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Author Topic: maintaining my trains  (Read 8037 times)
ABC
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« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2010, 05:14:55 PM »

I mostly agree with ABC but am left wondering what length of time his "being in storage for a while" might be.
My definition of "a while" in the context I used it here is any duration of time exceeding 5 years.
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Doneldon

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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2010, 05:21:32 PM »

VOLTS-

It depends on how long they'll be in storage.  My trains stay on the layout most of the time because it is a finished room and very clean.  If I need to store or move them I take special care.  For example, I have all of my locomotive boxes.  I use the original packing for plastics, often with a thin cotton wrap, and put brass locos in their foam cradles only after wrapping them in Saran Wrap to keep the foam from damaging the finish.

I put rolling stock in original boxes, whenever possible, wrapped in soft fabric or acid-free paper.  I find that the "w" and "s" shaped plastic peanuts can be placed with the cars to keep them from moving around, and also to prevent coupler smashing if the cars quickly shift to one end or the other.  I handle brass rolling stock the same as brass locos.

Everything, locos and rolling stock, is then fitted into larger boxes tightly enough to keep them from banging around.  Sometimes that means adding packing material like bubble wrap or air pillows.  I've never had significant damage after moving or storing so this plan must be adequate.  I don't store the boxes in damp places or areas in which the temperature and humidity fluctuate.  Those two go hand-in-hand so I don't have to choose between stable temperature and stable humidity.

I have a set maintenance schedule for all of my cars and engines which spreads that task throughout the year.  I find that to be much less onerous than having everything due for service at the same time.  I do a lot of it while watching TV.

This means that locos are cleaned and minimally lubed about annually.  I wouldn't do a new lube job after storage unless it was protracted, say a year or longer.  As ABC said, lubing is a minimalist's thing and overdoing it will invite more headaches than not lubing at all.  I'm aware the loco manufacturers recommend more frequent service for equipment in regular use but I don't run trains every day and my schedule hasn't led to any failures yet so it must be okay.  I do solvent-clean loco wheels though they are generally pretty clean due to using only metal wheels on everything.

Service on rolling stock includes checking gauge and coupler specs, fixing appearance problems and clean up.  For clean up I use a soft brush to gently dust the cars.  If there's a heavy deposit I'll use a portable vacuum with some miniature attachments, including a brush, and a port which reduces the suction.  I use the same tool on the layout itself (and on computer keyboards).  My little attachments have very small holes so they don't allow tiny pieces to be sucked away.  I also make sure that wheels are clean.  Last, I'll attend to any electric problems on cars which need power such as passenger cars and cabeese.

I also keep a log of any mishaps -- derailments, sudden uncoupling, flickering lights, erratic operation and the like.  I include the location on the pike where something happens and all of the rolling stock involved.  This helps me identify the gremlins creeping around the layout.  Over time a pattern willl emerge and I'll know which car has a coupler defect, which bit of track is out of gauge, which lokie needs cleaner wheels, which turnout doesn't keep the points against the stock rails, and so on. 

          --D


« Last Edit: May 22, 2010, 05:28:16 PM by Doneldon » Logged
VOLTS

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« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2010, 11:28:26 PM »

greetings sir,

thankyou sir Doneldon, we don't have bachmann or train stores here in the philippines. i can only buy lubes available in the local market. for example sir, can i clean the electric motor with the CYCLO ELECTRIC MOTOR CLEANER and lubricate the gears with WD 40?

the most i can keep them when i used the word for a while will be a year. i can clean them once or twice a year and run them after each servicing, will that do? for the tracks sir, what alternative method can i use? when keeping the locos and rolling stocks with metal components, i'm planning to wipe them with WD 40 (wheels, gears etc), spray the electric motor with the cyclo electric motor cleaner and wrap them with bubble wrap which can be bought here in our local book stores. for the tracks a little spray of WD 40, a clean wipe and wrap them with bubble wrap and place them in a box. can i include a silicon gel with them in the box to prevent moisture?

thankyou
steve     
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pdlethbridge
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« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2010, 11:35:10 PM »

We recommend always using plastic compatible lubes As things like Vaseline and WD40 are petroleum based just like our plastic models. They, over time, will destroy our models so its best to get the plastic compatible lubes.
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ABC
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« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2010, 12:02:26 AM »

can i clean the electric motor with the CYCLO ELECTRIC MOTOR CLEANER and lubricate the gears with WD 40?
I don't know what that motor cleaner is but I do know that it is a really bad idea to use WD-40. You would be better off not lubing your locos at all then using WD-40 because after a while you'll have no locos to lube because none of them will run.
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Doneldon

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« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2010, 02:27:53 AM »

VOLTS-

Absolutely DO NOT use WD40 or motor cleaner.  Both of those products will seriously damage your equipment.  Keep it off of the tracks, too.  Similarly, don't use any motor oil, cooking oil or grease, animal fats, or household lubricants.  I suggest going to a hardware store (I know you have them), finding the most well informed person there, and asking what they might have which would be okay for plastic.  There are plastic things which need lubrication everywhere so they should have something.  If that fails, ask the pharmacist at a drug store.  S/he may well have some purified mineral oil which will work, or possibly some pure lanolin which you can use as gear grease.  These might not be quite as effective as designer greases so you may need to service your equipment more often.

If all else fails, you still have one excellent, safe lubricant available: Graphite, the same stuff they use to make so-called lead pencils.  Just use a knife or any other sharp object to scrape some powder off of the lead and use a tiny brush to work it into places where you need a lubricant.  This will work as well as anything on wheel bearings but it may need frequent refreshing on gears and motor bearings.

Try using a pencil eraser on your tracks and wheels.  An ink eraser is too abrasive.  A brass brush will work as it is not hard enough to put and microscopic scratches in the metal.  You can wipe the rails with benzene, alcohol, lighter fluid, lacquer thinner or paint thinner, but be very careful to keep it off of your plastic ties.  Wipe the rails down thoroughly with a clean, soft cloth when you are finished so there is no residue.  Actually, most of these products will evaporate quickly so your wipe down is mainly to get the last of the rail crud off rather than to soak up and excess liquids.

I hope these suggestions help and that they tide you over until you are able to score some products which are intended for model railroads.

          --D
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VOLTS

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« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2010, 03:38:17 AM »

greetings sir Doneldon,

thank you again for the tips, the pencil eraser, lighter fluid, alcohol are within my reach, but for the lubes i'll just give it a try. i'm also a plastic modeller maybe the guys on the other side might have a suggestion on lubes for plastics.

as for the electric motor sir, what can you suggest? is the electric motor cleaner too strong? i will attempt to repair the electric motor that was submerged in flood. will there still be hope for this?

thankyou
steve
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jonathan


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« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2010, 07:05:15 AM »

VOLTS,

I don't know what kind of motor you have there.  However, a few months ago, I was working on an old engine (over 60 years old).  Someone suggested to me that I submerge the motor in alcohol and then apply current to the motor, through wire feeds.

I tried it, using ordinary rubbing alcohol, and it worked beautifully.  Cleaned it up very well.  After the motor dried, I put a couple drops of light oil on the bearings.  Ran great. That was a cool trick.  Unfortunately, I somehow broke one of the brush armatures and had to replace the motor anyway.  But what have you got to lose?  Sounds like a good engine to experiment on.

Two cents are deposited.

Regards,

Jonathan
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VOLTS

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« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2010, 08:32:56 AM »

sir jonathan my loco is a bachmann ho superchief. is it easy to remove the motor from the diecast chassis and the shaft from its holder? i want to give it a try? are all HO bachmann and other HO trains have compatible coupler say bachmann rolling stocks or locos be connected with life like brand trains rolling stocks or locos? can i use an HO bachmann loco and rolling stocks on other HO brands like chinese brands other than u.s. made train sets?
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ABC
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« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2010, 10:05:51 AM »

All couplers are not compatible the main types you'll run across are the American metal knuckle coupler (Kadee), the horn-hook/xf2/NMRA, European couplers with NEM pockets, and whatever they use in China. But most cars can be converted. A common situation is to have some with knuckle and some with xf2, the solution is a car that has a knuckle on one end and xf2 on the other.
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