Marklin has designed locomotives and train sets with unique properties sometimes custom to a particular model. Whether it is the TEE train sets and its many variants or the ICE 1 or 3, couplers and powered units have been rethought and redesigned. The 88712 was produced in 1999-2005, it is based on the Era V ICE III DB prototype. Two variations of the 88712 include version 1 with 3 pole motor (1999) and version 2 with 5 pole motor (2000-2005). This train set could be supplemented with 4 add-on coaches to make-up a prototypical train set: 87711, 87712, 87713, 87714.
The design of this loco includes a unique power unit located in the middle of the train, the BordRestaurant dining car houses the motor and circuit board, but this car does not receive the power from the tracks instead each coach picks up power that is sent to the middle car thereby driving its two geared trucks. Added efficiency is achieved by the heavy weighted chassis of the dining car giving its wheel sets much needed traction. Couplers used in this set are those created for the 88711 Max Liebermann which are characterized as flat plastic couplers faced on both sides with conductive metal. Couplers are held in place on one end of each car with clips accessed from the underside of car. In order to remove this semi-permanent coupler simply release clip.
Maintaining this ICE train set is easy. The pantograph end of the dining car is gently pried upwards thereby releasing the shell. The capacitor wires maybe soldered to the circuit board thus take great care to avoid breaking any wires. No problem with broken wires, but repair will take a little longer as the wires will need soldering. The trucks do not have electrical contacts so they come apart easily and go back together easily. You may opt to tear down to the gears to remove old oil and crud. I bought mine from a collector who never ran theirs and as a result it was caked with hardened oil (HOS!!!!!) throughout the trucks and gears to the transmissions and even motor. Whenever you buy used Marklin Z expect the worse, you may need to replace brushes at the very least, but you might need to roll up your sleeves and remove crud and old oil. Not sure if I am a nerd, but I like tear downs and restorations!
If you own or are planning to buy an ICE III it will not disappoint, this is one of the finest Marklin Z’s for running characteristics and design true to the prototype.