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Thread: Engine truck and wheel cleaning (from track and no-ox thread)

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    Default Engine truck and wheel cleaning (from track and no-ox thread)

    I did (another) full cleaning of the mainline yesterday and did the wheels of the U23B... and experienced the same issue of the loco running well for a couple of laps, and then beginning to stutter and stall in a few places. I re-cleaned the wheels and it perked up again. The more I cleaned the wheels, the better it ran (and for longer duration). So I took the GP40-2 (which had ran well after I first cleaned the track a week ago but then succumbed to extremely poor performance after some running). Gave that a thorough wheel cleaning and it again ran much better. I let it run laps while I set up a small station with some spare track and cleaned the wheels of all my locos.
    Once finished (about 20 minutes of running time?) I took the GP40-2 off and did the wheels again. It had been running pretty consistently the whole time... slowing up in just a couple spots.
    This is what the paper towel looked like after doing the trucks several different times:



    Does this look like it's picking up gunk from the track, or is this from some polar reaction between wheels and track?
    Prior to running the last set of laps, I cleaned the wheels to the point where they left no residue on the paper towel.

    Or is this no big deal?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pwh70 View Post
    Does this look like it's picking up gunk from the track, or is this from some polar reaction between wheels and track?
    Prior to running the last set of laps, I cleaned the wheels to the point where they left no residue on the paper towel.
    Just a guess, but that is a lot of build up in a short time for it to be from micro arcing. The polar/non polar idea makes sense and mineral spirits may well be an improvement over using iso alcohol, but I've been using iso alcohol for years and just don't find it to be that bad or get dirty as quickly as you are describing. It seems more likely that after sitting for a while, some lubrication in your locos has made its way down into the trucks and is getting onto the wheels. You clean the wheels, but there is still something in the trucks that is getting the wheels dirty again. Just a theory, but maybe try disassembling and cleaning the trucks and see if that helps?

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    Default Engine truck and wheel cleaning (from track and no-ox thread)

    Quote Originally Posted by OTFan View Post
    You clean the wheels, but there is still something in the trucks that is getting the wheels dirty again.
    Thanks for that feedback... I've been looking down (at the track...) for the cause, I didn't think of looking up!

    Ordering a Labelle kit now.

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    Paul, when you clean the wheels do you also clean the inside of each wheel where the contacts ride?
    Cheers!
    Gordon
    Rheinland Bayern Bahn
    http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...4-x-9-5-layout

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    Paul those dirt marks aren't terribly bad, I've had my locos leave streaks of black gunk and still run relatively OK.

    On the same line as OTFan and Gordon, when was the last time you completely tore down your locos and thoroughly cleaned them, meaning the drive train and trucks?
    When was the last time you oiled and lubed them and how much did you use?
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by el Gato Gordo View Post
    Paul, when you clean the wheels do you also clean the inside of each wheel where the contacts ride?
    Gordon, I only ran the powered wheels over a cleaner-soaked paper towel, so I would say no. I have to admit - I've never taken them apart to even be sure of where the contacts ride.
    I'll have to watch a couple videos to educate myself on the process.


    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post
    when was the last time you completely tore down your locos and thoroughly cleaned them, meaning the drive train and trucks?
    When was the last time you oiled and lubed them and how much did you use?
    Hi Allen - embarrassingly enough, I think my answer to Gordon answers your question as well.
    I've been hesitant to take them apart. I've always been afraid I'd never get them small pieces back in the right place! But I did order some Labelle oil and grease. I'll take the time to figure out how to do it.
    (As usual), thanks for the motivation...

    Paul

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    Okay, Paul. Generally speaking, the electrical contacts are very thin coppery almost filaments that rub against the inside of the wheels. Simply cleaning the wheel surface with a Q-Tip dipped in contact cleaner will do a lot. But you can't rotate the wheels to get all the way around. I do it the hard way, cleaning one quadrant of all the wheels, run the Lok forward a tiny bit, pick it up, and do it again. Repeat until you think you have all surfaces cleaned.

    I rarely disassemble Loks, perhaps once a year (or so, as needed) except to troubleshoot problems. At that time I'll do a deeper cleaning and miniscule lubing.
    Cheers!
    Gordon
    Rheinland Bayern Bahn
    http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...4-x-9-5-layout

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    Default Engine truck and wheel cleaning (from track and no-ox thread)

    Quote Originally Posted by pwh70 View Post
    Hi Allen - embarrassingly enough, I think my answer to Gordon answers your question as well.
    I've been hesitant to take them apart. I've always been afraid I'd never get them small pieces back in the right place! But I did order some Labelle oil and grease. I'll take the time to figure out how to do it.
    (As usual), thanks for the motivation...

    Paul

    Gotcha Paul.
    An easy thing to do is to just take the chassis apart, getting the drive train out is the main thing and there isn't a lot of parts in doing this. Having a picture that shows you where all those parts go is a major key, that way if something pops off into space you'll know where and how it goes back together. The U23B and GP40-2 are easy and are both pretty similar.
    I'll try to get some pics for you that you can keep handy. Give a few days.

    As for the trucks, yeah that is a huge frustration for me, trying to get the two axles snapped back into the trucks and getting the copper axle pockets on both sides to line up sucks. 3 axles are even worse for me.
    The way I like to clean the axles between major cleanings, I have a spray can of contact cleaner that I spray and flood into the axles pockets and gear towers while the trucks are still assembled, then while still wet, I roll them back and forth over a paper towel and then I can see how much gunk comes out, I may repeat this several times until the fluid dripping out is clean and doesn't stain the towel.

    A light Labelle oil: #106 or #107 is what I have.
    For the Worm gears on each side of the motor I'll use a heavier oil or lighter grease for that, but just a drop, it doesn't take much.

    Never overdo the lubing. It's better to have the loco start to squeal when it's dry and THEN add a drop than to have too much lube and have it get everywhere.
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    Thanks, Allen... I watched a (Fifer) video last night that was helpful, and practiced first on a cheap Life-Like Amtrak that I had lying around (boy that spring/driveshaft can really travel across the workbench!!), then started with the GP40-2. Just the trucks for now, until the Labelle order arrives. I've got them apart, and can't wait to get into the frustration you described in getting them back together.
    I had no idea the wiper/contact points worked like they do (see pic below) and am amazed that any of my Atlas locos even run at all! You can see the cleaned one on the left, and not clean on the right.

    Question to all: would these misc contact point locations be good candidates for NO-OX as well?



    thanks,
    Paul

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    I was thinking it wouldn't hurt, but it might because dirt sticks to grease. S
    eems like they wouldn't need it because the axle's needle is always spinning against the contact.

    Watch out, those things look asymmetric - mirror images. Make sure the long ends align when you put the trucks back together. And when you put the trucks back in the loco the contacts go inboard so the wipers hit them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NtheBasement View Post
    Watch out, those things look asymmetric - mirror images. Make sure the long ends align when you put the trucks back together. And when you put the trucks back in the loco the contacts go inboard so the wipers hit them.
    After they were both apart, I was thinking "I wish I had done these one at a time so I can use the other as a template."

    thanks for the heads up.

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    Sounds like you have it under control Paul?
    What you might put In the axle pockets is some graphite?
    Graphite won’t collect dust like Nthebasement mentioned and should reduce friction.
    On the top of the axle pocket strips where it rubs the long wipers and the bottom the long wipers is where I rub on a little No-Ox.
    This seems to help my locos.
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    Hope y’all dont mind i split this off from the track cleaning with no-ox thread because it seemed like it needed its own.
    carry on.

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    I was actually going to add "I feel like I'm dominating someone else's thread", to my post this morning, but the information seemed generally relevant to the topic and (hopefully) of interest to struggling dirty trackers like myself!!

    Thank you for separating.

    -Paul

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    Absolutely, Paul. I think nearly all of us follow threads about track cleaning and improving the electrical contacts on our engines and cars. Splitting it to this location was a good move, Charles.
    Cheers!
    Gordon
    Rheinland Bayern Bahn
    http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...4-x-9-5-layout

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    Thanks for the suggestion to use graphite, Allen! I have a few Trix Doppelstock Wagens that don't roll worth beans. Apparently the wipers for the electric pick up have more friction than is necessary. I can put them on a 3% grade and they won't roll downhill. My most powerful engine, a Fleischmann BR 103 can barely push (or pull) 4 of these cars.

    Here is the BR 103 pulling 3 of these cars:



    So I picked up some powdered graphite at Lowe's this morning and put a tiny bit on the inside of each wheel. They still don't roll really well, but they are very much improved. Guess it would be wise to treat these cars before shows.
    Cheers!
    Gordon
    Rheinland Bayern Bahn
    http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...4-x-9-5-layout

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    +1 for graphite. I usually just push the tip of a 4B (=very soft) pencil into those axle pockets, and I also "paint" the wipers with the pencil. Seems to help...

    Heiko

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    Quote Originally Posted by pwh70 View Post
    Question to all: would these misc contact point locations be good candidates for NO-OX as well?
    Conductalube is one suggested lubricant for the axle-wiper contacts. A light conductive grease would be as well.

    I like @Heiko's idea for a wee bit of graphite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post
    When was the last time you oiled and lubed them and how much did you use?
    Allen, I finally got the chance to lube a couple of locos tonight. The GP40-2 that would run a few laps well and then begin to stutter and stall seems to do lap after lap smoothly now. I imagine there was just a bunch of friction in there...

    I'll try to get them all lubed, do one more good track cleaning and apply some NO-OX to the rails. If I can go downstairs and have consistent good running, I know I'll get back into track/wiring completion, and move onto scenery.

    thanks for the (simple) prompt in the right direction!

    -Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by pwh70 View Post
    Allen, I finally got the chance to lube a couple of locos tonight. The GP40-2 that would run a few laps well and then begin to stutter and stall seems to do lap after lap smoothly now. I imagine there was just a bunch of friction in there...

    I'll try to get them all lubed, do one more good track cleaning and apply some NO-OX to the rails. If I can go downstairs and have consistent good running, I know I'll get back into track/wiring completion, and move onto scenery.

    thanks for the (simple) prompt in the right direction!

    -Paul
    Excellent Paul, glad to hear of the success!
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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