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Hello, new to the forum and until a few months ago completely new to old Lionel trains. Have learned a ton and had great fun servicing and getting running old locos thanks to info from all of you!

I have recently acquired a 1688 and tender for tinkering that the seller stated did not run.

After servicing and cleaning actually runs quite well but after running just a few minutes pulling tender and 3 cars it is running hot enough for a small amount of smoke to be coming off the loco.

This loco has no e-unit and it has been rewired (not by me)

see attached pics, I have done the following

  • Cleaned commutator, brushes etc, oiled, lubed etc, everything moves well, very little resistance
  • cleaned wheels

I don’t have new brushes for it would that be the best first step or is there something obvious that I am missing as a total newbie to this?

Thanks for your help.



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Last edited by Craig Mc
Original Post

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Well, first off, smoke of that nature is not a good thing. The brushes do not look bad to me form the pictures provided. However, if they ever got lubricated with oil or anything, that isn't in their best interest and can cause smoking. Looking over your pictures, I think there is an error in the wiring that was done when the e-unit was removed.

Try this on for size:

Note, the junction where a yellow, blue, and black wire come together is NOT the screw terminal shown below. It can be a wire nut, solder joint (covered with electrical tape), or whatever you are able to come up with.


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Thank you!

Your wiring diagram straightened me out.
I have a Greenberg’s post war manual but nothing for prewar and the bottom brush grounding to the frame was making me second guess myself.

Really should have figured that out myself but you saved me a bunch of trial and error.

Back together, running like a top for several minutes, no smoke!

Thanks again for taking the time to help me out.



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