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Patriotic greetings all!  This is sort of a follow up to previous questions and posts. My 9398 coal dump car has a broken hinge, the way several have described. The store I purchased it from has offered to replace the dump bed, but I can’t seem to the old one off the frame. And, will a new bed fix the problem? Or, should I just try the solution of drilling out the slot where the broken hinge is and trying to slide a piece of brass wire in there?

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Bill, the top part of car, where the coal goes, is what Lionel calls in their parts manual, the "tray." The "gate" is the piece that drops down when the tray springs upward. If you look, you'll notice a phillips head screw: This holds the tray to the "dump frame." The dump frame is the part you are going to need, along with the little metal piece, what Lionel calls the "finger tip. You could pull that from your existing dump frame and put it in the new one.

I'm guessing your new to trains? Well, this is important. There's a spring that is beneath the dump frame. As you work the dump frame out of the tabs on the train car frame, there's a good chance that spring could fly out and go someplace - so work in a clear area. Maybe with the train car being held by you inside a cardboard box, so that if the spring goes flying, you'll minimize the chance of loosing it. The dump frame isn't all that costly a part, though you might not get the exact color of the train car. Black is always a suitable universal color and doesn't really stand out from a different colored car.

The little molded pins on the dump frame can break over time. In my experience, they're more likely to break on the coal dump cars (especially if you really fill the dump tray with coal, ie: extra weight) versus the log dump cars. Yes, you can do as you suggested, but it takes some patience and skill. Too narrow a piece of brass and it won't sit in the train car correctly. And the overall length of what you need doesn't give you much to work with. And you want sand or grind down the ends of you cut piece of brass so they are nice and smooth with no burrs. All that said, I have done this myself. Though easier to just replace the tray.

Another issue is when the tabs on the train car body break. Whenever I am redoing a dump car, I cut pieces of basswood and shape them to fit right over the molded tabs that the dump frame inserts into. They have to be cut and shaped just right, so that I can still insert the dump tray, while having the added reinforcement. Also notice I used a black dump tray for a red car... doesn't look all that bad. And if I do at sometime in the future, need another tray, black is an easy replacement versus having to repaint another one to match the train car color.

Lehigh Valley Dump Car


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  • Lehigh Valley Dump Car

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