Question about Lionel Operating Dump Cars.

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  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • 590 posts
Question about Lionel Operating Dump Cars.
Posted by dsmith on Sunday, October 08, 2006 8:15 PM


I have been trying to find information on Lionel (postwar or modern repros) Log or Coal Dump Cars.   All the information I can find only mention that the cars dump, but they don't explain the mechanism or if the cars also retract.  I have a 3359 dual coal dump car and I really like that it not only dumps slowly, but also that it retracts to its origional position.  Are there other Lionel dump cars (either log or coal) that dump like this?  I have looked at photos on of the 3461, 3361 log and 3469 coal dump cars but I cannot determine if they simply dump with a spring and have to be manually reset or if the mechanism slowly dump and then reset.  MTH has real nice slow dump cars that also reset, but I'm intersted in Lionel Postwar and I also can't bring myself to pay $90 for a car.

On another subject, I have read some posts about how the simple spring loaded log dump cars fling the logs when actuated.  I have a newer Lionel 9300 log dump car and I'm impressed how well the simple dump mechanism works.  The spring tension gently dumps the logs into the bin every time.  The only problem I had with this car is that it is extremely light and without a load there is a tendancy to derail on 027 curves.  I cured this by adding a small amount of steel plate weight to the bottom.  Also the car only has one operating coupler, the other is a cast dummy coupler.  But it is a very inexpensive car, I bought mine off of Ebay for $6 including shipping.

David in Michigan

  David from Dearborn  

  • Member since
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  • From: Ft. Knox, KY
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Posted by GPJ68 on Sunday, October 08, 2006 11:15 PM

The 3469 and 3461 dump cars (and the similar 3459 and 3451 cars with coil couplers) use a solenoid activated plunger that pops up underneath the dump body when energized to empty the load.  One side opens (or stakes tilt) to let the load go as the bed tilts up.  Gravity and the weight of the dump body return the body to level (sometimes just in theory with the log dump, which can get hung up with the stakes sticking out horizontally).  In a word (or four) - they ain't slow dumpers.  I haven't had much of a problem with loads getting flung all over, but they aren't slow precision dumpers either.  If you have the juice really turned up high, the 3461 log car beds can go past the "point of no return" - I've added a piece of elastic to the bottom of mine to limit travel and help pull the bed back down more reliably.  If the ore dump bed hangs, a couple more activations of the plunger will usually knock it back down.  The 3469 cars also need to be adjusted properly (and very lightly oiled) to keep the side that opens closed up tight for running/loading. 

The 3361 log car has a stepped gear that rotates once with each press of the op. track button, slowly lifting the bed to dump the load (similar to the 3359 twin dump I believe), then falling back to level.  I had a few of these as well, but I didn't care for 'em much - no tall stakes to reliably contain the load while moving (or loading), and too frustrating to get perfectly positioned on an O27 op. track - they're really meant for the longer O guage op. tracks.

I've got a handful of the MTH dump cars as well (log and ore dumps) - really neat how they dump slowly and give an extra tilt up before fully returning), but they have the same positioning problem on O27 track.  At some point I'm either going to stick an O section in to use them, or modify two of the earlier O27 1019 tracks (with full length operating rails like the O RCS track) - actually cut and join them together to make one long section.  You can find those MTH cars for alot less than $90 on ebay or elsewhere - don't believe I paid more than @ $30 each for mine.  Only other problem I've had with the MTH cars is they would actuate automatically when crossing one particular K-Line automatic switch - wouldn't notice it until several passes and the cars would go by tilted with partial loads....

I've got at least 15 of the 3461 and 3469 cars so far - want a 10 car train of each eventually.  Only thing about the 3469 ore cars is that they're heavy, and if the wheels aren't kept well oiled they'll stringline - not a pretty sight, a train of loaded ore cars stringlining on an elevated section....

  • Member since
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  • From: Lake Worth FL
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Posted by phillyreading on Monday, October 09, 2006 7:08 AM

I have two Lionel 3659 dump cars that still work very well for being almost 70 years old. Need to be oiled every now and then but for the most part work very well. The cars reset every time after dumping and use an electric solenoid to dump.  The only draw back is they use couplers that pre-date the knuckle couplers, pin & hook.

Lee F.

Interested in southest Pennsylvania railroads; Reading & Northern, Reading Company, Reading Lines, Philadelphia & Reading.
  • Member since
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  • From: The ROMAN Empire State
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Posted by brianel027 on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 2:51 PM

David, I have posted on this before... the problem with your 9300 Lionel Dump Car derailing is not the weight of the car. It is the loose plastic snap rivets or the loose metal rivets that hold the trucks to the body. It is the "wobble" or play of the trucks that causes derailments.

You need to reattach the trucks to the body using a locknut or stop nut and a blackened hex screw or a truss screw. I run the lightest of MPC 9 inch cars at the lead of a train pulling much heavier postwar cars, can back the train up through a flurry of no-no's as far as layout design.... "S" curves, switches off curves, switches on curves, reverse loops and have NO derailments. What I am saying works and I guarantee it 100%. No additional weight is ever needed if you do it my way.

You can add weight to the car, but it only makes it harder for the engine to pull more cars.

brianel, Agent 027

"Praise the Lord. I may not have everything I desire, but the Lord has come through for what I need."

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