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2343 F3 Restore or Clean?

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  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Old Florida
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2343 F3 Restore or Clean?
Posted by FEClionel on Monday, December 29, 2003 10:13 AM
On December 24th on a fluke of an event I picked up a 1952 Santa Fe F3 AA cheap($150) in good to fair condition. It's a one owner and its my first F3 that I have dreamed of owning since I was 10(now 24). Anyway my delema is that the unit does run, but slow. Closmetically its OK and I actually prefer a unit that has some play wear b/c I plan on playing with and I think its cool thats its not new or perfect. However I do want it to be pretty and functional below is description of what it looks like.
-battery damaged-appeared to stored upside-down so that battery leaked on inside top of shell and leaked on to parts of the nose around the window - paint missing around cab window
-battery bracket and wire to horn and horn damaged.
-frame damage from battery acid-(plan on replacing)
-decals 50% there on nose
-silver a bit dull and yellow lines vary from faint to moderatly strong.
-front pilots scratched
-trucks are nice and no damage
-runs slow but quiet and smooth-needs cleaning
-NOT missing any porthioles, number boards or ladders

My question is should I get the shells refurbed or should I get the both frame and shells repainted and decaled. I plan on using them for play and possible display. I am not a true collector just a lover of post-war lionel. I inherited a lot of my fathers post-war alco's and have my own LLC and MPC so this is a big step. What should I do. If you have any further questions please feel free to email me and thanks in advance1
grjohnson03@aol.com
  • Member since
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  • From: Old Florida
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Posted by FEClionel on Monday, December 29, 2003 10:53 AM
Also what car came with this set when new. The owner believed it was a freight set however could not locate the cars to match this set. Thanks for all your help and if anyone knows the car #'s and names that would be a great help as I attemp to recreate the set!
-Geoff
  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: St Paul, MN
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Posted by Big_Boy_4005 on Monday, December 29, 2003 12:48 PM
Geoff, If you are sure that it was a freight set, there are 3 possibilities, though one was an A-B-A set of engines, so that is probably out.

The remaining 2 choices have 2 cars in common, 3464 operating box car (most likely Santa Fe, though this number could also be found on a car with New York Central markings). The other piece is the standard 6457 SP type caboose.

The sets were numbered 2161w and 2175w, with the 2161w being the fancier of the two.

That set included a 3469x coal dump car, a 3461x log dump car, 6520 searchlight in addition to the box car and caboose.

The 2175w had a 6456 hopper, a 6465 tank car, and 6462 gondola (all rather common basic cars).

As for what to do about the engines, that's a much deeper question. It sounds like they are worn well beyond collectable value. The best thing you can do is enjoy them by playing with them. It is really up to you how much you want to spend to make them pretty. Do you even want to keep them Santa Fe?

My opinion is fix the mechanical problems, and skip the cosmetics, and save the money for something else.
  • Member since
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  • From: Old Florida
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Posted by FEClionel on Monday, December 29, 2003 1:37 PM
Big_Boy
Thanks so much for all your help! I defiantly want to piece the set together. I look at this F3 as my starter F3 and one day I will purchase a collector grade loco but for now i want this engine for Holiday and layout use. I'm purchasing a replacement frame and getting the motors cleaned and trucks degreased so I that this F3 will run for a long time. Cosmetics come later and I've received quotes in the range of $75 - $100 for shell repaints. Anyway I'm just happy to have a piece of Lionel and America nostalgia! Anyway somebody has to collect the "played with" pieces out there sometimes there more fun than the LN and EX+'s!
  • Member since
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Posted by SPFan on Monday, December 29, 2003 1:49 PM
I'm not sure what professional restorers get for something like this but would guess the cost would go a long way towards getting your own equipment. An airbrush, small compressor and abrasive blaster could all be had for ~$250 new and much less used. Repro parts and decals are readily available. The engine may be beyond the beginner category but you get some beat up cars to practice on.
Pete
  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Old Florida
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Posted by FEClionel on Monday, December 29, 2003 2:43 PM
Well my next question is it bad Lionel karma to restore an all orginal F3 or are they so common and so many in crappy condition that it doesn't matter. I always perfer keeping things all orginal. Would it be Ok to just touch up some spots with paint mainly the area around the cab windshield and add new nose decals and retouch the frame? thanks for all your help
P.S. I plan on doing all the cleaning, mechanical and electrical work myself.
  • Member since
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  • From: St Paul, MN
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Posted by Big_Boy_4005 on Monday, December 29, 2003 3:07 PM
That was the "deeper "question I was refering to in my original answer. The Santa Fe's are pretty common. An Illinois Central, Southern, B&O, or Canadian Pacific would be much better choices for restoration or preservation. I have some shells that I got as part of a collection once, that had been Santa Fe's but had been repainted, including 2 B units. I used to think that it was sacrilege to deface a Lionel train, but I have gotten over that. It doesn't sound like you're planning on reselling it. Do what makes you happy, and don't worry about collector value, this specimen is beyond that anyway.

Oh, and you're welcome!

Elliot
  • Member since
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  • From: The ROMAN Empire State
  • 2,047 posts
Posted by brianel027 on Tuesday, December 30, 2003 10:19 AM
FECLionel, welcome to the hobby and the CTT Forum. I've been back in the hobby for 13-14 years after a hiatus of having Lionel's as a kid (starting before I was a week old). I've been repainting and restoring trains as long as I've been back in the hobby. Yes, I certainly encountered the attitude Elliot mentioned. But even years ago when prices were a little higher on the old stuff, I'd find things that I knew could be collectible, BUT certainly weren't in the condition I was buying them in.
Lionel trains became collectible because so many people had and played with them. The adults to some degree are buying back their childhoods. Pristine (postwar, prewar) pieces obviously will command the best prices - today and tomorrow. But there are so many other older trains out there that are far less than pristine. That coupled with the vast selection of new trains today with overall better paint and graphics and improved (opinions differ on this) operation. So I'd say do what makes YOU happy.
For starters, I'd do what you are already doing and mechanically get the engine running good. You obviously have some nostalgia for what the Lionel F3 is. You might just want to clean it up, touch up the pilot scratches and replace the nose decal. I'd consult with an expert on the Santa Fe F3 paint scheme... I've used Lemon Pledge to clean up old trains, as well as using Armor All to put a nice sheen on BUT different pieces respond differently to these things depending on the painting process. There is a company (they have advertised in CTT) that makes a product speciafically for cleaning older trains. CTT has also done some articles on this topic.
Somewhere down the track, should you decide to repaint it, fine. At least you'll be sure that's what you really wanted to do. I have no regrets on repaints and do them all myself. I love having my old favorite roadnames from the northeast U.S. (PC, LV, RDG, EL, CNJ, NH) but also love having new roads like CR, CSX, BNSF and NS: roads that have been underrepresented on new "traditionally" sized product. I love it when guys come over and say "but K-Line never made that in CSX" or "when did Lionel make the yard switcher in Norfolk Southern?" And my paint jobs stand up against any pro, so why not have the fun and do it myself.
That's what the trains should be about - having fun. For awhile there it was more about money. BUT it's the FUN part that helps determine true value, whether it be monetary or a priceless memory.
brianel, Agent 027

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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