Model Train Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have been useing Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol to clean my track an engines, but I have to clean them almost every day. Am I useing the wrong product? The number of hours I run my trains is not high, at the most 30 minutes a night. My track is Nickel Silver and my engines range from Tyco, Lifelike, Backman, and IHC. Please help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
Have you tried cleaning the wheels on the locos too?

Most track cleaning fluids are mostly alcohol with a small amount of detergents in them.

What kind of track anyways? Brass? Steel? Nickel Silver?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,953 Posts
Goo Gone....then Alcohol.

If your wheels are built up with old dirt and tar looking resin then take a que tip dipped in Goo Gone....then use alcohol and let it air dry. This is effective as the Goo Gone has some oil in it which will in fact pick up dirt & grime off your track. The alchol eliminates the oil base and dry's quickly. Make sure you really wipe down your track before and after cleaning....preventive maintenance. Hope this helps!:thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
After seeing the youtube on using an alcohol-soaked paper towel to clean locomotives, I cleaned over half of my 14 loco roster as well as wiping down my track. I did so mainly because on the exit radius on one of my 24 inch curves causes my locomotives to slow down with the wheels slipping. I tried my bright boy but it did nothing; the railhead are still very slippery. After the alcohol treatment, the slipping decreased but not completely, for example, if I stop a locomotive with a heavy drag (16 cars) on that spot, the locomotive's wheels spin, and not budge a millimeter.
While researching for similar cases, I learned about gleaming where the track after being cleaned is burnished (rubbed) with a stainless steel washer (or similar substitute), then metal polished chemically.
Has anyone here used gleaming as an alternative to the rail car cleaners and the bright boy?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
527 Posts
I have to clean track and loco wheels very often! My layout is in an uninsulated shop, where heat and cold and humidity have their way with it. I cannot believe the "gunk" that comes off when cleaning.

I use Goo Gone on the loco wheels. I soak a paper towel with it and lay it across half of my turntable. Then I hold the loco from moving while one set of wheels turn the motor and the other set is getting cleaned on the paper towel. It works pretty well. For the track, I use a homemade piece of masonite floating under a gondola car with weight in it. I just pull it around the track a few times, and it takes off the grime fairly well.

Chad
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,163 Posts
I've never heard of gleaming, but I can see how it would work to smooth the track surface---nice idea. Essentially, it's using a hard, smooth piece of metal to burnish the surface of a softer metal. It only works, though, if the burnishing washer is scratch free and polished.

Here's my take on the problems in this thread, and there's no guarantee I'm right. I like Googone, but I don't leave it on the rails or wheels. I think it's an oil-solvent and lifts the oil off the rails and wheels. That said, if you don't remove it all, the solvent evaporates and your oil is right back on the rails. I do Googone, but follow it with a paper towel soaked heavily with isopropyl alcohol. The idea is to physically wipe the oil-laden Googone off the rails and wheels, leaving them as clean, bare metal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,138 Posts
I had a simulare issue. Cleaned the track and the locos' trucks and in not to long they were dirty again. The issue was not the track or the locos, it was the cars. The cars had picked up dirt and were redepositing it as they went around. After cleaning the cars the issue went away. I suspect that the main cause came from a lot of used rolling stock I purchased and did not inspect prior to using.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,940 Posts
Get rid of any plastic wheels too. They leave residue on the track.

I picked up one of those power Atlas track cleaners - it works awesome. It comes with a sanding head, cleaner heads, and even a vacuum head to clean up loose particles that are along the track. Hook it up to the front of an engine and push it around for awhile. Couldn't be easier.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Last night I got some Goo Gone, some stain steel for burnishing, and some metal polish (mother's chrome and mag (sp?)); getting ready to start the intense cleaning action.
Hopefully I'll get a dremel with a brush for cleaning rolling stock wheels. I've cleaned my loco wheels, and they were totally filthy, black streaks like mad.
Hopefully this reduces the slippery track effect!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
I know everyone does not want to wear out their track, but I use a very fine wet stone on the track and it seems to do the job. I do not have to do the job very often. My lay out is in my work shop so there is usually losts of dust flying around.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
395 Posts
Get rid of any plastic wheels too. They leave residue on the track.

I picked up one of those power Atlas track cleaners - it works awesome. It comes with a sanding head, cleaner heads, and even a vacuum head to clean up loose particles that are along the track. Hook it up to the front of an engine and push it around for awhile. Couldn't be easier.
I just got my atlas track cleaning car today, it does work great. I don't know what it is about my track but boy does it get dirty. I did a thorough cleaning about 6 weeks ago. Today I had a white rag and wiped on rail of straight track 9'' long, it was black I couldn't believe it. I put the cleaning car to work and about a half hour later experimenting with a couple of cleaning heads it wasn't perfect but it was getting real close. I think once I get it clean I can run this car periodically and keep it clean.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,940 Posts
I actually have to send mine back to Atlas. It stopped working. Tried putting power straight to the motor to see if it would spin up....it twitches for a millisecond then doesn't do anything. I only used it twice. I've quizzed my kids to see if they were messing with it, they say no, and I can't see any obvious signs of damage. Atlas said to send it back for a repair or replacement under warranty.

It did work nice while it worked.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
395 Posts
I actually have to send mine back to Atlas. It stopped working. Tried putting power straight to the motor to see if it would spin up....it twitches for a millisecond then doesn't do anything. I only used it twice. I've quizzed my kids to see if they were messing with it, they say no, and I can't see any obvious signs of damage. Atlas said to send it back for a repair or replacement under warranty.

It did work nice while it worked.
That really sucks. Hopefully it comes back in tip top shape.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top