How To Restoration & Repair Why is my postwar Lionel No. 646 Hudson engine sluggish?

Why is my postwar Lionel No. 646 Hudson engine sluggish?

By Joe Mania | March 4, 2024

What’s normal wear and tear for a postwar steamer?

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Q I noticed rust on the trucks of my Lionel No. 646 steam engine. When I tried to run the postwar locomotive, operation was sluggish. The engine needed an unusual amount of transformer voltage to go around the track. I removed the cab and discovered the aluminum crosshead guide, where the valve gear linkages are attached, was bent on both sides of the guide. Further examination revealed little to no clearance between the valve gear and the crosshead during operation, which likely led to the damage. Is such damage indicative of normal wear and tear or a botched repair of the locomotive? Can the postwar locomotive be repaired? — Donald McCombs, Fountain Hills, Ariz.

vintage model toy train steam engine: postwar Lionel No. 646 Hudson
The No. 646 small Hudson, like most other steam engines that Lionel manufactured during the postwar period, can be repaired fairly easily and inexpensively no matter what the problem. Rusty trucks and bent mechanisms just need basic care and cleaning.

A Most, if not all, Lionel steam engines from the postwar era can be repaired because parts are plentiful and most of the work doesn’t require special equipment or tools. Your 646 Hudson may have been mishandled in the past, or it could have been repaired by someone unfamiliar with it. In any case, it certainly can be fixed. Good luck!

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