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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

There was a feel-good story that was all over the media this past week. A one-time radio announcer with a wonderful deep voice was "rediscovered" after years of living homeless on the streets. Several big media outlets tossed offers his way, and all cleaned up, he was soon announcing the lead-in to the Today Show. A real second-chance story. I hope he lives up to the opportunities and possibilities now presented his way.

What does this have to do with trains? Well, I've just "rediscovered" my own homeless street victim ... a mangy-looking prewar Lionel 1688 streamliner loco. Bruised and abused, but I'm hoping I can clean him up, fix some scars, and offer him a future of renewed opportunities and possibilities.

The 1688 shares a shell that's near identical to the 1668, though with slightly different motor mounts and e-unit slots.

This 1688 shell is pretty trashed. Mostly only paint deep, though. I'm hoping a strip-job with get down to good bones.

Remember (per one of my other threads) that this is an early generation 1688 with a Lionel Jr motor and its e-unit slot further forward on the shell. Later 1688's had a black plastic motor with e-unit slot further back.

The motor is identical to those on my 1681's, with two minor exceptions: the back of the 1688 motor has a bracket that is used for shell mounting, and the light is on a stand-alone bracket that clips to the front of the shell. (The light bracket on the 1681 motor is hard-mounted to the motor cheeks.)

At first glance, I was surprised to see toothpicks jammed into the bottom of the e-unit. Turns out they were holding the bottom contact finger plate, which has one of its tabs broken off. It'll have to be replaced.

The wheels were loose on the axles, and easily removed. The wheels themselves are in good shape (no cracks, chips), and I'm hoping I can super-glue them back tightly onto the axles.

The wiring is shot throughout, and will have to be replaced. I wasn't sure if the motor worked at all, so I cut away the e-unit (bad wiring, anyway), and ran some jumper leads directly to the field and armature. See the pics below. Red wire from center rail to one side of the field coil. Yellow wire from other side of the field coil to the top brush can (going into the armature). The bottom brush can (coming out of the armature) is grounded to the motor frame, so I ran a green wire from the grounded frame to the outer rail of the track. After a quick brush and armature face cleaning, I had the motor spinning like a charm. I was a happy camper ... the field and armature windings are all good.

I also applied power to the e-unit solenoid ... the plunger jumps up OK with power. Good coil there, too.

I'll need to order a bunch of parts: bottom contact plate on the e-unit, new black-fiber contact plate on the bottom of the motor, a lens for the boiler front, and some new red marker lights.

But my first inclination is that this old homeless street victim will get a second chance to have a renewed lease on life. I hope he makes the best of it!

Cheers,

TJ













 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I never figured out how to keep the red marker lights on.
Dohh! Your ears must have been ringing. I was gonna ask you that very question once I had some repro markers in my hand.

How much do you want to bet that Ed chimes in here ... I think I hear an "EPOXY" echo coming from New Jersey! ;)

Oh ... nice banana clips, huh? I learned that trick from YOU! I picked up a multi-colored pack at Radio Shack a week or two ago. Beats my prior paper clip and tape attempts! :D

Cheers,

TJ
 

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A little clear silicon will do. You want the light to shin through. A little zap with a solder iron may work too. I have to look at them closer to tell.

You can't beat the package for the clips.
 

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It is soo cool to see all these old units coming back to life. I especially like the pics. Just reassures me that I hooked my jumpers up properly.
Can't wait to see how this turns out:)
--Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If you glue all the wheels on, I hope you have enough conductivity to allow power to get to the engine. :D
Good point, actually! Thanks for the reminder! (That would have thrown me for a loop if I got the thing all fixed up, and was struggling to figure out why it wouldn't run on a track!)

TJ
 

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It is soo cool to see all these old units coming back to life. I especially like the pics. Just reassures me that I hooked my jumpers up properly.
Can't wait to see how this turns out:)
--Dan

That motor is like a Marx, the brush grounds to the frame not the coil.
Don't look too close!
 

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T Man, You can use clear epoxy...........

boids.jpg



... .and get your wing off TJ! He is dreaming about Blue Tin plate trains.:D
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ha ha ... I'm awake ... I'm AWAKE!

T -- You're right ... some of these old Lionels flip direction via the field coil, with the armature downstream and grounded to the frame. It's only a matter of wiring ... the mechanics are all the same ... one could easily wire a motor the other way, with the direction flipped via the armature, and the field coil grounded to the frame.

Hey ... exciting news ...

I made my LIST today ... my list of parts that I need to order from Jeff Kane to get this 1688 and my 258 back in shape. I haven't talked to Jeff yet, but I'm hoping he has most things.

I'm pretty much in motor repair mode for the foreseeable future. I can't really get back into paint/body work until the warmer spring weather. And it was most definitely NOT warm here in RI today!

TJ
 

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Red Marker

I explored the red marker installation. First I showed and installed marker in a torpedo shell. The a couple of new markers.




From the mounting hole I think it is a press fit.



Then I looked at the 249e



The 249e has a thin shell and I found super glue used. I tink a small dab of epoxy would work to if you apply it on the sides.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
T-Man,

Thanks for the marker pics and ideas ... much appreciated.

The red markers I ordered from Kane are "new old stock" from Madison Hardware. I'm curious to see if they'll have that long stud-like protrusion on the back like yours, which I assume are repro?

Kane didn't have any leading recommendation on the marker install, though he did say that some guys heat/distort the back (inside) with a soldering iron. Sounds a bit risky to me. I think I'll try the super glue route, first ... if it looks like a tight fit to begin with.

Will keep you posted ... (though sometime in the spring, after the repaint work).

TJ
 

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T-Man,

Thanks for the marker pics and ideas ... much appreciated.

The red markers I ordered from Kane are "new old stock" from Madison Hardware. I'm curious to see if they'll have that long stud-like protrusion on the back like yours, which I assume are repro?

Kane didn't have any leading recommendation on the marker install, though he did say that some guys heat/distort the back (inside) with a soldering iron. Sounds a bit risky to me. I think I'll try the super glue route, first ... if it looks like a tight fit to begin with.

Will keep you posted ... (though sometime in the spring, after the repaint work).

TJ
And if you heat them on the inside you will not be able to get them off if you have to.
You might get them off but I don't know about reusing them.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ed -- Good point. Very good point.

T -- Kane did say that the NOS markers were darker and a bit less translucent than the newer repro stuff. Purely for comparison, I'll post a pic of them when they arrive.

Cheers,

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hey ... exciting news ...

I made my LIST today ... my list of parts that I need to order from Jeff Kane to get this 1688 and my 258 back in shape. I haven't talked to Jeff yet, but I'm hoping he has most things.
Hi guys,

Project update. Well, Jeff Kane at the Train Tender had all the parts I need to begin to get this 1688 and my 258 prewar locos back into shape.

For those who might not be familiar with Jeff, I highly recommend him. He's very thorough, and really endeavors to make sure that he/you are tracking down the right parts ... especially in the Lionel prewar regime where part number identification way back then was a mystery, at best.

I wanted to post an example of how Jeff packages / ships things ... each part carefully indexed in his order sheet, and heat-sealed into little individual clear-wrap compartments ... to be cut open exactly when you need it.

With these parts in hand, I can now delve into the e-unit rebuild, the motor rewire, etc.

Cheers,

TJ

EXAMPLE OF LIONEL PARTS FROM JEFF KANE AT THE TRAIN TENDER

 

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Discussion Starter #19
Gun Blue ... the Test and Verdict

Guys,


As found, the motor cheeks om my Lionel 1688 were a bit rusty with bare patches of original metal blackening. I didn't want to paint them ... too thick and prone to chipping. I tried a "re-color" with a black Sharpie pen, but it was too blotchy with an odd bluish streaky sheen. (I removed that failed attempt with some denatured alcohol.)

I've seen some other guys here on the forum use gun blue, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I bought a ittle 3 oz. bottle of Birchwood Casey Super Blue, and tried it out. I first cleaned / buffed the metal cheeks with a stainless Dremel brush, then applied the gun blue fluid with a little cotton rag.

To my surprise, the gun blue fluid is mostly clear in color. However, the metal turns black almost instantaneously when you rub the fluid on it. I applied 2 or 3 light "coats", just a minute or two apart. Then, I let that dry (just a few more minutes), then "polished" it (sort of) with a fine ScotchBrite pad. The result is a nice near-original-looking black sheen.

The verdict is in on gun blue ... I tried it ... I like it!

TJ

BEFORE GUN BLUE, CLEANED UP WITH DREMEL BRUSH:


AFTER GUN BLUE, AS DESCRIBED ABOVE:
 

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That gun blue does look really good. I can't wait to see how everything else turns out. :)

And, I have to agree about Jeff. I love getting parts from him. They're always well packaged and he makes sure you really are getting the right stuff.
 
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