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Well. I believe I’ve tried all of the suggestions you all so helpfully replied on my “first round” of questions/problems with the 3656 set up. I even gave to a local Lionel repair man and he replaced the grommets and said it was working but needed the “power blade” which I found and installed. However, same old problem. Once installed on my layout, the platform vibrates and moved cattle along nicely. Once the reach the box car doors.......nothing!  No power to move them through the car. As some of you have suggested, I am about to cut my losses and make this a museum piece on a siding!  Any last minute thoughts/suggestions?  As always.......thanks!

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I agree with the comments by Norton. I have the same accessory, which needs the same tinkering, but if the car does not vibrate at all, there is a circuit problem.  Whenever the car is moved even slightly, I must shift it a bit to find the sweet spot. Once I find it, the doors open and the car vibrates. Now, that does not guarantee the cattle will jump aboard.  Some of them need a push from the next in line!

I would suggest to find a circuit issue. Might even take the car off the rails and apply direct voltage to see if it activates the mechanism.

Good luck!


Did you connect Lockon post #2 to the non-insulated binding post (farthest from the track)?

Insulated binding post (with the fibre washer) to the on-off switch.  On-off switch to Lockon post #1?

That will provide the same voltage to the car and the platform from the transformer.

Position of cattle car is critical on track.  Leave the transformer handle in the same position, but in neutral.  Doors should go up.  To get the cows to go through the car open the back door.  If you want them to stay in the car leave it closed.  Grease the edges of the cow base with light oil to get it to move better.

The setup  came from Lionel originally set up for 027 track.  For O Gauge track you have to remove the 027 power blade and replace it with an O Gauge power blade.   You also need to change the height of the platform.  There are four tabs on the sub base and eight slots in the platform.  Remove the knurled nut in the back, slide the platform off and put it back on so that it fits into the bottom slots.  Put the knurled back on.

If the little fingers on the bottom of the cows are worn, they won't move.  The top edge of the contact blades need to be clean as well.  On 027 track the edge of the platform is ground.  There are three sponge pads under the platform that may need to be replaced.  Scrape off all the merde first before you glue new ones down with contact cement.

3656 Cattle Car:

The car needs the door pivots loose.  Make sure they pivot on the groove pins in the ends of the car.

Check the sliding door and the arm on the other side that keeps the cattle from moving (make sure it is tight so the cows can't push it open).

Test the solenoid by applying 12-15 watts to the contact shoes on the trucks.  If it makes a loud buzzing noise, they're good.  If no sound check for broken or shorted wires between the solenoid and the trucks.  If the wire looks marginal replace it with new stranded wire.   If the solenoid plunger is too tight you will have to realign it inside the tube.  There are three sponge rubber pads under the runway inside the car.  If they are worn put new ones on with some contact cement.  If those are worn out the runway will be off center and interfere with the solenoid plunger.

The two doors have to open and close completely.  There is a spring lever attached to the plunger that can be adjusted if it isn't beaten up too much.  There are wires that may have to be taped out of the way.

The bridge on the platform may need to be adjusted.  Take off the platform and the fence.  Put the car on the track.  Make sure the ramps line up with the runway.  You may have to adjust the entrance ramp.  Hold the bridge attachment bar with a pair of pliers and bend finger at the rear of the ramp so it just touches the floor of the platform when the bridge is lowered.  Do the same on the other side.

If the ramp fingers aren't touching the floor of the platform it won't transmit the vibration.  If it vibrates too much adjust the screw downward on the coil armature until the car and the platform vibrate the same.


There is additional information in the March 2021 edition of CTT

Last edited by Craftech

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