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I just picked up the above engines and I was told they were excellent running condition.  They are not.  Both directions sputter then stop altogether.  I tested them on same track and transformer I run my 736 on and its perfect.  What could be the issue?  E-unit? Motor? And the big question, what would any repair cost be?  I’ll hold onto them if the fix isnt the same cost as what I paid.  

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Normally I clean the drivers, then the pick ups, then spray the e unit with that CRC contact cleaner (safe for plastic). Then evaluate from there. 

I would also check the E Unit fingers and make sure they are all there and making good contact and clean the fingers and the drum with an eraser and lube everything good. They are bullet proof locomotives and easy to clean and maintain.

Just a cleaning is all that is likely needed. CRC 2-26 is great for cleaning pickup rollers, e-units, and commutators. Can also use it on the drivers where they make contact with the track, but Goo-Gone is my preference there. A light oil (Labelle 107 or Mobile1 Synthetic 5W30)  on the axles, armature bushings and such can help. Your 726 also has an internal gearbox that could use a look over to ensure contains grease that has not hardened. Lucas Red 'N Tacky #2 is what I use there.

Olsen's kindly hosts the service documents for Postwar locomotives:

Choo Choo Johnny they are very  easy to open up if you are into Post War Lionel you should get comfortable doing the minor maintenance to these units. As long as you do not remove the driver rods opening the locomotive up is pretty easy. Here is a web site that you can look at Lionel Service Manuals for each piece and download for free: Good luck and Happy Railroading. 

Anyone who collects and runs Lionel, or any make, Post War engines need to learn how to maintain them.  It is a learning process, true.  But, hey, I started doing it at the age of seven, and still have my original set(s) from then.  So, get comfortable with it and enjoy the process of keeping your trains in good condition.  There is so much information to access, and so many people willing to help with any questions you may have.  Jump in and learn how to swim......

Jesse   TCA  12-68275

Clean and lube brings these locos back to life.  The process is easy until you find the E-unit needs work.  In most of the out-of-the-attic locos I have worked on, the drum and pickup fingers are tarnished and worn.  If the suggestions on E-unit cleaning don't work, then E-unit rebuild is a PITA for the uninitiated - reassembly requires at least three hands and a robust vocabulary.

I recommend you clean/lube the rollers and drivers, then pull the boiler shell off to remove the motor and re-grease the gear box.  There is a hole on the motor shaft bearing for a drop of oil.  Remount the motor and test - the mechanism should be smooth.  Clean the E-unit (but never lube it - oil will gum up the piston).

If the simple clean and lube doesn't provide smooth operation, then rebuild/replacement of the E-unit is likely the next step.  My preference is the electronic E-unit unless you like the post-war buzz.

I have found the hobby of collecting and operating postwar Lionel trains to be both satisfying and exciting. Most postwar Lionel trains were very well built, rugged and reliable. 

If your desire is to commit to such an endeavor, it would do you well to learn some simple maintenance, troubleshooting and repair techniques yourself.

YouTube is your friend. There are many good videos on simple maintenance troubleshooting and repair techniques.

As for tools, I've managed to get a long way with a fair collection of simple tools, small screwdrivers, nut drivers, ignition wrenches, pliers, cutters, a needle oiler and a good soldering iron. If you don't know how to solder, don't be afraid and please learn. It only takes a small amount of practice to get good at it.

As for resources, my go-to book for postwar Lionel is Greenburg's Repair and Operating Manual for Lionel Trains. Not a repair tutorial per say , but an exploded diagram and parts list for nearly everything postwar that Lionel made.

As for parts, this OGR board is an excellent resource to search for the popular places where all the guys go for parts.

I've undone my fair share of botched repairs, mostly from my Grandfather's efforts on his collection that I inherited. Fix and maintain 'em right and they'll last for even more uncountable generations to come, and you'll soon take pride in your efforts.

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