Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Saturday, August 16, 2014

New Haven Proto 1000 RS2 Overhaul

Greetings blog Followers,

The last Blog entry introduced the newest motive power for the layout, a New Haven Proto 1000 RS2 #0503. This was a used engine purchased at a local train show. Road testing the engine revealed that it suffers from the Proto 1000 / 2000 cracked axle syndrome that plagued certain 4 axle units from this manufacturer. An easy way to tell if your locomotive(s) have a cracked axle gear(s) is to basically attach it to a train and listen to it run. The noise will sound like a flat spot in wheel and you may even notice the wheel bounce up and down a bit. If you hear the thumping sound from the locomotive one or more gears are cracked. Another way to tell is to see if the engine wheels will turn freely. If so you have a cracked axle gear. When purchasing these engines always assume that the gears will have to be replaced and fortunately it is a pretty easy fix.

NH RS2 0503 with a short freight train. Listening to the engine go by you can hear the thumping from the cracked axle gears.

If you have the Proto 1000 / 2000 series 4 axle locomotives on your roster a pack or two of Athearn axle gears will come in handy in your parts box.

Athearn part number ATH 60024 is a drop in replacement for the Proto 1000/ 2000 4 axle locomotives.   

The replacing of the gears is pretty easy as you do not need to disassemble the locomotive. An NMRA HO Standards Gauge will help set the wheels in gauge when installed into the new axles.

The gear covers have been removed with a small screwdriver. Note the gears are dry as well as cracked

The gears have been removed and are ready for repair

The first axle has the new Athearn axle gear installed and is set to the NMRA Standards Gauge

All four axle gears have been swapped out and checked against the NMRA gauge. The completed axles have been installed back into the trucks and some grease has been added.   

Since this is an overhaul I decided to replace the older style Proto Magnetic Couplers with Ol Reliable Kadee #5s. The older proto couplers do not have a coupler spring

 An easy enough upgrade as the coupler boxes are held in place with a Phillips screw and the bronze centering spring is already in place. Removing both  coupler boxes will allow you to remove the shell.

 Note the rear coupler is in the open position as the thin strip in lieu of a coupler spring has failed. 

The shell has been removed and the engine will get a light oil on the worm gear bearings. No oil on the actual motor at this point since it is running smoothly.  

New Haven RS2 0503 stands tall and proud after the overhaul.

NH RS2 0503 pulls freight train after the overhaul. All is smooth, as it should be.


  1. That's really helpful John! I was going to post a comment about loco maintenance and retooling to your previous blog entry. I have limited experience messing around with gears and such in my HO locomotives and wondered how you developed your abilities to work on them.

    1. Thanks Ralph! One of the things I like most about this hobby is tinkering with locomotives and rolling stock. I have a mechanical background so it's like second nature to me. Fixing, upgrading and maintaining the older BB and straight DC fleet I've picked up some tricks of the trade so to speak. Basically I learned by doing. Sometimes by doing over and over. And sometimes by putting the engine away as "out of service" until another day when I can regroup. A few tidbits; Oil=less is more. Lubricate when needed but sparingly. Some older engines used a thick white grease that is almost like paste. Remove it and put in a thin grease. If you questions regarding your fine fleet of engines shoot me a message and I'll gladly help if I can.

  2. Thanks John! I appreciate that. The most I've done with my Athearns is to replace the electric contact strip with wires for better electrical reliability. I found this site about Athearn tune ups: http://www.mcor-nmra.org/publications/articles/athearn_tuneup.htmla while ago that guided me through it. Lots of other info too. I admire the way you make your locos run well!

  3. Whoops...I didn't leave a space at the end of the link..


  4. Thanks for the link Ralph. I've bookmarked it for future reference. Lots of interesting tidbits. Knew about the "pearl drops" but never tried it. I've also pretty much hard wired my entire BB fleet as well. Since introducing and running my home made track cleaning cars within the consists the gunk build up on the stock Athearn wheels has not been an issue at all. Frankly I was surprised at how well the home made track cleaners have performed. A little crud near the turnout points that is easily removed with a bright boy or an eraser is about all I see now. Haven't had to clean wheels or track except for the points areas in a very long time.