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An Unexpected Gift

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Thursday, October 6, 2022 11:02 PM

Thanks all! Very eager to get work done on the cars. It's hard not to get excited, imagining playing with the whole set! Hopefully I have enough time tomorrow to get at least one car back on the rails.

-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 pennytrains on Thursday, October 6, 2022 6:25 PM

Can't keep a good Lionel down!  Big Smile

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by philo426 on Thursday, October 6, 2022 10:01 AM

Really cool that it was able to be put back into service!

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, October 6, 2022 8:18 AM

Great job Ellie!  

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Posted by philo426 on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 11:34 PM

Well that is a bonus wire up the E-unit and now you have reverse without using a switch .

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 11:21 PM

philo426
Nice that you got it running well 


Thanks Philo! I get giddy just watching it go 'round and 'round, it's so thrilling seeing it run, especially minding the sorry state of the collection. I'm eager to see it pulling it's original set of cars, but that will be a while longer before they're ready to roll. I'm going to focus first on making the cars mobile, and then worry about cosmetics.

I was sizing up the 253 once more today, and shaking my head at the obvious wiring mistake you could clearly see with the reverse switch- and then suddenly I noticed something I'd somehow missed, looking up into the mechanism- a good ol' 3-position E-Unit!
Somebody converted this 253 into a 253E and I was none the wiser... I would have figured it out eventually once I took the shell off but it was really neat to discover. It's easy to not discover your loco has an E-unit if you can't see inside that well, and the thing won't start when you put it on the track and turn up the juice.
What I thought was a wiring error with the manual reverse switch, I now presume is just the manual reverse switch has been re-wired to be used as an E-Unit cut out switch- could be wrong. I don't intend to tackle the locomotive until I finish making the rest of the 134 set run-able. I just thought it was a neat discovery and I couldn't wait to share.

-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 philo426 on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 11:04 PM

Nice that you got it running well 

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 10:25 PM

I really need to work on making good on my promises of pictures...
Here's some shots from yesterday, when I spent a good few hours on the 252.



You can see why I wanted to be rid of the original wiring. Goodness, there may not have been significant rust damage to the motor itself but it was in need of a good cleaning- then again, how many old trains can you remember recieving from an original owner, which didn't need a good cleaning?


One of the most shocking moments in this project was cleaning the brush plate- you can barely recognize it, post cleaning.



Note the bracket that supports the other end of the armature shaft is also pictured. I had troubles with the motor needing a lot of juice to get running, and something still felt off. Today I figured out the issue, by comparing it to another motor of the same type that I have. I noticed the other mechanism moved very freely, so there must be some sort of friction at fault. So I went back to the 252's motor, and found that loostening that bracket made the problem go away. I still don't understand exactly why but have some theories. My solution, after some thought, was to make some shims to go around the mounting posts- they needed to be very thin, but this was fine- the desired affect didn't require moving the bracket out that far. I used some thin plastic from old packaging and it did the trick.
Back to the rest of the project, here's what the armature looked like before I went to town:


The reverse switch had the usual warping issues- two of the springs were also in need of attention- one of them had lost it's springy-ness almost completely, but after playing around with it (stretching and squishing it) I found that while not ideal, it was certainly still usable. My usual trick for these switches is to soak them good with some alcohol, then use some needle nose pliers to bend them back to being roughly flat. It's worked well for me. Note the two springs that are deformed into a compressed state, in the "exploded parts diagram" below:

I took the picture after I de-warped the side of the reverse switch that holds the spring-loaded contacts. You may see plier marks if you look carefully. I had not yet cleaned anything up, though. 
Here's how the contacts looked after a cleaning:

Yes, those contact strips were so shiny I couldn't take a well lit photo without them blowing out the image.
The switch is working great, and so is the 252. I had way too much fun operating it for my Grandfather this evening.


-Ellie
PS: note that I have not done cosmetic work on the 252 yet, aside from testing a few methods to get off some of the dirt and rust- results were mixed. Also note that the locomotive is in 'neutral' for the last picture- here's what happened when I tried for an in-motion shot:

"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 Flintlock76 on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 9:26 AM

Leverettrailfan
I replaced everything with solid core copper wire that I have on a big spool.

I did the same with the brush wires on my 2065 last week and honestly I think it runs a lot better now. 

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 10:28 PM

Thanks again for the input everyone- please, don't panic! I'm not mad, and would much rather keep an original paint job if I felt I could. The 134 set is probably going to stay almost all original. Something you can't see so well in the pictures is that all three cars have pretty significant rust that has ruined almost all the paint on the roofs. I'm debating if they should be stripped, de-rusted, and repainted, or if I can happily ignore the rust. There are also a few points of bad rusting elsewhere on the cars, but I'm going to experiment with trying to get it off since it's not nearly as bad as those Ives/Lionel cars. 
And about those cars. Wayne, I think they look worse than they are, structurally. They're awful to look at, sure, but believe me I have seen stuff much uglier that may well have been restorable. I may well need filler putty, but those cars were some of the first things that were reveled to be in the collection and it was love at first sight, condition be damned I just loved the size of them, and the 6 wheel trucks. If I restore any of the rolling stock, they're probably first in line. 
Becky, thank you so much for the reckless encouragement, I am feeling bolder by the minute. I may just start crunching numbers on what I would need to buy to complete the Lionel/Ives cars.

The 262E isn't as much of a heartbreaker as it seems, because I have a gorgeous 249E that runs as good as it looks. The only thing wrong is a broken pilot that I think resulted from a nose dive in days gone by. It's gunmetal grey, and has a matching tender- not a whistling one, but the two of them look great together. The two locos are more or less the same machine, just in different color schemes and with different tenders. I do want to see it run, but that's not happening any time soon, not with that frame! I could get the 'guts' working but honestly at least it resembles a locomotive right now- as soon as I start taking it apart that frame is going to bust into a million pieces, and I won't be able to reassemble it.
Today I decided to put it up on a beam, with all the freight cars, in the room where I do my train repair work. From a distance it doesn't look so bad. 

This evening I finished up working on the 252's motor and reverse switch. Had to replace all the wires except the one coming from the pickup rollers-I know folks reccomend heat shrink tubing on the original wires, but honestly I don't think it was worth salvaging the old wiring. When I finally post those darned pictures I took today, you'll understand possibly why I decided to go that route. I replaced everything with solid core copper wire that I have on a big spool. Reverse switch works perfectly, and it looks nice and clean. It was pretty warped like they usually are but I used my "trick" to de-warp it, and had no issues there.
The only thing I regret is that I didn't get out there earlier, I might have had time to start cleaning up the shell.
Just to reiterate- the 134 set is probably not getting repainted- the loco definitely is staying original- the cars, only if needed. I'll share more detailed pics, they are a bit worse than the pictures suggest.

-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 Flintlock76 on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 7:12 PM

Wow.  Surprise

The 134 set doesn't look too bad at all. Maybe a good cleaning and paste waxing is all it needs.  There's enough original finish on it to leave well enough alone.  It can show its "battle scars" proudly.

The 1685,1686, qnd 1687.  Oh brother.  In my admittedly inexpert opinion at this point I think they're only good for salvaging whatever parts you can from them and junking what's left.  But who knows?  Stripping, auto body puttying the sheet metal and repainting might give you a handsome set. 

Too bad about the 262e's frame, there's nothing you can do about it.  The best thing to do is stabilize what's left and wait for a better day when you can spend money on a replacement frame.  OR if you can luck into another 262e in better shape save this one for a parts donor. 

We all can't be as lucky as I was walking into that near-pristine 259e set I got at the last show, but that cost me $$$!  

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Posted by pennytrains on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 6:43 PM

The 262e looks like it can wait.  But you may have to at least strip, stabilize and prime the tender shell while you're working on the Ives cars.

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by pennytrains on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 6:19 PM

I don't exactly have a true baby blue comet.  Since it's a boxcab #8 instead of a steam loco.  But yes, I did bring it back from the dead.  140 bucks for the loco plus the new wheels weren't cheap.  It also needed new headlights, couplers and a few other small bits if I remember correctly.  Adding the big repop pantograph from a 408e was a personal choice.  As was the periwinkle and dark navy paint scheme.  Wink  The attached pics show the shell and inserts before restoration.

The "box of rust" I acquired in the mid 90's contained the broken pieces of a set from 1917.  Unfortunately I only had the shell of a #33 loco.  There was a complete but BADLY repainted 112 Lake Shore gondola that I originally painted ivory.  It's since been re-restored in a dark red with a, how do I describe it?  Not actually a shade of olive green on the inside, but more of a light grayish green.  I also decided to buy 4 self adhesive backed keystone Lionel Lines plates (used on 392e, 385e and 1835e locos) to dress it up a bit instead of simple lettering.

More recently I had purchased a motor to try and get the 33 running.  Originally I was using a Marx motor to power it.  I came up with a way to attach the geared wheel from the Marx loco directly to the inside of the MEW Standard Gauge driver and the whole mess was installed in a birch mount!  Laugh  I think I went through about half a dozen Marx motors over the years keeping that thing going!  Laugh

Don't be intimidated!  If it's in as bad condition as some of the stuff I've messed with just have fun!  Yeah, it would be great if those final year Ives passenger cars were in better shape.  But since they're not, let your creative juices fly and make them as beautiful as you can!  Big Smile

https://link.shutterfly.com/yaARDuDyRtb

 

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by philo426 on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 4:14 PM

The heavily corroded passenger cars need something to make them presentable,the orange loco and cars are in better shape and should just be carefully cleaned but not stripped down and re painted .

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 3:57 PM

palallin
Restoration isn't an investment:  it is a labor of love.

A use for rusty track:  shelving.  You can shine up one side or leave it "realistic."


Thanks for the kind words- I would like to see everything restored eventually- with exception of the items that are acceptable enough I don't need to. I think most people wouldn't argue that the big passenger cars are best left unrestored- the 134 set on the other hand may be just on the safe side of "to restore or not to restore".
If I had unlimited funds, you bet I'd be going to town on the 262E. I just don't think I can afford to at the moment, and it wouldn't give me the biggest bang for my buck so I'm focusing on what is within reach. And for now, that starts with the 134 set. Speaking of which... I have been toiling away at the 252 and am pleased to announce that the motor is running once more. It took a good few hours to get everything cleaned up, but it will happily run loops around my test track! It takes a fair bit more juice to move it than most of my trains, but I don't think I can hope for it to perform much better than what I've got so far. Next up is the manual reversing switch. And I suppose, after that I'll be re-wiring and cleaning up the frame and shell. More news as things develop...

-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 palallin on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 8:28 AM

Restoration isn't an investment:  it is a labor of love.

A use for rusty track:  shelving.  You can shine up one side or leave it "realistic."

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Monday, October 3, 2022 8:46 PM

Lionel Set No. 134:



The 1685, 1686, and 1687:


And lastly (for now), the poor 262E:



My hesitation to spend the money on a frame for the 262E partially stems from the fact that restoring the locomotive seems like it will actually be quite the undertaking- I can't help but think "I couldn't sell a restored example for more than what it'll cost me to restore this", and I just can't afford to be taking on any expensive projects right now. It's not that I don't want a working 262E, or that I don't want to restore this specific 262E- it's just about the expense.
As for the 168x passenger cars, those will probably be tackled sooner than the 262E as no replacement parts are needed (as far as I can tell) to make them operable. But they're so far gone that my only option is to restore them, and the project feels a little daunting.
If I have time tomorrow I'll share more pictures. I'm extremely excited to have so much prewar Lionel all the sudden! In need of serious work, but you just can't beat 'free', and I'd have to me crazy to have turned them down when the previous owners said they'd like me to have them.

-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 Leverettrailfan on Monday, October 3, 2022 8:26 PM

Thanks for all the kind words, gang! 
Wayne, I have bought fron Henning's before... they also seemed to be offer the best price on reproduction 249E-28 frames when I did a cursory web search today. If I want to shell out the big bucks to fix the 262e, I'll probably be buying my frame from them. 
Becky, I seem to remember you telling me a tale of a baby blue comet you rescued, I hope I'm not mixing you up with somebody else. I'm feeling a suitable degree of false confidence to think "I can do this!".
The first project I think is going to be getting the 252 running. Ideally it would be nice to have the whole set going- it would seem that I have the Lionel set No. 134. Everything is orange and terracotta, and the 603 pullmans have nickel journals while the 604 observation has copper ones. Relying on the web, for lack of a guidebook, the nickel boxes on the pullmans and copper ones on loco and observation seem to be correct for the set. Combined with the information I recieved from the previous owners, this is definitely not an 'assembled' set (ie put together from seperate finds), but an original one. 
I took some quick pictures of stuff before I stuffed things back into boxes so I could clean up all the dust, dirt, rust, newspaper and catalog shreds, and mouse droppings that were strewn around as I unpacked and inspected everything. Will post some of them in a moment.

"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 Vintagesteamer on Monday, October 3, 2022 7:38 PM

Congrats, at least you can give the old trains a chance to live again.  So many other folks would have consigned them to the scrap bin/trash can.  Sometimes the restoration process and bringing them back to life is half the fun and satisfaction.  Good luck on your restoration process.   Mike

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Posted by pennytrains on Monday, October 3, 2022 6:24 PM

Gift Congratulations! Gift  Someone once presented me with a box of rust and it started me on a 25 year love affair with Standard Gauge!  Darn the rust!  Full steam ahead!  Big SmileThumbs Up

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, October 3, 2022 4:46 PM

Congratulations!  I guess.  It seems like you've really got your work cut out for you!

Still, as the saying goes "For free, you take!  For pay, shop around!"

Check these guys out for restoration parts if and when you tackle that big job ahead of you. 

www.henningstrains.com  Great people!

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Posted by philo426 on Monday, October 3, 2022 4:01 PM

Congrats!I am just sorry the havoc poor storage has caused the trains.Zinc pest is an incurable malady that has destroyed many a fine train(especially Dorfan).

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An Unexpected Gift
Posted by Leverettrailfan on Monday, October 3, 2022 3:25 PM

Been a minute since I signed on over here, but I have real news to report!
Today, before I knew it, I became the new owner of a family's collection of (mostly) prewar Lionel O gauge trains. They were stored in a garage and it really shows... almost everything is so far gone that a complete restoration is neccesary. I'll be forced to toss out a few prewar Lionel catalogs which have been ruined by water damage, mold, silverfish, and whatnot. There's heaps of some of the rustiest track I've ever seen, which need to figure out what to do with. And then there's a variety of decorative accessories- and of course, trains! I'd say there's about 3-4 train sets' worth of equipment- some of them are very exciting items. 
One of the most thrilling is a set of 3 6-axle passenger cars- The 1685, 1686, and 1687 in grey and maroon. Alas they are all in very dire need of restoration, and one shows clear signs of having housed a mouse family at some point in the past. 
There are enough other cars to assemble two complete passenger sets and a freight set. And a single postwar 6465 tanker. There were four locomotives, a 262E, a 253, and a 2026 (korean war version) with a 6466w tender.
The 262E and matching tender are present, but unfortunately the frame has been completely destroyed by zinc pest. It appears to be very close to, if not complete, aside from the havoc that has become of the frame. I'm not sure if a full restoration would be needed, but a partial restoration at least is needed.
The 253 isn't in the best shape but could easily be worse- the wheels are all good. It may need to be restored. 
The 252 is the best of the bunch as far as condition- cleaning up is needed, but I don't think there's any need for a restoration. 
The 2026 has some points of significant rust and oxidation, as does the tender, but both seem like they can be made to run without too much fuss.

Will there be pictures? Absolutely! Just not for a little while yet as some of these were pretty unpleasant to handle, between all the rust and the signs of mouse habitation. I'll snap a picture of the locomotives soon.

If anybody has a 262e compatible frame they're just dying to be rid of, give me a call, otherwise I guess I need to think about if I want to purchase a reproduction frame. Those are some pretty big bucks to put down for a single part for a single loco! But on the other hand, it'd be so much fun to see that thing restored and runing again...

-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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