Disassembling a Lionel 1110 or similar Scout 2-4-2 or 4-2-2 locomotive isn’t too difficult. The biggest problem is knowing where the three screws are that you have to remove.

These particular locomotives weren’t really designed to be repaired, but there’s some basic work you can do on them with household tools. You can also replace dead motors with motors from certain other locomotives to get these trains running again if they have sentimental value to you. My 1110, which was my Dad’s first train, falls into that category for me, so I understand.

What you’ll need

Projects like this always go more quickly when you have what you need in advance.

Basic troubleshooting

Disassemble Lionel 1110

The Lionel 1110 is notoriously difficult to disassemble and even harder to work on, but possible. I fixed mine because it has sentimental value. The hole above the second driver wheel, to the center-right, is the key to disassembling the 1110.

If you are lucky, the major problem with your 1110 is the drive wheels being too dirty. They are always filthy, even if they look clean, and will run much better after a cleaning. A cotton swab with some mineral spirits is the cheapest way to clean the gunk off them. Mineral spirits, if you’re not familiar with it, is a cheap and effective solvent sold in hardware and home-improvement stores in the paint aisle. It’s normally sold as a paint thinner.

Try cleaning the drive wheels first if the engine doesn’t run. Pushing it along the track with the power running can sometimes get these going again. If it fights you and the wheels won’t turn at all, don’t do this, to avoid burning out the motor. But if the wheels will turn, this is worth trying.

Dropping out the motor

First it helps to remove the siderods. They are held on with one hex-headed bolt on each side. Hold the wheel tight while turning the bolt and it will eventually release. Then it removes easily, and the siderods slip out once the bolt is free.

Next, set the locomotive on its side, with the locomotive front facing you and the smokestack to your left. You’ll see a small hole right above the rearmost drive wheel, and if you look very closely, you’ll see it’s a slotted screw head. Loosen the screw as much as you can, and if it still doesn’t want to drop out for you, turn the locomotive over and try to poke the other end out with a toothpick or a similar object small enough to reach into the small opening.

Finally, turn the locomotive over with the wheels facing up and remove the two screws in between the front wheels and the drive wheels and remove the plate they secure.

At this point the motor will lift out, probably with a lot of other parts.

While you have the motor out, it’s a good time to lubricate it thoroughly.

Let’s talk lubricants for a minute. The pricier models gave you a lot of leeway. On Scouts, make sure what you use is plastic compatible, because they have a lot more plastic in them. That means Labelle 107 oil and Labelle 106 grease. Apply grease to the gears with a toothpick, then apply a drop of oil to the wheels where the axles meet the bearings with another toothpick.

You can service the motor, though it’s tricky. That’s why you see so many motorless 1110 shells at train shows and on Ebay.

Changing the headlight

The 1110 uses a standard 1445 bulb with a G3.5 globe. You can buy them in quantity with the link, or singly at any auto parts store. They last decades, so you may not need large quantities. They have a bayonet base, so they twist in and out with a half turn.

Replacing the motor

Reassembly is trickier than getting the locomotive apart in the first place. First, pop the drawbar back into place in the back of the motor, since it probably fell out at some point while you were working on it. It slides into a tab in the back.

Next, put the motor in the middle of the body and look at it from the side of the locomotive, adjusting until you can see light through the hole for the screw. Insert the screw and drive it in. You don’t have to cinch it down tight.

Slide the front wheels into the plate. The words “Lionel” go to the bottom of the locomotive and the wheels go above. Slide the plate into the groove in the front of the motor, then slide it into place where the two screws go to hold it in. Replace those two screws. Flip the locomotive right side up and tighten the screw in the top.

Finally, slide one siderod into the opening near the front, and onto the post on the wheel and replace the hex-head screw. Repeat on the other side, and the locomotive is back together.

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