Hi, this is my first post! My young son has progressed from wooden trains to a couple of o gauge starter sets from Lionel and loves them. We recently purchased a small collection of post-war Lionel items, including a 2026 (the 2-6-4 variety). I've read most of what I can get my hands on about this engine, and it was not running. I had a couple of questions.
I took the shell off and generally cleaned the e-unit, including the commutator and brushes, checked the wiring, and reassembled it. The e-unit lever is extremely loose, and I did not mess with it. This clearly causes issues because it will not maintain contact, although the engine is running (at least while the lever makes contact). I've read here and elsewhere about solutions, but my first question is more general: how is this switch intended to operate the train? While making contact, the engine runs one direction, and while not making contact, the engine is in neutral? Then while making contact again, it reverses from the previous direction?
My second question is the smoke unit. It was done. The gasket was toast, and saturated with smoke pellet residue, and the smoke pellet reservoir lid was caked, and the wires inside the reservoir looked burnt. My second question: should I disconnect the smoke unit wire until I can get a replacement? Since there isn't a switch to turn the smoke unit off, will it hurt anything running it as-is?