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If your child loves their Power Wheels, you know that it can be very disappointing if the vehicle malfunctions or burns out. Luckily, replacing the motors in a Power Wheels vehicle is very simple, and all it takes is a couple of hours and a set of new motors.
To upgrade a Power Wheels motor, you need to unscrew the stock motors, use a soldering iron or torch to disconnect the cables from the gearboxes, and slide each off with a Phillips head screwdriver. Then, slide the new motors on by attaching the pinions, and thread the gearboxes. Secure the wiring.
So, let's get this project done together. We’ll let you know all of the things that you’ll need to upgrade your Power Wheels motors, and we’ll discuss all of the ways you can make the new engines last longer. We’ll also provide you with a simple step-by-step guide to follow when upgrading your Power Wheels motors. So, let's get trucking!
What You Need To Upgrade a Power Wheels Motor
Before you start to upgrade your Power Wheels motor, you’ll need to collect some supplies, including a new motor, the tools you’ll need to replace the motor, and some extra parts.
Replacement Motor and Pinions
First of all, you’ll need a new motor. ML toys have plenty of upgrades and replacement parts for Power Wheels, so you should check out their website to look for an appropriate engine for your upgrade. Most Power Wheels vehicles come with a 550-volt stock motor installed in them. Generally, if you want a more potent motor, you’ll probably want to use a 775-volt one.
You’ll need pinions along with the motor, which will fit onto the motor's shaft and connect it to the gearbox. Usually, if you buy a motor made for Power Wheels upgrades, it will come with pinions that fit the Power Wheels vehicle model. Still, if you purchase new motors at another place, you’ll need to find your Power Wheels vehicle's correct pinions.
To keep your new motors from overheating, you might want to invest in some small heat sinks. Using heat sinks can prevent you from replacing the motors again, so using them is always a great idea when installing new ones into anything. These aluminum Heat Sinks from Hobbypark are the perfect size for Power Wheels motors (550 sized).
Torch or Soldering Iron (Optional but Preferred)
You’ll also need a torch or soldering iron to remove the wires from the old motor. These wires — which connect the battery to the motors — are soldered onto the motor, so you’ll need to melt the solder to replace them.
If you don’t have access to a soldering iron or torch, do not fret. You can use wire cutters to cut the wires when removing the stock motor. You can also use pliers to crimp the cables back onto the new motors. Still, this will shorten the cables and make it harder for you to modify the Power Wheels in the future, so you might want to use a soldering iron to disconnect and reconnect the wiring.
You won't need too many tools to complete this project, but you’ll need a small flat-head screwdriver, a small Allen wrench, electrical tape, and some zip ties. You may also want to use shrink tubing after you attach the wires to your new motor, but they aren’t necessary.
Replacing the motor in a Power Wheels isn’t very difficult, and it’s a great DIY project that will only take a couple of hours at most.
1. Remove the Wheels and Gear Boxes
Before you remove the motor, you’ll have to remove all of the wheels from the Power Wheels vehicle. In the center of each wheel, there is a black nut called a push nut. Remove all four push nuts and slide the wheels off of the axles.
Once you remove each wheel, you’ll see a small black gearbox behind each one. Each gearbox has one motor with two wires connected to it. Use a soldering iron or torch to disconnect the cables from the gearboxes and slide each one-off.
2. Remove the Stock Motor
Next, you’ll need to remove the stock motors from the gearboxes. Usually, there’s a motor behind each of the two front gearboxes of a Power Wheels vehicle. Sometimes, however, there are four motors with one attached to each wheel's gearbox.
Each motor is attached to the gearbox with two small flat-head screws. To remove the stock motors, unscrew these, and set the stock motors aside. Be careful not to unscrew the gearbox itself, which is secured with three Phillips head screws.
3. Place the Pinions on Your New Motors and Install Them
Now that you’re done with the stock motors, it’s time to get out your new motors. Each one should have a pinion that will fit onto its shaft. If you ordered a Power Wheels replacement part from a toy store, you should already have a pinion that came with the new motor. If not, you’ll need to find a pinion that will fit the motor and perfectly align with the size and tooth count of the older pinion.
Once you have your pinions in hand, slide one onto the shaft of your new motor. If you want the pinion to stay put, you may want to use a Thread Locker product to secure the pinion onto the shaft. Most modern pinions lock on with a set screw. If this is the case with your pinions, insert a small Allen wrench into the hole at the pinion base and tighten it.
Next, we are going to reinstall the motors. Once your pinions are on, take your new motor and thread it into the gearbox. Turn it in your hand until you can feel the gears locking into place within the gearbox. After your motor is correctly inserted into the gearbox, secure it with the two screws you removed when you took out the old stock motors.
4. Connect the Wiring
Now that your motors are in place, you can start to connect the wiring. When you connect the wires to your new motors, it’s essential to secure the right terminal’s correct wire. If you hook up the cables to the wrong terminals, the wheels will rotate in reverse. If you need to, you can test each wheel after connecting the wires to make sure that you did it correctly.
Connect each wire to the motor's terminals. If you have a soldering iron, then you can use solder to secure the cables. If not, just crimp them into place. After you have connected the wires to the motors, wrap them in electrical tape. After wrapping them, you might want to secure them with shrink tubing if you want the connection to be as durable as possible.
5. Secure the Wires and Install Heat Sinks
After the wires are connected, you can use zip ties to hold them all into place. Securing the cables will ensure that they do not come loose as your child drives the Power Wheels vehicle. It will also protect the wires from dragging on the ground, which could be dangerous if the wires' casing wears away.
Next, you’ll want to install the heat sinks. All you have to do is snap them onto the motors. Using heat sinks is optional, but they will prevent overheating, saving you from installing more motors in the future. It can also help avoid any other more dangerous overheating problems that extended driving could cause.
Now, you’re all done with your upgrade. It’s time to get driving!
Upgrading Power Wheels motors is an easy task, and absolutely anyone can do it. It doesn’t take too many tools or much time to complete this project, so it’s high time to upgrade your Power Wheels so that they can be as strong as your child's desire to drive is.