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I do not use a lathe or any other power tools.  It is all hand work.  I use abrasive paper starting with 220 and work up to 2500.  220, 320, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000, and  2500 grits. I believe that it all came from Amazon. The 220 and 320 are garnet, the rest is wet and dry paper. Garnet is preferable as it is softer and will not embed in the copper and wear away the brushes. I have not been able to find garnet any finer than 320, but I believe 600 is out there. 

The goal in reworking the surface of a Lionel commutator is to get it square to the shaft, flat and smooth. The brushes can not follow an uneven surface as fast as the motor turns and will just bounce along arcing all the time. The smooth surface finish is to reduce wear on the brushes. 

I work the commutators against a steel block with a 0.127" hole in it. The surface is flat and the hole is perpendicular to the surface.  I use a small center punch, with the paper laying on the steel block, to make the holes in the paper.  Then turn the paper over and cut off any of the paper that carried through,  with a sharp knife, to prevent a lump in the paper.  Most of the time is spent with the 220 and 320 paper taking the plastic down even with the copper surface, and then working the copper surface to get the low spots out. After that is done the polishing goes fairly quickly. I usually do 6 back and forth twists in one place and then move to the next hole and six more. I do this all the way across the end of the paper, then move on to the next grade. Clean the paper off with a stiff paint brush when it is getting plunged.  You can feels and hear it when the paper needs cleaning. The garnet, which does most of the work, wears out fairly quickly. The wet and dry last a long time. It takes between 1 and 2 hours to do an armature. I clean the armature, including the slots, before I start the surface refinishing and then blow it off with canned air when I am finished.  Check the three connection points prior to starting.  Sometimes the wire is above the surface.  This will need to be resoldered prior to refinishing or you run the risk to cutting the wire off.  

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This is what you start with.

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Following is a sequence of photos I took when I was trying to remove a particularly deep series of arc damage.  In the last photo, I am finished with the 320 garnet and the polishing process is about to start.  

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Yes - clever!  My mind goes straight to a lathe, but that looks like it worked very well.  I promised (maybe) a photo of the 57" drivers I just modified.  You should have seen what I started with - the tires and rim were overwhelming the spokes!  I cut the rims with a square lathe tool, then ground the area between the spokes with a high speed dental bit in a Dremel tool. 

Obviously this thing has a long way to go, but it does run.  The cab is off a Lobaugh Mike - I always press rivets in my cabs, but am not in the mood yet to make a proper cab for this one.  Tender is freelance, but is very similar to the SP "sausage" type, used on all switchers and occasionally on Moguls and Consolidations.  Herewith:SP 0-8-0

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Thank you David, I totally enjoyed the detailed description with the photos! I had never really considered brush bounce in the past, but of course you're absolutely correct - every millisecond a brush is in poor contact or no contact with the commutator, is a millisecond where the power isn't there!

Also with regard to the solder connection points being sanded down, I wonder if a round shaft of steel, of the proper diameter and with the .127" hole drilled in the end, might not reduce the damage to those connections? How do you secure the steel bar when working, hand-held or clamped?

My mind keeps going to a drill being used to speed the process up, but with a worm on the drive end of the armature shaft, I'm thinking that won't work! Plus, on some armatures I suspect there might be some wobble between the armature shaft and the .127" hole, and a drill wouldn't provide the "feel" to keep things square between the two.

Thanks again, I really enjoy reading the experiences of others. With no machining or metal working background at all, this makes for a most interesting read.

I have considered a round steel bar for sanding. It would be easier to hold, but may be difficult to wrap the sand paper around. I do not think that sanding the tops of the terminals off will make any difference as long as the armature coil wires were wrapped around the terminal in such a way that the wires ended up in the bottom of the slot. This photo of a terminal without solder and shows how deep the terminal's slot is. 

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This commutator is Lionel part number 226E-55.  The 226E was introduced in 1938 and this commutator was used on most motors up until almost the end of the post war era in 1969. When sanding the commutator smooth the plastic (Bakelite)  Is removed around the edges first. This appears to because Lionel turned the face of the commutator to true it.  At least in the early years. The following photo is a 1946 armature. The tool marks from turning can be seen in booth the plastic and copper. 

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Well, there appears to be some lose of detail in the photo posted, so hopefully the tooling marks can be seen. 

In the late post war years Lionel introduced a commutator with a raised brush track. I do not know how Lionel treated this, but it makes maintenance much easier.  However, I do not believe that these commutators were widely used. 

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Hard to believe a month has passed since this neat thread was last approached.  I note that the 6-18000 switcher has taken a serious nose dive in price.  I missed one with loose wheels for $75 last week - busy flying and forgot to bid.  And there exist a few at $175, new in the box.  Won't be long before I snag one for 2-railing.

Do you suppose the newer K-Line derivative has become more popular, at the expense of this classic?

Bob,

 Thanks for starting this up again. I also have noticed quite a few reasonably priced vintage 227-series locomotives on eBay, some in the ballpark of $500, which I've not seen before. Overall, I think it is a buyers market with so many of the modern offerings being produced in the last few years and the glut of original prewar locomotives being available as the original owners or their families try to thin out.  

  I picked up this prewar gal which I will be posting pictures on soon. I posted this on the Switcher Saturday topic...that I guess I will give a home to any homeless prewar switcher, like the equivalent of Father Flanagan at Boys Town. 

Lionel 228 Xmas Dec 2018 1

Lionel 228 Xmas Dec 2018 rev2

Tom 

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bob2 posted:

Ok, if you want to hide stuff from those of us who don't frequent this part of the forum.  

Too bad; I think this one has much broader interest.  Strummer is active here, and yet did not know of this interesting thread's existence.  I bet there are twenty other forumites like him and me.

Bob,

  No offense was intended. Can you imagine how many folks would have been complaining if I had posted this topic under the Scale 3 Rail category? Glad if anyone finds this an interesting topic, no matter what their preference is. 

Happy holidays,

 Tom 

In the process of repairing a 228 . Like many of these the weak link is often the front coupler wiring but not bad just slowly disassemble only problem would be if coil is damaged. Other delicate feature is the e-unit on these I have been considering making new brass wipers for these (photoetch process) but don’t think enough call for the piece. Neat thing is look at these loco s and they will have 3-4 electromagnetic/mechanical devices in each loco/tender combination and then add the bell option !! Quite an engineering feat

   I have to say I felt it belonged in with the tradional 3rail trains, more than tinplate or 3rs. It is one of the locos that marks the beginnings of hi-rail

  But it was introduced during the tinplate era.  It is scale too.  So it fits in anywhere really. But it was a tinplate car puller first.

   You could counter point with there is no tin; but cast is well established in tinplate elewhere.

  I have to agree, if you only focus on one catagory, you WILL miss out.  

  There isn't a good reason for the 3rs guys not to run another thread in 3rs focusing on the scale aspects and suppling a link in between the two in each thread. 

  This type of thread building on tangents and alerting by link has served us well in the past imo, just seems we've strayed from it; ebbs and flows of actively posting members and all. 

Well, one of the unique features of this particular Forum is that we see the latest comments in order of their posting, regardless of what "scale" or what "sub category" they were put into. I dare say that if this thread had only appeared in the "tinplate" group, and I had to go there first, I possibly never would have read it at all. Not that there's anything "wrong" with tinplate; it's just not an area where I have a lot of interest.

In any case, this continues to make for good reading; thanks!

Mark in Oregon 

Jagrick posted:

In the process of repairing a 228 . Like many of these the weak link is often the front coupler wiring but not bad just slowly disassemble only problem would be if coil is damaged. Other delicate feature is the e-unit on these I have been considering making new brass wipers for these (photoetch process) but don’t think enough call for the piece. Neat thing is look at these loco s and they will have 3-4 electromagnetic/mechanical devices in each loco/tender combination and then add the bell option !! Quite an engineering feat

I posted some questions on the 227 front box couplers some time back. I have repaired several of them and was in need of parts.

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...-prewar-box-couplers

I ended up finding sources for everything I needed, but I failed to update the post with this information. For parts Jeff Kane, the Train Tender, has most of the parts.  Following photo is from his web site.

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I also found that Dennis Waldron, Just Trains, has original complete front couplers for several of the 227 family locos, including the 227 and 230.  

One interesting thing I have learned was about the spears without hooks and the lack of any spear at all.  I was a post war guy, but found that the 227 family was a very easy locomotive work on, being built between the bent sheet metal tab era and the tubular rivet era. Almost everything on the 227 family is assembled with threaded fasteners. As I learned more about this era I learned how the box coupler works. To uncouple the box coupler, the hoods on both adjacent couplers have to be lifted. This is not a problem on the RCS track, but the 227 family equipped with the teledyne uncoupling system uncoupled only the front coupler on the locomotive and the rear coupler on the tender, not the adjacent car.  This releases the hook on the adjacent car, but it would not release the hook on the loco and tender couplers.  To make the teledyne system work the engine and tender couplers were either equipped with spears that had no hook or no spear at all.  Both variations exist on various models, years and locations.

As for the e-unit, I find it much easier to work on that the standard 259 e-unit.  One thing I alway do is to remove the contacts and ratchet wheel prior to soldering wires into the contact board.  This is to protect the ratchet and contacts from the soldering heat.  The contacts are attached to the ratchet wheel with small drive pins.  Lionel drilled this hole all the way through making it possible to use a very small punch to drive the pins out to repair or change the contacts.  Over the years I have only seen a few of the contacts available as a separate items.  Fortunately I have had very good luck with these e-unit and have never needed to replace the contacts, but it sure would be nice to have a source of them.  I do not think they are brass, they are probably phos. bronze, maybe C-510, spring temper.  

 

 

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David Johnston posted:
Jagrick posted:

In the process of repairing a 228 . Like many of these the weak link is often the front coupler wiring but not bad just slowly disassemble only problem would be if coil is damaged. Other delicate feature is the e-unit on these I have been considering making new brass wipers for these (photoetch process) but don’t think enough call for the piece. Neat thing is look at these loco s and they will have 3-4 electromagnetic/mechanical devices in each loco/tender combination and then add the bell option !! Quite an engineering feat

I posted some questions on the 227 front box couplers some time back. I have repaired several of them and was in need of parts.

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...-prewar-box-couplers

I ended up finding sources for everything I needed, but I failed to update the post with this information. For parts Jeff Kane, the Train Tender, has most of the parts.  Following photo is from his web site.

image

I also found that Dennis Waldron, Just Trains, has original complete front couplers for several of the 227 family locos, including the 227 and 230.  

One interesting thing I have learned was about the spears without hooks and the lack of any spear at all.  I was a post war guy, but found that the 227 family was a very easy locomotive work on, being built between the bent sheet metal tab era and the tubular rivet era. Almost everything on the 227 family is assembled with threaded fasteners. As I learned more about this era I learned how the box coupler works. To uncouple the box coupler, the hoods on both adjacent couplers have to be lifted. This is not a problem on the RCS track, but the 227 family equipped with the teledyne uncoupling system uncoupled only the front coupler on the locomotive and the rear coupler on the tender, not the adjacent car.  This releases the hook on the adjacent car, but it would not release the hook on the loco and tender couplers.  To make the teledyne system work the engine and tender couplers were either equipped with spears that had no hook or no spear at all.  Both variations exist on various models, years and locations.

As for the e-unit, I find it much easier to work on that the standard 259 e-unit.  One thing I alway do is to remove the contacts and ratchet wheel prior to soldering wires into the contact board.  This is to protect the ratchet and contacts from the soldering heat.  The contacts are attached to the ratchet wheel with small drive pins.  Lionel drilled this hole all the way through making it possible to use a very small punch to drive the pins out to repair or change the contacts.  Over the years I have only seen a few of the contacts available as a separate items.  Fortunately I have had very good luck with these e-unit and have never needed to replace the contacts, but it sure would be nice to have a source of them.  I do not think they are brass, they are probably phos. bronze, maybe C-510, spring temper.  

 

 

Thanks for posting-didn't know the rebuild kit existed and definitely a step up, as I have had to partially unwind the fields in the past or write them off. These are some of the best engineered locos Lionel made. !! The wipers are a phosphor bronze so I need to see if chemical will act same way on the metal as on brass (I think it will).

Last edited by Jagrick
bob2 posted:

  I note that the 6-18000 switcher has taken a serious nose dive in price.  I missed one with loose wheels for $75 last week - busy flying and forgot to bid.  And there exist a few at $175, new in the box.  Won't be long before I snag one for 2-railing.

 

I would like to own one of these models converted to two rail as well.  Have liked these for at least 25 years. Would be a cool model to run on the DFW O scale club layout.

UPDATING, February 3, 2019-

1)The prewar #228 that I picked up for Christmas (see 12/26/2018) has been shipped over to Harry Henning's shop for his folks to work their magic. Although the e-unit was working flawlessly, there was a problem that it was running on too many volts. 

2)I opened up my other #228 today. This locomotive at some point had postwar couplers installed. If there ever was something that was said to have arrived in "bulletproof" packaging this was it. The seller threw in 2 pieces of vintage Lionel T-Rail track and cut the Styrofoam like a jig-saw puzzle and even cut out the domes and smoke stack of the locomotive to protect it. 

When placed on the track, nothing happened. A quick look underneath showed some frayed wiring on the front coupler. I took the boiler shell off to check inside and there was a piece of wire that shouldn't be where it was. A snip there to remove that and to disconnect the front coupler and all was well...she is a fine runner. I'll post a video in the future. 

EBay seller photo:

Lionel 228 bought Jan 2019 no12xx

The packaging:

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Note the holes cut out of the foam to keep the locomotive from shifting:

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Unpacked...

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Bad wiring snipped off and new headlight bulb...she is a fine runner. 

IMG_1189

Tom

 

 

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Last edited by PRR8976

Dave, I was thinking about keeping the postwar couplers on since it gives me some flexibility to pull some postwar cars that I have. 

Yes, the eBay seller certainly gets an A+ on his packaging. I may not have mentioned and it may not have been clear in the pictures, the 2 pieces of T-Rail track were on a whole separate section/layer of Styrofoam, almost like 2 separate floors in a house. 

Tom 

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