So, I just bought a little loco and I’m surprised. It’s a 4-4-2 bearing the number #8602, which looks very similar to the Scout 2-4-2, sixty five years on. 

It runs very smoothly, the tender whistle doesn’t work but makes the “coffee-grinder” noise, so I have it on my bench for servicing. It seems to be fitted with an electronic reverser. It smokes vigorously! 

Is this a new, or near-new loco? It was cheap by UK standards if so! 

A couple of questions...

1) would it be safe on 12v DC? I’m guessing not, because of the reverser? There’s a switch underneath, which appears to turn the reverser on and off. I was intending it to be a replacement for the Scout at running days, but I’ll keep the Scout (which runs fine on DC) if needed.  

2) is it possible to turn the smoke off? I was thinking of it as a Christmas-tree loco, but I don’t want the smoke on for that and anyway, I prefer the “bells and whistles” on the Hudson...


Original Post

There are at least two different 4-4-2's with the 8602 number, but judging from your description, it sounds like you have the one from the early 2000s.

1) You'll be fine operating on 12v DC. The 103 electronic reverse unit inside the loco will function equally well on AC or DC. The only problem you'll run into is that your whistle tender will sound constantly on DC.

2) I THINK some versions of that later 8602 loco have a smoke on/off switch. If so, it's located on the opposite side of the chassis from the reverse unit switch that you've already discovered. If nothing is there, then no, there isn't any way to turn the smoke unit off short of disconnecting it inside.

While there are those that look down on these locos, your comments are exactly right -- they're smooth runners, good smokers, and represent a good value.




Ok, thanks. There is certainly a switch for the reverser, but that’s all. I did find a manual showing a modern 4-4-2 (although it didn’t specify the #8602 number) and THAT shows two switches, one for reverse, one for smoke. 

I have a “dumb” tender with the Polar Express 2-8-4, with the power connections removed, so I’ll use that if I take it to a running session on 12v DC. The original Scout has its tinplate tender as well, so I have options. 


Rockershovel, to add to what PaperTRW said:

You've mentioned using a 12v DC power source before. Is this a constant 12v unit or a variable output such as a power pack? Obviously with a constant 12v to the track, you cannot regulate your locomotive speed. And depending on the length of your train, the loco may slow down on curves or simply struggle to pull the train. Also, 12v might not be enough current to activate the whistle tender, hence why you hear the "coffee grinder" sound but no whistle sound.

The "reverser" you refer to is actually in the locomotive. It is basically a circuit board version of a mechanical e-unit, but it has the capacity to allow the engine to run on either AC or DC current.

The tender does not have a "reverser" but rather a circuit board version of the older mechanical relay. Which means when running a postwar engine on AC current, you hit the whistle lever on the transformer, and that sends DC current to the track which activates the relay in the whistle tender. The modern circuit board relay does the same thing. You can run the tender on DC current, but will have to check the polarity to the track: One way will make the whistle blow continuously, the other will not. The reverse circuit board unit in the engine isn't effected by the polarity to the track. I know this because I have the option of running my own layout on either AC or DC current. And despite belief to the contrary, there are items thought to work only on AC current, that will also operate on DC current, such as the Operating Barrel Car and the Operating Milk Car.

Back to the 4-4-2: The one drawback of these locos is that they are kind of a pain to work on. The front guide truck, the rear trailing wheels, the smoke unit and the motor/reverse unit/drive wheel assembly are all separate pieces that have to be inserted/assembled/aligned correctly. Though practice at this makes the task easier.

Now personally, I kind get annoyed at the word "cheap" used to describe starter sorts of products. I know you didn't mean anything bad by it. Yes, there obviously are cost saving elements to starter products. But I have a couple of these locomotives that are now over 30 years old and still run. I've never had any defects with them out of the box. Yes I replaced a puffer smoke unit after 13 years: That could be expected.

Meanwhile I've messed around with the newer fan driven smoke units for some projects: They work for a few minutes and then stop. I pull them apart, check them, put them back together, mount them in my project. And again they work a couple times and then stop. Those fan driven smoke units are the garbage: I'll stick with the puffer units any day of the week. No trouble with those. And using Lionel Premium Smoke Fluid makes a real difference in their performance!

On any given day there are usually a half dozen threads on this forum about high end, expensive products that didn't work out of the box or all of a sudden, are unexplainably not working. So maybe "cheap" isn't so bad. I run trains for fun, not frustration.

On another side note, Richard Kughn, one time CEO of Lionel said that those 4-4-2 starter sets were the single best selling item during his years at Lionel. We're talking production numbers like tens of thousands at a time: Not a couple dozen to a few hundred like most high end scale products. Not a bad achievement for a product often disrespected by some on this particular forum, where they deserve to be mentioned and praised.


Eerrmmmmm .... I’ll recap some of that, covering various threads.

1) the references to 12v DC relate to a club I’ve discovered over here, who hold running sessions in a village hall one evening a month and an all-day running session, once a year. They are mostly Hornby and BL oriented, plus some modern stock and they are standardised on 12v DC for that reason. There is a general practice over here of running Lionel locos on 12v DC, because it’s universally available. 

I have two tenders for this; one with no whistle, one with a deactivated whistle, so that’s sorted. 

2) the loco has a switch to turn the reversing board, on and off. The tender has no switches of any description. 

3) I bought the loco second-hand for what seemed a good price. It seems a solid piece of kit, from what I can see. 

4) I’ve also got an original Scout 2-4-2, fitted with a 2034-100 motor, which runs like a champ although the reverser appears to have long since, given up the ghost. 

5) I’d very much like to run my K Line Hudson at running days, but AFAIK this isn’t a good idea; the electronics won’t stand 12v DC. If anyone definitely knows otherwise I’d be interested to know, but I haven’t heard that yet.

So, in a spirit of enquiry, I connected this loco to 12v DC. Runs like a champ, reverses from the transformer too (interrupting the power cycles the reverser). 

I’ve got a “dumb” tender I converted for the Berkshire, so that will probably be the easiest solution to the whistle issue. That, or I’ll reverse the wires at the handset. 

I don’t find the leading bogie and motion particularly difficult to work on, they are much like the Scout 2-4-2, although you definitely need to pay attention while refitting them! 

I think it’s a super piece of kit, strong and robust. I can run it around the tree and not worry about little hands getting hold of it! 


My two cents - I own a couple of 8602's, one plastic, one die-cast. The die-cast is a charmer and just like the comments on here, I feel it is a solid, reliable under rated and under valued engine. I'm very happy with it. I also have an 8633, also a 4-4-2. VERY similar to the 8602 but with a yellow stripe. I installed smoke switches in both of them since my grandson and I can only tolerate smoke for a little while. Pretty straightforward. I used JB Weld epoxy to glue the switch to the front of the smoke unit, and then cut one of the wires leading to the smoke unit, and put the switch in between them. Cut the correct wire in the correct location, otherwise you will be switching the light on & off as well!

I do have some photos, but they are not all that good - shot for my own reference only. This first picture shows the slide switch glued to the front of the smoke unit.


This next picture shows the smoke unit removed from the engine, unmodified. I cut the wire going from the lamp to the smoke unit and wired my switch in at that point


Hope that helps!



Photos (2)

I have the same one you have I bought it as a starter set l like it but when I got it the engine was stuck in neutral. I finally got that problem solved ran it a couple times and the smoke coming out smelled like burning wires. So I put a few drops of TJs Mega Smoke Big Boy in it and it done fine for a little bit then the smoke started coming from underneath on the right side and then it stopped smoking after that. I bought this off eBay who knows what the guy put in it but it’s a sweet engine smooth runner well worth fixing. 

Can someone Tell me what went wrong with the smoke unit so I can fix it thanks 

The heating element could have burned out - the will do that if run dry or sometimes from age. We would need to know the precise model of engine to correctly recommend a part, but it will be along the lines of something like these parts:

Lionel 610RES163W

You could also replace the unit as a whole (if you can find a source):

Lionel 6108738250

@lee drennen, from my experience, when I've seen you get smoke from the bottom of the loco and not through the smoke stack, it's one of two things:

1) There's an air bubble in the stack, so you blow into the smoke stack, and that usually clears that up.

2) The piston lever is stuck, either from flashing or a worn down spring. Usually it is the spring. Using your photo:

Smoke unit

The air chamber is marked "A". This is a separate piece. You'll see how the piston lever pushes against the air chamber, depressing that "plunger" piece it is against. That "plunger" piece should spring back out, unless the spring has worn down.

So pulling upward on the "A" air chamber piece, there is a snap lock on the back... pull that outward, while pulling upward on "A." The air chamber inserts into the smoke unit assembly where I've indicated.

Once you have it removed, you'll need a fine screw driver to work out the plunger piece: There is a spring directly beneath it, so work in a clear area, incase the spring happens to fly out, so you can find it.

Then you want to gently extend the spring.... I usually do it in a couple of places on the spring. Then put it all back together and it should work just fine.

Now it is possible, that you burned out the smoke unit. But like I said, it could just be an air pocket combined with a weak spring. Once you do these things, before you put the smoke unit back into the locomotive, use a transformer with some alligator wires, power it up and move the piston lever back and forth, and see if you now get smoke coming from out of the stack.

If not, it's probably burned out and will need replacing. Jeff Kane (Train Tender) has had them. BUT don't throw the old one out. Put it aside... you may be able to use parts from it in the future.


Photos (1)
lee drennen posted:

Thanks like I said I got this from eBay who knows what the guy did to it just to get it out the door. It doesn’t smoke now and fluid leaks out the right side thanks for posting this I’ll try what you said 

Similar to the experiences listed above, a) my original smoke unit had a bad burned-plastic stank to it, so I tried some Mega Steam also - helped some, but still smelled burned every time. I believe the resistor was touching the plastic interior, cuz eventually mine developed a hole in it, and the juice was running out similar to what @lee drennen experienced. So I replaced it with a new one I ordered from Lionel or Train Tender, don't recall which. Part number you ask? Oddly, I can't find the receipt (and I keep 'em all!) for the smoke unit, so I looked it up (see PDF attachment below), and from Lionel's own documentation, it says 600-8041-050 but sadly Lionel says unavailable, but lists an alternate - 610-8738-200 - so I looked that up, but there's no joy in Mudville tonight!


So unless Brasseur/Hennings/whoever else has one, replacement of the whole unit may not be an option. Note that the last two smoke units listed talk about (and picture) an LED as a headlight - mine had an incandescent bulb, so those two don't seem to be a match anyway.

I remember peeking down the hole to see if I thought this one could be opened and repaired, but I think the smoke chamber is sonically welded, so splitting it might be the only way!

PS, the bad news: My new smoke unit had the same burned plastic smell!! That's when I decided I needed a switch.



The smoke unit now seems to have failed in service, although it was working at first. I’m not tremendously bothered, because I don’t use it and it frees up this loco for Xmas Tree duty... I don’t think smoke oil on the carpet would be popular, and it’s probably best not to investigate the politics of smoking locos in a non-smoking household (the garage doesn’t count..) 

Good news on the smoke unit. You might have an intermittent connection, so keep an eye on it.

The traction tire should last a few weeks of regular use before they lose a tight grip on the wheels. A few months if used lightly. And they will dry out eventually with non-use.

Again, neoprene tires will last years. They aren’t rubber. Trust me, you aren’t breaking any new ground by using rubber bands. There is a reason they’re not a suitable replacement. 

Jim R. 

I just picked up an O gauge Dapol Class 08 shunter. No traction tires. I wish the American companies would think that way. 

Ironically, my Lionel 3-rail club is set up for a DC option and two rails (actually a multi-gauge track). So I will be able to run it there. 

Jim R. 

“Again, a neoprene tires will last years. They aren’t rubber. Trust me, you aren’t breaking any new ground by using rubber bands. There is a reason they’re not a suitable replacement. ”

No, I don’t suppose I am. It isn’t a new idea, even to me, and I’m well aware of the deficiencies of the common or garden rubber band. However it DID get the loco moving and allowed me to put the replacement tyre on my shopping list of items to pick up when I’m in the US in Jan/Feb, without the cost of carriage etc. 

Regarding not fitting traction tyres, back in the way-back-when, Tri-Ang used to fit knurled wheels to the power bogies of their diesel outline models. They sounded just as you would expect! 

Yeah, MTH’s little 0-4-0 Docksider used knurled wheels in lieu of traction tires, too. MTH’s Andy Edleman acknowledged at Trainfest this year when I talked to him about a reissue that some customers didn’t like the noise the Docksider made. But I kind of liked it.

Jim R. 

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