Noisy Bowser engines

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I have a small fleet of Bowser steamers that sound like coffee grinders. Worm and gear alignments are good. It's just the old design. I would like them to run quietly. Any suggestions?


Stuck in the 1930's
Find some of the "Helix Humper" swap in motor/flywheel motors. I have them in ALL my Bowser steam. Very quiet, and much smoother running than those open frame motors.


Section Hand
How long were the locomotives run for a break in period?

The suggestions above are very good, but I would try lube on the motor bushing and check the amount of lube on the gears in the towers.

Let us know of your progress.



Stuck in the 1930's
I think there were 2-3 companies who made something similar. With Bowser out of the kit steam engine business, and NWSL going away, the build and modify steam loco's is a done deal. I wanted to build a PRR T1 with 2 motors n such, but THATS when I found out they quit the metal kits.
Helix Humper was the motors product name, they were offered from Allentown Locomotive Works at one time. But, if memory serves me right, the original owner became ill and the company just kind of faded away. I have one of his Athearn repower motors in one of my brass diesels. They featured a "wormfly", which combined the flywheel with the worm gear as many Bowser and Mantua used a simple axle gear and the worm gear was directly on the motors output shaft, no idler gear. So combining the two allowed for a flywheel were none would fit before due to the diecast boiler that surrounds the motor. It is a shame this motor design did not get picked up by someone like A-Line as there are still many of these older steamers needing a new motor without the hassle/machining to install a complete new gear box. Just camp out on ebay and watch the flat of parts and motors at train shows, one will turn up. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.