crack and replace gear.

  • Jay Ross says:

    More information is needed to address the issue. Is it Dc or Dcc? Do the lights come on? Do you hear any sounds from the locomotive? If the wheels look clean, and it don’t run, it is probably a failed motor. If you hear a hum from the loco, and it don’t run, the gears may be jammed. If you hear lnothing at all, and the lights come on, the motor may be bad…

  • geoff says:

    It’s unlikely to be a motor problem since I don’t think both would fail at the same time.

    If you can, take the body off and try running a couple of wires from the track, or your controller, and touching the motor pickups. If the motor turns, then you’ll know the problem is between the wheels and the motor. If the motor is dead, then the problem really is the motor, but again why both would fail at the same time is weird..

    I can’t think that your grade is the problem – 2.5% isn’t too steep, though 2% is more usual. Unless the loco was really struggling to pull the trains up, it shouldn’t have been the problem.

    • Dave Gross says:

      Thank you for your quick Reply! All four response’s were very helpful. Since the engine is a “Kato” brand, where the motors are in each truck. Pulled the tucks off and tested them on the track, I found only the rear motor is not running and the front motor runs great. The rear motor is dead! Why is it dead? My biggest concern is the speed the engine goes “Down Hill”. Geoff says: the grade is about 2.5% that’s good to here. It’s just that I need to man the controls, with a little power up hill and reduce the speed down hill quite a bit, it’s a little fast for the curve!
      I ordered the “Rear Motor” to be replaced and I’ll see how that works out. Kato makes it very easy to replace they’re motors.

  • Ralph F. says:

    I just want you to know that I have no problems with my 3% grade incline and agree that the motor would be a good starting point. Remember that as a rule of thumb, most problems are 5% mechanical and 95 % electrical.

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