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Does anyone know how to replace a broken hinge for the cab apron on a Lionel Vision Line Challenger? The screw that holds the hinge piece to the locomotive is not accessible without removing other parts under the cab/frame. I’m hoping someone else has already done this replacement and can tell me how to access that screw without disassembling the whole locomotive. Thanks in advance for your reply!


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Pete (Norton on OGR) has done a lot of aprons on his engines, maybe you should consider improving the apron.  One of the problems that Lionel and MTH both have is the apron only goes slightly past horizontal.  If it gets forced up any farther, it breaks it!  What you really need is a hinge that allows it to go well past horizontal so it won't break in normal operation.

@Peter C posted:

Here are photos with the yellow arrows showing the fracture point in the hinge part.

This break was not caused by locomotive operation but rather shipping damage.

That one is made like the Niagaras. Not a good design. As you already figured out the piece can be removed but you will have to do some disassembly. I would be surprised if Lionel sells that part though. JB Weld might hold together. You can try contacting Lionel about a replacement.

Looks like you are in luck, They make a right and left hand.


Last edited by Norton

Thanks Norton. Coincidentally, I think I already have a replacement hinge! A couple of years ago, I purchased from Lionel all of the cab apron components for my 2000 JLC Challenger, fearing that it would break someday. The parts diagrams on Lionel’s website appear to indicate that all of their scale Challengers share the same apron parts. However, I may not be so forward thinking since the disassembly required to change that part may be beyond my ability level!

To get Lionel plugs out of their receps, I have used a very small flat head screwdriver (I have a set of Wiha screw drivers I use on my Lionels); I gently work a driver on the sides of the head of a plug (twisting the flat blade to separate the plug from its recep) being careful not to gouge the plug; slow and patient

And what GRJ said.

Thanks Gunrunner & Rick. I’m pretty confident about my ability to remove & reinstall the shell. I have done it with my Lionel JLC Challenger. However, it looks like the lower boiler shell (includes cab floor) then needs to be removed from the frame in order to access the critical  screw... this is where I feel like I’m way in deeper than my pay grade!

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