O-scale maintenance

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by BDC, Dec 3, 2001.

  1. BDC

    BDC Member

    Sep 23, 2001
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    I picked up a Lionel O-27 trainset as a Christmas gift for my father yesterday at the OKC trainshow, and since he hasn't owned anything Lionel for about 40 years and I never have, I have some questions.

    The set runs pretty well right now, but is there anything I should do as far as cleaning or lubrication? The set was made around 1955 and any instructions are lost to time. The track has a little corrosion to it and I purchased some Emery cloth to improve electrical contact. Good idea or bad?

    Also, the guy who sold it to me included a bottle of smoke pills. I haven't tried them out yet, and the smoke "box" looks to be in good shape. How is it supposed to be cleaned? I imagine after 50+ years of use, there has got to be some build up inside.

    I guess what I'm really asking is if anyone can point me in the direction of an owner's manual. Online is greatly preferred, and since I live in a non-trainshop town I can't go and buy one.

    Sorry for all the questions, but this is a whole new arena for me. And after comparing it to my N-scale stuff, all I can say is Wow! Huge!

  2. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Nov 25, 2001
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    Dear "BDC":

    A good place to start would be the Greenberg's train show web site. They have repair and maintenance manuals for Lionel. I have their American Flyer manual and it's been very helpful, if not the whole story. You'll see that there are other books listed as well so check each out and see if it has the type of info you're looking for to get the trains up and running.

    Also, check out the archives here on the gauge. There are some good articles on repair and maintenance. There is one specifically for track maintenance. I do not recommend abrasives like emery cloth unless the track is very rusty. Emery will remove the plating as well if you're not carefull and then the rust comes back quicker. NEVER use steel wool or any other material that could leave metal bits along the track that could be picked up by the magnets in the engine. I've found that a large "white" eraser is great for most clean ups.

    In general, lube all moving parts of the engine, but just a little bit. Use a light oil like 3-1 or sewing machine oil. It's good to use a straight pin or tooth pick to get the right amount of oil onto the linkage or axle. There are also little devices you can buy to help you do this. Also, clean ALL the wheels, they pick up stuff off the track and then spread it around the whole layout. Use the eraser for this.

    Good luck hope you and your Dad have fun.
  3. wsdimenna

    wsdimenna New Member

    Mar 31, 2002
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    Lubrication and cleaning;
    If the engine is old the grease probably needs to be removed and cleaned. Redo with fresh white lithium grease. This will make a huge difference in performance.

    Also many seasonal users often gunked the engines with vaseline to prevent rust in the off season.

    Diesels are easy enough to do(steamers a little more difficult), but if you have no experience find a club locally that is into O -gauge and you can be sure someone will help you out.

    bill d