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Author Topic: maintaining my trains  (Read 8036 times)
VOLTS

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« on: May 18, 2010, 11:16:05 AM »

greetings,

i'm new to this hobby and it seems i'll be dealing with maintaining my trains. can anyone provide me with basic maintainance tips like basic tools and knowhow if i'll take them apart. the bachmann train that i have which was submerged in flood waters will be my first challenge if i want to fix it.

the train ho superchief that i'm planning to buy thru ebay was shelved by the seller for 2 years and when he tested it, the wheels wont turn and run but he can hear the engines. what can be done? should i push thru with the purchase? is it normal if ever for the gears to stuckup if not used for 2 years?

thankyou
steve
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pdlethbridge
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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2010, 12:18:45 PM »

 I would first suggest that if you can, buy something that is new and runs. You'll be disappointed if you pay for something that doesn't work and you can't fix it.
For tools, I would suggest a set of plastic compatible lubricants, things like Vasoline, 3 in 1 oil or WD40 may be good around the house but could be dangerous to plastic models because they are petroleum based just like plastic. Over time they will eat away at the plastic and ruin it. Labelle and Woodland scenic make sets for the hobbyist.
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Joe323

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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2010, 12:43:54 PM »

Ditto

Start with a new Locomotive because unlike buying your first car an HO locomotive isn't such a big investment that buying used pays.  Also if you cannot get it running you will get frustrated.  Maybe when you have more experience and you want a rare or collectable item OK.

Seek out a local Hobby Shop with a test track and start there.  That way you can buy a Locomotive that you know runs.  Plus you pick there brains for ideas.

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Doneldon

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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2010, 04:03:16 PM »

Volts-

The most important thing to remember is to get lubricants which self identify as plastic compatible.  If it's not on the label, don't trust it. 

Second, lubricate sparingly.  If you think about what is the bare minimum you think you need, use half of that.  Excessive lubricants attract abrasion causing dirt, can gum up the works over time, and end up all over everything, including your rails.  You don't want any part of that.

Third, set up a service schedule for all of your trains.  With occassional running, yearly or even a lttle less often is probably appropriate for your locos.  Quarterly might be needed if you operate regularly.  Or somewhere in between, depending on how much you use your trains.  Rolling stock should be serviced every couple of years or more often if a particular piece begins to have problems.  Pay special attention to the gauge of the wheels, cleanliness of the wheels, and couplers, especially coupler height as many seem to sag over time.  Also check that your bolster screws or pins are properly tight/loose, and that nothing is dragging under the cars.  Be sure that electrical pick-ups, if any, are adjusted and clean.  You can put a minute (or half of a minute) amount of conductive grease on these.

You won't need any special tools beyond your regular modeling tools.  However, Micro Mark does sell a bearing reamer for the sideframes of your trucks.  You might find it helpful if you have some axles which just don't want to run freely.

Maintenance doesn't stop with the parts that move around.  Look at turnouts and your track, too.  Be certain that turnouts work smoothly, stay tight against the rails they are supposed to contact, and have no interference, like a wandering piece of ballast.  And clean your track.  This may be the single most important thing to do to keep your trains running smoothlly.  Is it fun?  No.  But balky trains that need a little shove all the time and sounds and lights which cut out aren't fun, either.  Some folks continuously run a car or two to keep the rails clean.  Does this work?  Should you do it?  Only you can decide the answers, whether yes, it keeps my rails clean enough, or no, cleaning cars aren't prototypical and I can't stand to see them on my layout.

I'm sure this sounds daunting but it really isn't much of a hassle if you spread things over time.  Too, think of this maintenance as insurance against frustrating running sessions due to derailing or coupler failure.

          --D
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ABC
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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2010, 05:40:39 PM »

Seek out a local Hobby Shop with a test track and start there.  That way you can buy a Locomotive that you know runs.  Plus you pick there brains for ideas.
Hey Joe, there is a just one problem with that there are 0 local hobby shops in the Philippines where he lives, he has no stores that sell model railroad equipment and accessories.
How about this Volts... I have several locos that are economic (approx $20-$30 U.S.) and run well that I am willing to part with, if you are interested send me a message and we can iron out the details and I can send you photos. I don't want you to get bamboozled. Let me know what you decide...
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2010, 07:48:16 PM »

ABC,
I like what you are thinking, but have you checked the postal rates to the Philippines?  From Canada, a 2 pound parcel is about $35.  A 1 pound parcel is only half as much, but with diesel locomotives weighting close to a pound, it doesn't leave much for packing.  Surface mail is a bit cheaper but steve will probably be off to Hong Kong before a surface package arrives.  I am guessing that USPS rates are similar but might go in 1 ounce increments which would be a real advantage over the 1 pound increments Canada Post uses.

Do you or does steve have any friends traveling to the Philippines in the near future? 

Steve
Where in the Philippines do you live?  If you do not want to put it on the board, at least let ABC know so that he can check to see if it is in or near one of the cities that USPS will ship to.  And same question I asked ABC - do you have any friends traveling from North America to the Philippines in the near future?  The local Filipino community frequently use this method to beat the high cost of postage.

And that train you were looking at on eBay.  Did you remember to include the cost of shipping from the seller to you when looking at it as an option?

Jim   
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Pacific Northern


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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2010, 12:10:20 AM »

Seek out a local Hobby Shop with a test track and start there.  That way you can buy a Locomotive that you know runs.  Plus you pick there brains for ideas.
Hey Joe, there is a just one problem with that there are 0 local hobby shops in the Philippines where he lives, he has no stores that sell model railroad equipment and accessories.
How about this Volts... I have several locos that are economic (approx $20-$30 U.S.) and run well that I am willing to part with, if you are interested send me a message and we can iron out the details and I can send you photos. I don't want you to get bamboozled. Let me know what you decide...
Buying or selling of items  is prohibited on this site per rules is it not?
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Pacific Northern
ABC
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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2010, 12:27:40 AM »

It wouldn't be on this site, I was just asking if he was interested because I felt bad for him. I think this is different then starting a thread saying I'm am selling such and such and visit my website etc..etc... Because I'm not actively trying to sell anything, I just told him to send me a message if he was interested and we would continue off the site by email or something.
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Joe323

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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2010, 09:42:30 AM »

Seek out a local Hobby Shop with a test track and start there.  That way you can buy a Locomotive that you know runs.  Plus you pick there brains for ideas.
Hey Joe, there is a just one problem with that there are 0 local hobby shops in the Philippines where he lives, he has no stores that sell model railroad equipment and accessories.
How about this Volts... I have several locos that are economic (approx $20-$30 U.S.) and run well that I am willing to part with, if you are interested send me a message and we can iron out the details and I can send you photos. I don't want you to get bamboozled. Let me know what you decide...
Buying or selling of items  is prohibited on this site per rules is it not?


Sorry when I posted my last comment I did not realize where the OP was from

Joe
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2010, 09:58:39 AM »

the train ho superchief that i'm planning to buy thru ebay was shelved by the seller for 2 years and when he tested it, the wheels wont turn and run but he can hear the engines... is it normal if ever for the gears to stuckup if not used for 2 years?

Rereading this thread, I see that none of us has answered your question.  No, this is not normal.  And the gears are not stuck or the motor would not be turning.  More likely the motor shaft is spinning inside the gears.  This happens if the locomotive is stored in a hot place.  The plastic gears relax a little bit and are no longer tight on the motor shaft.  The repair is often just a drop of Crazy glue.  The only other thing that lets the gears slip on the motor shaft is when the gears split.  I believe this is more likely to happen when the locomotive is stored in extreme cold.  This too can be repaired with Crazy glue but the locomotive will not run very smoothly because the cracks or splits are still there.  Getting spare gears can be difficult to impossible but you might be able to salvage the old ones from the damaged locomotive.

Jim
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Doneldon

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« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2010, 04:21:00 PM »

Volts-

If you try to repair the gears with crazy glue, make sure that all surfaces to be glued are absolutely clean.  I'd wash with soap (on a small cloth), clean up the soap and then wipe with a solvent like alcohol or lacquer thinner.  Plastic and steel or brass are not normally found together in nature so we are giving the crazy glue (make sure it's fresh) a real challenge.  Give it the best chance to work.

          --D
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VOLTS

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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2010, 12:53:59 PM »

sir how do you keep your trains? if example you want to keep them for some time due to a busy schedule and would not attend to them for a long time. where do you put your trains specially the sensitive locos and controls? do you put them on boxes and is there a specific room temperature? will in boxes and inside closets be ok? what do you put on them inorder they would run again if you decide to play with them.

thankyou
steve
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pdlethbridge
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2010, 02:19:37 PM »

I have mine boxed under the train table in their boxes or put in news paper to keep from getting damaged. My basement is pretty comfortable, and temp and humidity don't change much. If you box your trains, put them where the temperature and humidity don't change much, like a closet in you bedroom.
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ABC
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« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2010, 02:20:44 PM »

Each time you want to use your locos after being in storage for a while you will want to clean the wheels and track using track cleaning fluid, an eraser, and a cloth that doesn't leave behind fibers. Then apply lube and oils sparingly being sure not to apply too much and wipe off any excess, as over lubing a loco actually makes it run worse then before. Then you will want to break them in by running them at a moderate speed in forward for 30 minutes, reverse for 30 minutes then flip the loco around, then run forward 30 min & reverse 30 minutes.
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2010, 05:06:02 PM »

I mostly agree with ABC but am left wondering what length of time his "being in storage for a while" might be.  Personally, I tend to take locomotives off the shelf and slap them on the track and let them tell me what they want done.  If the headlight blinks and the locomotive jerks, then the wheels and contacts need cleaning.  If the locomotive is sluggish and/or noisy and/or overheats, then it needs lubrication.  And if it will not run at all, then it probably has a bit of corrosion on the commutator and will need taking apart.  Any time a locomotive is taken apart, it gets the full cleaning and lubrication routine.  But I rarely take a locomotive apart just because it has been in storage for a while unless the "while" is more than about 10 years.

How do I get away with this?  Mostly by using good lubricants to start with.  What makes them different is that they do not evaporate and do not oxidize.  That means you can put them on today and they will still do their job years from now.  I use a light oil that can soak into the sintered metal bushing used in many locomotives.  Their sponge-like nature keeps a reservoir of oil ready where it is needed for a long, long time as long as the oil does not disappear by evaporation or set like a varnish from oxidation.  For gears, I prefer a high performance adhering oil over greases.  Gears running in grease often push the grease aside and end up spinning in cavities within the grease.  The grease is there but just not doing anything.  Sticky oils, on the other hand, stick to the gear teeth for a very long time.  Even in long term storage they stay stuck to the gears and do not drip off.  At worst, they may take a turn or two of the gears to evenly redistribute them again.  For the record, in small scales I usually use Labelle oils, 102 for gears and 108 for bushings and track.  This is not because I dislike Bachmann lubricants, it is simply because I keep on using the same lubricants that have worked fine for me for many years and because I am not convinced that mixing lubricants is a good idea.

Jim
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