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I recently bought a couple of Lionel's heavyweight passenger cars and one of them had badly bent out of shape diaphragms.  I have had some success in the past straightening these by dunking in boiling water. I thought some may want to see the results and how to do it. I think Lionel has switched to a Butyl rubber from this stuff which I think is silicone. It's almost as soft as fishing worms.  I first cut a snug fitting plug that fills the large center hole, out of polypropylene foam, flip-flop foam will also work. Then cut some slivers of the foam the width of the ribs to force the bent ones to stand straight.   Grip the large plug in the middle with a pair of forceps and plunge the diaphragm into boiling water and hold it under for 15~20 seconds. Then I put it in a cup of cold water and hold it under for another 15~20 seconds. Sometimes I will repeat the process to fine tune things as I may do here. One of the two I just straightened could use a bit of tweaking.          j103_7344103_7348

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Last edited by JohnActon
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Great idea!

I had bought a Lionel Freedom train set (used but little or no run time).  All the diaphragms were not only mangled, but most were torn.  I was able to buy replacements from Lionel.  

The styrofoam packaging with this set (and probably a lot of others) does not have cutouts to store the cars with the diaphragms installed.  You can force them in, but they will be mangled or torn.   I plan to modify the packaging if I need to store them. 

Bob

RRDOC posted:

Great idea!

I had bought a Lionel Freedom train set (used but little or no run time).  All the diaphragms were not only mangled, but most were torn.  I was able to buy replacements from Lionel.  

The styrofoam packaging with this set (and probably a lot of others) does not have cutouts to store the cars with the diaphragms installed.  You can force them in, but they will be mangled or torn.   I plan to modify the packaging if I need to store them. 

Bob

Bob I think some of the tears occur just by being in the squished position a long time. Some areas end up under compression and others in tension if the tension extends to an edge eventually a tear develops. One of those in my photos had a small 1/4" tear so I put a drop of CA. in it. CA seems to hold the stuff quite well. It went through the boiling water with no problems. I also store the diaphragms on the foam cores I used to straighten them and I used a box cutter to hollow out a place in the foam box the cars come in to make a safe squish proof place to store them.         j

gunrunnerjohn posted:

Neat idea John, and I'll keep that in mind the next time I have this issue.  I think I have a bunch of these in a drawer that probably need the treatment.

I once stored a pile of them in a cigar box figured how could they get hurt. When I returned some months later I opened the box intending to reinstall them and half had warped just under the pressure of laying on top of one another.  I tried making the plugs to fill the center and they would not go back to the original shape in a month. Perhaps if you left them long enough? So before buying new ones thought I would try boiling water and it worked.          j

Resurrecting an old thread to see if a glue rehab of some torn/mis-shapen old K Line 18" heavyweight diaphragms is possible/recommended.  The diaphragms in question have tears and some minor missing pieces, but appear to be comesticaly salvageable and will be placed on secondary (i.e., not used too often) passenger cars.

Is there a glue or another process recommended for the soft K Line material used in producing the diaphragms?

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