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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
picked up a great looking lionel 249E w/ tender and loads of track. set up track, train runs lousy. hey it's 70 years old. probably needs a cleaning. removed boiler, steamchests and pushrods. removed motor then cleaned and oiled it. this is easy! reassembled in reverse order. what! the boiler won't go on now without leaving a gap between it and the frame. also the boiler front won't latch anymore. it looks like the frame is now warped, the ends turn up slightly!

how did this happen? and more important, how do i fix it?
thanks in advance!
 

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Yard Master & Research
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Search bend for a modern thread. The best way is a vise clamp and do it slow 1/4 turn a day. Servoguy does this method well.



Tinplate is bendable to a degree. Sometimes you have that tab, that just won't bend back. And breaks.

You have me at a disadvantage, normally we suggest something easy like a Babe Ruth car to mess with before taking on, something that is more expensive and difficult.

Frames twist, you try to untwist and not break the thing. If you do buy another one. Live and learn.

I did notice on my last redo that the tabs did leave a gap. So make sure they are very tight when bent back into position.
Kinda scary after you work so hard to repaint it.

Mostly it is a matter of touch, applying pressure over time.
It helps that pieces are straight before reassembly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
hi, thanks for the reply. no tabs to bend here. the loco boiler (sheetmetal) is attached to the loco frame (die cast mystery metal) with 2 screws under the cab and 1 inside the smokestack. the loco frame started out perfect and now it's warped. i'm guessing that 70 years of internal stress within the frame was released when i removed the structurally stiffer boiler, allowing the frame to bend. but maybe i'm wrong, and this is all normal, and there's some 'trick' to flatten the frame during reassembly? hmmm, does anyone know lionel cowen's phone number?

while i'm waiting for advice, i have the frame w/ motor sitting upside down, supported only at the very front and rear, hoping the weight of the motor will flatten the frame. i may try adding a little heat, 2 40 watt bulbs, one on each side. but i doubt it will do anything.

any suggestions will be gratefully accepted!
 

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NewB,

Welcome to the world (and fun and aggravations) of prewar Lionel!

I have to ask ... if your aim was to clean the motor and get it running better, why did you opt to remove the boiler shell and steamchest from the frame?

I haven't worked on a prewar 249, though I've done strip-rebuilt restoration work on a prewar (tinplate) 258 and 259. The frame on my 259 (sheet metal) was warped pretty badly ... likely from some prior death-drop to the floor. The mid-length sides of the 258 and 259 frame are considerably cut away (by design) for the boiler sideplates that get tucked in there. Is the 249 frame like that, too? A potential weak link, so to speak, for twisting?

You said that you removed the steam chest. Did your reattachment of this somehow induce twist into the frame?

Is the frame/boiler/steamchest assembly twisted WITHOUT the motor installed? I.e., are you sure that something out of alignment with the motor itself (wiring on top, etc.) is pushing the frame assembly the wrong way?

Not to critique your work, but it could simply be that something is installed the wrong way.

The valve gear connects to the frame and then to a wheel driverod. Is this pushing the frame the wrong way at all?

Can you post photos ... especially of the loco with the motor removed?

Wish I could offer more at this point ...

TJ
 

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If the loco frame is die cast, it is die cast zinc which can get brittle over the years due to "zinc disease." If this has happened, you might need to look for another frame. Some of the die castings remain healthy and some do not. It may depend on where it was stored as moisture and heat tend to cause deterioration. Zinc will "cold flow." That means if you put pressure on it and wait, it will warp to a new configuration. If you can put some weight on the frame in such a way as to warp it back into the proper shape, and wait several days or even weeks, the frame might go back to its proper shape. I question the idea that it warped when you removed the boiler, although it could have. Like TJ says, post some pictures.
BB
 

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The frame is cast.

One option is heat and twist as suggested before .
If minor I would let it be.
The only other two things would be is to add brackets to the boiler to stiffen it up or cut the frame and use a brace with fasteners to hold it together.
Or get another one.

Some people have had good luck getting dents out of cast cabs without cracking. Using heat and form shaped supports.
My expertise to offer is very limited in cast repair.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
well, i left the frame about 10 hours with the heat from two 60 watt bulbs. didn't seem to do too much. so i followed everyone's advice and suggestions, double checked everything, no change. finally i took a pair of pliers and contemplated a good long time about what i was to do next. two little tweaks to the sheetmetal under the cab (not visible) reduced the gap from the warped frame and also allowed the boiler face to close properly. it's a done deal, here's the result. and thanks to all for the help!
 

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