From Port Lines Hobbies


Lionel electronic e-units used in the American Flyer diesel engines can be prone to failure…..especially the earlier diesels.  Moreover, the ERIE diesel contained a seriously flawed e-unit causing it to run very poorly. There is an ERIE upgrade kit available, but it is not a simple task (see Repair Clinic #18).   Our suggested solution to both problems is to remove the original e-unit, and replace it with a Dallee #400 electronic e-unit.  This is not a difficult process.

CAUTION: When making solder connections to the can-motor terminals, do not apply heat to the terminals any longer than necessary, as this excess heat can cause disconnection of the wires inside the motor.

  1. Remove both diesel truck sideframes, and then remove the frame from the shell.

2. Note that the original e-unit is attached to a U-shaped metal bracket. Remove the two screws which secure the bracket to the engine frame.  Also remove the original lockout switch from the frame.

3. Cut all wires that lead to the original e-unit, and remove the e-unit.

4. You will notice that the Dallee e-unit comes with a plug having 6 wires, and a second small plug with two wires.

NOTE: Make all of the following connections before attaching the plug to the reverse unit in order to eliminate any potential heat damage to components. Connect the six wires as follows:

BLUE solders to the pickup shoe box on the sideframe assembly for the truck that has un-insulated metal wheels on the right side of the engine (when facing forward).

BLACK connects to the pickup shoe box on the other sideframe assembly. (I’m really not sure why this makes any difference, but that’s what the Dallee instructions state.)

RED and BROWN connect to the two terminals on one can motor.

YELLOW and ORANGE WIRES should be shortened and connected to each other. Be sure to tape the ends so they do not short against anything else.

You will need two additional pieces of wire to use as jumpers from the terminals of one can motor to the second can motor.

The headlight wires should be connected to the same red and brown wire connections. Be sure to insulate any spliced connections with electrical tape or twist-nuts.

  Double-check all wiring to be sure it is correctly wired before attaching the 6-pin plug to the e-unit. A wiring error can fry the e-unit!

Carefully make the plug connection. Place the engine on a section of test-track and apply power.

  If the two motors are running in opposite directions (‘fighting” each other), reverse the two soldered wires on the motor that is running backwards.

  If, when powered up, the engine starts in reverse, then swap the RED and BROWN wire connections on the can motor terminals. After doing so, the engine should always start up in a forward direction after any 6-second or longer delay.

  Once it is operating properly, use the double-sided tape to adhere the e-unit to the engine frame.

If you are installing a Dallee Lockout Switch, you MAY find it necessary to drill a new hole in the frame to position it without being in the way of the e-unit. Mount the switch, and solder the wires of the remaining two-wire plug to the switch terminals (use the middle and either one of the outer terminals on the switch). Insert this plug into the small socket on the e-unit.

    Dallee #400 Electronic E-unit
    Lockout switch