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I have a Lionchief Plus Great Northern 171  4-6-4 Model 6-84937.  I've had the engine for about a month.

When I add the recommended 15-20 drops of smoke juice, the train smokes a lot for about 15 minutes and then runs out of juice.  My "layout" for this train is a loop hanging from my kitchen ceiling and a lot of the time I just want it to run in the background.  But I don't want to have to worry about burning out the smoker.  So my questions are:

Am I doing something wrong? or is this normal for this train type?

What can I do differently to get the smoke to last longer or to guarantee I won't run out of juice and damage the engine?

Any advice is appreciated!

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I am not sure about maintenance on MTH engines but with Lionel to replace the wicking requires a removal of the engines shell which can be a pain.  I wish that Lionel would have continued what they did with the K-Line by Lionel sd-70.  You just removed a section of the engine roof and had immediate access to the smoke unit.  No screws to lose or wires to pinch when re-installing.

Marty

@KOOLjock1 posted:

I always add ONE FULL DROPPER of smoke fluid to fan-driven units at the end of each operating session.

Jon

Interesting... I'm curious what benefits and possible drawbacks (if any) this might have vs. adding the smoke fluid just prior to running.  Why fan driven units?  What about non-fan units?

What chance is there of the smoke fluid seeping out of the bottom of a Loco's reservoir if stored for long periods in the upright position?

@SteveH posted:

Interesting... I'm curious what benefits and possible drawbacks (if any) this might have vs. adding the smoke fluid just prior to running.  Why fan driven units?  What about non-fan units?

What chance is there of the smoke fluid seeping out of the bottom of a Loco's reservoir if stored for long periods in the upright position?

Non-fan driven units just get a few drops of fluid, you'll make a mess with a full dropper!

@SteveH posted:

What chance is there of the smoke fluid seeping out of the bottom of a Loco's reservoir if stored for long periods in the upright position?

None, there is no holes in the bottom of a fan driven smoke unit reservoir.  The puffers shouldn't get much smoke fluid at any one time, or you will have an issue.

@SteveH posted:

Interesting... I'm curious what benefits and possible drawbacks (if any) this might have vs. adding the smoke fluid just prior to running.  Why fan driven units?  What about non-fan units?

In the case of a modern fan unit. It gives the fluid time to get down and soak into the batting.

This is especially an issue for diesels and a few Lionel steamers where the whistle steam gets filled through the exit hole, I.E. the legacy ESE hudson.

I also get the impression that  fluid tends to pool a bit on new wicking until after several heating cycles.  IMO a similar concept to a new sponge or chamois when taking on water.

I think this is why folks complain about newer models spitting fluid, because the fluid hasn't had a chance to absorb into the wicking.

I tend to only run my smoke units occasionally for brief lengths of time on the lowest setting possible that produces reasonable smoke. Some models smoke fine on low, others require medium or high.

Running a locomotive  with the smoke on high every minute of operation, will require more frequent rewicking.

Steve,

As mentioned above, this gives the fluid time to properly make its way down into the wicking.  Many Lionel engines use an interior funnel to the unit because the exhaust wouldn't fit directly under the stack.  This gives each drop a somewhat circuitous route to get into the unit, and that takes time.  This is especially true on diesels.

The other thing I've read is that dropping cold fluid onto a hot coil causes the fluid to crystalize onto the heating element.  I haven't done the science on this myself, but I've been happy with my results.

Jon

@Mike Wyatt posted:

It seems to me that the smoke function MIGHT not be worth the trouble??

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and choices.   For me, smoke with steam is mandatory.  I'm less "hard-over" for smoking diesels, it's not a deal-killer if an engine doesn't have smoke.  When I run smoke with diesels, as a rule I run it on a low setting so you just have a realistic hint of smoke.

The exception is for Alco diesels, those need all the smoke you can make.

Thank you @gunrunnerjohn, @RickO, @RickO for your insights and explanations about the fan driven and puffer differences.

To maybe help answer the OP's question about what could be done to extend the length of "Smoke Time" between smoke fluid refills.  There were some discussions a while back about using Lionel Premium Smoke fluid. For example: https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...t-in-a-lionel-engine

Does anyone still think Lionel Premium Smoke fluid lasts longer compared to Lionel Smoke Fluid in a Lionel fan-driven smoke unit like the OP's Great Northern LionChief Plus Hudson #171?

15 minutes is a safe max time to run the puffer smoke on my Railking steamers.

As far as spitting fluid out of the stack , I now have no problem since I use the tiny funnel that I found in the packaging for my Railking ps2 Triplex.         It seems to go way down iinto the recesses of the smoke fluid reservoir.

I have tried the plastic droppers and even the droppers in the fluid bottles but I guess I just like to count the " drops " as I fill the reservoir.

@SteveH posted:

Does anyone still think Lionel Premium Smoke fluid lasts longer compared to Lionel Smoke Fluid in a Lionel fan-driven smoke unit like the OP's Great Northern LionChief Plus Hudson #171?

I think we're starting to split hairs here.

All smoke fluids are primarily some blend of mineral oil.

When in doubt. Add a few drops before an operating session.

Since I only run my smoke units briefly and not every run. I'll put 5 drops in before I turn it on . Unless the loco has been sitting for several weeks. Then I'll add 10 or 15 drops.

I'm inclined to think that most folks are running their units on the dry side as opposed to overfilling. It takes alot of fluid to overfill most modern fan units.

Has anyone ever tried adding some wicking to the chimney of a WBB steamer with the God awful Seuthe smoke unit?

You either get a flood that leaks out the bottom or 30 seconds of smoke with any kind of smoke fluid.

I have seen past posts talking about fan driven smoke units (using the now irrelevant MTH units), but has anyone tried the simple addition of wicking inside the chimney?

John

Forget trying to "improve" the Seuthe smoke unit, it's as good as it's ever going to get.  If you want more smoke, the only practical method is a fan driven smoke unit.

I'm not sure how smoke fluid leaks out the bottom of your Seuthe smoke unit, it's a sealed tube!  However, the thin stream of smoke that they give out looks silly coming out of a steamer, so anything that came in my door with a Seuthe smoke unit now has fan driven smoke.

We've put smoke into some tall chimneys, one thing that was discovered was we needed some added airflow for a 16" tall chimney.  An 40mm computer fan under the fan driven smoke unit did the trick.  If the smoke unit is near the top, it's probably not needed.  I used a USA G-gauge smoke unit in a building with two stacks, I just plumbed between the two and split the smoke, that worked well.  There was about 6-8" of tubing between the stacks, and one had a straight shot so I could easily add fluid.

Forget trying to "improve" the Seuthe smoke unit, it's as good as it's ever going to get.  If you want more smoke, the only practical method is a fan driven smoke unit.

I'm not sure how smoke fluid leaks out the bottom of your Seuthe smoke unit, it's a sealed tube!  However, the thin stream of smoke that they give out looks silly coming out of a steamer, so anything that came in my door with a Seuthe smoke unit now has fan driven smoke.

Have you done any of the Williams by Bachmann locos?  They recommend 12-15 drops of Lionel smoke fluid.  It leaks out the bottom.  Then JT (in an old thread) said use 6-7 drops of theirs in that same loco and it smokes for a whopping 30 seconds then stops.

John

Last edited by Craftech

If it's a Seuthe smoke unit, 15 drops probably fills it!   In any case, that's way too much smoke fluid for a Seuthe smoke unit, it'll spit that all over.  I have a bunch of Seuthe smoke units in my parts box, and I can put one on the bench with five drops of Megasteam and it'll smoke about five minutes before it runs out.  I'm feeding them the rated 6 volts from a bench power supply.  I don't know why it would stop in 30 seconds, that doesn't seem right.

If it's a Seuthe smoke unit, 15 drops probably fills it!   In any case, that's way too much smoke fluid for a Seuthe smoke unit, it'll spit that all over.  I have a bunch of Seuthe smoke units in my parts box, and I can put one on the bench with five drops of Megasteam and it'll smoke about five minutes before it runs out.  I'm feeding them the rated 6 volts from a bench power supply.  I don't know why it would stop in 30 seconds, that doesn't seem right.

It's pretty consistent and absolutely pathetic.  I bought it two months ago.  I take it a wick would destroy it or possibly do nothing?

My 2026 will puff smoke with JT's Megasteam for well over and hour and then some.   I cleaned out the waxy stuff from the pellets I used as a kid, added a spring, a wadded up half length of new wick, a chimney gasket; and it works better than I remember it as a kid in the fifties.   And that's with a few drops.

John

Last edited by Craftech

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