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Thread: Locomotive Maintenance

  1. #1
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    Default Re:Locomotive Maintenance

    Griff, just like weathering, certain products are better suited to certain tasks than others... and similarly, the "less is more" rule applies when putting it on... over lubrication will just attract dust, etc, and gum things up... not to mention traction problems when you've got lube all over the rails :roll:

    I'm just about to order a Hob-E-Lube 7pack (assorted bench lube) from FiferHobby , so I have a fresh selection to work with, since I've not been on the "service" route for many years... I'll be digging out some of my old locos, and giving them a once over... (since it's been so long, you may want to take this with a grain of salt).

    Get light oils and greases that are intended for hobby use.
    Look for plastic friendly lubes when purchasing, or some of your parts might get spongy :shock:

    Take the loco shell off.
    Remove any lint that you see in the works (may require further disassembly if there's something major wrapped up in there).
    Apply the tiniest drop of oil to each end of the motor shaft (bearings... keep lube away from the brushes).
    Apply the tiniest drop of oil to gear bearing (pivot) points in the drive-train.
    Apply a real small amount of grease to the teeth of the gears... turn it over by hand or run it slowly to work the grease evenly around all the gears.
    Remove any excess grease and oil... if you don't now, it will end up on the track!
    Put the shell back on, and test run it...
    Check the underside to make sure you don't have anything dripping on the track (surprising where it comes from... and how much, when you put so little on :? )

    Others will no doubt have other ideas/techniques, since I'm very rusty in this area...
    Bryan
    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

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    Default Re:Locomotive Maintenance

    Another step to consider, after you follow Bryan's excellent steps, you've done a test run and it's running smoothly, is to place the loco on a white paper napkin or towel (away from dusty areas) to let any excess oil drip overnight. Then use a cotton swab (rub and turn against fingers to prevent loose cotton strands from coming off) to gently absorb any excess lube that dripped overnight on the wheels or undercarriage.
    - Chris
    www.NewhallStation.com
    Offering Kato, Tomix, and MicroAce N scale trains and locomotives*from Japan.

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    Default Re:Locomotive Maintenance

    OK, I got all that great info but my question is.......
    How Often?

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    Default Re:Locomotive Maintenance

    Quote Originally Posted by "allan1010"
    OK, I got all that great info but my question is.......
    How Often?
    It all depends on the size of the layout and the experience of the conductor. :wink: The more often you "use" it, the more lube you need to apply.
    - Chris
    www.NewhallStation.com
    Offering Kato, Tomix, and MicroAce N scale trains and locomotives*from Japan.

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    Default Re:Locomotive Maintenance

    Cleaning intervals will depend on how clean the layout is, and how many hours you run... the more dust laying around, the more that will likely be picked up as you do a lap...

    If I had to put a number on it, I'd probably say check 'em out every 20hrs of running, if all is going well... or when performance drops off...
    A loco that's not used will still need attention once a year, to keep it in good nick... the oil and grease will dry up over time, making it thick and gummy... this will rob your baby of power, and give jerky slow speeds...
    Really caked on dried out grease may need a little something to loosen it up and clean it out, but be careful to not use something that will attack the plastic parts...

    We didn't touch on wheel cleaning before... the easiest way to keep wheels clean, is to have a clean track... clean track, clean wheels, good conductivity, smooth running...
    Track cleaning has been covered before in other threads, so a search should get you started on that one...
    Wheel cleaning; there are a few wheel cleaning gadgets on the market (also covered in another thread), that seem to work OK...

    Alright!... someone else
    Bryan
    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

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    Default Re:Locomotive Maintenance

    The lubrication of engines has been covered very well so far, so the only thing I will add is: Make sure the grease & oil you use says PLASTIC COMPATIBLE some place on the label. DON"T use WD-40 for lubrication anywhere on any engine.

    To clean engine wheelsets, I lay a paper towel on the track, put on a little WINDEX, just enough to soak the towel thats on the track. Take the engine and place 1 truck on the towel with the WINDEX on it, and lightly hold the other truck on the uncovered rail so it picks up power. Let the wheels turn on the WINDEX side, watch all the grease and oil come off on the towel. Reverse the engine and clean the other truck. TAA-DAA clean wheels!
    DIESELS ?!?!?! We Don't Need NO Stinkin' DIESELS!!!

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    Default Re:Locomotive Maintenance

    Hob-E-Lube gear oil seems a bit thick and kinda sticky. unless it is old?. bought it today a LHS, tried it on the old Life Likes, slowed them down at 1st quite a bit till ran them in a while. I only put a tiny dab on each gear.
    I think I might try the Labelle 106 Plastic Compatible Grease with Teflon.
    Model RailRoading since 1976

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    Default Re:Locomotive Maintenance

    Hob-e-lube has 3 or 4 different weights of oil... the lightest is VERY thin...

    A run in period after lubing is advisable to work the lube evenly around all the gears, and to shed any excess... hence the requirement for a light clean off afterwards (usually sitting them on a paper towel overnight will do it)...

    The thicker oils are for the larger scale locos (G, Lionel)... this maybe what the LHS had???
    Bryan
    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

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    Default Re:Locomotive Maintenance

    UPDATE:
    I bought some Hob-E-Lube gear lube a month ago. it slowed down the locos for a while (only put a tiny dab on gears) and no other noticable benefits.
    Today I bought some Labelle 106 + teflon (safe for plastics) and what a difference! it did not slow them down, and they are much more quiet! and they are older plastic frame lifelikes that now run and soudns MUCH better.
    I recommend the Labelle 106 + teflon for gears
    Model RailRoading since 1976

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    Default

    Hi, I'm brand new to the hobby and this info helped me to get an old used engine that I bought from Ebay running again. It was sold as an ATLAS but was made in the old Yugoslavia.

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    Default

    I have been in n scale for a long time, when Minitrix was my main power, a little over 35 years. I have always used a light oil with PTFE, (teflon). I'm still running original Atlas/Kato and Kato locos, and haven't worn out any gears.
    I don't use grease for gears but if you must the 106 is a very good choice.
    If you need to put a towel under your loco then IMO your using way to much oil!
    Be very careful using to much oil on the brush side of the motor, use about 1/4 of a drop, unless you want oil on the brushes, I don't.

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    Exclamation

    The only place that I put any oil, if I use it at all, is on the worm. This way it moves on to the worm gear and then down to the smaller gears. By the time any is on the axle gear it is not enough to get on to any track parts.
    Mostly I oil about once or twice a year if I think of it. I have not noticed any difference in running though if lubed or not lubed as the gears are made from a smooth low friction Delrin or Delrin like plastic at least on most of the newer high end engines for about the last 14 years. At least on my Kato and Atlas engines.
    Any running problems I have had never have been a lubricant problem.
    And this is my story and maybe mine only on the subject.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by allan1010 View Post
    OK, I got all that great info but my question is.......
    How Often?
    As they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    If the motor oil in your car can last 3,000 miles, the lube you put on your engine should last several lifetimes. Model train mechanisms do not tax lubricants.

    And the motor oil in your car will probably go 8,000 miles or more. That is, unless you're using your car in the "severe duty" class as described in your owner's manual. But that's another topic for another forum.

    - Arved
    Amateur Tribologist

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