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What fluid should I use for lionel 3 rail?

Also is there someway to custom make a track cleaning car out of an old box car?
 

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Lionel or LifeLike track cleaning fluid can be used. If you prefer a better product, use naptha (available at hardware stores). It is a very good cleaning/degreasing product and will not attack plastic or paint. Use it to clean your trains also. For light rust, use a ScotchBrite pad. Do not use sandpaper, as it will remove the plating on the rails.

Larry
 

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Isopropyl alcohol. I have 2 big bottles of 91%. Use it on wheels and track. I keep a roll of paper towels and various dollar store sponges around.

Doesn't attack anything except the oil and dirt. Evaporates quickly. Non toxic as long as you don't drink it.
 

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dangerwildmike:

I bought a track cleaner car for my HO layout. In the instruction they described what works and what does not for cleaning the rails of the track.

The most aggressive cleaner and the one they recommend for their cleaning car, which came highly recommended, is lacquer thinner on a rag that is rubbed on the rails top surface. Do not get it on anything but the rail top surface. It will remove the plastic on the track from the train wheels. Alcohol will not and alcohol is not all that good at removing oil on the track from the wheels, either.

Then there is the abrasive rubber erasure sold for track cleaning by your train shop. It has embedded grit in it and totally cleans the tops of the rails. It is easier on the rail top than sandpaper.

Both of these methods were highly recommended in the track cleaning car instruction, over and above any other solvent or detergent because the track residue is a combination of oil and plastic off the wheels of the trains.

LDBennett
 

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My trains don't have plastic wheels. :)

I've been told over and over, both here and at the train shop to never never use sand paper or steel wool on the tracks.

I also would rather use things that do the least harm if at all possible. It might take more elbow grease, but better safe than sorry in my book. If there is a cleaner that must not touch paint / plastic / whatever, the first car I spill it on will be my favorite one!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I kept seeing stuff on google about Mr. Clean magic eraser with rubbing alcohol. They would mount it to the bottom of a gondola car and use it that way Any objection to that?
 

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My method for cleaning tubular track is very easy. Run the train on the track until the top of the rails are clean. This is a lot more fun than any other way to clean track. If the track has oil or grease on it, I fold up 2 or 3 paper towels and fasten them to the bottom of a heavy car with rubber bands. Then I put some rubbing alcohol on the towels and use a loco to pull this car around the track. I stop it periodically and fold the towel to a clean surface. Sure beats using elbow grease.
 

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I bought a good amount of new fastrack about 4 years ago. Shortly after I bought it, I had to clean it. I was running a new El Capitan set on it. It had a lot of oil on it. Where did the oil come from? I have no idea, but the track had a lot of oil on it. Of course, by the time I cleaned the track, the wheels of the loco and cars also had a good amount of oil on them. Anyway, the towels and alcohol made short work of the oil and grease. Cleaning the track by hand was out of the question. It would have taken several hours.
 

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Well, it was behind the couch and love seat, and that made it a little more difficult. Also, if I used alcohol and a rag it had to be gone over several times to get off what was contaminating the track. Much easier and a lot more fun to run the train.
 

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Well, it was behind the couch and love seat, and that made it a little more difficult. Also, if I used alcohol and a rag it had to be gone over several times to get off what was contaminating the track. Much easier and a lot more fun to run the train.
But I thought you oiled your track?
Your the oil man. :D
 

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If you have locos with sliding shoe pickups, then oiling the center rail is a good idea. For the roller pickups, it is not so important, but oiling the shaft that the roller turns on is a good idea. Oil on this shaft does not prevent the electrons from getting from the roller to the pickup arm, in spite of what some people have suggested. We oil the axles that the drivers turn on, don't we? And the electrons get through this oil just fine. As many of you know, I also oil the commutators and brushes on my locos, and the electrons get through this just fine.
 

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If you have locos with sliding shoe pickups, then oiling the center rail is a good idea. For the roller pickups, it is not so important, but oiling the shaft that the roller turns on is a good idea. Oil on this shaft does not prevent the electrons from getting from the roller to the pickup arm, in spite of what some people have suggested. We oil the axles that the drivers turn on, don't we? And the electrons get through this oil just fine. As many of you know, I also oil the commutators and brushes on my locos, and the electrons get through this just fine.
If you oil the brushes and commutator, won't this make carbonized deposits on the commutator face when the brushes naturally spark on the commutator?
 

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Motor oil doesn't seem to cause a problem with the commutator. I definitely wouldn't use 3 in 1 oil, WD-40, light machine oil, etc., on the commutator.

Brushes are impregnated with oil when they are made. If they were not, they would wear out very quickly.
 

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hey servo guy

I with you about running the train to clean the tracks. It hits all the right spots and misses all the wrong ones. And its fun!
I never thought about de-greasing using loco power, but I love your idea.
Turn the work into fun! What's better than that!:thumbsup:
 

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Larry, I have been developing methods to eliminate work and turn it into fun. I don't want to make my hobby into another job. With this said, I have reworked over 100 022 switches to make them work properly, but this was a labor of love. I like to make things which were broken work again.
 
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