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I did a search and found several posts about cleaning up older locomotives but none that my specific situation.
Alot of what I buy are late 50's early 60's Lionel HO where almost every locomotive fails to run due to incredibly dirty wheels. I have brought back from death 10 locomotives. I am a collector of a certain line that has tremendous sentimental value.
I have a Bright Boy Track Cleaner that I have used in the past to clean up the wheels, but it is an intensive manual operation
My Bright Boy's edges are getting worn and I don't have that sharp edge any more. Yes I could cut it to get a new edge
BUT!!!!
Is there a better way to clean dirt off of these wheels/ Tried alcohol, and it did nothing but did have a good time drinking wine in the attempt:D It's a joke son.....
I use DEOXIT D5 to clean up the electrical connections.
But the dirt on the wheels is escaping me.
Thoughts
 

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What metal are they?
Steel? Brass?
Some specialized cleaners will work better on some metals, and not very well on others.
For instance, CLR on a Q-tip may work for steel alloys, or Brasso for brass.
 

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What I do:

- 91% isopropyl alcohol
- paper towel folded over so it's about 3-4" wide
- wet paper towel, place on track
- turn on power (for loco) around 75%-100%
- put one truck on the towel, the other on live rails
- let motor spin up and gently work spinning wheels on towel
- repeat for other truck

This can get A LOT of grime off.
 

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What I do:

- 91% isopropyl alcohol
- paper towel folded over so it's about 3-4" wide
- wet paper towel, place on track
- turn on power (for loco) around 75%-100%
- put one truck on the towel, the other on live rails
- let motor spin up and gently work spinning wheels on towel
- repeat for other truck

This can get A LOT of grime off.
X2 for that method! :thumbsup:
 

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I’ve had a couple of very old locos that were nasty that I’ve taken the wheels out of the trucks and put them in my drill and had to use a red scotchbrite VERY GENTLY to get the grime off. If it’s a steam loco with big drivers this is probably not the best method. I’ve also used a small brass wire brush with power directly on the motor terminals to get the wheels to spin. Once again use the brass wire brush very gently to get it cleaned up so you don’t tear your wheels up or scratch them. If you see them starting to scratch which looks like a line starting in a spot on the wheel Then either move the brush or come up with a different method from there.
 

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What I do:

- 91% isopropyl alcohol
- paper towel folded over so it's about 3-4" wide
- wet paper towel, place on track
- turn on power (for loco) around 75%-100%
- put one truck on the towel, the other on live rails
- let motor spin up and gently work spinning wheels on towel
- repeat for other truck

This can get A LOT of grime off.
Same here but sub the alcohol for CRC 2-26.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/CRC-2-2...c}:br+dln:{541908}+qu:{crc+2-26}:qu+nf:{1}:nf
 
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