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The old saying "too good to be true" comes to mind when I recently purchased a 1978 vintage Lionel 8759 Erie Lackawanna GP-9 in EXCELLENT condition for $53. It really WAS in excellent condition, but I was ready to just put this beauty on a shelf instead of running it for two reasons:
1. A hollow "growling" noise when it went around bends
2. A dimly lit cab using the only bulb that would fit- the 14 volt 8352-300. Originally, it called for a 12 volt bulb from Lionel that is no longer available.
For others that have experienced the same two issues I figured I would share my solution to both.
The growling issue was simple to solve- I simply put some double stick tape on the two metal brackets that the shell screws into. This helped to slightly insulate the plastic shell from the frame, but the REAL solution that got rid of ALL the growling (besides simply not putting the body on), was to make sure the body did not rest on the metal frame anywhere.
This was accomplished easily by lifting up on the body and then tightening the mounting screws. About the only problem with that is when I solved the light problem, you could see some light "leaking" from the small gap between the body and the frame, but it wasn't too objectionable. I'm still working on that problem. I've included some photos where you could see this. The first photo is to show how DIM the cab lighting was with the 14 volt 8352-300 bulb. Please note that the track voltage on ALL the photos before and after was 12 volts......
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As you can see- the lighting in the cab in the rear was hardly noticeable using the 14 volt wedge bulb.


After discovering that the number 57 bulb was rated at 12 to 14 volts, and noticing that the very same bulb was used in my Lionel 6357 lighted caboose, which I was more than happy with, I took a 6417-11 light bracket, bent the arms out slightly, and found that I could wedge it inside the body TIGHTLY. Note that I also had to solder an additional "ground" wire to the socket since the entire shell is 100 percent plastic. HINT- use lots of FLUX.

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Not the prettiest solution, but I just worked with what I had. Once I placed the 8759 on the track, and was satisfied with the cab lighting, I went the extra step and installed yet ANOTHER bracket and light on the other end of the cab. Note that I did NOT unsolder the wedge socket. Someday- who knows- I might find a nice 12 volt wedge replacement or LED??
OK- so here are the two bulbs without the shell, with 12 volts feeding them. NOTE: also see the double stick tape I applied on the left part of the photo to one of the mounting brackets in an attempt to isolate the plastic shell from the body to help minimize the "growling" resonance. I also applied to the right bracket, but it's out of the frame....

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Here she is on the track, under normal lighting, with the body on. THAT'S more LIKE IT!


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And, finally, here she is under dimmed lighting. Note the light "leaking" out from the space I intentionally made between the bottom of the shell and the frame. Not a bad trade off for totally eliminating that awful growling noise. Of course, one simple solution is just to glue some black paper or apply some black electrical tape on the inside of the body to close that gap. Well, that's it for now on my $53 Erie Lackawanna. Hope my "low tech" solutions help others out there with this engine.


544111
 

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I used parts from my old '71 Olds 98 in one of my rebuilds. Hike on down to your autoparts store.;)
 

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According to the Lionel service manual, pages 1-19 & 1-20, the bulb for the GP-9 locomotive was the 161-300 as stated.
It is possible the bulb socket may have been changed either at the factory, or by the previous owner.

Larry
 

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Your loco has the wrong bulb sockets. The originals were prone to melting if the wrong bulb was used.
Thank You for posting this project. I've slowly began working on my MPC stuff, too.
 

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Yes, everything looks nice to me, good work. Not all of my locomotives are high end, and I think once the trains are in operation, that's more important in some cases then details.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Your loco has the wrong bulb sockets. The originals were prone to melting if the wrong bulb was used.
Thank You for posting this project. I've slowly began working on my MPC stuff, too.
I AGREE! That's the problem. The SOCKET! I really think this was done at the factory because there is a semi circular cutaway on the clear plastic housing in the cab area whereby the ONLY bulb that could be friction fitted or snapped into it is one whose base or "wedge" measures 6mm or 1/4" in diameter, which is the wedge type bulb that I showed above. (the "Christmas Tree Bulb")
So, after spending many hours searching, I reached a dead end trying to find that bulb in 12 volts. I'm convinced it doesn't exist anymore. I have no doubt that the 161-300 was the original bulb that went into it, but I must have a maverick right from the get go- hence the ridiculous $53 dollar price!
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I guess I COULD have enlarged the semicircular hole to accommodate the larger 161-300 bulb shown above, maybe with a dremel? (After going to the auto parts store and finding a socket to accommodate that style bulb.)
That COULD have worked. But then what do I do on the OTHER end of the cab- no provision was ever there for a SECOND bulb. No "cutaway". NADA. I was even thinking of hot glue, but not knowing the heat generated by the bulb I dismissed that approach.
So I took the path of least resistance and simply wedged in the 6417-11 sockets to accommodate the tried and true #57 bulbs. Again, not pretty. Unconventional. But it works.
Oh- and by the way- I paid special attention to any heat build up with these two bulbs sitting so close to the top of the shell, and it is negligible at 12-14 volts track voltage, unless I run the ZW at FULL THROTTLE, in which case she'll probably de rail and crash to the floor in smitherines, and, at that point, that would be the END! Then I could move on to a different and hopefully HIGHER level of Lionel Diesels!
 

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Lots of early locomotives of that vintage had the Christmas Tree bulbs, that's a very common socket. I'm working on a bunch of SD-40 engines for an upgrade, they all started out with that bulb. They are getting full LED upgrades so that's not an issue with the ones I'm working on.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Lots of early locomotives of that vintage had the Christmas Tree bulbs, that's a very common socket. I'm working on a bunch of SD-40 engines for an upgrade, they all started out with that bulb. They are getting full LED upgrades so that's not an issue with the ones I'm working on.
Can you tell me what the LED upgrade is?
 

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It's a home-rolled job, I do a lot of LED upgrades for customers. In the SD-40's (I have five identical ones I'm doing for this customer, two powered and three dummies), I have directional LED headlights and directional red markers. The headlights are either 3528 SMT LED's (front) or 3mm LED's (back), and the markers are 2mm red post LED's.
 
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