Bachmann Pancake Motors?

kirkifer's picture


I needed some old shells for my scrapyard/rail rebuilder scene. As a bonus, the shells came with old plastic frames with the infamous Bachmann pancake motor.

Before I tear these things apart and use the gears/sideframes for use as scrapyard stuff, I am wondering if the complete and operable motor unit is unbelievably valuable? My guess is NO, but I thought there might be someone on here that might know the answer to be different?

Thanks for the help.

It'd be far better to simply

It'd be far better to simply remove all the overhead [the motor] and leave the trucks "Assembled."  Torn down, you wouldn't see them "fully assembled" like you would if you took the side frames off.  1:1 trucks have a number of parts that are one piece castings, so the only place you might see them sort of cut up like we do is a scrap yard, and even there, they recycle the trucks before scraping them.

You may put tarps over the middle to protect the traction motor from the weather while it sits, though I doubt even this considerations is employed often.

kirkifer's picture

so... there is no value in the pancake motor?

Hey Benny,

So, one vote to trash the pancake motor and use the complete truck as a model.

Not a bad idea to have a couple of blue tarps partially covering a complete truck. The vintage Bachmann truck is so chunky that it needs to be covered by a tarp. I have already cut one of the trucks down to simulate the frame sitting on one complete truck with the other end supported by an old Bettendorf truck, sorta like the pic below.


You could probably put the pancake motor all in a scrap yard scene, grouped together....

The side details aren't too clunky if you're dealing with a large scene.  And as a flatcar load, I think they'd be fine too.  Make the tarps out of paper towel or dryer sheets, soaked in a white glue mix and layered over each other.

I personally like how they sound.  They have a very organic hum, one I kind of didn't need a sound decoder with these, at least a prime mover sound, they packed their own!

DKRickman's picture

No value that I'm aware of

Anything has value, if you can find the right person at the right time.  In theory, you could find somebody who has an old model with a worn out motor, and who is willing to pay to rebuild the model instead of upgrading to something better.  The chances of actually making that happen, though.....

My advice would be to hang onto the motors, if you have a convenient place to store them.  You never know when a working motor might come in handy for some project, like powering a turntable or some other form of animation.  It might even turn out to be the best motor for a given model, though I doubt it.  If you don't have the space and/or don't want to keep junk laying around, I wouldn't hesitate to scrap the motors.  They're worth their weight in scrap plastic.

Ken Rickman

Danville & Western HO modeler and web historian

kirkifer's picture


Ken, my wife now dislikes you! She wants me to get rid of my excess junk, not keep it for someday! I like your idea cause you never know when that thing would come in handy. I had thought about powering a revolving sign or something but as Benny commented, they are quite loud, so maybe not.

Benny, your right with the scene stuff. That housing, not so much the functional motor could make a believable piece of machinery added to some of those Lifelike scenic gears, you might have something...

JRG1951's picture

Some Value!


You can get a cup of coffee with a pancake motor if you have $1,50 to go with it. But not at StarBucks! I do not agree with Ken, Go buy a motor from a supply house [Jameco Electronics]. It will save you a lot of frustration.

Regards John **********************************

If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else. <> Yogi Berra

The key to the value

Is does the motor run and are the idler gears in good shape. If you hear a clicking sound when run in one direction or the other, then one or both of the gears is cracked. With no click, then it has a value of between $15-$20. Not that much. You could probably sell the gears for most of that.
There are people who use these as their main power for their rail road. A cheap DC unit that with weight and TLC can do OK.


kirkifer's picture



Nope, it runs good. I cleaned it up and used a tiny bit of medium Labelle oil to lubricate the gears. Then, I soldered 30 ga. orange and grey wires onto the pancake motor and diesel truck. Wiring it to a decoder or to power pickup is going to be someone else's responsibility.

Here is what I am going to do. I will put it on eBay and just see if it goes. I mean who would think the old horn hook (X2F) couplers would have any value? Those sell for about 1/2 the price of Kadees... Weird, I would just throw them away...

I do not need this motor nor do I want it. I use Mashima, Atlas/Kato or Genesis motors in my locos. My thing is that I hate to throw something away when there might be someone, someplace, who searches eBay for this very thing...


One man's trash is another man's treasure.


JRG1951's picture

FYI Update

The Bachmann parts site now list Pancake motor trucks and dummy trucks to repair the older HO diesels. These are complete with traction tires. It looks like they have a newer side frame. Rumor has it that the older power trucks were designed for a somewhat limited life of going round and round. I think these could be used on some of the other older brands of diesels. I do not recommend these, I just found them!

Regards, John *******

If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one? <> Abraham Lincoln


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