How to Fix 1948 Post War 736 Lionel Train

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The other day I visited my Grandfathers house on the afternoon in Monterrey Mexico. I told him about my Instructables project and how I need to restore something old. I told him about how I wanted to restore the antique train set he had locked away in a room in his garage. He loved my idea and we went on to that room and took out the big box that held the train, its wagons, tracks, and controls. We found the original receipt, and instructions manuals that belonged to the train. He told me the whole story of the set, let me explain... When my Grandfather was a small boy in 1955 living in Mexico city, his father and uncle bought a train set, a "Lionel Electric Train Set" this specific set was already 7 years old (1948 post war set). When he grew up he inherited the train. My Grandfather stored the train away in his garage for more than 45 years. Not even my father has seen the train run on its tracks, and now it was finally time to restore it which was something my grandfather had been wanting to do for a lot of time. I did all the cleaning at school and all the electrical work at home with my father and grandfather. I remember when I was small and my Grandfather talked about the train, and how we would restore it when I grew older. That time came, and I restored it. Heres what you will need to do.

Enjoy!

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Step 1: Materials

The Materials you will need for this project are:

  1. WD-40
  2. Extra cables
  3. Cleaning cloth
  4. Old tooth brush
  5. Screw drivers
  6. Connector cleaner

Step 2: Clean the Outside

For this step you want to clean the outside of the train, I am using WD-40 for this part, because I realized it needed oil in the wheels. You will want to use the long plastic straw that is included, because it will help get the liquid really in the wheels and make them turn smoothly and maybe even take some rust off depending on your train's condition. Apart from oiling the wheels the WD-40 also cleaned some parts of the train it takes some dust off, it takes rust off, (like I said before, depending on your train's condition,) but the most important thing it does, it makes the wheels spin smoothly. Remember, what I am doing is not entirely cleaning, I also want to make the train run on its tracks again like it used to back in the 50's.

Step 3: Clean the Control Box

Your control box is probably dirty, since it's so old. Open it up and then with an old toothbrush and connector cleaner fluid (3 in 1) clean everything inside. When you know it is clean close the control box.

This step will help the next step a whole lot.

Step 4: Connect the Cables

Your control box probably does not have any cables connected to the outside. What you will do is connect a wire to the A screw, and then put a nut (tool nut, not an edible nut) on top of it. Then do the same but in the U or D connector (Either work) . After you have that insert the top of each cables (make sure you have clipped the edges of the rubber) to the track connectors, to do so, push down on the metal clip until a circle with a hole comes up, insert the cables through the two of those clips and that way you will get electricity running through the tracks.

The train will not run on the tracks if the control box is not cleaned, since the electricity will not flow as well.

Step 5: How to Make the Train Run on the Tracks

Finally you want to place the train in the connected tracks, connect the control box to the wall. Then when the train is on the tracks, start moving the black lever in the control box up, listen as the electricity starts flowing through the tracks and the train, then, the train will start moving either forward or backward. If backward hit the black "Direction" button and start again. Be careful not to touch the tracks when they are connected to power, or you could get electrocuted.

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    13 Discussions

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    Diego montemayor

    1 year ago

    I like that you are paying attention to old stuff and making them new

    I wonder if it was hard

    I noticed you are very dedicated

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    24cruz7435

    1 year ago on Step 5

    This idea was super cool, as well as the process. I wonder if this was easy or hard? Was it fun? And were there some challenges to face?

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    Daniel6058

    1 year ago

    Great post. I like how you solved it easely and how old of a train it was

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    24gomez6313

    1 year ago

    i like how you were persistent in fixing a train that is 70 years old.

    I wonder if it was chanllenging?

    I have noticed how you put a lot of effort in it

    None
    gaboelizondo12345

    1 year ago

    Great job dude it is actually amazing! I think your grandfather is going to be really proud of you

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    rustybender

    1 year ago

    Good job on bringing it back to life. My mother has a very similar train from around the same time and it still runs. There is something about the clackity-clack noise those things make that modern trains cant match. Did your Grandfather's train have a whistle, and did it still work. The whistle on my Mother's train still works, but you have to hold the button down for a few seconds to let it "warm up," so if you just press the button for a second you might think it was broke. Also, the train probably has the ability to smoke out of its smoke stack. We have a bottle of "smoke pellets" you drop in, and the train will start puffing smoke as it runs. I don't know if they still make them, but if you can find them, it is pretty cool.

    A note regarding WD-40. It works really well to break up rust and free seized parts, so it was a good choice to use it for the initial repair. Over time, it will get "gummy" and start attracting dirt and grime, so it will loose its lubricating properties. Since you've already taking care of the rust, a better choice for future maintenance would be to use a proper lubricating oil like your 3 in 1 oil or sewing machine oil. It will keep the parts lubed and protected without turning to sticky goop.

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    AdrianBarre22

    1 year ago

    Amazing! It's cool how something so old can function again after 70 years

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    BrianH428

    1 year ago

    What an amazing project and story. Thank you for sharing it with us. Well done on trouble shooting and persisting.

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    chgamez

    1 year ago

    Great job Ale! Your grandfather is surely proud. I’m sure you helped him bring back old memories and created new ones by doing this with him.

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    24vdovin8436

    1 year ago on Step 5

    Wow! Great job! It is amazing that you can make such an old train go and function correctly! The story is very intriguing and you did a good job explaining what to do to restore it!

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    tomatoskins

    1 year ago

    This is great! It's amazing how cleaning out old devices will often make them run like new again.

    1 reply
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    mercedes.ugarte

    1 year ago

    Great job bringing that train back to life!