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How to Restore a Tyco Super Spirit of 76 Train Locomotive

Updated on September 10, 2014

The year was 1976, the day after Christmas, my dad brought home this large thin box containing the most spectacular train set I have ever seen. It was the Tyco "Super Spirit of 76" train set commemorating the 1776-1976 bicentennial. The locomotive and caboose where painted in red, white, and blue "Spirit of 76" colors. It included several rolling stock cars and enough track for an elongated oval setup. My dad also purchased two remote operated turnouts so that we could run an oval within an oval track layout. We setup the track on the kitchen floor as it was the only large flat area in our house that could accommodate the track layout.

Flash forward to 2009

I was looking for a hobby to de-stress myself from work and decided to get into model trains as I remembered how much enjoyment it gave me when I was young. I attended a local model train show with my wife and daughter and from across the room I was delighted to see Tyco "Super Spirit of 76" locomotive sitting in an old faucet box. I quickly haggled with the owner and was able to purchase the locomotive for $20. When I got home I immediately took it downstairs to my model train layout and tested the locomotive. It purred into action but was a little slow; I believed it needed some cleaning and lubrication. I also noticed that the coupler on the back of the locomotive was missing. So I went to work on disassembling the locomotive for cleaning and repair. Above is a picture of the disassembled locomotive.

Repairing the Train

First I needed to replace the missing coupler. I took a coupler off of an old rolling stock car, I then glued two pieces of metal I had in my junk box to the tab where the coupler had been to limit the travel of the new coupler. To hold the coupler in place I used a small brass nail glued in place. Here is the result.


Next it was time for cleaning and lubrication. First I took a paper towel and applied a small amount of Rail-Zip track cleaner and laid it over a section of track then rolled the rear truck back and forth until the wheels looked clean. I then applied a drop of Labelle 107 multipurpose oil to each bearing on the rear truck then once again rolled the rear truck on the section of track with the paper towel with a small amount of track cleaner to remove any excess oil. See picture above and below.


Tools of the Trade

Pacer Technology (Zap) Rail-Zip 2 Track Cleaner and Corrosion Inhibitors, 1 oz
Pacer Technology (Zap) Rail-Zip 2 Track Cleaner and Corrosion Inhibitors, 1 oz

This product works great for cleaning the oxidation of the track rails!

SceneMaster  Maintenance Kit
SceneMaster Maintenance Kit

This is a great all around kit for keeping your model trains running!


On to cleaning the front truck.

This was a little harder because the wheels would not spin freely because they are connected to gears connected to the gear on the armature of the motor. Using alligator clips, I connected the motor in the front truck to the CAB power supply. I then applied power to get the wheels to move slowly. I then held the truck on the paper towel that had a small amount of track cleaner fluid applied to it over the rail. See picture above.

Next I applied Labelle 107 multi-purpose oil to the wheel bearings on the front truck.

Next I applied Labelle 106 grease to the exposed gears on the front truck.

Only the sides of the gears where exposed and the guard was riveted on so I used a jewelers screwdriver to smear the grease on the gear teeth. Once again I applied power to the front truck motor and held it over the track covered in a paper towel that had a small amount of track cleaning fluid applied to it. I did this in order to remove any oil or grease that might have gotten on the wheels during lubrication.See picture above.

Now on to reassembly! Attach the mount for the light in the cab.

Then it was time to install the front truck.

Now on to installing the rear truck.

Finally it was time to attach the ballast that provides weight to the locomotive with two screws.

Installing the handrails.

The Tyco “Super Spirit of 76” locomotive I purchased at the train show did not have the handrails attached. The seller did give me a kit to install the handrails. This was the most tedious tasks so far but well worth it!

The old Tyco "Super Spirit of 76" locomotive with the handrails installed.

The Tyco "Super Spirit of 76" locomotive pulling some rolling stock.

Now it is time to test the Tyco "Super Sprit of 76" locomotive on my track layout. After the cleaning and lubrication the locomotive was able to come up to speed faster and operated quieter.I hope this information on cleaning and lubricating my Tyco “Super Spirit of 76” locomotive was helpful. May model railroading bring you as much enjoyment as it has given me.


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    • amandascloset0 profile image

      amandascloset0 3 years ago

      Very nice lens! My husband is currently trying to encourage his father to pull his trains out and clean them up and display them again. The small children are all older now and there isn't much worry of them handling or abusing them.

    • glenbrook profile image

      glenbrook 6 years ago

      Very cool lens. I love Tyco trains - I even have a web site devoted to them. My first Tyco set had the Santa Fe F3. I've been looking for one of the Spirit of 76 locos on eBay for awhile. No luck so far but I know one will turn up.

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 8 years ago from Croatia

      You are one of March 2009 graduates! Come by and answer few questions to show the way to those who will follow! Wish you many, many more great lenses!

    • Janusz LM profile image

      Janusz LM 8 years ago

      I loved this lens! well done on getting the locomotive fixed up.. Blessed by a Squid Angel :)

    • Laniann profile image

      Laniann 8 years ago

      Very well written lens and tutorial! 5*'s and I Favorite it.

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 8 years ago from Croatia

      This lens entered Fresh Squid Contest for April as one of lenses that joined Fresh Squid group in March 2009! Come by and cast a vote! And don't forget to have fun!

    • profile image

      WhitePineLane 8 years ago

      Excellent lens! Looking forward to more! Welcome to Squidoo!

    • profile image

      motorpurrr 8 years ago

      Nice! Very helpful. I've sold a few of those on Ebay over the years, sometimes it can't get them to go. this will help.

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 8 years ago from Croatia

      Well done on this tutorial! Welcome to Fresh Squid group! Glad to have you aboard! BTW, expecting to see more of high quality lenses from you in future! :)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 8 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Wow! Nice lens on a great project. I admire your handiwork and, especially, your patience!

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Wow. This is a great lens on a topic that I know absolutely nothing about. But I am going to email it to my husband.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      Excellent work! You have a fabulous teacher!

    • profile image

      GrowWear 8 years ago

      Welcome to Squidoo! Enjoyed reading your how-to! I love fixing things! There's a tremendous satisfaction in getting something going again. Hope you're enjoying your hobby and that it's just what you need to decompress. :)