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Discussion Starter #1
I just purchased a 21165 Casey Jones Erie Loco and it's in the mail to me now. This is my first one of these I've ever had and have been doing some research to see what I'll need to get it cleaned up and running at it's best. I've read that removing the body on these engines can be tricky because if your not careful you can rather easily crack the plastic.

What I looking for is recommendations on how to proceed to remove the loco's plastic body without damaging it.

Thanks!
 

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I got a 21165 a few months ago. I have not had the body off yet. So no help here.
It doesn't look like it is easy. I guess I need to get a 21168 some day. They have
smoke and choo choo. All my engines have smoke and choo except the 21165
and my 350 Royal Blue.
 

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I just put a 21165 shell on ebay, I believe I have another one. If you break yours let me know, I would be glad to fix you up. 'tho I'm not sure it would be in better condition. It has a pea sized melted spot low on the cab.
Never done one either, but from looking: There are 4 tabs on the chassis that fit into slots in the plastic body. You have to tease the tabs gently out of those slots. I wouldn't try it unless it is at least room temp.
 

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In Feb. I got a 283 & a 21165 together for about $ 32.00 shipped. The 283 only needed the wheels quartered, it runs & smokes pretty well after a good cleanup. The Casey Jones I'm still messing with the reverse unit. It runs but the quality just isn't there. The body just slides off gently. My younger brother got a Case Jones set a few years after I got mine. I can't wait to show it to him.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the helpful ideas. I was able to get the chassis separated from the boiler shell using a screwdriver and some gentle persuasion without cracking the shell. The plastic seemed to be more durable that I would have thought. The overall design doesn't seem to be too bad, but the tolerances in the chassis, (most likely to aid in assembly) isn't as nice as their earlier diecast chassis engines. One curious note is since the rear drive wheels aren't connected to the front drive wheels with a rod, the read drive wheels aren't quartered. The ones on this engine were nearly in the same location on both sides. I would guesstimate about 10 degrees difference between the two.

As a little side note, I'm also in the process of repairing a 312 SIT engine from early 1947. ( it has some features from the 1946 production) Regardless if you like the SIT era engines or not, there's no denying their quality. For me they are a real joy to just observe all the engineering that went into these early "toys". There's no comparison of Gilbert's production from 1946 to 1966 which is rather sad.
 

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Even in the postwar boom era, year to year cost reductions were required to stay competitive. The rise of the high volume, low cost discount retailers changed the way toys were sold. the selling price of a complete set in 1962 at a discount store was about the same as Gilbert's production cost in 1946 for a 322 engine.
 
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