Question by V.: Lionel Postwar Trains Making Bad Noises?
I just had my grandpa’s postwar Lionel trains restored for him. We tried to run them today, and 3 of them made horrible noises when we ran them fast – it sounded like something was grinding against something. Do they just need lubrication? Or is it something else? The guy who restored them said he lubricated them… Help please?
These are the engines that we had trouble with:
1953 2-6-4 Steam Engine #2026
1952 4-6-4 Steam Engine #2056
1952 F3 Diesel (New York Central) #2344
We didn’t have trouble with this one:
1948 6-8-6 Steam Engine #671
Answer by Ben H
The 2344 is always going to be loud. In fact, you’ll often hear them referred to as “coffee grinders.” This is due to the way they’re geared-they have a big motor which is spur geared to a secondary drive shaft that’s then worm geared to each of the axles. This is a superb design that gives you lots of torque at the low end(allowing good low speed operation), but as a side effect is loud.
I have a 2056 and several related engines(2055, 2046), and can tell you that they also make a rather unpleasant grinding at high speed. I’ve torn them all down, replaced parts, and tried every trick I know. I can’t get rid of it.
The gearing in the 2026 is very similar to that in the 2056, so that’s also where the sound is coming from.
You should lubricate them after every few hours of running, or if even if they’ve set more than a week or two without running. Put a tiny drop of 3-in-1 oil(tiny as in the amount that the tip of a straight pin will hold) behind each wheel, on each motor bearing, and on any other moving part you see. Put a squirt of a good quality lithium grease on each gear face.
Enjoy your trains. Postwar Lionel trains are a real joy to operate, and will likely outlast you.
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