This is not normally a tough thing, but I recently acquired a 17302 Santa Fe Reefer with ETD, and I can not figure out how to take the shell apart. The wire running to the ETD pulled away from whatever it was attached to inside the car. I see no screws nor does it appear the trucks can come off easily. Looking at other Lionel boxcars with ETD, I can clearly see the screws that connect the frame to the body.
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Never mind, sort of. The wire on the outside of the ETD that goes back into the car is apparently just for show. I put it on the track with the wire hanging out the side, and it still blinked. I guess the prototypical ETD had a wire to go back into car, I don't know.
Still, if anyone knows how to take the shell off the frame, I'd like to know.
Thanks @PaperTRW, belatedly. I got pulled off on some pesky non-train stuff and just got back to it. I had seen what looked like tabs, but until you said it I didn't want to mess with them. The shell came off easy, and I was able to tape the decorative hanging wire from the ETD securely inside the frame so it didn't come loose. While I had it opened up I added some weights so it was closer to the NMRA weight recommendation. At some future point I'll probably replace the little circuit board and GOW bulb that flashes the light with a simple blinking LED from Evans. I'll also add one of GRJ's LED modules so the light blinks steadily.
The problem I initially had has been solved. My current problem is the roller to pick up the power from the middle rail. This is the first one I've ever seen like this, it uses formed plastic strips to put pressure on the roller assembly to keep it on the rail. IMHO, this is a big fail. I know Lionel wants to cut costs, but this is ridiculous. The connector to the outside rail is also cheap, but it works fine.
Has anyone found a way to get this working more stably? The entire plastic unit containing the roller can be replaced, although I don't have a part number. I've got one of GRJ's LED lighting modules on order, hoping the capacitor will keep the light steady enough.
I know Lionel wants to cut costs, but this is ridiculous.
BTW -- "Wants" to cut costs? This car was last catalogued in 1990. The cost-cutting you speak about was done 33 years ago or more. There's nothing new or recent here but it is unfortunate regardless.