NEW Repair Guide for Tyco "Power Torque" locomotives is online!

Is your Tyco train barely able to get out of its own way? Does it squeal like a pig, stutter like a drunkard, or just sit there and buzz like a child sticking out her tongue? Does it run for a minute or two before crashing like an office drone coming off a caffeine high? Or do you already know there's something wrong because you can see cracks, missing parts, or a small poodle sucked up into the motor?

You're not alone - Tyco's reputation was irreparably destroyed by the finicky locos they sold from the mid-70's onward. But have no fear, because it's easy to fix them! So if you just dug a box out of the attic and are wondering how to make them run, you're in luck...

Though it's taken me far too long to polish the draft I began (two friggin' years ago), I've finally completed a COMPREHENSIVE repair guide for Tyco trains and locomotives outfitted with the infamous "Power Torque" drive system! Written for both model train newbies and old salts alike, it covers everything you need to know, including

  • Component diagrams

  • Basic Tyco locomotive teardown (without breaking stuff)

  • Gear cleaning and replacement / enhancement

  • Armature servicing

  • Bench testing

  • numerous tips about traction tires, faulty blocks, not losing springs and brushes, etc.

  • Motor revision comparisons and identification

  • A video showing one advanced replacement option
  • It's all presented in a thorough, straightforward guide from start to finish - like a Chilton's Manual for guys who play with trains.

    Check it all out in the new GIC Guide No. 8: Power Torque Drives!


dear tony i just got back into trains. i've managed to keep my old engines. i would very much like to get my tyco santa fe 430 running again i've seen how to clean all all the other stuff but it still dont want to run . i liked what you did with the cd rom motor is there any more details on it like what you used to bore it out so the motor will fit. what you did to keep it in place.and wiring and anything else i may need to no. thank you for any help you can give

By richard (not verified)

Hi Richard,

I used a Dremel with a grinding bit to bore out the block as necessary. The sizes of CD-rom motors are vastly different, so just cut to fit. I attached the motor to the block with silicone adhesive or hot glue - I honestly don't remember which but either would work. Wiring is pretty simple: attach one wire to the block you bored out, and the other to the rear truck (watch your polarity so that the motor still goes forward; if it runs backwards compared to other engines, reverse the wires).

Hope that gets you started. If you look on the, there is an older thread there with all kinds of tips from when this technique was "new". Search for "CD-Rom" and you'll probably find it.

By Tony L.