Model Train Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

Registered
Joined
902 Posts
"My, what nice, clean-looking track you have!" 馃槄馃槀馃ぃ Ya, I never heard that either! I'm going to study the rest of this when I have time...
 

Registered
Joined
104 Posts
I did use the no ox stuff and it made a great difference in the performance of the track .
I learned this from another forum and the advice at that forum was not to clean the track after the treatment.
However, i tried that and it took a wile but i started to get dead and skipping spots on the layout so i cleaned the track and the amount of dirt that built up was a lot. after cleaning the track the skipping and dead spots disappeared and i now clean any trouble spots that turn up.
I dont see how you can run trains for months or years without cleaning the track but i believe the no-ox treatment works.
Another drawback of that is that it is labor intensive. Took me about 2 days for my door size layout
To do a massive layout would be time consuming.
馃殏 馃殏
 

Registered
Joined
8,975 Posts
A very thorougly researched report. I wouldn't dispute the facts
presented, BUT...it seems to call for a lot of manual labor...not
my cup of tea...I'm addicted to alcohol...I've used it for years...
to clean my tracks with a track cleaning car...to clean loco
wheels by letting them slip in an alcohol spot on a paper towel
and to start my evening with a bit of joy in the form of a
vodka martini.

I never had pausing or stopping anywhere on my room size DCC
HO layout.

However, the location of the layout makes a big difference.
Mine was in a 24/7 all year climate controlled atmosphere.
My house literally is dust free. A layout in a basement,
garage or other 'leaky' spaces would definitely need much
more care. Operators of layouts in areas like these could
very well find this product a godsend.

Don
 

Registered
Joined
2,177 Posts
What he says is what I have come to accept as the modern wisdom for track surface maintenance. It all started, for me in 2005, with a gentleman, now deceased, who introduced us to 'gleaming' over on MR. The process was 600 grit on the rails, then 1200 grit, then using Mother's Mag Wheel Cleaner. When that was all wiped up, you burnished the entire rail system with a clean steel 1.25" washer. According to most who have bothered to do all it takes, probably several hours for some, it works quite well.

No Ox was mentioned probably in the 2009-2010 time frame, also over on MR, where I was moderating at the time. Again, it has its proponents, but so did those who swear by Wahl's Clipper Oil. I had a chemist convince me that Dextron III Mercon was good on rails, and also that it is an excellent lube for steamers outside of the gear tower. My experience with ATF on the rails was good, no slippage, and it did not interfere with connectivity. I have used nothing but ATF since 2005 for the rods and wheel bearings on my steamers and cars. But, Joe Fugate's list says it isn't among the best fluids because it is slightly polar.

If you bother to research this, the very best fluid is kerosene for both cleaning and leaving a protective film. It doesn't take much. I picked up a bottle at Canadian Tire, camping section for lamps, that cost me maybe $8, I forget. I experimented with it already, and can't say the results were disappointing. But, since then, I purchased a CMX car and they say to use lacquer thinner to do a proper cleaning. Again, have done this, and the rag was filthy...so something is being lifted.

I think, in the final analysis, that just as with the prototype, our models make very small contact points with the rails. If for no other reason, it would be that our tiny small radiused tires, with almost no prototype-like tonnage over each axle that actually slightly flattens each tire at the rails, simply don't make hardly any contact with the rails at any one time. In fact, it's a wonder the toy locomotive works at all...to me. One could almost use any film that prevents oxidation, but the fact is that the oxide of nickel silver is still able to pass electrons through it. We blame the oxide because it comes up when we wipe the bearing surfaces of our rails. But it ain't the problem; it's other dirt, sometimes on the tires, sometimes behind them where the wipers are trying to make contact with clean metal, or it's undulating rails that longer framed locomotives can't run over and still maintain good tire contact, or it's engineered suspensions that are not included, or are and don't perform well, or it's locomotives that are too light, or tenders that are too light, or its super-elevation that isn't properly constructed that the locomotives traverse okay without derailing, but not without some key tires lifting slightly.
 

Registered
Joined
10,627 Posts
My motto: never trust the guy who has something to gain by endorsing a product. You can't give up track cleaning. But you can do it less often. I clean mine about once a month (with either CRC or WD-40 Contact Cleaner), and it's in a fairly dusty basement.
 

Registered
Joined
3,642 Posts
i vacumn mine once or twice a year to get off bigger pieces of scenery stubble ...thats about it , no rag with alcohol, i have some but use it to dilute paint and scenery glue ..overall my layout qualifies as 'flexible' , all track is on foam, and ballast and scenery are done with dap flexible adhesive ... nothing really rock solid, even the rocks are on a foam base, lol
 

Registered
Joined
4,801 Posts
I stopped watching the video after a few minutes so I don鈥檛 really know what he was selling. I switched from 91% alcohol to mineral spirits after reading that MR article.
 

Registered
Joined
2,177 Posts
Any petroleum distillate will damage rubber and derivative products, or synthetics that act like rubber. This includes acrylic paints and most plastics, with polypropylene a noted exception (it's what plastic gas cans are made of). So, we should be careful of how much of those fluids remains on the rails. In truth, it's one of the reasons I tend to favour, or have to this point, the use of ATF on the rails. Dextron III Mercon and the recent replacement(s) are plastics and paints safe.
 

Registered
Joined
4,457 Posts
After extended use of Rail-Zip, traction tires started deteriorating to the point of failure on multiple locomotives that were regularly ran on the railroad. The Rail-Zip was stripped from the rails and I started using lacquer thinner. It worked out much better and the fast evaporation doesn't affect the tires.
 

Registered
Joined
10,627 Posts
After extended use of Rail-Zip, traction tires started deteriorating to the point of failure on multiple locomotives that were regularly ran on the railroad. The Rail-Zip was stripped from the rails and I started using lacquer thinner. It worked out much better and the fast evaporation doesn't affect the tires.
Any solvent will CLEAN your track... the trick is protecting it from oxidation caused by microarcing. For this, non-polar solvents are better, although yes, many of them are petroleum based and will attack rubber traction tires. Since I don't have any locos with them installed, it's not an issue for me.
 

Registered
Joined
4,457 Posts
I understand that. I am extremely limited as to what the rails can be coated with that prevents the oxidation from the microarcing.

As I think Rail-Zip is nothing more than extremely refined ATF, petroleum based products can't be used.
 

Registered
Joined
4,801 Posts
As I said earlier, I've been using mineral spirits to clean track. I've also been using it to clean wheels including traction tires. I haven't seen any problems with the traction tires as a result.
 

Registered
Joined
4,457 Posts
It takes time, but it will eventually break down the rubber to the point of failure. Any petroleum based product will attack rubber.

I knew this and used it anyway. After about 10 months of use the failures started. Some of these tires were already over a year old and others were on new locomotives when exposed to the Rail-Zip.

There may be rubber formulations that are more or less susceptible to petroleum products but I don't think anyone in the hobby knows for certain which are which.

I hope your tires last a good long time.
 

Registered
Joined
3,642 Posts
i use no-ox after gleaming / cleaning ... i 'think' no-ox is petroleum based, it's a type of grease.... but i have no traction tires that i know of, so it's base is moot ...
it simply works for me ..
 

Registered
Joined
291 Posts
Acetone on a rag. Cleans my 14'x14' O scale track in under 5 minutes. 2 mains at that. Which reminds me...time to run some trains tonight.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top