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16C45495-3F44-4F72-ADA6-53747C59834F93F2E3FC-9076-4BFC-BD37-0AE883CA9C0573235C22-B3EF-48C1-8A26-1F094E717016Hello everyone.  My name is Steve and I’m new to this forum.  I hate to impose or seem to forward about jumping in without introducing myself & a little info about me.  I got into O gauge about 25 years ago.  First with MTH, K-Line, and then modern Lionel.  Then I fell in love with postwar Lionel.  I purchased several postwar locomotives and learned basic maintenance and repairs.  I was recently able to purchase an original 1950 773.  I am terrified to remove the boiler for some reason.  I have the Greenberg repair manual & the K-Line repair manual for Lionel trains and studied the 773 thoroughly.  Still I’m terrified to remove the boiler. Can anyone offer suggestions or the process to remove the boiler?  Thank you for the help, Steve Robertson


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Original Post

Hi Steve,  welcome to the group, I was going to tell you to take a photo every time you go to remove something or take something apart but Arnold just beat me to it.  I'm a retired Locksmith, it was my last job before I decided to fully retire but now I'm thinking about going back to work again, I'm 71, almost 72 and this unloading and unpacking PODS from our move is just as bad as when I originally packed them.  Anyway, as Arnold mentioned, taking photos is a really great way to be able to work on something, when I was working on a type of lock that I had never worked on before, I asked my mentor a few questions and then I studied the lock and started to shoot a pic every time I removed something.  When I was a teenager, my dad told me to make a drawing of whatever it was that I was working on so I would have an easier time putting it back together again.  That really helped me also but when I would work on a safe lock, I would end up taking many many photos every step of the way, I put everything in a nice neat order and then took a picture of it too, just so i knew what column it was in and how I could identify it.,  I also made notes as I went, so I'm sure you should be able to take it apart and put it back together again.  If you can't get it back together, I'll be more than happy to buy it from you.   There are also some really great repair guys on this forum and I'm sure they will be more than happy to chime in with some tips and such.

You will really like this forum, it has a very good group of members and for the most part are all extremely very nice, you might find a couple of grouches every once in a while but all in all, it is a great group to be associated with.  They've really helped me out on more than one occasion.  Again, welcome to the group and enjoy.

J Motts

Thank you for the welcome.  Taking pictures is one thing that I surely will do. About selling it, I have a 20 year old that already laid claim to it.  When he was just a tot, I would take him up into the attic of our first house and run the trains with him.  He is a college student.  He told me that after college/job,  he wants a layout in his home some day.  Hopefully I can help him build it someday.  Thanks again, Steve.

To disassemble the 773, I would you start by removing the front and rear trucks. When you do this there is a whole collection of springs, washers, bolts, pins, and keepers. These are the parts that you need to kept track of. There is a metal washer on the rear truck that should have been changed to a plastic washer. If this was not done, it should be done.  If it was not done the spring there may have been annealed by short circuit current during a derailment and it is probably flat. If this is the case, it also needs to be replaced. Next is to open the door on the front of the boiler and unsnap the headlight bulb and socked from the clip. The boiler front goes with the shell and the headlight wire stays with the frame. You will need a cradle to safely support the engine when it is upside down. Put the locomotive in the cradle and remove the three screws that retain the frame to the shell.  Actually the loco should have already been in the cradle when you took the front and rear trucks off. The frame should lift freely off the shell.  As you lift the frame the two sets of steps at the front of the loco will fall of.  Be expecting this. The only thing that holds them in place is being captured between the shell and frame.  Also the smoke stack gasket could fall out at this point, but it is usually glued in place with old smoke pill residue.

Tie the loose head light bulb up someplace and you can run the loco with the shell and trucks off. Do not get carried away, it is much more likely to derail with all the weight removed. In reassembly, it is much easier with a couple of extra hands to hold those steps in place while the frame is being placed on the shell.  Make sure none of the wires get pinched between the frame and the shell.  Prior to tightening the screws, check to be sure the short flange on the top of the smoke unit is lined up with the smoke stack and the felt smoke stack gasket is in place.  I have gone to gluing the gasket to the smoke unit with a couple of drops of Goo prior to reassembly.  Only other thing to say is if you take the valve gear off the drivers, be sure to get them reinstalled properly.  If the crank goes on backwards it could be broken first time you try to run the engine.  After reassembly turn the wheels one revolution by hand to be sure everything works freely.  This would be a good place for a few pictures.  Also in normal operation it is a good idea to check those two crank screws to be sure they are tight.

Dennis Waldron at Just Trains, has written an excellent article on how to service the 773.  It is online.  Probably best way fine it is with Google. 

Thank you!  Initially I wanted to send it off to Dennis for the same reason.  But my gut told me to keep it all original.  I think I might buy the High Stack and keep it just for the future.  I was advised to have a helping hand hold the steps when putting it back together.  Lucky for me my wife loves the trains too and I’m sure she would help.  I owe her big.  She let me get it.

Steve R

Welcome to the OGR Forum.

I need a good reason to take anything apart, like it does not work or is broken.  And I do a lot of taking apart to fix things with lots of old tools, appliances, lawn equipment and vintage stereos.  I will live with little issues.  Most of my post war engines have not been apart but I do keep them lubricated and clean.  A saying we had at a third world chemical plant was not to do anything to make things worst even in the age of emphasis on continuous improvement.

Today, with easy access to diagrams, parts lists and this forum of experts, you should be able to take an engine apart and put it back together unless you lose or miss place some parts ! 


Hi Steve, I find placing a white bath towel down and letting it drape over most of the ends of my work bench helps kept the little parts from scattering. Table has locking wheels. I spent to many hours looking for the spring or screw that slides off the table into the abyss. As mention an engine cradle is a must, easily made from foam or even packaging. I'm sure some smart person as them listed on e-bay.

It looks like you have a few different diameters of O track, however I would be nervous running on that outer rail with such a fine model, good luck with the repair, regards Rob W

Welcome to the forum.

Since you already have a few modern smokers, why not keep the original smoke unit in the 773? It's a nice engine to preserve.

One small tip. Get a half dozen little tupperware containers (or even bowls) and put the front truck and all its bolts, washers, etc in one. In another do the same thing with the rear truck, another for drive rods, etc. Easier to keep track of what goes with what this way.

One of the best steam engines ever.  I would keep it all original. 

I use three towels as a cradle when working on engines. Two towels rolled up in a roll placed a couple inches apart and the third towel draped over them.  Place the engine in between the two rolled towels. A lighter color towel will help show up screws or parts that fall off.

This is a very helpful,  educational thread, including excellent technical information for working on the 773, and some great tips/tricks for doing model train repairs like the cradle made of towels, making a video of the whole the whole repair process and talking to oneself to describe it, and using containers/bowls to put the parts of each section of the locomotive as it's taken apart. Arnold

Welcome aboard, Steve. The 1950 773, while primitive compared to today's Hudsons, is a Lionel icon. Good find. 

I have the same loco, and wouldn't consider changing the smoke unit. That's how a collector thinks. However, I also have a few modern locos that have been upgraded from "stock" to a fan driven smoke unit. That's how most operators think. If maintaining its value is important to you, then you are more likely to do that by keeping your Hudson in its "stock" configuration. Regardless of what you do with the smoke unit, you have a great addition that looks great and is also a great runner. 

Again, welcome to the forum. 



Welcome to the Forum, I have two post war Lionel engines the Lackawanna Trainmaster from 1955 and a steam engine from the same mid-50's period. I received the Trainmaster from my dad as a Christmas present in 1955, both engines run perfectly with light maintenance, easy to disassemble. I will give you a couple of helpful tips, first when removing screws during disassembly screw them into the part with the mounting holes and second use a blank piece of paper and pencil to make a sketch of the assembly before disassembly this will help you put it back together. What is amazing was the ingenuity and quality of the Lionel Corporation engineering and manufacturing in making the Post War series locomotives, both steam and diesel. The Lionel 773 is a prime example of this Lionel standard.

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