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Discussion Starter #1
I got a spare bedroom back a few days ago so I set up some 85 year old O gauge tubular track to run conventional stuff. The old track has piss poor conductivity through the track connections. I cleaned the pins with Scoth Brite pads, but the tube ID needs cleaning as well.

I cleaned a few with rolled up 220 grit sandpaper, but I don’t feel like doing that to all the track sections.

I did a brief search for small tube wire brushes. I came up with carb cleaning brushes, airbrush cleaning brushes and micro tube brushes, but anything I found in the size I need (about 3 mm diameter) has nylon bristles and I think I will need brass or stainless bristles to do the job.

Anyone know of a micro (2-4 mm diameter) tube brush with wire bristles? Any other ideas to clean the crud from the O gauge track tube ID?

IMG_4817.JPG
 

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See if you can find a .177 caliber bore brush. I don't know that one is made in brass, copper, or stainless, but it's worth a 30 second search.
 

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Use needle nose pliers to close the receiving tubes gap where necessary.

Perhaps dental brushes available at supermarkets and pharmacies. And contact cleaner like CRC (Home Depot) or Goo-Gone.

This task is upcoming for me. That's my first idea for maintenance when to lay down my permanent layout.
 

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A VOICE FROM THE MID WEST

Just a few thoughts here. Would submerging the track in Evaporust for a day or two do the trick? Of course the connection pins should be removed first for best results. Evaporust may soften up that internal rust enough so that a Dental Flossing brush, proposed by Millstone Mike, just might work. Clean, Rinse, Repeat. Use compressed air to blow the loosened junk out of the tubes. Scotch Brite fine weave works best IMO for outer surfaces of the track. At my old workplace we used Conductive Grease on several projects that required a conductive path. Has anyone tried CG on any of their Train projects. Might just work on Track Connector pins to help lower the voltage drop "loss" between sections of track.

LATER
 

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Forget the brushes. Take the pins out, soak the track in a 5% white vinegar solution for a minimum of twenty-four hours. Remove the track and wipe the surface to remove any residue of remaining rust, rinse thoroughly with warm water, dry in a 200 degree oven and replace the pins. Track is free of rust, inside and out, and completely usable. (the vinegar will remove the paint from the ties, but will not hurt the insulators.

I got this from Benz Trainz, here and on youtube.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the replies.

I sent an email to tinman3rail. I suspect he would rather have my old track to recondition and resell, but we will see.

I am loath to soak it in an acid solution or anything that has to do with water. Over the years, most of the plating has been removed and I think that would just be asking for more oxidation. Baking would ameliorate that, but I think I will try a tube brush first.

Someone on another forum pointed me to McMaster-Carr (the amazon of hardware stores) where I ordered some brushes. I also ordered track pliers. I’ll let you know how they work.
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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Thanks for the replies.

I sent an email to tinman3rail. I suspect he would rather have my old track to recondition and resell, but we will see.

I am loath to soak it in an acid solution or anything that has to do with water. Over the years, most of the plating has been removed and I think that would just be asking for more oxidation. Baking would ameliorate that, but I think I will try a tube brush first.

Someone on another forum pointed me to McMaster-Carr (the amazon of hardware stores) where I ordered some brushes. I also ordered track pliers. I’ll let you know how they work.
Another good way to remove some more plating would be use sandpaper. ;)
 

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Forget the brushes. Take the pins out, soak the track in a 5% white vinegar solution for a minimum of twenty-four hours. Remove the track and wipe the surface to remove any residue of remaining rust, rinse thoroughly with warm water, dry in a 200 degree oven and replace the pins. Track is free of rust, inside and out, and completely usable. (the vinegar will remove the paint from the ties, but will not hurt the insulators.

I got this from Benz Trainz, here and on youtube.
ditto and i had to soak mine.. 8 gallons of vinegar in a tote for 8 days!!!! but my track is in good shape now. not perfect but usable!!!!

ill do this when i move again...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I got an assortment of brushes. Stainless .109”, brass .109”, stainless .12” and brass.12”. Also got a set of track pliers.

Started with a semicircle. I measured resistance before cleaning the ID. Most section joints had 0 ohms so I left them alone. Two adjacent sections (where locos would stall) had resistance of 200 ohms on one of the center rail joints, .4 ohms on the other center joint, 4.3 ohms on one of the outer rail joints and .2 ohms on the other.

I used a .109” brass brush by hand on one section. For the other (with oversized IDs) I used a .012” brass brush mounted in a drill for a few seconds. After reassembly (and before crimping the oversized IDs) resistance went to zero.

For the rest of the track, I used a .012” stainless brush in a drill. Also crimped any track that looked loose.

The trains run well now with just one lock-on connected.

If anyone is interested in trying this, I recommend a .12” brush if you are using a drill. If you plan do it by hand, I would go with a .109” brush since the .12” brush is difficult to remove by hand from a properly sized ID. I would also recommend stainless bristles since I think they will last longer than brass.

https://www.mcmaster.com/power-brushes
 

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Great info. I'm facing this task soon. Thanks.

I wonder if applying conductive grease on the pins would benefit longevity.
 

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Yes the grease helps, as does slightly bending the pins outward so they scrape into the inter tube. This is best done of your not planning on disasembleing it anytime soon. Dido on the tube brush and a drill. Time consuming but works.
 

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Forget the brushes. Take the pins out, soak the track in a 5% white vinegar solution for a minimum of twenty-four hours. Remove the track and wipe the surface to remove any residue of remaining rust, rinse thoroughly with warm water, dry in a 200 degree oven and replace the pins. Track is free of rust, inside and out, and completely usable. (the vinegar will remove the paint from the ties, but will not hurt the insulators.

I got this from Benz Trainz, here and on youtube.
make sure you deactivate the acetic acid in the vinegar with baking soda mixed with water, immerse the track in the water, then rinse, then dry in the oven. while the track is still hot spray it with wd40, let it sit for 10 minutes then wipe it dry, it will run like new track.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yes the grease helps, as does slightly bending the pins outward so they scrape into the inter tube. This is best done of your not planning on disasembleing it anytime soon. Dido on the tube brush and a drill. Time consuming but works.
The tube brush in a drill isn't all that time consuming. Takes a few seconds for each piece.
 

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Yes the grease helps, as does slightly bending the pins outward so they scrape into the inter tube. This is best done of your not planning on disasembleing it anytime soon. Dido on the tube brush and a drill. Time consuming but works.
The tube brush in a drill isn't all that time consuming. Takes a few seconds for each piece.
Well it depends on the amount of track. Lol i did a ton of it.
 

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I wouldent use wd 40 on the tracks myself. Something about oily residue on the rails that dosent play well with the wheels of the trains. If you cleaned them real good with alcohol after they are dried it might work well. Never tried it.
 
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