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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gents,

Simply put, I'm beginning to feel like the Cat Lady. Every town has one ... that crazy old lady who lives in the ratty house with the overgrown bushes, the lady who takes in all of the neighborhood stray cats ... the mangled ones, the one-eyed ones, the chewed-off tail ones. She's got about 100 of the creatures living all throughout her house. She leaves opened cans of tuna fish and cat food everywhere, and the entire house, yard, and neighborhood block stink with that strange smell. People don't really talk to the Cat Lady ... they're afraid to go into the house ... but they all know she's in there, feeding cats, stepping in their poop, and letting those feline creatures rule the roost.

Well ... it's happened ... I have become the Cat Lady.

Not actually with cats, mind you, but rather with old Lionel 1681 / 1681E locos. 1934/35 vintage. Somehow, more and more of these things keep showing up at my doorstep. Reluctantly, I keep taking them in (who else will?), and then they keep following me around my house, wherever I go. They're needy. And whiny. And they leave little bits of rust, chipped-off paint, and globs of grease all over the place. I try to ignore them, but they're persistent little pests. "Clean me!" "Fix me!" "Paint me!" Whine, whine, whine.

Well, I tried to be extra-special nice to the first two or three that showed up. I spent quite a bit of time nursing them back to health, and getting them looking quite presentable. Pretty, actually. The back-alley tomcat looks were all gone. But don't let their looks deceive you ... in their hearts, they were still alley cats. And at night, they meowed and moaned to all of their alley cat friends. "Hey ... head over here! This place is great! TJ will take you in, give you a warm place to rest, and clean you up!"

And like having a cat in heat, all of the other alley cats came charging my way. And now, I'm embarrased to go out. Embarrased to socialize. It's just me and my dirty, stinky, oily 1681's. I am the crazy Cat Lady.

My latest "adopted" 1681E is part of a 1055E freight set that was recently seen lurking on eBay. I tried to ignore it. I tried to resist the dreaded temptation. I took my medication and prayed that the demons would go away.

But, nooo ....

Stupid me sent the seller a note, telling him that I had taken in a few other 1681's. The seller turned out to be Larry / Georgieboytraveler2, who's now a new member here on the forum. We chatted a bit, I told him my sad story. He really didn't want to take care of the 1681E and its 1055E-set friends himself, and asked if I might want to take them in. Clean them. Fix them. Give them a warm home, and all that. And ...

I'm the Cat Lady ... how could I refuse?

And so, please allow me to introduce you to my latest adopted orphans ... 1681E loco (#4 for me) and his 1055E freight set friends.

Please send help ... and tuna fish ...

TJ





 

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Railroad Tycoon
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You sound LOCO to me!:laugh:


LOCO MAN.......:D
 

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Yard Master & Research
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Well, if you enjoy it.:lol_hitting:
I find myself always looking at pieces on ebay I already have.
I guess we all have a bit of the cat lady too.
This year there have been many opportunities, but I gotta get to the orphans at hand.
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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Well, if you enjoy it.:lol_hitting:
I find myself always looking at pieces on ebay I already have.
I guess we all have a bit of the cat lady too.
This year there have been many opportunities, but I gotta get to the orphans at hand.
I find myself sometimes buying something I all ready have because I forgot I had it.:laugh:

We are all LOCO men T.........emphasize men.

My trains don't stink either. :D
Well... maybe they stink a little, like oil and smoke.:rolleyes:
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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Part of TJ's repaired trains.


trains3-300x225.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You guys are too funny! Ed, that display wall is MUCH too neat for me, at least at this point. With my projects on hand, my shop/basement looks a bit like a war zone ... a very ACTIVE war zone!

As far as this latest adopted set is concerned ... I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with it just yet ...

I took the loco shell off, and the motor parts are all there. It doesn't run, but I suspect a thorough cleaning (and maybe rewiring) will get it going again. The metal parts of the motor (e-unit, loco wheels, gears, etc.) all seem to be in OK shape. There's no brittle cracks on this wheel set, like there was on my last 1681 ... so I'm quite pleased about that. The loco shell itself has a dented/bent cab roof, and the cowcatcher is squished over a bit. All fixable, I'm sure, but ...

I still have my 1681 #2, which was a "shell only", sitting on my bench. I might do a little mixing and matching here, and put the "new" motor into that other loco shell, which is in much better shape.

Will I strip and repaint the loco? Not sure yet. Maybe. We'll see if "inspiration" comes my way. I've been doing all of my spray painting outside ... in warm weather. But, the weather / season is quickly changing here in RI, and in another couple of weeks, I'll only have 50-deg or lower weather outside ... not ideal spraying conditions. (Though I do remember the "heat the paint can first" trick that you guys taught me!)

The lithographed work on the freight cars is not in too bad shape, given their age. I'll definitely save/use those on the tanker, box, and caboose cars. That said, I might re-spray the roof (only) on the box car and the caboose, just to spruce them up a bit.

The trucks are missing some copper journal boxes. I'm hoping I can order some replacements from Jeff Kane. I'll polish up the ones I already have, too.

Jim (if you happen to check in here) ... I "discovered" this 1055E set the day before your transformer station base/guts gift arrived. And, as fate would have it, this set includes that same station (complete, with base, roof, guts). I very briefly pulled back the roof to look inside ... WHOAAA ... looks like a black-powder bomb went off in there! Everything is covered in black grime. All of the pieces are there, though, so ... looks like this will be another rainy-day project at some point.

Well, that's my story ... and the start of this new thread. I'm guessing that things here will proceed rather SLOWLY, but that's OK. A little bit here, and a little bit there, and eventually, I hope to get things cleaned up just enough to make the set presentable (and running) once again. After all, that's what makes this hobby fun, right???

Gotta run ... I hear some cats howling, and I gotta let them in and feed them.

TJ
 

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TJ,

Look at it this way, another set saved:p

If you rebuild this one the way you've restored the other ones, it will truly be a gem:thumbsup:

I will be watching for the rebuild thread:laugh:

Cheers, Ian
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The Project Begins ... motor work

Hi guys,

Well, I've taken some initial steps into this project. I mentioned above that the 1681E motor looked to be in decent shape as far as compenent integrity was concerned, but it wouldn't run. Arc-sparks between the wheels and the track, some evidence of life in the e-unit solenoid, but not much else.

Things were caked pretty badly with dried grease and grime. So, a thorough cleaning was in order. Lots of Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and Goo Gone. Degunk the gears, bearings, brushes, armature face, e-unit drum and fingers, etc.

With that, there was signs of life. I got the motor to run fwd/reverse, as I had hoped.

Next step was to check the wiring. The power lead that runs from the contact place (and center rail) up to the headlamp (where it branches off to the e-unit) was old and brittle, with chunks of rubber insulation flaking off. Of the wires in this loco, this is the hardest to replace (in my opinion), as one has to remove the contact plate from the bottom of the motor to solder on a new wire. No easy task. See my descriptions of doing that in Post #12 of the thread here:

Removing a prewar Lionel contact plate ...
http://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=4788

Patience and persistence paid off, and a new power lead wire was soldered on. I ran that to the headlamp, and also replaced the wire that runs from there to the e-unit, and the one that runs from the e-unit to the top armature brush can. The rest of the wires running from the e-unit to/from the field appear to be OK, so I left those intact.

One note on this 1681E for reference ...

The e-unit flips the direction of current running through the FIELD. From that point, the current runs downstream to the top armature brush, through the armature, then back out through the lower armature brush to the motor frame / ground / and drive wheels. The direction of current through the armature stays constant. (Many other Lionel locos have e-units that are wired to flip the direction of current through the armature, with the direction of current through the field staying constant.)

So, this 1681E motor has a new lease on life. Runs like a charm. (Larry / Georgieboytraveler2 ... take note ... good news, so far!)

Oh ... one simple question for the gang ... the headlamp bulb is fried. Are there suitable off-the-shelf Radio Shack type replacements? (I know I can order true replacements from Lionel parts guys, but just wondering if there's a simpler/cheaper route.)

Here are some pics of the revamped motor.

Cheers,

TJ





 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
T-Man ... THANKS!!! for the bulb tip ... much appreciated !!!

Reck/Jim ... I'm still kludging my way through things ... learning as I go, though trying to do so with patience, as any of these restoration things has to be broken down into smaller/managable steps, as you guys well know. While I appreciate the T-Man twin flattery, I think he's a quantum leap into the beyond ahead of me. While I'm tinkering with my little Lionel Jr motor, he's reconstructing a fully-functional robot from Lost in Space :rolleyes: !

Cheers,

TJ
 

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CJ,
Just a thought about the wire to the contact plate: I have fixed the wiring in some old locos by removing all the old insulation and unsoldering one end of the wire. I then slide piece of shrink tubing or sleeving or spaghetti over the old wire and solder then end back. This avoids the problem of removing the contact plate.

Bruce Baker
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Bruce,

Good idea. I had thought about that, actually. But in this case, the rubberized coating on that central pickup wire was so far gone I figured I'd just bite the bullet and do it right. PITA, though, removing/reinstalled the contact plate ... So I might follow through on your tip if the need arises down the road.

Thanks !!!

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
T-Man,

Thanks, again, for the bulb tip ... I picked up a pair ($1.99) at Radio Shack today, and they fit/work like a charm!

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
For reference / documentation ... Lionel 1681E wiring diagram

In my other 1681 thread, I had created a wiring diagram for my 1681 loco that has a manual fwd/reverse switch.

Here, I've modified that to reflect a Lionel 1681E with a standard E-unit. The E-unit flips the direction of current flowing through the field.

Cheers,

TJ

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Who says you can't skin a cat ???

Hi guys,

Quick project update. The 1681 loco shell has now been disassembled, Easy Off stripped, and Dremel wire brush buffed. I banged out some dents to the cab roof and a windowed side. (Reckers ... your peen and leather belt tips helped out here considerably!) Major components (placed but not tabbed together in photos below) are: frame, steamchest, boiler front, boiler and cab (two pieces, but left tabbed together for the restoration).

Of my growing brood of 1681's, I'll confess that this is shell #2 that will be mated witht the motor of #4. #2 was a shell-only purchase. And while #4 (of the 1055E freight set in this thread) was a matched shell-motor pair, the shell for that was considerably more more dented and dinged. Kitbashing 101 ... 1930's style.

So ... enjoy the strip show ... and slip a dollar bill or two under the G-string!

Cheers,

TJ





 

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TJ,
How about setting a couple of heat lamps to warm up the metal before you spray it. It might extend your painting season.
Bruce Baker
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Bruce,

Some other guys here on the forum taught me about "pre-heating" a while back. I do two things, if I need to spray outside in colder weather ...

1. I'll actually stick my metal parts in the oven for a short while at a low heat setting ... 150-deg or so. I watch carefully to make sure all is OK.

2. Next, I heat up a few bean-bag-type sacks in a microwave, and then pack them around my paint spray can in a little igloo type bucket. Warms the paint nicely, without the risk of trying to heat the paint can directly (oven, open flame, etc.). Not too long ... just trying to get the paint can moderately warm to the touch.

I think these steps can help, though it may be more psychological than anything else. The problem I'm facing is that these tinplate metal parts are poor heat sinks ... once warm, they cool off rather quickly in outside colder air. There's just not much mass there.

Yesterday, I was spraying Krylon yellow on my gondola, outside in about 52-deg weather. First time I've used their light yellow. I don't know if it was the color, or the cold temp, but that paint sure was runny ... it seems like it was thinned way down to me. I was also spraying black, and that seemed fine ... it was the light yellow that I had problems with.

Would the viscosity and drippiness of spray paint from one manufacturer be dependent upon a specific color from that mfr???

Cheers,

TJ
 
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