Removing a Lionel Prewar Contact Plate or Pickup Plate
On a side note, is there an easy way to remove the pickup plate (not sure of what it is called) maybe a tool to make it easier?
I just had to do that on a prewar 1681E loco. Not an easy task, if you're trying to keep the drive wheels on in place.
I'm not familiar with your 262 specifically, but if it's like other prewar locos, the plate is made of a fiber material. There should be two pairs of half-circle openings along its edge, where it butts up against the motor side cheeks. The Lionel service manuals tell you to insert a large (more or less) flathead screwdriver into each of these openings, then turn the screwdriver about 1/8 to 1/4 turn to pry the motor side cheek out from the plate tabs. Easier said than done. I've found that it's risky, and can easily chew up the fiber material.
Instead, I've inserted the pointy ends of beefy needle nose pliers into each pair of half-round openings. Then ... very carefully ... I push OUT the handle end of the needle nose pliers, essentially pushing the nose ends out, too, which pushes outwards pressure to the inside of the motor side cheeks. The point here is that pressure is exerted directly to the motor side cheeks, and not on the fiber plate itself. To do this requires an extra hand or two ... literally ... if you can have a friend help, maybe. If not, try to clamp one handle end of your needle nose pliers to a rigid base (table edge, etc.) then grab the other handle and pull outwards.
As you proceed, try to pry out the tabs of the plate from only one side of the plate, first. Also, start on one end of the motor (front end, for example), then work your way to the other end.
The problem is, you'll be fighting the metal cross-arms (some round, some flat plate) that tie the two motor side cheeks together. And, the drive wheels aren't giving you much leeway, either.
As I said, tricky job ...
When you get the plate out, do a couple of things ...
Use a very sharp razor to "clean up" any splayed or jagged edges on the exposed plate tabs, once they're out in the open.
Also, make note of which way the plate was oriented. It is NOT symmetric ... i.e., only one end should face forward, and one end aft ... because of the off-centerline asymmetry imposed by having gears on one side of the drive wheels, but not the other.
If for any reason, your plate is awfully chewed up, repro replacements are readily available.
Hope this helps,