Lionel 0635 questions

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  • Member since
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Lionel 0635 questions
Posted by lionelflyer on Monday, March 13, 2023 8:23 PM

Hi, I recently picked up some Lionel trains.  There was an HO partial set in it with an 0635 engine.  It was heavily loaded with caked on grease and wouldn't run at all.  I disassembled it, cleaned out all the old grease, and re-lubed it.  The motor itself runs, the light and smoke work.  The problem is that when I re-install the steam chest drivers, everything seems to bind up.  I don't know what I can be doing wrong or if there is something bent (doesn't look that way).  By any chance, is there supposed to be a bearing on both ends of the drive shaft?  I only see one and the drive shaft does move a little like it could have had another bearing.

The engine, gondola, milk car, and caboose are all in excellent condition and I would like to keep this as an example of a Lionel HO set (I am an O Gauger) but if I can't get it to run, I might have to dispose of it.  Also, does anyone know where I can get milk cans?  There was only one with the milk car.

Thanks for any help.


  • Member since
    August 2021
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Posted by Swiss-Colorado-Lines on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 9:30 AM

I am not familiar with this engine in particular, but generic troubleshooting for steamers:

 1. If you can remove the motor and see if the chassis with all the side rods in place rolls without binding. If there is binding, remove side rods one at a time until you can eliminate the binding.

2. you mentioned a bearing on the drive shaft. Just to test my understanding, are you talking about a spacer on the main Rod? If there is a spacer on one side, there should be one on the other as well.

I wish I had more tips, but it's a start. Hope this helps.


  • Member since
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Posted by lionelflyer on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 7:42 PM

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your thoughts.  I'll try moving the chassis with all drivers in place but without the motor attached.  

My thought exactly about the bearing.  If there is one at one end of the shaft, there should probably be another at the other end.  I think they work as thrust bearings but I don't know enough.  Sure is hard to find information on old Lionel HO.

  • Member since
    January 2023
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Posted by El Fixes Things on Wednesday, March 29, 2023 8:29 PM


Hoo boy am I late to the party here, but... I have answers (possibly)

I own an 0635 myself, as well as the later 0636.

There are service manual pages for Lionel HO- at least the stuff they themselves made from 1959-1966, possibly the stuff made by Rivarossi and Athearn in 1957 and 1958 as well. Unfortunately... it seems nobody thought that these pages belonged in the reprinted Lionel service manual. Real shame, would be nice if these documents were more readdily available.

Lionel's first "home built" 4-6-2 in HO was the 0625. It had a ball bearing at each end of the worm shaft. In 1960, the design was changed. A ball bearing at the front end of the shaft, and a flat metal plate at the back. The 0635 was introduced in 1961 iirc, so it is correct for it to lack a rear thrust bearing.

I suggest checking all the drive rod screws to make sure that they haven't "pinched" the rods against the wheels. Also check the wheels aren't running wonky on the axle, and that the crossheads are correctly on the crosshead guides.

Be careful with the HO motors, taking them apart severely weakens the field magnet- the strength of the alnico field magnet is reliant on the whole motor assembly, and seperating the components from eachother causes the loss of strength- the field magnets were apparently "charged" after the motors were assembled at the factory. A weak field magnet will cause the motor to have less torque, and overheat faster.

My 0635 had been gutted, I wound up repowering it with a can motor. You can see a video of it running here:

Hope some of this was helpful


  • Member since
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  • From: Henrico, VA
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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, March 29, 2023 9:31 PM

Hey, Ellie's back!  Cool!  

It hasn't been the same without you!  Crying

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