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Maintaining Your Lionel Trains

Take one of your swab sticks and moisten it with Mineral Spirits and remove the oil and grim from the armature as well as the inside of the motor field. There isn't much room between the armature and the inside of the field, so take your time. You don't need to flood the area with the Mineral Spirits, just enough to get the job done. Use as many swab sticks as necessary. If the motor is reasonably clean when you take it apart initially, and before unsoldering any wires, then merely lightly clean the areas mentioned above.

If your motor is exceedingly grimy and filthy, and/or has a lot of oil residue, we recommend that you take it to a service facility that can remove the pinion gear, clean the motor housing properly and reassemble it for you. If you do not have such a facility near you, we can perform this service for a nominal fee.

As mentioned earlier, the armature is important and its commutator is its heart. Inspecting and cleaning it will ensure that your motor will perform at its best. Below you will see four examples of Lionel's 671M-8 armatures. At the top, left to right, you will see a new unused armature with a slight glaze or skin on the commutator. This glaze is normal to new armatures. In the center is a used armature with no apparent scoring or damage. The armature windings attach at three (3) points as noted by the red arrows. Inspect the solder points to make sure that each of the wires are properly soldered and not damaged or broken.

Lionel 671M-8 Armature Samples

The armature at the top, far right, is in bad shape. Although difficult to see in this picture, the commutator is deeply scored where you see the copper colored ring. The commutator on this armature should be replaced. Absent that, replace the entire armature. A damaged or scored armature will not function properly no matter what you try and do to save it.