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Greetings OGR Forum,

For no apparent reason, my modern age version of Lionel's #38 Water Tower (model # 6-24224) stopped working.  The water spout still lowers and raises when activating the slide switch, but the water level in the tank no longer goes up or down.  The obvious culprit may be the pump inside the tank, but this accessory is relatively new and unused. 

Does anyone have any suggestions regarding where to begin troubleshooting?  Thank you!  Urbie

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Thanks, Chuck for your recommendation.  I have read several threads on how to fix a non-functioning pump on these water towers, and the common remedy is to first try cleaning the pump of any gunk.   I must admit I was adding the colorant supplied by Lionel to the water.  There is unanimity that the colorant creates clogs.  I will definitely stop using this in the future.  Regards.  Urbie

In addition to posting on OGR Forum, I also reached out to Lionel.  They responded promptly with their recommendation on a remedy to resolve the clogged water tower.  The following response is from their maintenance manual:

Maintenance of your Water Tower Because your water tower uses water as part of its functionality, there are a few things that you will need to keep in mind. Firstly when using water to fill your water tower, always use distilled water. Using distilled water will help to prevent minerals from forming deposits inside of the tubing or pump. When storing your water tower, we recommend that you remove all of the water from the tank. This will prevent anything from growing or living inside your tubing or pump. After you remove all of the water, we recommend that you clean the tank thoroughly with warm, soapy water. You can use any standard dishwashing liquid. Do not add the soap directly into the tank of your water tower. Mix the soap with the water before you add it into the tank. Then simply cycle your water tower a few times to clean out the tubing and pump. You may want to also clean out your tank when you notice that some of the water you initially added is gone. The water colorant has some ingredients like sugar, and when the water begins to evaporate, the sugar will begin to re-crystalize. Using the soap solution to rinse out the tubing and pump will clean all of this out.

The residue that was clogging the gears in the pump housing of the Lionel Model #6-24224 water tower proved to be too much for the water and dishwashing detergent remedy that was recommended.  After several failed attempts, it was necessary to remove the tank from the base in order to get access to the pump housing. 

Careful when doing this as there are 2 small black rubber grommets that will need to be removed from the 2 long retaining screws that hold the roof of the tank in place. In addition, there are two surgical tube hoses that are connected to the pump assembly.  These will need to be disconnected before you can remove the tank from the base and gain access to the pump housing. 

The pump housing is mounted to the base by 2 screws.  Another 4 screws hold the pump housing together.  Inside the pump housing are 2 plastic gears.  These needed to be thoroughly cleaned as they were clogged with residue from the colorant that came with this unit.  I concur with those who advocate not using the Lionel colorant.  It contains sugar which eventually hardens and prevents the pump from functioning. 

Once the gears were cleaned and everything was re-assembled, I added distilled water with blue food coloring that contains no sugar.  The water tower is now working as designed. 

I hope this post helps others who experience a similar problem. 


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