As discussed in the post on Life Like P2K performance, these engines have a fairly wide range of overall performance. Reviewing the work of others online indicates that there are techniques that can improve the results. I have included a link n my favorite links post that identifies the major part variations and some potential reasons for the performance fall off.
I have several engines that have been tested and several others that are poor runners or not running set all. What is needed is a systematic step by step performance evaluation where the various tune up features are identified. This will be similar to the work done on the Athearn blue box units tune up process.
In this case, the problem is thought to be associated with the factory applied lubricant that was used on P2K unit hardening and having an adverse impact on the performance. The shortfall that has been observed is consistent with excessive internal engine loads. Increasing the sustained starting voltage, velocity and current. It will also reduce the measured draw bar force.
This is on top of the mandatory replacement of the Athearn clone axle gears. As indicated in the info link. Not all P2K units suffer from the gear issue, but the all can have the lubricant issue. If the original owner was diligent and replaced the lubricant, then the engine may not have a problem or may not show improvement. Because of these potential variations, a number of engines need to be followed before a conclusion can be drawn.
The plan for these testing of tune up steps are as follows:
(Using the Simplified engine only test sequence.)
1- run an “As Received” test. If the configuration is the Athearn clone, the axle gears will be replaced. If required additional minimum tweaks will be applied the get the unit running.
2- step 1 will be repeated with the wheels polished for 20 seconds with a Kadee wheel polishing tool.
3- the tower gear bearings of step 2 will be cleaned & lubricated
4- the motor bearings will be cleaned as best can be done and lubricated.
5- the truck gears and internal truck surfaces will be cleaned and lubricated.
6- the stock wheels and new gears will be replaced with Athearn RTR wheels and new gears.
7- the wheels and axle gears will be replaced with an appropriate set of NWSL wheels.
These last two will quantify the value to the system performance of wheels that are intended to have better conductivity when the “dirty track” environment prevails.
This will likely take several weeks. It will be best to combine several engines tests in the same steps. This activity will commence immediately. It will be interspersed with the client activity test load.