Need some advice on a repair I am doing for a friend on his 1953 Lionel 2046 engine smoke unit. It is the old style pellet type with nichrome wire-wound heater element. Several wires on the heater element are broken, but the batting is in surprisingly pretty good shape with no burn marks nor is it "flooded" with pellet material.
A) Would anyone with experience on these old smoke units recommend doing a replacement trying to use a replacement nichrome wire heater of the same design?? Are these available?? Part numbers??
B) OR should I just go ahead and do a conversion to liquid smoke parts into the smoke unit?? Kit numbers???
I understand that if I do the liquid-type conversion, that my friend will need to remember to keep smoke fluid in the new liquid smoke unit all the time. The old style pellet heater seem to not burn themselves out if pellets are not always in the smoke unit??
Any other pluses or minuses here that I should be aware of on repair this old smoke unit??