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Hey folks, specifically @gunrunnerjohn because I know he will reply here , I have a Lionel Southern Crescent Pacific (SKU 6-11334) that is having a dual smoke unit issue. When the main stack smoke is switched on, the cab light will immediately blink 3 times. When the whistle smoke only is turned on, and the whistle is blown, the cab light and headlight both dim/flicker, until the cab light blinks 5 times. This leads me to believe both smoke units/unit fans have gone bad, or there is a wiring issue.

This leads me to the second part. Before I crack it open, the thought has crossed my mind about changing the units for ones that have a better smoke output, as these units are almost 15 years old now. I don't know the first thing about changing or modifying smoke units, so I'd like some input and suggestions from those that do. I'm interested in both DIY-ing it, or paying for upgraded units

While we're on the topic of modifications, I was wondering how difficult it would be to change the speaker/s in the tender. When running this engine next to another modern steamer, the newer engines drown out the crescent's sound, even at full blast. Is it as easy as solder the wires to a new speaker, or is there more to it than that? Also looking for input and suggestions from people who have done this in the past. Thanks!

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I'd say before you consider changing anything that you look at the condition of the smoke unit by physical inspection.  It's almost never a requirement that you replace complete smoke units, more likely that you'll need parts, motor, wick, resistor, etc.  Also, check the screws that hold the smoke resistor in, they come loose over time.  There's nothing to be gained by replacing the complete smoke unit over simply rebuilding what you have.

Check the current draw of the motor with 5VDC applied, and check the resistance of the smoke resistor, should be close to 8 ohms.

There’s really no upgrade to this smoke unit, they smoke pretty good when new. Your most likely culprit for the trouble codes are overcooked smoke units. You probably have a bunch of charred parts inside this unit. As long as the bowls haven’t deformed or gotten burnt up, the unit is very rebuildable. Check the thermistor gap as soon as you take it apart. The gap should be about a 1/16”. Look for partially melted impellers, and overly charred batting and resistors. Replace any parts that look yummy. While you’re there, swap out both motors……

Pat

@Sams Trains posted:

@harmonyards @gunrunnerjohn I'm surprised these units would really be that good even after how long it has been. I would have figured someone would make a unit that smokes better than what comes from the factory, but I guess not. Time to take a look then!

Now just to figure out the speaker

You can make the smoke unit perform like you want it to. Watch how you install the wicking, making sure the air flow pathways are good and clear. Also, make sure the resistors just do touch the bed of wicking so they’re not hanging in mid air, where they just burn with nothing to feed them. Move the thermistors to the specified gapping…. Save yourself some aggravation and bench test everything before you install back in the locomotive. Knowing you have a proven performer before putting the locomotive back together is key. Test the motors as John suggests, that’ll save you a lot of headache ………I’ve seen these smoke units char so bad the exit to the smoke stack gets blocked with charred plastic, and gook. So check every square mm for possible problem areas,……if you decide to just replace the smoke unit, don’t take it for granted it’s built properly at the factory. Most of the time, they’re not,….I think John does this trick as well,….I toss the Lionel crappy wicking in the trash, in favor for MTH’s hardy wicking material. That’s available at mthpartsandsales.com ……there’s my plug for the evening,……😉

Pat

@harmonyards posted:

You can make the smoke unit perform like you want it to. Watch how you install the wicking, making sure the air flow pathways are good and clear. Also, make sure the resistors just do touch the bed of wicking so they’re not hanging in mid air, where they just burn with nothing to feed them. Move the thermistors to the specified gapping…. Save yourself some aggravation and bench test everything before you install back in the locomotive. Knowing you have a proven performer before putting the locomotive back together is key. Test the motors as John suggests, that’ll save you a lot of headache ………I’ve seen these smoke units char so bad the exit to the smoke stack gets blocked with charred plastic, and gook. So check every square mm for possible problem areas,……if you decide to just replace the smoke unit, don’t take it for granted it’s built properly at the factory. Most of the time, they’re not,….I think John does this trick as well,….I toss the Lionel crappy wicking in the trash, in favor for MTH’s hardy wicking material. That’s available at mthpartsandsales.com ……there’s my plug for the evening,……😉

Pat

I appreciate the plug, thanks! I searched the site for smoke unit wicks and "hardy wick", but never got anything. Would you mind posting a link, or a part number?

I'm back, here's what I got:

- Both smoke unit fans work fine on their own, but neither turn on by loco power

- Smoke unit parts look decent. Definitely not brand new, but not charred

- Heating element parts look okay



I looked on the lionel website, but it looks like you can only by units by themselves for this loco, minus the resistor (is that what would be causing this issue?). Looking for pointers here for sure

While I'm at it, this boiler face is giving me problems. The screw on the bottom is tight, and I have tried to reposition it, but I continue to get this gap. Should I just replace the boiler front for $12?

73848157712__5546EBB5-E6E3-40B5-9B69-DB0CE1C2A0C7

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@Sams Trains posted:

I'm back, here's what I got:

- Both smoke unit fans work fine on their own, but neither turn on by loco power

- Smoke unit parts look decent. Definitely not brand new, but not charred

- Heating element parts look okay



I looked on the lionel website, but it looks like you can only by units by themselves for this loco, minus the resistor (is that what would be causing this issue?). Looking for pointers here for sure

While I'm at it, this boiler face is giving me problems. The screw on the bottom is tight, and I have tried to reposition it, but I continue to get this gap. Should I just replace the boiler front for $12?

73848157712__5546EBB5-E6E3-40B5-9B69-DB0CE1C2A0C7

Hi Sam, I can help with this one.  These are known for the front boiler plates warping a little and they have that gap.

Also, the one screw on the bottom that holds them on comes loose.

I had the same issue.

Lionel still has them, so yes go ahead and get one.  Switching them out is not too hard but tedious.  All the parts on the front have to come off the old one and then put on the new one.  They are all held on by tiny screws.  You will have to cut the wires for the marker lights and then reconnect after you get them transferred over.  It's a poor design with only one screw holding on the whole unit.  Make sure you put some Loctite on the main screw on the bottom when reassembling it.

But once you do that the gap will be gone.  It's worth it for the price of the part.

@Sams Trains posted:

I'm back, here's what I got:

- Both smoke unit fans work fine on their own, but neither turn on by loco power

- Smoke unit parts look decent. Definitely not brand new, but not charred

- Heating element parts look okay



I looked on the lionel website, but it looks like you can only by units by themselves for this loco, minus the resistor (is that what would be causing this issue?). Looking for pointers here for sure

A stand-alone test of the fan motors isn't very useful unless you measure the current draw at 5VDC.  If they're drawing more than 40-45 milliamps at 5V, replace the motors.  Also, since the fan motors aren't running, check the wiring between the smoke fan and the RCMC board, the fan is powered directly from the RCMC.  It seems somewhat unlikely that both fan outputs from the board would be bad.

A stand-alone test of the fan motors isn't very useful unless you measure the current draw at 5VDC.  If they're drawing more than 40-45 milliamps at 5V, replace the motors.  Also, since the fan motors aren't running, check the wiring between the smoke fan and the RCMC board, the fan is powered directly from the RCMC.  It seems somewhat unlikely that both fan outputs from the board would be bad.

Wiring all looks good to me. Nothing appears loose. From what i understand, both units went out at the same time, or around the same time. Should I replace both motors first, or just rebuild both units?

image

Hi Sam, I can help with this one.  These are known for the front boiler plates warping a little and they have that gap.

Also, the one screw on the bottom that holds them on comes loose.

I had the same issue.

Lionel still has them, so yes go ahead and get one.  Switching them out is not too hard but tedious.  All the parts on the front have to come off the old one and then put on the new one.  They are all held on by tiny screws.  You will have to cut the wires for the marker lights and then reconnect after you get them transferred over.  It's a poor design with only one screw holding on the whole unit.  Make sure you put some Loctite on the main screw on the bottom when reassembling it.

But once you do that the gap will be gone.  It's worth it for the price of the part.

Thanks Sean! Mine is definitely warped then. I’ll get a new one!

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If both smoke units went at the same time, I'd be looking for some pinched wires coming from the smoke units to the RCMC.  FWIW, this model was produced in 2012, right around the time that Lionel was having all sorts of problems with fan motors.  That being the case, I'd replace those first and see if that fixes it.  Obviously, if I were at this point, I'd slap the RCMC on my testset to see if it was healthy.

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

If both smoke units went at the same time, I'd be looking for some pinched wires coming from the smoke units to the RCMC.  FWIW, this model was produced in 2012, right around the time that Lionel was having all sorts of problems with fan motors.  That being the case, I'd replace those first and see if that fixes it.  Obviously, if I were at this point, I'd slap the RCMC on my testset to see if it was healthy.

Think the RCMC would crap out just the smoke units?

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