How to attach trucks to Lionel train cars with screws

Frequently the trucks (the wheel/coupler assembly that sits under train cars) come unattached. Lionel trains from the 1970s and first half of the 1980s are especially prone to this, though other makes of trains aren’t immune either. And sometimes you just want to change the trucks–some Lionel and Marx O27 cars are just the right size for American Flyer S scale, for example, only the trucks are the wrong gauge.

It’s tempting to try to just re-attach them with a nut and bolt, but as the train runs in circles around the track, the nut loosens and eventually works its way out.

The key is all in the type of nut you use.

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Gluing Plasticville – or not

Tacky WaxA frequent complaint I see about the Plasticville buildings that people have been using with Lionel and American Flyer trains for more than a half century is that they don’t stay together well. This especially seems to be a problem with the modern reissues. Maybe the old molds are starting to wear out after all this time. Gluing Plasticville is an option. But here’s how to make Plasticville stay together without glue.

There is a cheap, easy, and non-permanent solution. Put a dab of Tacky Wax the size of a small pea on each corner. Usually one on the top and bottom where two pieces meet is sufficient. You can also use a couple of dabs on the bottoms of the walls to hold the building in place on non-carpeted surfaces. And when you want it gone, just roll it off with a finger when you disassemble the building. That means it won’t harm the value if you use it on collectible vintage Plasticville pieces.

Even though it’s non-permanent, it’s resilient. If you take your buildings apart at the end of the Christmas season, you can leave the wax on the pieces and it will work again next year. You may just have to tweak the placement of the wax a bit.

Tacky Wax also works well for holding figures in place. I’ve never had a passing train knock over a figure held down with it.

A 1 oz container goes a long way. I bought a single container and after I finished tacking down everything that isn’t supposed to move on my 8×8 layout, I still had some left over. The figures held strong for a couple of years. When the occasional figure finally does get jostled enough to fall over, I can just put it back. Usually I don’t even have to add more wax, and it will stay put for another couple of years.

I hope you found this helpful. If you like Plasticville, maybe these tips for cleaning it will help you too.

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