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Discussion Starter #1
Good morning all!

I'd love to pick all of your brains and years of experience to get your recommendations for locomotive maintenance. If you had to bulletize a checklist, what would it look like?

All I have is a box of old train stuff and my two youngest finally (last night) set up an oval and tried to run the train around it. What I noticed is that the locomotives are jumpy and one of them (a life-like Santa Fe locomotive) can pull fine but it's wheels just spin after more than two or three cars are added.

I'm obviously such a noob that I am missing some simple maintenance. I am hoping some of you might be able to get me on the right track...so to speak.

Thank you!
Shannon
 

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That jumpy stuff is usually track still not clean enough or wheels are dirty. Clean again.
The engine that slips so easily probably has traction tires missing. They are rubber
bands that go around the wheels. I hear rubber bands for braces on kids teeth will work
for traction tires. Get them at the drug store. Clean track and the wheels with alcohol.
 

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Hi and welcome to The Forum. We need a little more information. Do you see a name brand one either of the engines? Can you post some photos? How long has it been since these trains have run. The Jumpy one might just need some track time, or it might have a broken part. The other one needs traction tires ( rubber bands on the wheels). You can get them at a drug store. Just look for the rubber bands that are used for braces.
John
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You guys are great!

I always worry when I post something that others will think the topic is too simple or whatever. I live in the DC area and the hobby shop closest to where I live doesn't seem interested in the least to help with questions that are "below" them. Seems that most of mine obviously are.

Anyways, tonight when I get home I'll post some photos and descriptions of the locomotives. I'm sure that the equipment I have is in a terrible state of maintenance as it's been in a tupperware container for ages. Also important to me is keeping the 7 and 4 year olds' attention with the hobby...and of course when something doesn't work right...their attention goes bye-bye:)

Thank you for all of the tips. I thought something was missing from the "life-like" locomotive because I DID see grooves on the wheels (I hope that is the right term vs. trucks) and there were not rubber bands on them. I'll pick up some of them tonight before I get home.

Oddly enough, my wife, who is OCD organized has been bugging me to build a layout for the boys. This is once where her OCD might benefit the males in the family:)

Thank you again for all of the kind and informative responses!
Shannon
 

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(I hope that is the right term vs. trucks)

you got it right.

wheels. round thingy that touches the rails
Trucks. Squarish thingy that holds wheels.

Pleases let us know how it is going. We need the next generation to get hooked on this hobby.
 

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I always worry when I post something that others will think the topic is too simple or whatever. I live in the DC area and the hobby shop closest to where I live doesn't seem interested in the least to help with questions that are "below" them. Seems that most of mine obviously are.
No worries! They haven't said MY questions are too simple (yet!), and I've had some doozies. ;)

I'll skip the comments about the DC area, and so-called "customer service", because the mods have enough to do without editing my posts for language, etc. But having lived there for a year (Alexandria), I know exactly where you're coming from. My recommendation? Invest in the drive, and find another hobby shop. ANY hobby stops being "fun", when trips to the hobby shop rank right up there with getting a root canal. If you have to, cross the Shennandoahs. If you want, I can put you in touch with a shop in Carrollton who has always dealt fairly with me, and I'm sure there are others on the forum who can put you in touch with their "favorite" shops around the area. For that matter, the Internet has pretty much made distance a non-issue - if he's not careful, NIMT just might end up getting a couple of my choo-choos in the mail, for a DCC make-over! :laugh:

In the immortal words of The Wisest Man I've Ever Known (ie, my father): "It's only a stupid question, if you don't ask it".
 

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I always worry when I post something that others will think the topic is too simple or whatever. I live in the DC area and the hobby shop closest to where I live doesn't seem interested in the least to help with questions that are "below" them. Seems that most of mine obviously are.
After 35+ years in the hobby, I've rightfully attained my throne of :cool:Illustrious Potentate of all Things Model Trainy:cool:. My scornful gaze is merely an outgrowth of years of knowledge, meant only to be pent up inside like some military grade secret--unless moved by a momentary blip of charity towards lesser beings---but that's easily overcome by simply reciting my expansive knowledge of the history of HO couplers and the real color of water (blue, BTW...just in case you're told otherwise;) ) Grovel before me long enough, and I just might divulge a taste of my infinite wisdom on just what is the best scale to model in...until then though, I feel I must leave you at the mercy of the flotsam and jetsam of mere mortals that congregate here and dare call themselves model railroaders...:p;):thumbsup:

Welcome...:D:thumbsup:
 

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After 35+ years in the hobby, I've rightfully attained my throne of :cool:Illustrious Potentate of all Things Model Trainy:cool:. My scornful gaze is merely an outgrowth of years of knowledge, meant only to be pent up inside like some military grade secret--unless moved by a momentary blip of charity towards lesser beings---but that's easily overcome by simply reciting my expansive knowledge of the history of HO couplers and the real color of water (blue, BTW...just in case you're told otherwise;) ) Grovel before me long enough, and I just might divulge a taste of my infinite wisdom on just what is the best scale to model in...until then though, I feel I must leave you at the mercy of the flotsam and jetsam of mere mortals that congregate here and dare call themselves model railroaders...:p;):thumbsup:

Welcome...:D:thumbsup:
...can you tell I'm from Baltimore?;)
 

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After 35+ years in the hobby, I've rightfully attained my throne of :cool:Illustrious Potentate of all Things Model Trainy:cool:. My scornful gaze is merely an outgrowth of years of knowledge, meant only to be pent up inside like some military grade secret--unless moved by a momentary blip of charity towards lesser beings---but that's easily overcome by simply reciting my expansive knowledge of the history of HO couplers and the real color of water (blue, BTW...just in case you're told otherwise;) ) Grovel before me long enough, and I just might divulge a taste of my infinite wisdom on just what is the best scale to model in...until then though, I feel I must leave you at the mercy of the flotsam and jetsam of mere mortals that congregate here and dare call themselves model railroaders...:p;):thumbsup:

Welcome...:D:thumbsup:
I KNEW I should have bought those chest-waders that were on sale at Cabela's... JUST kidding, Shay!

Shan, he's not that far off the mark - Shay has forgotten far more about model railroads than I will EVER know. When Shay speaks, I hear and tremble. (he also takes photos of model trains that make you sit back and wonder if it's real or not. when you see them, you will be amazed and astonished.)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Outstanding. That post was almost as good as Idi Amin's formal title back in the day:)

I ordered the rubber band thingy's yesterday evening (CVS didn't have them) and will clean the wheels and tracks today with alcohol. Bourbon should do nicely.

Have a great weekend!
 

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That bourbon is NOT FOR RAIL CLEANING> IT's for drinking only and it gives you the courage to do things with your railroad you would never do otherwise. Get some denatured alcohol for the wheel cleaning and a brightboy pad at the supermarket for cleaning the tracks. Q-tips work well on the wheels.
Now that you've been throughly intimidated by 'The Shay' welcome to the club. He's really a good ol' boy and would be really miffed if nobody asked him any questions. Ha!
Pete
 

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I always worry when I post something that others will think the topic is too simple or whatever. I live in the DC area and the hobby shop closest to where I live doesn't seem interested in the least to help with questions that are "below" them. Seems that most of mine obviously are.

Anyways, tonight when I get home I'll post some photos and descriptions of the locomotives. I'm sure that the equipment I have is in a terrible state of maintenance as it's been in a tupperware container for ages. Also important to me is keeping the 7 and 4 year olds' attention with the hobby...and of course when something doesn't work right...their attention goes bye-bye:)

Thank you for all of the tips. I thought something was missing from the "life-like" locomotive because I DID see grooves on the wheels (I hope that is the right term vs. trucks) and there were not rubber bands on them. I'll pick up some of them tonight before I get home.

Oddly enough, my wife, who is OCD organized has been bugging me to build a layout for the boys. This is once where her OCD might benefit the males in the family:)

Thank you again for all of the kind and informative responses!
Shannon
LOL @ "below them". Are they serious? If you own a store and you want your shoppers to experience max satisfaction, you don't start putting levels of "interest" in customer service! Customer service is CUSTOMER SERVICE for a REASON!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The engines I have are:

Corkeys Carnival Caravan - #711 - "Made in Slovenia" on bottom - runs well, broken coupler mount in rear
Santa Fe - #5628 - Tyco Made in Hong Kong on bottom - runs well but needs rubber things on wheels
Santa Fe - #3560 - Life Like Made in China on bottom - runs well but needs rubber things on wheels
Santa Fe - #5028 - AHM Tempo Made in Yugoslavia on bottom - very dirty, electric motor (I watched it without cover on) moves 1/4 turn in forward or reverse then stops turning. Would love to rehab this one since it is kinda cool that it's from a country that doesn't exist anymore:). Any ideas on fixing it?

Lights on all work fine.

Thanks guys!
 

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Amen to the "Customer Service" comment! Unfortunately, how it "should" be, doesn't happen enough for my liking. And sadly, there have always been "levels" of customer service - go into a store in paint-spattered sweats, greasy tee shirt, and tennis shoes that have obviously seen better days, and see how fast you get waited on. Then walk in in an immaculate three-piece business suit... Which do you think will get the best customer service?

Shay's right - if your hobby store is snobbish because you're not "into" it enough, or knowledgeable enough, or whatever, then just ease on down the road. There's always another store who will be more than happy to answer your questions (and take your money. they're REAL happy to do that!! lol!)
 

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Get some denatured alcohol for the wheel cleaning and a brightboy pad at the supermarket for cleaning the tracks.
I'd recommend Isopropyl Alcohol over denatured after reading the MSDS for each of them. ;) Isopropyl Alcohol is used for medical purposes, it's a lot less toxic for constant use.
 

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also some 5W30 oil (engine oil works just fine) for lubing up moving parts, grease may or may not be good to use, never tried but I have thrown a small dab of thermal paste (computer paste) and so far it seems to work well :)
 
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