I believe that the Lionel 247 Columbia Series has sealed plastic smoke unit. How can you test if these go bad and what is typically the problem? How can you repair? It looks like you would have to replace the whole unit since it is sealed -- if you could find one-- and what does that take (soldering)?
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Apply track voltage to the wires going into the unit and add smoke fluid. If it works, there will be smoke.
They cannot be repaired as they are sealed, and there are no replacements available.
The blue striped 247 B&O loco, along with the 243 and 244 engines all had the same anemic smoke units. these did not produce much smoke. So if it is smoking at all, even if you replaced the unit you will still disappointed with the output. Older 909 smoke fluid seems to make the most smoke in these units.
I have a 247 which is a poor smoker using a traditional Lionel sine wave transformer. Switching to a newer chopped wave transformer such as a CW-80 dramatically increased smoke production at any given operating speed. Just be warned that you must keep the unit supplied with fluid or it will melt down and be destroyed.
I bought a new CW80 and that did not seem to fix it. I purchased a 233-50/236-50 thinking that was the correct replacement, finding a NOS version, but it was not correct for my model. The OEM unit is not melted down. Any identification of the one that is installed? The 233-50 is on the left (not installed). Other recommendations? Worst case, is this model OK to run without fluid?
The correct part number for the 247 smoke unit is 247-8 which is notably similar to the 746-60 smoke unit excepting the mounting bracketry. While these are "sealed" units, one can carefully chip away at the glue/cement and install a standard 8141-55 27 ohm heating element in these units.
Have rebuilt several of ours and they smoke well also.
Actually found the correct unit (247-8) as OEM and it looks like two solder points only (and the lightbulb), but is there some wool or other media under the smoke unit? Maybe that is actually my issue if that is the case. I was not expecting it to be open ended underneath. I want to make sure that everything is sourced before removing the old unit.
And is there a PDF of the repair manual for these models (the Scout/247s)?
The PDF for assemble and disassemble are really vague. With the correct replacement part is it possible to just swap the unit, solder, and call it a day? I hear that the engines are a pain to work on, but if I do not need to open the engine to swap smoke units that seems like it would make it easier.
Those Columbias are actually pretty easy to work on. It just takes a little patience to get the chassis, rear truck, etc., settled inside the shell upon reassembly. Wiggle everything around, and make sure the smoke unit chimney is lined up with the external smoke stack before tightening any screws.
Also- the 247 came two ways. One variation has a full, round boiler front like the 250 and 249. The other has some kind of radiator or air aftercooler molded into the body shell above the pilot deck. The version with the radiator was continued into the 1970s / MPC era. So if you're not concerned about keeping it original, I'm pretty sure that a smoke unit from an early MPC-era Columbia (like 8042, 8141, etc.), would be a bolt-in replacement. Look in "junk boxes" at your next local train meet. My $.02.