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6-18405 Burro Crane

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  • Member since
    February 2014
  • 217 posts
6-18405 Burro Crane
Posted by Leverettrailfan on Thursday, November 11, 2021 8:23 PM

I purchased this little marvel about two weeks ago, but hadn't gotten around to sharing anything. This particular crane apparently belonged to a collector who didn't care as much for running his trains, as he did for displaying them. Most of the items from his collection were in very good shape, some had never been operated at all I think.


I briefly gave it a test the day I got it, but the thing ran pretty terrible. Sure, these things should sound like coffee grinders even when they're perfectly tuned up, but something just didn't feel right to me. Considering that it likely hadn't been serviced even once since it left the factory, I felt there was only one thing to do... and not long after it came home (pretty much the instant I had enough free time) I got to work. I tore it down to the chassis, removed every trace of original lubricant I could find, and then set about lubricating everything lightly with fresh lube as I put it all back together. I took pictures every major step in, to make sure I knew how to get it back to where it was.






It was fascinating to see how exactly Lionel crammed all that action into this little machine. I was surprised to find that most of the grease hadn't gummed up yet. But, having serviced a 50 gang car and a 6-18406 Maintenance Car which both had the same type of lube, and I wasn't planning on taking any chances. Sure enough, I eventually did find lube way deep down in the car which had begun to solidify and gum things up.

I also tweaked the allen screw on the brush plate to fine tune the play in the armature shaft- I discovered this has magical effects on how smoothly you can make the MPC Maintenance Car (presumably the MPC gang car as well) run with some adjustment. Unfortunately, the Burro crane is never going to run quietly no matter what you do. While adjusting the screw did help reduce some of the noise, it's far from quiet!
Personally I'm really not a fan of the paint scheme, and am thinking about repainting it. My only hesitance is that I don't want to hurt the value if it's better off kept the way it is. I have the original track trip, box (with styrofoam insert) and warranty card as well.

-Ellie

Tags: Burro Crane , Lionel , MPC

"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
  • 217 posts
Posted by Leverettrailfan on Thursday, November 11, 2021 8:57 PM

I wanted to add, I came up with a means to fit a light into the interior of the crane so I could have a cab light. However it only just fit, and I think it poses a high risk of melting the shell. Future plans call for experimenting with other ways to add light, using more suitable light sources- I'm thinking an LED or a 'Grain of Wheat' bulb would be perfect. 

I made a little video of the crane running with the light, but I can't seem to figure out how to get it to embed in the CTT forum so the best I can do is offer the link [Edit - problem solved!]:

-Ellie

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

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Wayne, NJ
  • 1,889 posts
Posted by DJSpanky on Thursday, November 11, 2021 11:04 PM

Spank


Mr. Potty Mouth - Rockin' your sugar-coated, bubble-wrapped world one word at a time.

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Wayne, NJ
  • 1,889 posts
Posted by DJSpanky on Thursday, November 11, 2021 11:08 PM

Ellie, posting a video is easy. First you press the button pointed to by the red arrow below, then enter the full YouTube URL in the edit box for Source. And that's it!

Spank


Mr. Potty Mouth - Rockin' your sugar-coated, bubble-wrapped world one word at a time.

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 7,224 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, November 12, 2021 8:04 AM

Leverettrailfan
I'm thinking an LED or a 'Grain of Wheat' bulb would be perfect. 

Good idea.  However, I don't know if the 18v bulb would be hot enough to damage the shell, it would depend on just how much and for how long you run the thing. It may not be a cause for much concern.

Repainting?  I don't know.  Hurting the value would depend on just how much demand there is for burro cranes.  I've got no interest myself so I wouldn't know.

What I'd do if it was mine though is glaze the windows to make it a little more classy looking, I've done that with MTH passenger cars I don't feel like installing people in.  Easy to do, I cut strips from empty plastic milk jugs. The plastic's clear enough to let light through, but opaque enough so you can't see inside.  Plus I've noticed the strips have the effect of intensifying the light a bit.

Man, the contact plate on the motor armature was filthy! 

  • Member since
    February 2014
  • 217 posts
Posted by Leverettrailfan on Friday, November 12, 2021 4:45 PM

Thanks Spank! I figured out the button, and then did copy and paste the URL, but it didn't seem to work for me. It's possible I made a mistake, I'll try again and see how I get on.

Flintlock, from what I was seeing on eBay (not that this is the standard of the world) these cranes are not hard to get... brand new in box. Getting a flawless or near flawless crane is presumably far from difficult. Looking at 'sold listings', people aren't paying more than $80-90 shipped for these cranes. So if that's all we're considering, I don't think I could hurt the value by repainting it- yes it would hurt the collector value, but if I can pull off a nice custom, I can easily see that being worth money to someone simply for the chance to own a cool unproduced paint scheme. Not that I plan to sell, of course!
I was thinking of decorating my crane for the Central Vermont, as it was the railroad that ran through town until CN sold it in 1995. I need more information on what the standard MoW colors were for the CV- I've seen a CV speeder that's orange with black lettering, but I have no idea if this was universal for all their MoW vehicles. Then again, in the world of Lionel Trains, anything goes.

I have no plans for glazing the windows, because they allow air to flow through the cab to reduce overheating. I feel that the vents on top of the cab on their own might not be enough. Admittedly I don't generally run my trains heavily, but I don't want to risk anything. Besides, I don't really mind! I can always change my mind later down the road.
Yup, the commutator was a real mess! It might not show clearly in the pictures, but the finish of the surface is of very inferior quality to a postwar unit (imho). The same is true of the Maintenance Car- the surface is just very rough/scoured for some reason. I suspect that probably reduces the life of the brushes and creates a lot of gunk buildup on the commutator. 
Fun fact: when I opened the thing up, I discovered the factory assembled the brushes wrong. It was using MPC/LTI shouldered motor brushes, with the shouldered side facing up. I swapped them for slotted 622-121 brushes and am holding onto the ones I removed as spares, should I ever need to swap out a set.

"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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