OK....work has finally slowed down enough for me to take my new 3985 out of the box.....and yes, it will be going back to Lionel for articulated chuffing....pending their permission.

But, in the meantime:

1) When the instructions say to put "10-20 drops" into the smoke stack, do they mean IN TOTAL....or 10-20 drops in EACH front stack?  I'm assuming it's the latter....but I could be wrong.

2)  Isn't there a housing/space to "grease" each set of drivers?  I've oiled all the axles per the instructions, as well as the side rods and what not.  But on my JLC 4014, there was a cover that I unscrewed to grease the gears on each set of drivers.  Shouldn't there be something like that on this model as well?

3)  On page 12/48 of the Instruction PDF from the Lionel Website, there is a "nob" that can be turned to increase or decrease something.  Would that something be the smoke volume/intensity?  Link enclosed for everyone's convenience:  https://www.lionelsupport.com/...ONLINEChallenger.pdf

That's to everyone for their time!

-Tony

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Berkshire President posted:

 

3)  On page 12/48 of the Instruction PDF from the Lionel Website, there is a "nob" that can be turned to increase or decrease something.  Would that something be the smoke volume/intensity?  Link enclosed for everyone's convenience:  https://www.lionelsupport.com/...ONLINEChallenger.pdf

That's to everyone for their time!

-Tony

The knob is volume control.  The locomotive has volume adjust under the sand dome.  There is another volume adjust for Railsounds under the tender water hatches.  See page 9 of your manual.

 

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Well, if it's dry, it'll take AT LEAST 20 drops.  Put it in either stack, there's only one smoke unit there.  I'd put about 20 drops in, let it sink in for 15 minutes, then add another 10.  That should be sufficient to get good smoke.

I agree that those instructions (page 10 of the manual) are not clear. However, bearing in mind that the front smoke unit is a dual chamber model and the funnel into it that is underneath the stacks is connected to both stacks but only one side/chamber of the unit, I think that the instructions are to put 10-20 drops down one stack only:

VLC_Smoke

Now, that amount of smoke fluid won't be sufficient for this unit because the second chamber (whistle smoke) is separated from the first by a divider and the smoke fluid must flow under it and up to contact the resistor in the second chamber. People have different views about how much smoke fluid is too much or too little. I would normally charge a new smoke unit of this kind with at least 30-40 drops but added slowly, say in two or three batches, to let it soak in. Which stack you choose to put it down makes no difference as they are connected at the funnel. 

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When I got home, I started with ten drops.  To put it mildly, ten drops isn't a whole heck of a lot.

Normally, I go by the half vile to full vile methodology for Mega Steam.  However, since this unit is going back no matter what, I wanted to be a little by the book....for now.

And to John and Hancock's points, doing it slowly...and cold...does indeed matter.

Thanks for helping me out, John.  That's twice in only a few weeks.  

Thanks to all for responding.

Tony: Here's my take on the grease issue; I don't own one of these engines and am commenting using the illustration from the owners manual-each "engine" will have only one worm driven shaft to drive them. The illustration only shows one "Grease" port and that is on the rear engine. There SHOULD be another grease port for the front engine as well; is the illustration wrong? You'll have to check the actual engine and ascertain that.

As far as actual grease, I like to use Lucas Oil's "Red 'n Tacky #2 obtained at any auto parts store or Wally World. A tube will last a lifetime. Get a small plastic grease injector applicator (Amazon...) and use that to inject some in each Grease port.

You've already taken care of the linkage oiling and the axle bearings which is a good start to maintaining your loco.

Regarding loading a smoke unit, I think of laidoffsicks videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRcpFRtA6IY#t=180

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1asUWbJtfok

After initial load, my unverified rule of thumb is 1 drop of fluid for each minute of running with reloads after 10 minutes.  In addition, I unboxed a LionChief Plus after  being shelved for 1 year; got minimal smoke until I arrived at 45 drops in 10 drop increments.

Regarding my NIB 2010 Visionline Challenger I just got, I started off loading the units with 45 drops; it had already been loaded with an unknown amount by the previous owner when it was tested before shipment to me.

One last thing; I only load a smoke unit after it has cooled.

RickM46

And now it starts.

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