The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Disassembling Lionel OO Tender Trucks

As has been noted elsewhere in this site, I don’t actually own that much Lionel OO, something I kind of hate to admit. I have quite a bit of interesting stuff but I did not come to OO from the Lionel collecting side of things. I have only ever owned two Lionel Hudsons and one of them I later traded off for a Nason Hudson locomotive (only). Also, both of the Lionel Hudsons I have owned were modified and converted to DC operation by prior owners. The one I still own came to me as a non-operating junker with a heavy coat of blue paint, a new can motor mounted in the tender (!), and some damage from storage. It had been owned by David Sacks.

Where this leads is my present project is trying to get both of these Hudson models running, the Nason and Lionel versions. I have a tender coming together for the Nason model (a modified Lionel tender, actually, more another time) and another tender coming together for the Lionel. The one for the Nason Hudson will have Scale-Craft trucks which I am very familiar and comfortable with but the other has Lionel tender trucks. These I had to figure out how to take apart by trial and error.

Back in 1938 the task Lionel had was to make a tender truck that was rugged and would be trouble free to operate. The main casting is a single casting that includes the side frames and bolster in one unit. The wheelset axles are much larger than on their freight cars and fit into slots that are open on the bottom which have covers held on by pins. They look to have a slight hex head but are, again, just pins.

In my case the trucks were somewhat water damaged and this did not help the pins come out easily. Using pliers you have to pull and twist the pins at the same time as while they are not threaded there is a pattern to them that requires a turn.

With the parts apart I then gave the side frames and wheels a good scrubbing. They are a lot cleaner and should still give good service on this model with a bit more cleaning. Also note I will repaint the sideframes, I am not into the blue steam locomotive thing. The bodies have been fully stripped of the blue paint.

The second photo is of a trailing truck for the Lionel Hudson which has the same type of pin/cover mount. This one still needs cleaning.

While the original replacement drive was executed badly (with plenty of glue holding the motor in place) I am going to see if I can make this model work with the same basic tender drive rebuilt somewhat with better universals from Athearn drives. In principle it should work fine (needing only a long drive shaft from the tender to the drivers) and the model seems to have been run a good bit in this form by the prior owner. I’ll have more on this model as the project progresses.

UPDATE: Finished model here

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