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Websites, Forums for American Flyer "Diehards"?

Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:50 pm
by Atkinson_Railroad
Enjoying a [memory moment] unpacking American Flyer equipment.

This stuff has been dropped, dragged, and played with to its weakest soldering connections.
(There's plenty of curiosity factor remaining for this hardy train stuff for 5-year-olds and up).

Somewhere on the Internet there must be a predominately popular website devoted to American Flyer.
Google searches do not always reveal where the "real" action is.

Where/what are the best websites devoted to the "American Flyer" experience?

Thank you ahead-of-time for any leads, suggestions.


Post Script: Yes, I could spend time looking for the websites... [but] that robs me of exploring everything in the long stored boxes ; )

Re: Websites, Forums for American Flyer "Diehards"?

Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:37 pm
by Atkinson_Railroad
Well this is just plain goofy. I have been a competent repair person (or so I thought ; ) having worked on multi-million dollar pieces of equipment.
I'm discovering the reeving sequence for re-stringing my American Flyer wrecker is not a task for the faint-of-heart.
No wonder most of the EBAY pictures showing these cranes for-sale also show the strings all tangled up and not really in their functioning place.

JDA ; )

Re: Websites, Forums for American Flyer "Diehards"?

Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:35 pm
by Trainman2223
re-stringing is part of the fun 8)

Rates between armature rewinding and trying to figure out what the weird white powder is on the couplers (postwar Lionel and American Flyer)

May or may not be helpful: (wiring diagrams & parts view )(right hand side )

Re: Websites, Forums for American Flyer "Diehards"?

Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:35 am
by Atkinson_Railroad
OooH Rah Trainman2223.

The white powder attribute is something I do remember on certain pieces.
Back in the '90s, I recall watching the B unit from one of the Santa Fe engines disintegrate
over time. It was the only piece that degraded like that.
There is some "mildew" on some of this stuff but it does wipe off.

I've not given up on re-stringing the wrecker just yet! There may be something to choosing a more workable cord/string.

Thanks for the URLs. I had not visited those sites yet.


Re: Websites, Forums for American Flyer "Diehards"?

Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:58 pm
by Atkinson_Railroad
Among the sediments I'm plucking from the carnage is a number 342 0-8-0 engine.

There's an issue with the reversing mechanism in the tender on this particular model.
It still makes the "Chug..Chug.." sound though... so that's a nice plus.

I'm not sure if this is the D.C. only model or the A.C. and D.C. capable unit. (I'll figure it out ; )

I do recognize and remember the bright green pilot light on the train transformer.
This is a cherished memory for all involved ; )

JDA : )

Re: Websites, Forums for American Flyer "Diehards"?

Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:33 pm
by Trainman2223
I have a pair of 342 0-8-0 engine's, good runners from what I remember.

IIRC the A.C./D.C. versions were marked 342AC on the cab & D.C. just had the number/w no letter's.

I’ve heard several theories as to what this stuff is.
I’ve heard it might be a chemical leeching out of the plastic parts,
or that it might be the mold release, likely stearic acid.

Almost anything molded of black plastic...wheels, couplers, truck sides, by Lionel or American Flyer in the 1940s and 1950s seems prone to this.

After a few failed attempts of wiping and cleaning...I found that a hairdryer on high (carefully) pointed at the offending "stuff" seems to permanently remove/kill what ever "it" is :D

Re: Websites, Forums for American Flyer "Diehards"?

Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:49 am
by Atkinson_Railroad
Over the weekend, a day was spent completely cleaning all the electrical connecting points; the wheels, the axles, and the armature commutator on the 342 engine.
Checked the operation of the brushes and spring pressures and the worm gear cavity was re-lubed as were all the pivot points and axles.

Upon first applying power to the engine... I had completely forgotten about the initial electrical smell produced as oil and debris were burned off bringing the locomotive back-to-life.
Ahh... I had forgotten about the buzzing sound the A.C. reversing mechanism housed in the tender makes as it clicks to its called for position.

After all of the above tedious tasks, enough track and two switches for making a modest oval with passing siding were cleaned up.
All of the above efforts proved productive for it made for witnessing a totally "sparkless" operation.
Fifty years ago, I recall the arching and sparking the wheels would create as they made and broke contact with the rails.
I didn't observe any of that this time which makes me think about how rough around the edges this stuff ran [on] all those years ago.

For the 5-year-old participating, his favorite "thing" was operating the number 704 manual uncoupler.

Also discovered that connecting the switches to operate electrically made for things to be too confusing for a young operator,
so we reverted back to manually throwing the turnouts.

I've formed a new opinion about the older link couplers. Properly adjusted, they consistently work better than the newer (introduced in 1952) knuckle style couplers.

At any rate, the modest set-up of refurbished equipment is at-the-ready for next time.