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Hey Everyone!

I've just finished my Lionel Turbine rebuild, mostly. I've replaced the axle bushings, motor, worm gear, smoker, and side rods. I've quartered the wheels and greased the gear.  My first question is, should I "break it in"  or just go ahead and use it normally? If I do need to break it in, what's the best way? My second question, is about the trucks. The front truck spring has rusted and broken off, which I didn't notice until after I had placed all my parts orders. The rear truck spring is in rough shape too. Do I need to replace them now or is it something that's not really important?   I'm considering adding a switch to turn the smoker on and off. Does anyone have ideas on where to mount a small switch without modification to the engine? Has anyone else done it to their engines? 

Original Post

Plastic is a better insulator than metal. . The original plastic caps in 1967 ( cream colored ) were molded in a higher temperature plastic than today's black caps. I don't recall ever seeing a melted cream colored cap. Are the black caps even Lionel issued? My guess is cheap knock offs that use cheaper plastic.

And also, that turbine is going to draw more current than a MPC 4-6-4, running the smoke heater at a higher voltage.

Last edited by Chuck Sartor

You can wind a new conical spring onto those truck shoulder rivets so you do not have to replace the rivets.  Just cut or pull the old spring off and screw the new on. It is a little bit of a fight at the small end, but the spring is tough and when I was all done there was no damage to the spring.  I do not think there is any reason for break in running if the bearings are lubed and the bearing clearances are correct. If the gears are noisy, you might need to running a little lapping compound on them for a few minutes, but not the worm or worm gear.  Sometimes you end up with a mix of pressure angles on the gears and things do not run so smooth in the beginning.   

The smoker was rebuilt using the conversion kit, so it uses liquid. There are two reasons for a switch for the smoker. The first one is to keep from burning it up from lack of fluid. The second is the fumes. My living room is where my layout is going and in the winter it won't have any ventilation.

I was hoping I could add the springs to the trucks without removing the studs, now I know it can be done. I just wish I had ordered them when I ordered everything else. The shipping will be more than the price of the springs and I can only pay with a money order, so that makes it an even bigger pain.

I bought a beater 2020 at York a number of years ago. It had some obvious external issues plus evidence of a hard drop some time in its life. I bought it cheap thinking I could fix it. Well short answer is I did fix it with some help, and it's a good runner now, but not after we replaced the front truck, springs, axle bearings, motor bearings, wiring, ripped off cab steps, and the burned out smoker unit. Never did go through a 'break in' period with it. Ran well right off the bench and onto the layout.

@radar493 posted:

Couldn't someone reuse the metal cap with the conversion?

Yes.  The difference is in the elements ability to tolerate the heat it produces without evaporation helping to cool it. 

If needed, automotive red high heat silicone for a sealer or homemade gasket (form a bead and let skin well then add the shell. Some plastic wrap masking might be a good idea for messy folk. A piece over top beween the cover & shell too.  (sometimes squeezing/popping some ooze happens. Controlling it with a pin-pop weep hole or two makes for a nicer molding, but you've got to catch it in the masking.)

Good silicone can take the direct heat of an element. You could mold a custom well from it.   I put a PW Element in a little round silcone pill/quarter holder; no problems. No discoloration let alone char.

With some careful taping or shrink tube protection, it could likely hang free under the cab/over in front of the firebox, etc. 

Attaching it out of the way with JB Weld or epoxy is another choice. (you just might have to destroy the sw to replace it. Not so bad).

JBW grinds and sands away better on metal than "rubbery" epoxys imo.  (It could even hold some springs in place 😎)

Because switch wire terminals are usually opposed the switch handle; gluing the side of the switch to the frame or shell, is likely easier. This makes a slide sw. hard to use; I'd lean at a micro-toggle mounted for a side to side throw vs up or down. (sand some scratches into smooth frame for JBW to grab)

Keep in mind mounting on the shell, you'll want to be able to disconnect the wires at one end or the other for servicing easier.

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