Mr. Greenberg did not include the answer to my conundrum.  I hope you can.  Why does my 1664 locomotive not like my Lionel O22 switches?  Regardless of speed, it often goes into neutral on my switches.  Then it will only nudge forward or reverse before going into neutral again.  I want to use the 1664.  No just admire it on the big shelf.

Question #2.  Are the center rail contacts replaceable?

Question #3.  Would it be better to install a motor from a 229 O gauge, assuming I could find one?

1664 engine

and finally - Question #4.  The coupler on my #2657 caboose is higher than all my other prewar stuff.  Is there an easy answer that will get it in my prewar consist?

2657 caboose


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Original Post

If you lock the reverse unit in forward, will the loco coast through the switch?

#2 The pickups are replaceable.  New ones might solve your problem. The Lionel service manual shows how and maybe that can be found online. Make sure you read it before attempting to remove them yourself. it's easy to wreck the spring.

Check to see if the pick up spacing matches the spacing of insulated parts of the switch.

#4 Prewar came with two different coupler heights, depending on the series of the cars. There is an adapter somewhere that will couple the low and the high. Again, the picture and proper name will be online somewhere.


I'm not sure , but this might be an O27 locomotive.  If it is, the spacing of the pickup rollers may be too close together for an O22 switch.  This is a very common problem with O27 engines and O22 switches.  The fix is to put a pickup roller on a truck in the tender and tie that pickup from the tender to the pickups in the engine.  You can put some kind of jack in the wire to disconnect when the engine is taken away from the tender,  Only need to do one wire (positive or center rail).




The 1664 is a prewar O27 engine.  Your idea about tying a tender roller to the engine slider contact sounds very doable.  I have two prewar tenders, a 1689W and a much nicer 2666W.  I prefer the 2666W because it isn't just a black box.  It is O gauge and has two rollers.  That would free the 1689W to evolve into an auxiliary water tender to pull behind my LC+ 4501.  The 4501 used an auxiliary tender between Birmingham and Chattanooga in the 1970's.  That is a young me standing on the primary tender in the attached photo. My Father, an official on the Southern/NS, always ran the 4501 when it was on excursions on the AGS Division.  Don't tell anyone, sometimes he gave me the throttle.


The 1664 stalls regardless of E unit position.

4501 in Chattanooga

Bill H.


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I have a 1666 [similar engine] with slider pick ups. I had to tweak the sliders slightly to the right or left to get it to operate smoothly over 022 switches. I don't remember exactly which way, but it wasn't to difficult to get it to go through in any direction. This should work with your engine unless the spacing between them is too narrow.


Yep.  The winning suggestion is to add a tether to the tender.  Four pickups are better than two, and easily removable if you want to put it back to original.

The 229 is the same loco with slightly nicer Baldwin disc wheels and roller pickups, which are spaced more widely than the sliding shoes on your 1664.  But if I were going to explore the notion of swapping motors, I would look closely at the motor from a 1656 switcher.  Roller pickups and double-reduction gearing for smoother running, plus no more "fat wheel" syndrome.  (On single-reduction motors like your 1664, the gear cast into the back of the wheel is the same diameter as the wheel tread.  This causes derailments and clunking on some other types of switches.)  Problem is, a 1656 motor isn't a bolt-in swap...  To reuse your side rods, you would probably need to pull and press all four wheels; I don't know whether the axle diameters and gear tooth pitch are the same.  If you managed to succeed, a 1664 with a 1656 motor is pretty much the ultimate 2-4-2!  I love these locos so much, someday I'll buy a bunch of junkers at York and give this a try.

@Steamer your 1664 is a Franken-loco.  It looks like it's been remotored with the chassis of a Postwar large Hudson or 2018 Prairie-type.  Definitely effective but an entirely different beast.

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

or did you mean my 1662? It came back back to life with a different motor after it started smoking one day....unfortunately Prewar Lionel's don't have a factory smoke feature.Been stalled out for the summer, hope to finish it up this winter.






Saving Tinplate One Piece at a Time


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Hey y'all,

   I bought a 1927 prewar set for my birthday.  Pictures below.  Please note the WOT performance of the the engine.  It will not operate in reverse.  I'm waiting to take the shell off until a NOS headlight arrives.  Only 92 years old!!

252 from 1927803 dark803804805807


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