Question on pre-World War II Lionel

brokemoto Sep 18, 2022

  1. brokemoto

    brokemoto TrainBoard Member

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    IMG_20220917_224316169.jpg IMG_20220917_224316169.jpg IMG_20220917_224325872.jpg

    These are photographs of a 1938 Lionel Flying Yankee. My father, whom we buried Thursday, received them as a gift in 1938. I do remember the set's running. Dad did have to ship it off to New York in the mid-1960s for repair. I do remember its running after its return from New York. As is obvious, it is in pretty rough shape. It sat in a wood box in the basement of my father's house in Ipswich, Massachusetts for about forty years. He lived near the seashore next to a pond, if that has anything to do with the corrosion. Obviously, I will have to have it restored. I do want to figure out if the power unit still will function. The question: Is it safe to connect a modern Lionel power supply to a pre-War locomotive? The wheels on the power unit will turn by hand.

    I have uploaded the power supply information, as well.

    There are two other locomotives, both the standard Lionel 2-4-2 type. One is from 1938 and is in even worse shape than the Flying Yankee. The other one is from sometime between the late 1950s and early 1960s. The second one is plastic. I seem to recall that Dad bought it at either a rummage sale or from the Goodwill. It was for me any my brother to run, as Dad did not want small children to touch his pre-War Lionel. The 1938 metal locomotive is locked up. The plastic one's drivers will spin if turned by hand.

    Thank you in advance for any help that anyone can offer.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2022
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  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I would wonder if something went awry, if your newer power supply might suffer.

    A good starting point: https://www.tcatrains.org/ Look for the division nearest to your home. Try to find someone nearby to talk to about testing and repairs, restoration.
     
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  3. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, that power supply is compatible. But no power pack is safe from dead shorts. I had to unsolder my dad's wires and install shrink tube on each one, as the insulation had hardened, cracked and fallen off. You seem to have cloth insulation instead of the early Bakelite-like stuff on his, but it's hardly holding up better.

    The e-unit contacts are likely corroded. Those will have to be cleaned or resistance will make your quest futile. It isn't easy, as they weren't made to disassemble and reassemble.

    You worry me when you say drivers will turn by hand. The gearing is such that spinning the armature that way is difficult, at least on a prewar 2-4-2. It makes me wonder if the '38 steamer is the only one which doesn't have wheels loose on their axles. In any case, don't pronounce it locked up until you find you can't turn the armature. And go easy on the throttle. When those things decide to run, they get going fast enough that an O31 curve convinces them they're not trains, but planes. "I can fly!" No, you can't.
     
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  4. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I'm looking through McComas & Tuohy's Lionel: Volume I: Prewar O Gauge (c. 1975) (Pages 27 and 94) to learn more. As with most Lionel, there were numerous variations of the Flying Yankee, with black roofs, red roofs, dark green roofs, dark metallic gray fronts on the power car with matching tail car, middle coaches having one and two doors, four car sets, two versions of department store three car sets, chromed, painted, silver truck sides, black truck sides and more. Some sources say these were introduced in 1935, others 1936.

    You have a beautiful set!

    BTW, a lot of the train shows around here are heavy on Lionel and the parts Vendors are very helpful and prices are quite reasonable. I was able to restore a number of our family post-war Lionel items with their help. You may want to look into this.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2022
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  5. sidney

    sidney TrainBoard Member

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    looks as though you need to rewire some stuff those wire will not hold up to any thing. i say no power till you get that addressed pronto......
     
  6. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    The armature in the mechanism pictured is mounted transversely (side-to-side) so only spur gears are used and the wheels can be spun fairly easily by hand.

    As far as just checking things out to see if it will even run, the wire repair can wait. Just be sure no uninsulated wires are touching each other. The power packs are protected against shorts.

    Doug
     
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  7. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    ...or any of the numerous other pieces of metal involved, while ensuring that the e-unit also doesn't make any inappropriate contact...

    Some electrical tape or non-conductive masking tape can make that trick much easier.
     
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  8. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    Actually, depending on the gearing, I guess it could be fairly difficult to turn the drivers by hand, especially if age and lack of lubrication has increased friction, so loose wheels are a possibility.

    Doug
     
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  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    If they are in good shape, find the drive wheels free spinning is a good thing.

    (Former collector. Former TCA, TTOS member.)
     
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