I was preparing a friend's Lionel 2037 engine (no tender) for auction sale when I discovered a nightmare! The E-unit cycles, the smoker smokes, the headlight beams brightly...but no go. I manually rotated the drivers looking for a bind...none, free-rolling. Oh, it would start to run if I manually coaxed the drivers under power, but then she stopped cold. One time, in fact, it took off (on the rollers) for about 5 seconds, but then slowly came to a dead stop.
Took it apart down to the motor/driver/E-unit block, put it on the rollers and tried again. And that's when I discovered the mayhem!
As I tried coaxing the drivers there was a slew of tiny sparks throughout and within the motor block. I looked more carefully....
And discovered that someone (my friend bought it at a flea market) had been using steel wool to clean (?) or whatever the engine. BAZILLIONS of steel fibers inside the block in the grease/oil, standing up magnetically proud from every steel surface...frame, axles, drivers, gears, ...everything having acquired a magnetic charge! Embedded in the oil and grease!
So, before I declare this one DOA, I thought I'd ask: Does anyone have a special technique for a thorough de-wooling (steel, that is) of the innards of a Lionel engine such as this??
I mean, it's not like you can de-magnetize the whole engine, clean it as you would a thorough degreasing/delousing/defilthing. Power washing (May the Force be with me?) comes to mind...and we have such a device...but it's not a Michigan winter sort of outdoor project. And maybe it's too risky even for a summer job!?? Anyone ever tried it?
And, careful extraction of each steel wool fiber one-by-one with tweezers is NOT an option!
The irony of all this is that for more than 20 years behind the Trains counter at our LHS I told customers to NEVER BUT NEVER use steel wool on their trains....for this very reason. I also remember as a youngster that Dad had even warned me about the incompatibility of electric trains and steel wool. And, until today, I can truly say I have never seen an engine so 'infected' as this one! Incredible!
Any thoughts, ideas, similar experience?