Lubrication and Maintenance for a Typical Lionel Steam Locomotive
Lionel produced and sold hundreds of thousands of train sets from 1945 to
1969 in what is commonly called the Postwar Era. We will address the lubrication
and maintenance of a six wheel steam locomotive that will most likely apply to
the model train you own. Here’s what you do to keep it in tiptop running
Clean the wheels (where they touch the track) of built up grease and dirt,. Use
tweezers to remove carpet fuzz, hair, and tinsel from the gears and axles. Clean
grease and dirt from the center rail roller pickups with mineral spirits,
denatured alcohol, or a spray degreaser. Pay special attention to the roller
axles. DO NOT OIL the roller pickups. Ensure the wheels roll freely and that no
debris is caught in the gears.
Oil the locomotive drive wheel axles at six points. Oil the front and rear
trucks where the axles touch the truck frame. Oil the two intermediate gears in
the center on the pivot stud. I use clean 30 wt motor oil for these
Lubricate the gears with a lightweight grease such as Lubriplate 630AA. Apply
the grease sparingly
Oil the armature shaft at two places; where it protrudes through the brush
plate and the armature bronze bushing on the other side of the motor on the
bearing plate. Use one drop of the 30 wt oil at these two spots.
Oil the valve gear, the drive rods, and the side rods on both sides of the
motor with a lightweight machine oil you can buy at a hobby shop. Make sure you
oil all the pivot and slider points.
Clean the boiler shell and the wheel spokes with a spray wax/cleaner such as
Armor All. Scrub the boiler and wheels with a soft toothbrush and wipe clean
with a soft cloth.