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Hi to all,

I know this probably has been covered a lot but I'm just getting back into the hobby after a very long void so things I'm sure have changed since the 80s. Also with Christmas coming up a lot of folks will be getting the trains out again.

Back in the day when I found a Lionel motor gummed up with hardened Lionel Lube from the 50s I use to clean the gummed up parts with CRC 5-56 and a toothbrush. I would then use Labelle oil and Labelle grease with Teflon to lube and grease everything after it was cleaned.

I still have the Labelle oil and grease with Teflon but I been unable to find the CRC 5-56 for a LONG time.

A friend recently sold me a Lionel 397 coal loader  that he no longer had use for a very reasonable cost for our up coming Christmas layout . It needed a belt and had not been run for a LONG time. I got a new belt and installed it. The motor and gearbox assembly were packed with dried up Lionel 1950s lube. Since I no longer  have any CRC 5-56 I used rubbing alcohol and a toothbrush and Q tips to clean everything. I then used the Labelle products to grease and oil the motor and gearbox. Put in new brushes and it seems to be working well and turning freely.

I'm curious what folks on the forum are using now for cleaning and lubrication.          I hope I did not hurt anything by using rubbing alcohol or the Labelle products.

Also has anyone ever had one of the 397s tend to pile coal up on one side? Mine seems to have a tendency to do that.   

Best Regards

dad roadie

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Thanks to all that replied. I hope I didn't damage the motor and armature by cleaning it with rubbing alcohol. I did put it back together and the motor seems to be working fine. Would the damage show up right away or take a while? Anything I can do to neutralize the effects?

Also I read somewhere about shimming one side of the 397 loader tray to help with balance out the loading action. Anyone heard of this? If so which side do you shim and what is a good material to use ?

Thanks again to all. Hope I didn't destroy the loader! Planning on having  some fun with the Grand Kids loading the "Naughty Kids Coal" on the Christmas layout. That is good Lord willing we are able to see them this year with the Covid rearing it's ugly head again

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