American Flyer Oil Drum Loader

Thanks for the in put.  I did check the rear wheel and added a drop of oil to axle and swivel.  Also, added drops on the front wheels. I also noticed that the end of the arm that holds the fork lift had a slight upward bend so the fork lift was not level.  I was able to minimize the bend and got all three wheels to rest on the platform surface.  That did the trick and now it works great.  Thanks for your help.


Even as a Lionel guy, that's one of my all time favorites. It is also a real crowd pleaser. Over 100,000 visitors can't be wrong.

Glad you got it. Sorry I didn't jump in sooner. If that pin isn't almost perfectly perpendicular, the forklift will bind.

Don, get that thing hooked up!

BReece posted:

I can not get the barrels to load/stay on the fork fift . suggestions .


Hi Brent,

Mine was doing that also.  I got it working perfectly many, many years ago.  So, the following is from memory - hopefully correct . . . 

I had to do 2 things to fix that.

1. Remove the foam pad on the forklift cradle.  The foam was stopping the barrel from loading deeper, making it lean forward, and fall off.  With the foam removed:  The now exposed hard metal lets the barrel slide rearward a little more.

2. I believe I bent the top flat arm upward slightly also.

I also had issues on the unload end.  That dump mechanism would stay in the "dumped" position after the unload was completed.  The cradle was going all the way to a 90* tilt, and there was no rearward weight on it to drop it back down.

There are 2 lower arms on the forklift.  I bent one down, so as the cradle dumps, that arm will only allow the cradle to travel so far.  I set it so the barrel leans far enough that it will dump, but so the cradle can't get to 90*.  I bent it so that arm hits the forklift's body.  That is what is now limiting it's travel.  Now, after the barrel dumps, the cradle falls back due to its weight being rearward.  

I learned that I can only do that with one of those 2 arms.  The other arm needs to be relatively straight because that is what hits the platform and makes the cradle move.  

Another issue I had was the barrels loaded in the ramp didn't want to roll forward on their own.  I used Pledge on the barrels and that ramp and that fixed that.  Also, when I know I'm going to use that accessory; I slide all the barrels to the outside edge of the loading ramp.  As they roll:  They move slightly inward.  This very slight amout of play that I create allows them to roll downward, and slightly inward, very freely.  If I do that, every barrel will roll all the way into the loading cradle beautifully.  

I hope that helps.




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I have a question about this cool accessory. Is there a difference between the original American Flyer version (tan base) and the Lionel re-release (red base)? I'm looking to get one myself and notice that the originals seem to fetch a much higher price. So outside of the base color are there any mechanical differences that would make one better than the other?  I'll be happy enough with the Lionel rerelease if it works just the same.



I would go for an original, they have a much more reliable mechanism.

An original has an induction motor, no brushes to worry about, quite and reliable. It has gears and levers to move the arm and is a tried and proven mechanism.

The Lionel version has a can motor which drives a belt and this is a weak point. My own experience on this version is that I picked one up a few years ago which hadn’t been used for some time and when I ran it the arm stayed put. I had to strip the thing down which as I remember was not an easy task. You have to take quite a lot apart to get to the belt. In this case because the belt had not moved for a long period it had set a semi permanent shape as it went around the pulley, so when the motor ran the belt refused to move. One option is to change the belt which I believe is not available any more and the other one is to try and remove the kink in the belt. I managed to tease out the kink by warming the belt in warm/hot water.

There are also other issues with the Lionel version with the tipple  mechanism which drops the barrel onto the cart. If the tipple is not set correctly then the barrel does not drop onto the cart correctly and will fall off. It can be corrected as well, just another fiddly little job.

Hope this helps.

I agree the original is better but not by much. The newer ones use a DC can motor with a slightly different linkage. I have used the newer one for years and we use a new one on the Lionel Visitors Center layout at the Railroad Museum of Long Island with minimal problems. If the price difference is great go with the reissue.   Lenny

Some good info here.  My original MPC version worked flawlessly.  I have a newer one, I think, that gave me the same troubles as I have read here.  I played with the forklift extensions and it operates better, but no perfectly.  If I try and run it as slowly as Rick does, the barrels will not load onto the forklift, but fall to the side instead.  

Dan Padova


"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill


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