I'm looking at 312 steamer for a friend of mine only to come to the conclusion I don't know how they are supposed to work. I have PW Lionel so I understand them. Need a crash course.

Lights up, can here what sound like a E unit in the boiler shell.


Any Help would great

Thanks, Todd

Original Post


I'm a Lionel guy, too, but I do have a 312 in my modest AF collection and like most flyer engines the e- unit is in the tender and the smoke unit is in the boiler.  Only the early postwar flyer engines had the e-unit in the boiler with the smoke units in the tender.   So we will need to know which version you have in order to help.



The SIT uses a small HO motor to operate the piston for the smoke unit.  The tender picks up track power and routes it to the locomotive via two wires and also powers the SIT via a switch under the tender.  The e-unit in the locomotive is similar to Lionel's, but uses two-two finger contacts, a drum and plate/pawl assembly.  The drum usually needs to be cleaned and the pressure of the fingers on the drum is critical to make good contact.  I usually remove both sets of fingers and the drum, clean all three and reassemble.  Brushes typically stick in the brush holder, so remove the brushplate, clean, replace brushes and reassemble.

Jon G TCA 95-41020

Independent Lionel Service Tech

MTH Service Technician at MTH

Like any reverse unit either Flyer or Lionel you have to make sure the rotating drum is clean and that the contact fingers are sound and actually contacting the drum. Also check the motor. This 312 is probably a 1947 model and the brush springs are not the best design. Make sure the brush tubes are clean and the brushes not too worn, New brushes can be had from Port Line Hobbies. Clean any old grease from the gears and lubricate with modern lubricants. Clean all wheels and it should run if no wires are broken.

Add Reply

Likes (0)
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653