Cleaning wheels

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by plbab, Dec 7, 2004.

  1. plbab

    plbab Member

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    Well after running trains for a while i noticed the wheels getting very dirty. I cleaned the track with alcohol. How do i clean the wheels? I have read that some people turn them over hook up power and clean them that way. Where do you "hook up power to" ? There must be a easier way than disassembling the engine. Thanks Paul
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    If the power pickup is on the wheels (instead of little shoes that ride along the track), you can make a wiper with two brass strips sandwiched in some styrene to provide power to the wheels when the loco is upside down. The wiper will look like a "H" - you connect power to the top legs, and put the bottom legs on the pick up wheels. That will let you turn them as you clean with q-tips and alcohol, of whatever you have chosen.

    Don't forget though, that the rolling stock all have wheels ;) and will need cleaning too. You can do this with the same materials. If you do try a dremel tool with a brush ** don't ** use a wire briush on plastic wheels, and don't let the wheels spin, as the heat that is generated may melt the needle-point "bearings" on the axels.

    Andrew
  3. plbab

    plbab Member

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    A little slow on the uptake today. Not sure what you mean by looking like a H.. Paul
  4. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    I clean my locomotive wheels by tacking a small piece of old t-shirt material over a three foot length of track on a board. I wet the material with alcohol and then hook up a cheapie power pack to the track. Run the loco over the wet material and hold it so the wheels spin on the cloth. I get remarkable results almost immediately.
    Ralph
  5. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Same as Ralph except I used paper towel. I call it the burnout method as it leaves nice black marks on the towel. Most of my lokey even pull posi. :D Fred
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Hi Paul -

    Here's a picture.

    Space the brass "upright" parts (yellow) to match the track. Connect your power to the upper parts of the legs, and press the lower parts against the wheels with power pickup. Hold the styrene (green) to avoid any electrical shocks... ;)

    To connect power, you could solder leads on or use the leads with the alligator clips you can find at Radio Shack, etc.

    Andrew

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  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    As well as your locos, clean your car wheels. Use the cloth/paper towel over the tracks; wet a bit of the towel with your cleaning solution and run the cars back and forth over the towel. Shift it when you get two dirty stripes on the towel; keep shifting until you don't get anymore stripes.
    Alternate method is to turn the car upside down and attack the gunk with a Qtip full of cleaning solution.
    For the locos, you may want to turn upside down, hold wires to the pickup wheels and with your third hand, hold a Qtip to the dirty wheels.
    Kadee and a few others make little wheel cleaning brushes with brass bristles and leads that you can just apply to the loco wheels -- turns and scrapes at the same time. (You need to have pickup from both wheels on an axle for this to work; doesn't work in non-powered/non-pickup axles.)
  8. b28_82

    b28_82 Member

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    you can also turn the throttle a good ways up and wet the papertowel on the track and set the loco on the track. The one set of trucks picks up the power while the other set gets the cleaning.
    Turn around and repeat.
  9. trainking49

    trainking49 New Member

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    I also use the burnout method but i use a white cloth and wd40.
    Before i put them on the track, i do it again on a clean cloth to remove any left over dirt.
    The results are great. Ralph