My 681 clanks after every up-down motion of the smoke lever, it’s almost like a ringing but I can’t get rid of it - tried everything???
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Lionel recommend the addition of a 2026-44 spring sitting above the piston within the chamber. I have done this in many stock units and been satisfied. Also check that the 671-188 lever is in proper form/shape and that the 671-189 smoke lever retainer is fastened securely.
Mine has always had that "ring" and clank to it.