help installing new bearings in a Postwar Lionel 2343 horizontal motor truck

I had a heck of a time replacing the bearings in a 2343 Santa Fe F3 truck yesterday.
I was using a Hobby Horse bearing replacement tool set, and was following their directions, which was to:

1 - push out old bearings, axle and gear
2 - press in the new bearing on one side
3 - install axle and gear
4 - press in the new bearing on the other side (goes over the axle)

The reason for doing the work in this order is to avoid having the knurled portion of the axle score the inside of the bearing.

I didn't check the fit of the replacement bearings before installing the first one.

Here is the issue:

After pressing it into the truck, it was too tight for the axle.

I guess I could have reamed the bearing that went in before the axle, but what about the bearing that gets installed over the axle?

In the end, I reinstalled the original bearings. They were suffering from end wear, the loco was suffering from wheel rub, the axles were not sloppy in the bearings. I didn't push them in as far.

After I was done, I checked a few new bearings against some spare axles. Turns out they were rather tight on the axles. I could turn the bearings on the axles, but just barely.

On hunch, a dug out a box of original NOS Lionel 2343 truck bearings that I picked up a few years ago on EBay from a collection liquidation. Guess what: the bearings fit very nicely. There was a bit of play, but it wasn't excessive.
If I still have a spare truck, I am going to try installing a pair of the genuine bearings today to see whether they would be too tight after installation too.

Anyway, what do other folks do to address this issue?

C.W. Burfle
Original Post

Thank you for BMORAN4 for the thoughts.

I don't mean to be a prig, but 2333-28 bearing are for the 2333 style F3 without magnetic axles.
The 2343 has magnetic axles and uses 2343-79 axle bushing. The walls of these bushings are so thin, they almost look like slices of brass tubing.

I don't see any way around BMORAN's idea of installing both bushings, reaming them, and then removing them to install the axle and gear.
It certainly would be preferable to remove only one, but with the Hobby Horse system the bearings are pushed through the truck block, so I don't see how it could be used to remove only one.
Maybe with a brass pin punch?

I still want to see whether the original Lionel factory bearings I have work without reaming.

C.W. Burfle
C W Burfle posted:

I don't mean to be a prig, but 2333-28 bearing are for the 2333 style F3 without magnetic axles.
The 2343 has magnetic axles and uses 2343-79 axle bushing. The walls of these bushings are so thin, they almost look like slices of brass tubing.

Apologies for the confusion - I was going through my service notes and documents and apparently inadvertently ended up referencing the incorrect part number while typing up the post as you described. However, the process suggestion remains the same regardless.

I measured a few bearing:

factory spec:  .317-.318  I.D.   .378 O.D.
Replacements: .312 I.D.    .377 O.D.
Old stock bearings (possibly postwar factory) .3155 I.D. .378 O.D.

The "replacements" certainly have to be reamed.
Perhaps the "Old Stock" too.

The factory spec comes from the Lionel Engineering Standards, which is available from Bob Osterhoff on CD.

C.W. Burfle

I run a reamer through all the bearings I install. Sometimes I remove metal sometimes not. I believe that the zinc grows with age so even NOS bearings may need to have a little material removed. I discussed this with Jeff Kane some time back and he said that he believed new bearings need reaming after installing. I doubt Lionel reamed bearings on the assembly line, but what the manufacturing  engineers do does not always make it back to the mechanical engineers. As for not scoring the new bearings with the upset that retains the gear, I have seen 622 or 623 wheel and axle assemblies with the bearing installed between wheel and the axle upset.  I believe these to be original Lionel Service Station parts.  But the truck frame bore ID and the bearing OD and ID would have to all be correct for this to work.  

When I change bearings first I check the frame bore and bearing OD to be sure that I will get a proper press fit. Then I press in the bearings and ream. Then I install the axle and one wheel, scoring the bearing, and live with the results. 

I use a high speed steel round shank (chucking) reamers.  I put it is a tap wrench and ream by hand. They are available from McMaster in 0.0005 increments in most small sizes.   These are straight reamers. There is not a lot of choices of style in these small sizes. I usually look for 0.0015" to 0.002" over the journal size. 

I was looking at reamers on the McMaster-Carr site.
I have a few, but of course none of them are the right sizes.

I am not clear on what you mean by journal size. Would that be the diameter of the axle? Or maybe the published inner diameter of the bearing?

C.W. Burfle

Add Reply

Likes (1)
Ted S

OGR Publishing, Inc. PO Box 218, Hilliard, OH 43026 330-757-3020