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HO and OO Pictures - Lionel, Flyer, Marx, Etc!

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, April 11, 2022 7:12 PM

pennytrains
And Doyle's Standard Catalog of Lionel Trains 1900-1942 covers OO very thoroughly.  Strangely, while this book goes into great depth to cover the uber-rare 2 7/8 gauge, something most of us will never see outside of a museum, later volumes (1945-1969 and 1970-2000) ignore HO all together.

Doyle had a lot of assistance from the Train Collectors Association when he put those books together, so the fact that HO's ignored could be an indication of the TCA being "doctrinaire" in the early 2000's when the books were done and dismissing HO altogether.  "If it's HO it's not a toy train!  Go talk to the NMRA!" Just guessing mind you, although when I visited the TCA museum in Strasburg back in the 90's I don't recall seeing any HO articles at all. Maybe they were there but I missed them.

Anyway, when myself and the board of the VTC gave the OK for HO trains being welcomed there was a bit of grumbling from the "Peanut Gallery" over it.  Not much, but some. 

Oh yeah, 2 and 7/8th inch scale.  I've been going to train shows and train shops for close to 30 years and have NEVER seen any for sale.  Strictly museum stuff.  

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Monday, April 11, 2022 8:37 PM

It's probably a matter of personal taste more than anything. Good to know there's resources out there, I would like to learn more about Marx and Flyer HO since I have far less in my collection.

The big news for today is my 0635 is back from the grave! The pilot broke off during an awkward procedure in which I was modifying the other end of the frame. Use brute force with caution, folks! I didn't think I was being too rough but there's definitely an obvious weak point there. I have a plan to fix it, using a little reinforcement and some epoxy. 
The motor I bought for the job seens to work as good as I could ever hope for. I had to steal a gear from my 0602, which I've decided needs some severe assistance in getting back in shape. For now it's sidelined, but eventually I want to fully re-gear it. The 0635 is really noisy, but the gears seem to be the entirety of the cause. From what I can tell, it was probably always this noisy, and all that racket is probably enough to convince a casual onlooker that it's all original.
Running quality wise, I think the new motor is a clear upgrade from the original. It can move my 10-car Lionel HO consist with ease, and doesn't stall out when I drop it down to slow speeds. It can't crawl quite as good as an Athearn but it certainly can go slower than an original could. All in all feeling really pleased! I need to rebuild the smoke unit again hopefully this is the last time, and I get everything right. For now though, here she is, in action:


-Ellie

"Unless bought from a known and trusted dealer who can vouch otherwise, assume every train for sale requires servicing before use"

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Posted by M636C on Monday, April 11, 2022 11:49 PM

Leverettrailfan





-Ellie

 

The adverisement above illustrates material made by Rivarrossi for Lionel, apparently for 1956 only. The locomotives are a Fairbanks Morse C Line A unit and a Southern Pacific Atlantic type.

The Fairbanks Morse dated back to 1952

http://www.rivarossi-memory.it/Cataloghi_pubblicati/Catalogo_1952/Catalogo_1952.htm

Apparently these were three rail AC, probably compatible with Maerklin models from Germany.

I assume that the Lionel models were 12v DC two rail. Note that the illustration shows European hook and loop couplers, at least on the FM unit.

These FM units went on to be manufactured by Mehanoteknika in Slovenia (then part of Yugoslavia) and must have been one of the most produced models of all time.

Some time in the 1990s, (if I recall correctly), I purchased a Proto 1000 model of an FM C-Line unit in Milwaukee Road colours. It cost me $109. I was looking through the dusty corners of the same store and found a pair (power and dummy A unit) of the Mehanoteknika units, on sale for $29. These carried the brand "IHC" but had probably never been near that organisation, having been shipped directly to Australia by organisations unknown.

I think an original Rivarossi model of this type was the first model diesel locomotive I ever saw, some time in the 1950s,, in a shop window along with more familiar O gauge models.

Anyway, I spent the $29 and I now have the Mehano and Proto 1000 models sitting next to eachother. They are both in Milwaukee road colours, although those on the Proto unit look more realistic. (See, I managed not to say "more life-like")...

Considering that the Mehano model had had only minor alterations since 1952, it looked quite reasonable. The main change was to cut away much of the pilot to allow truck mounted horn hook couplers to be fitted, which wasn't much worse than the oversize coupler cover on the original with its strange horizontal slot.

But the Mehano units are a piece of model railroad history and worthy of coas worthy of collection as any other model.

I might talk further about my British OO gauge collection...

Peter

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, April 12, 2022 8:42 AM

Leverettrailfan
The 0635 is really noisy, but the gears seem to be the entirety of the cause.

Oh, that's not so bad, in a way it's kind of charming.

Very impressive rebuild Ellie!

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Tuesday, April 12, 2022 11:33 PM

M636-
I did a fair bit of reading on Lionel HO, yes it is an advert from when Rivarossi was doing the making. It was actually 1957 when Lionel debuted HO, made by Rivarossi. The FM C-Liner was sold in a few road names to match what was being painted on the O gauge F3s. The models supplied to Lionel were designed for NMRA standard 2-rail DC operation at 0-12v DC. 
The exact reason Lionel switched manufacturer after only one year seems to have been something regarding how/when Lionel compensated Rivarossi.
I've owned one of the Mehano models marketed by AHM, but traded it away to save some cash on buying other things. It ran ok after a service, but was very noisy. 

Flintlock- thank you very much! I'm very proud of my work on this loco thus far. I'm extremely eager to finish the job entirely, but it's hard to get back to work when all I want to do is watch it run!
I think that on a level setup, with broad curves, it could probably haul as much as 20 cars. I'm not 100% certain, it might be pushing it, but if I get the chance you bet I'm going to try! I haven't yet hit 20 pieces of HO Lionel/Flyer/Marx rolling stock, but it seems likely that within the year I may get there. In the meantime I have some Mantua/Tyco, Bachmann and Roco rolling stock kicking around which isn't as interesting to me, but can make the train longer.

-Ellie

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 9:08 AM

Speaking of HO, if anyone hasn't done so yet check out my thread on the NYSME, in addtion to Dakman's video of the O gauge layout there's now his video of the HO layout.  VERY impressive!

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Thursday, May 12, 2022 5:22 PM

Well, it's been a minute since I made another post to the HO thread... but here I am, back at it again!
This time, I'm here to talk track. I believe in one of the photo fun threads somewhere I shared the 0366 Operating Milk Car and its companion, the 0900 Remote Control Operating Platform, which has a built in section of straight track. That said, I don't think I've ever shown any of the other Lionel HO track I own. Today, I shall rectify that injustice! It just so happens, several weeks ago I found two items that have been on my "want" list for a while. That is, an example each of the 0976 Curved Terminal Track and 0988 Curved Track. These two sections are fairly unique as far as I can tell, I don't think anybody else made something quite like them. These track sections seem to have been the standard affair for any HO train set made from 1961 until the end of HO production in 1966. As opposed to your conventional section of 18" radius curved track, which is approximately 9" long... the 0976 and 0988 are a whopping 18" long! These jumbo-sized curves don't seem to be shown or listed in the seperate sale section of the HO catalogs, so I presume the only way to get them was in sets. 


My goal is ultimately to have at least a full set of these- at twice the length of a normal 18" radius curved section, I need 4 more 0988 curved sections to have a "set's worth" of curves.

Lionel did also offer conventionally sized 18" radius curves. These were No. 0989 (the terminal section version was 0975). The 0989 and 0975 were cataloged from the dawn of Lionel HO in 1957, through to the end of HO production. That said, I am inclinded to suspect that the track was not actually made by Lionel until some time between 1959 and 1961. Perhaps someone else has better information sources and can say for sure. The old Greenburg HO guide doesn't entirely say if 1957 track was made by Rivarossi, but it does say that 1958 track was supplied by Atlas.

Here's one of my two undamaged sections of 0989 Curved Track:


Two obvious ways to tell if the track is made by Lionel, are to look for the product number and Lionel Corperation markings which are molded into the underside of the track. Also note that the sections use copper rail joiners, not brass ones. There are two embossed oval shapes in the base of the joiners that serve to create friction between the joiners and the rails- they seem to work really well, the sections stick together better than any other random HO track sections I've played with (baring those with an interlocking roadbed system). Of course, even without checking, you can spot the 0976 and 0988 right away by their unusual size. 

To give you a sense of scale, here's two images comparing the 0989 with the 0988- in the first, I placed a single 0989 above, and a single 0988 below. In the second, I added a second 0989 to demonstrate that two 0989s are equal in length to a single 0988. Odds are, if you have any HO sectional track kicking around, you'll find the curves are of the 9" long, 18" radius variety.


Lastly, I present my 0930 30° Crossing. These first joined the HO catalog in 1960, though oddly it is not illustrated in the catalog until 1961. It remained cataloged through the end of HO production.


So there you have it! Next time you see a box of free brass track, if you haven't got anything better to do why not consider checking if there's any Lionel in there!
I'm still on the lookout for more track, I don't have any of the straights, uncouplers, remote control switches, or other accessory tracks. I have a manual for the remote control switches, at some point I'll be scanning it.

Speaking of scanning...
A copy of the postwar Lionel HO service manual popped up on eBay! I dropped a bid, we'll see.... I have a feeling someone's going to be willing to pay more than me. If all does go to plan, big if, my hope is to be able to scan it and make those darned pages available for anybody to read so another poor soul doesn't have to scour auctions just to see an exploded diagram of their 0645LTS (I'm dying to know how that darned HO whistle mechanism works! Anyone else?)

Wish me luck! I think I need it... big time Sigh

-Ellie

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Posted by pennytrains on Thursday, May 12, 2022 7:35 PM

It really is a shame the market didn't receive Lionel HO as well as it should have.  They made, or had made by someone else, a lot of innovative things.  I know, no surprise to us right?  Sad

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, May 13, 2022 10:37 AM

pennytrains

It really is a shame the market didn't receive Lionel HO as well as it should have.  They made, or had made by someone else, a lot of innovative things.  I know, no surprise to us right?  Sad

 

I suspect it was a case of "Too late to the party."  Even the power of the Lionel name didn't help.  And of course it was the era when the people running Lionel didn't seem to know what to do with the company anyway.  

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Friday, May 13, 2022 12:17 PM

pennytrains
It really is a shame the market didn't receive Lionel HO as well as it should have.  They made, or had made by someone else, a lot of innovative things.  I know, no surprise to us right?  Sad


I certainly agree Becky- it's too bad it wasn't a success. Most of the "fun stuff" in Lionel HO was the stuff truly made by Lionel Corp, though most of the 0864 series boxcars were made before Lionel started making HO themselves.
All the items made by Rivarossi were detailed, fine scale models, and definitely not toy like at all. Like the prewar scale hudson and scale rolling stock, it had the scale modeler in mind.
The Athearn products are a little less detailed, but maybe less fragile too. Athearn did make the trains to Lionel's desired paint schemes, they just also sold them under their own name for the most part.
The Lionel products are far more toy-like, but Lionel at least made the effort to only include actual road names on all locomotives and cars (I think the 0050 gang car was the only piece of equipment that said "Lionel Lines" on it) and they all are approximately scale models except for those which had no prototype.

Unfortunately the world just wasn't ready to accept the play value of O gauge operating cars and accessories in the small scale of HO. This may have been the main reason Lione HO flopped, since apparently in the beginning, their HO products sold well. But the problems with drives that relied on short-lived rubber belts (which didn't keep well even in storage), and then switching from marketing to scale modelers, to trying to market toy trains in HO definitely must have soured the public's image of Lionel HO. Flintlock is definitely on the money, at the time Lionel was a mess and in retrospect the switch to making their HO line about "toy quality" instead of "scale model" was definitely a mistake. A fantastic mistake that produced many extremely cool items, no question about it. But it definitely was a mistake as far as making the Lionel HO line a success.

I have a feeling that even if they tried to bring back operating cars and accessories in HO, they might not find a market for them even today. Doesn't mean I don't wish they'd bring whimsical, play value focused HO back!

One thing I wish Lionel did, was make more operating unloading cars that could be operated with the 0900 operating unloading platform, or another universal type of operating track section. I'm not sure if it was because they were only doing what had been recently available, or was currently available for O gauge, but I am saddened that they never adapted some of my favorite operating cars like the Barrel Car or the aquarium car. Imagine how cool the 352 Icing Station or the 342 and 352 Culvert Loader and Unloader might look in 1:87 scale! Something about seeing mini versions of the O gauge stuff just makes me really ecstatic- I've always loved miniatures, maybe that's why I immediately took to collecting this stuff.

Someday I'd love to try mocking up some "what if"s... TM Books & Video's OO and HO vid showcases a mock up 0464 Saw Mill- Lionel never made or prototyped an HO version of the 464, but after seeing it in the video you can't help but wish that they did!(This Article on the studio layout is a super interesting read, highly reccomend checking it out!)
Athearn at some point made a "Heavy Duty Flatcar" who's truck assemblies remind me of the 6418 Girder Bridge Car. Lionel did make their girder bridge in HO, perhaps a bit of creativity and some parts cars could produce a convincing 'what if'.

It's a shame that Lionel ultimately didn't suceed with HO. At least they left behind something worth collecting, for those intruiged or amused by what Lionel had on offer from 1957 to 1967 (for the final year, filling orders from leftover 1966 production).

-Ellie

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Posted by Swiss-Colorado-Lines on Friday, May 13, 2022 4:54 PM

Early H0 ! It brings back a lot of fun memories from my wonder years....  First train set was a Marx 0-27 set, early 1960's. All plastic, steam engine, plastic 2 axle cars with a silhouette of a proper 4 wheel truck molded on the outside.... even at 5 years, I knew this was totally Bogus.....

Second train set was a Marx H0 road/ rail set, with H0 slot cars. It had a UP F unit diesel, 3 pole motor with a universal assembly to drive both trucks. The track was folded tinplate on fiber ties. It had a " washboard " quality to it...

Third train set, for my birthday in 1969, I had graduated up to Tyco. Being produced by Mantua at that time, smooth running with a 5 pole motor. They had operating cars. The horn hook couplers worked well on their stuff... good execution. Tyco was a class act....at one time.

Last time I went to the hobby shop about a month ago, I believe they had a Lionel H0 set in the case!
Paul

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Posted by pennytrains on Friday, May 13, 2022 5:25 PM

Yes!  The icing station in HO could have loaded 2 cars at once at the O Gauge platform length.  3 if they lengthened it a couple of inches!  Imagine how cool that would be, 3 car icing men working in unison!  Big SmileThumbs Up 

Is anybody at Lionel listening?  We just gave you some fantastic ideas!  Wink

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Friday, May 13, 2022 11:24 PM

Paul, that Marx set sounds like a lot of fun. 3-pole motors definitely weren't the best thing in HO. I can see why Marx went with them, since Marx was all about getting more bang for less buck. Lionel also seemed to think that 3 poles was the way to go for their HO, but honestly if they wanted smoother running models they should have made 5 pole motors. I have a few Tyco locomotives with the mantua 5-pole motor, they do run very smooth once you tune them up. The one flaw with the Mantua system was the split pickup- but even so they're no slouches. 
Interestingly Tyco and Mantua are the same company- I reccomend reading the fantastic TCA Western article on the company here. As I know Becky has pointed out, their index of manufacturers is a very fun place to get lost in learning the history of various model train makes.
Tyco definitely lost some quality when they switched to the 'Power-Torque' motor. I have had success working on them, but they're never going to be as smooth and quiet as the Mantua style 5-pole worm drives. Oh, and it's a bit too easy to loose those brush springs and brushes! I've heard a certain type of slot car brush and brush spring can work well as replacements so at some point I'll probably pick some up to see how they do. 

Becky, I didn't even think of the idea of a icing station as long as the O gauge one! I'll have to pull out my MPC version but since Lionel HO boxcars and reefers were based on 40' cars I think you're right on the money about being able to fit at least 2. I wonder how well the mechanism would scale. My intuition is that, just like with the 0900 operating platform, it would be actuated with a solinoid identical to the one used in a 2-position E-Unit. Seeing as they could make little HO scale milk cans, I bet they could make HO ice cubes. Though I suspect there could be challenges keeping them from flying everywhere but where they were meant to go.
It's times like these when I start to think I need to learn CAD properly and save up for a 3D printer. 
Something that I'd especially love to have seen in HO is some sort of Log and Coal loader that you could set up next to the 0900 in place of the unloading bin- so you could endlessly load and unload your 0300 Log Dump Car and 0301 Coal Dump Car entirely by remote control. You had multiple choices for O gauge log and coal loaders, if they had the sales to support it I'm sure they could have come up with something.

-Ellie

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Posted by Swiss-Colorado-Lines on Saturday, May 14, 2022 11:37 AM

Ellie, remembering that Marx H0 road/ rail set: thanks to my dear Grandmother who always used her J.CPenney's employee discount to remember all her grandchildren. The 0-27 set also came from Penney's.

The set was controlled by a gray rectangular transformer with two vertical levers, kinda like a ZW. One lever was speed, the other direction. The slot cars were connected to the A.C. Accessory terminals through an A.C./ D.C. converter, then to the hand held speed controllers. This was a whole lot for a kid to hook up! Although the slot car speed controllers had a slide switch throttle, it really seems like they only had two speeds: full on, and full off! Of course, cars would go flying off on curves. And, my older brother found it immensely entertaining to crash the cars into my train at the grade crossing....

" Hey,cut it out"....

we found upgrade slot cars from Aurora in the late '60's, they ran much better. But yes, this was a fun set!

Tecnological advances: I remember 3 pole motors being the norm in the '60's for H0. 5 pole motors were bragging rights!

Also, all wheel electrical pick up was an advance that most did not have. And also, all wheel drive, in a time when most diesels had only one driven truck. The H0 we know today bears little resemblance!

A lot of scenery materials came in from Western Germany: Faller, Noch,etc. Structures from Kibri. 
Having shown an interest in model trains, Christmas '68 I was given a wealth of model railroad materials, most coming from the toy department at W.T.Grant. Some interesting things: fromFaller or Noch, I had a grass scenery kit that consisted of a bag of green plastic fibers, a shaker bottle, and a bottle of glue. You would put the fibers in the shaker bottle, spread a layer of glue on the layout, and shake out the fibers. Static electricity would make the fibers stand up as they came out of the shaker!

Paul

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Sunday, May 15, 2022 8:51 PM

Unfortunate news- someone else won the auction for the service manual documents. Sniped it 2 seconds before bidding ended... not thrilling. Will have to keep my eyes out for another one to show up some day. Better yet, maybe I'll run into someone who has a set they'd be willing to let me scan.

Well, life isn't all doom and gloom! I still have my Lionel HO operator's manuals that I've been wanting to scan, for the Milk Car, Remote Control Switches, and 0150 Rectifier. There's also a color brochure for the 0100 HO transformer and 0150 Rectifier, which I believe is from 1957. I should have access to a nice scanner soon, so I can do some high res scans of them. It's not much, but it's something!

I still haven't posted images of a number of my Lionel HO pieces in this thread, I'm hoping to share at least some of them this week. My American Flyer HO Hudson also has yet to make an appearence in this thread, so I'll need to show it as well. It was missing a lot of pieces when I got it, and it's still missing those pieces. I have a SIT unit I got somewhere a while ago, which I'm eventually going to instal in it, the S gauge unit is the same as the HO one as far as I can tell, except that the on/off switch has to be bent part way down so it will clear the track. Since the unit I have is definitely an S gauge unit, I will have to modify the lever on my replacement unit. Also on the agenda is of course, re-magnetizing the motor field.

Well, that's all for now. See you in the next post, hopefully with pictures this time!

-Ellie

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 10:02 AM

Funny thing happened. Here I was, entertaining selling my couple Lionel by Rivarossi cars because they're rare and I like the toy-like feel of the Lionel corp products better (really, I'm scared of breaking the Rivarossi cars with how light and intricate they feel in my hands). Yet today I ended up making the call to approach a seller on the 'bay who had some listings up for a Lionel by Rivarossi diesel consist. I ended up going for it, even though the powered unit has some unfortunate damage.

So, what did I buy?
I bought a Lionel by Rivarossi C-Liner A-B-A decorated for the Western Pacific.
One of the most interesting things to me about the Lionel/Rivarossi Western Pacific FMs is that you could purchase a matching B unit to go with the Powered and dummy A, but Lionel never made an O gauge B unit to go with its Western Pacific F3s.
The dummies seem to be in good shape, but the powered unit has a few very nasty battle scars. That said, from what I understand these Lionel/Rivarossi locomotives are a challenge to find. My game plan is to try and repair the broken pieces by purchasing myself a donor engine. I'll be keeping my eyes out for another Rivarossi, though maybe I can use one of the Yugoslavian FM models instead if they're similar enough (and if paint will adhere to the truck frames). Of course, I'll need to find a shade of light grey that’s close to the original.

Looking close at the listing images, I think it's very likely these are the earliest version of the Lionel/Rivarossi FM C-Liner, which used sheet metal frames instead of painted clear plastic frames. I'm not someone who currently hunts for variations, but for an already rare set of locos, that would be some nice icing on the cake- maybe enough to help me forget the state of the powered unit. I just hope that the drive is ok.
Here's some auction images, of the poor power unit, No. 0503:





Not sure what I'll do about those broken coupers, I don't know of any source for them, these Rivarossi coupers are extremely 'low slung' so there's not an easy way to bodge another coupler in place of them.
The dummy B No. 0523 and dummy A No. 0513 are in better cosmetic shape and don't have broken couplers.





Hardly mint pieces, but still not bad. Lionel also made FM As and Bs for familiar O gauge F3 roadnames Wabash and llinois Central. The old Greenburg guide shows a prototype for a Santa Fe warbonnet, but they never put it into production. 
The remaining roadnames offered on the Lionel/Rivarossi C-Liner were Chicago Northwestern, Southern Pacific, and Texas and Pacific. I suspect the choice in liveries must have been limited to some degree, to what Rivarossi was offering at the time- otherwise perhaps Lionel would have ordered more road names that were already familiar to, or planned for the O gauge F3 line.

This is going to be an interesting project... I honestly do really like the look of these units, even though they'd look better in silver rather than gray. Hopefully I have good luck with mending the 0503.

-Ellie

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Posted by M636C on Thursday, May 19, 2022 7:07 AM

Rivarossi made the FM in Western Pacific themselves, and this was the first colour scheme used from 1952. It appears to be indentically coloured to the Lionel version, grey rather than silver.

It seems likely that AHM and IHC may have used the same Rivarossi scheme for the models made in Slovenia.

The original Rivarossi models had a different front coupler arrangement with a different pilot moulding. This is seen in the Lionel poster that you posted early in the thread, where an original Rivarrossi model was used probably before the Lionel models had been produced.

My IHC models have a different moulding with the opening increased in size (and height) to use a more conventional coupler arrangement.

If the paint scheme is the same, it might be easier just to substitute an AHM or IHC model for the damaged Lionel power unit.

If you ran with the power unit trailing the set, you gat the appearance of the original Lionel units.

Peter

 

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Thursday, May 19, 2022 7:58 PM

Peter, I did note the difference in the pilots. I think they changed them to accomodate theI recently had a bit of an epiphany as to why Rivarossi gave all the Lionel HO stuff their weird "low shank" coupler. I noticed that all three of my lionel Rivarossi cars have coupler pockets molded into the bodies. Compare that with equipment that was manufactured with talgo-style couplers, like a Lionel-made car or a Tyco car, and there's no coupler pocket molded into those pieces of equipment.
It seems that Rivarossi's game was to use an adapter bracket on the trucks of their HO rolling stock, with these low shank couplers, so that they could clear the coupler pockets molded into the underside of the cars. Lionel HO was sold with 18" radius curves, and you could also get 15" radius curves, which definitely wouldn't play nice with cars that have body-mounted couplers, esepcially not longer cars and locomotives. Talgo style couplers would perform much better.
Now, as to why they used the funny brackets and couplers for the bobber caboose (which has a ridgid single truck that doesn't pivot), Imy guess is perhaps to keep the entire line standard. If all the locomotives and rolling stock used the exact same coupler part, it would be easier on the service stations for sure. I imagine it would be fairly easy to convert all the Lionel/Rivarossi HO cars to body-mounted couplers if one desired, but I want to keep them as original as possible.

Back to the C-Liners, I don't want to swap the shell. Honestly the thing I'm most concerned about, is if there's any damage to the mechanism. I had forgotten this, but there is a site called RivaRestore which supplies reproductions of a lot of older Rivarossi parts, especially zamac parts since old Rivarossi is known to sometimes suffer from zinc pest. The parts wouldn't be cheap to get, but if I had to I could in theory replace the trucks, and I see they also sell reproduction sideframes. But the costs involved means I probably am not going to purchase parts unless I have to (a reproduction motor truck casting is €35 [a touch over $37 usd]  not including shipping. Correct plastic truck sideframes are €15 [close to $16 usd]). It would also be unpleasant if the motor truck were bad, because they currently don't have any in stock!
The only problem visible with the shell of the 0503 powered A unit, is the missing chunk out of the back. If I can, I'd like to find a damaged or non-valuable C-Liner shell (currently not sure if it matters what make or material) and use it to cut and splice in a new 'back' for the shell. I traded away my AHM C-Liner a while ago, so I can't compare how the tooling has changed back there, but as long as I can have a working loco then that's a good start.
Of course, I can also probably swap the shell from the dummy onto the powered unit if I really wanted to.

As for the side frames, well, they are what they are right now. We'll see. I can mend the two that are still there, the missing 2 are missing, but any time I feel like fronting the $$, RivaRestore does have the correct side frames, already painted gray for WP units too (you can also get them in unpainted black). I could even get them in zamac, but the originals were plastic so I intend to go the same route when I eventually get around to it.

-Ellie

"Unless bought from a known and trusted dealer who can vouch otherwise, assume every train for sale requires servicing before use"

  • Member since
    February 2014
  • 372 posts
Posted by Leverettrailfan on Friday, May 20, 2022 10:32 PM

The Lionel/Rivarossi C-Liners came earlier than expected! I'll have a photo soon. Everything arrived ok, except one of the truck frames on the powered unit that was still intact is broken- I think it's not impossible it was already cracked though. Should be an easy enough fix, so I'm not worried.

I spent a couple hours today getting the thing working again. the original magnet had dislodged itself from the motor, something it shouldn't have been able to do unless it had lost virtually all its strength, so I figured out a way to stick some of my neodymium magnets in there.
A word of warning, Rivarossi ball-bearing motors are not for the faint of heart, as I soon discovered. It's a miracle I only lost one of the little ball bearings... I assumed it would maybe have a single ball bearing at the top and bottom of the shaft, but no- it has little cups that hold a set of loose ball bearings, like on the early Lionel worm drive steam locos, except that the bearings are so tiny they make Lionel ball bearings look HUGE. I'd gladly never have to service one again, but I get the feeling I probably will. It was very hard to get them all back in again!

thankfully no signs of zinc pest on the diecast trucks for the power unit. I think that I may need to add more lubricant to the power truck, or see what else I can do to smooth the operation, I'm a little concerned that the motor is having a hard time moving the drive due to something in that truck being stiff. The thing does run, though. It's noisy as heck, but it runs. I feel like it's not going as fast as it should, and warming up too fast, another reason to check up on the gearing. BUT it's operational. Next step is sorting out the couper situation. I think I have a plan, which involves some modified Athearn couplers I glued yesterday. 

More news as things develop, but that's all for this update
-Ellie

"Unless bought from a known and trusted dealer who can vouch otherwise, assume every train for sale requires servicing before use"

  • Member since
    February 2014
  • 372 posts
Posted by Leverettrailfan on Sunday, May 22, 2022 12:42 PM

As promised, pictures of the Lionel/Rivarossi Fairbanks Morse C-Liner A-B-A:

The 0503 powered A (with operating headlight):

The 0523 dummy B:

The 0513 dummy A (with operating headlight):

The 0503 only has truck frames on one side. I think the reason for the cracks in the plastic frames is an error in the dimensions of the screw holes- the discrepancy puts a lot of stress on the plastic, causing cracking that could lead to the truck frame breaking off entirely. 

Here's the other sides of the 0523 and 0513:


And all together again:

Note the 'jumper wires' between units. These are used to power the headlight in the dummy A unit, instead of giving it a set of its own pickups. My set was missing the originals, so I created some improvised replacements using some shortened cotter pins and flexible 22 gauge wire. I had to come up with a modified Athearn coupler and Kadee draft gear box mounting configuration to give the 0503 a new rear coupler. Looks like I need to repeat the procedure for the front one, too.

I'm displeased with how hot the motor of the 0503 gets, so I'm not inclined to run it frequently. I'm considering buying some cheap AHM C-Liners at some point, for the drives. That way if I want to run the Lionel/Rivarossi models for an extended period of time, I can swap an AHM drive into both the A units (ideally I want the 5-pole version). All I need to do is spray paint the truck frames light gray so they'll match. But I don't plan to get rid of the original chassis for either unit since they're rare and part of the value of the locomotives. The gearing all looks to be fine and turning freely, and the magnets I installed are very powerful, so I'm not sure what's causing the loco to overheat but it gets way, way way too hot with just 5 minutes of run time, and no train in tow (besides the dummies).

Anyhow, aside from the missing truck frames, front coupler, and motor overheating situations, I think the project is done. I'll get the coupler done soon enough I'm sure, the other things are back-burner projects.


-Ellie

"Unless bought from a known and trusted dealer who can vouch otherwise, assume every train for sale requires servicing before use"

  • Member since
    August 2021
  • 103 posts
Posted by Swiss-Colorado-Lines on Sunday, May 22, 2022 6:09 PM

Ellie, the overheating could be caused by binding, or even the position of the magnets. If the magnets are not positioned in the exact spot, the motor will have to work much harder. Could be other things too....

Paul

  • Member since
    February 2014
  • 372 posts
Posted by Leverettrailfan on Monday, May 23, 2022 11:22 PM

I tried moving around the magnets, using less... the thing stopped working in forwards during my testing, it'd get stuck. Eventually I looked inside and found that somehow the top bearing had failed? I need to take it apart at some point, but whatever happened the cup that holds the upper ball bearings was NOT in sight, and I have no idea how it could have gone anywhere. My hope is all the escaped ball bearings got stuck to the field magnet, and I haven't lost any.
I wish I could replace the original field magnet with a new neodymium one but I can't find anything that feels quite close enough to the original dimensions. A pain! I'm sidelining the project for now, at some point I'll try again to get the motor running properly. I'd rather take a break from it right now, and then come back to it with a clearer head when I'm feeling ready.

-Ellie

"Unless bought from a known and trusted dealer who can vouch otherwise, assume every train for sale requires servicing before use"

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