Athearn Diesel locomotives


I have 2 Athearn Diesel locomotives. One was purchased as New – Old stock, the other (pictured) is almost new condition, but not brand new. The problem with both engines is that they both have no speed. I don’t run my trains hard/full speed, but in order to run either of these with a few cars attached I have to run at full speed to get it running at what would be a slow 1/3 speed for some of my other engines. Is this an issue with Athearn engines? These are the only Athearn engines I have. I have lubricated and checked everything I can think of. They seem to really run fast when testing on the side.
Any suggestions?

Answers ( 2 )


    There are two areas that could be problems. You don’t indicate how old or new your other locomotives are but if they are all recent, they don’t require much current to run. If these are older Athearn diesels, then they will require as much as one amp when running and if your layout has long power runs or long runs of track between power drops you may not have enough current to run the engine.

    You indicate that the engine runs quite well during testing. If this is on track and right side up, then I would look into track power first. If the engines are tested upside down or on their side, then I would place the bare chassis on track and look for binding or contacting parts. I would also check the wheels and make sure they are cleaned of all debris and goo. I use Q-tips soaked in alcohol to clean wheels both stationary and with the motor running to ensure they have good contact with the rails. I would also check the current paths to ensure nothing gets moved ‘out of the way’ when the engine is on the track. One side is carried thru the frame and the second is carried thru the metal bars over the flywheels. If these contacts are dirty I wouldn’t expect it to run fast unless you are providing power to the motor directly. I have a similar 45 year old Athearn SDP-40F that still runs well so these should too. Good Luck and Have Fun! Ray


      Thanks for your response. Most of my other engines are older Tyco steam engines and such (4-6-2) and some misc smaller engines. Even my hand cart runs faster. I’ll try your suggestions to see what happens. I’ve cleaned the wheels, oiled the wheels/axels, etc. I’ve pulled the contact flat metals across the top and cleaned them also. I’ll try your suggestions also. It just seems funny that the only two I have this issue with are both the same make.

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