Dirty Inconsistancy

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by EngineerKyle, May 18, 2006.

  1. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

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    Hi All,
    I was wondering if anyone notices irregular dirt build up on track and wheels. I always have a rail or two, in a spot or two, that gets gunked up way more, and more often than the rest. Also, some rolling stock seems to get just one dirty wheel. Heavy gunk, and always the same wheel. I marked it. What do you think this signifies?
    Follow up Q; Of my 4 geeps, the green one always has dirtier wheels than the others, by a long shot. It is the oldest. Why?
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Who manufactured your locomotives? Do you still run plastic wheel sets on your cars? Athearn used sintered iron wheels on their older locomotives, newer models may be nickel silver. The old iron wheels tend to pick up gunk unless the locomotive has had quite a bit of weight added to it. Plastic wheelsets tend to pick up gunk. Look carefully at your track in the spots where the gunk tends to build up. Are there scratches on the rail surface? Some people try to clean track with emory cloth or sand paper instead of brite boys or chemicals. If you have ever used an abrasive cleaner that leaves scratches on the rail, the scratches actually become gunk traps.
  3. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

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    Hi Russ,

    Thanks for taking the time. First, I am not too worried about this, I just thought it would make interesting discussion.

    I have no plastic wheels on my track anywhere. The Locos are all Atlas geeps, and the dirty one is about a year old. The rest are newer.

    I hit a few rails with a bastard file before I knew what I was doing. I can't say for sure if those are the spots that get grimy first. I almost think the track is either a little high, or low in those areas. I guess I'll check there with a line level one of these days.
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    If the tracks that have been hit with a file are the culprits, you can probably eliminate the scratches by using wet or dry sand paper and starting with a 220 grit and working down to really fine automotive grits to polish the rails. I don't know why one Atlas geep would have dirtier wheels. The Atlas models all have nickel silver wheelsets I believe. Is there any evidence of arcing on the wheels of the problem loco?
  5. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

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    nope, no arcing.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I don't know why one would have wheels getting dirty quicker than the others. One might get dirty at a different rate but it would be a little bit quicker maybe. One should not get significantly dirtier quicker than the others. Have you looked at the offending wheelsets with a magnifying glass to see if there are any scratches or pitting on the wheels that would cause that one locomotive to get dirty wheels faster?
  7. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

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    It doesn't happen so much anymore. When I first started out in this hobby. I did not know the importance of cleaning.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Laying track and adding scenery will tend to get an extra amount of dirt on the rails. You can clean like crazy, and it still seems to be places that get missed where the wheels will pick up dirt. As you have found out, cleaning regularly will eventually get the hidden dirt out, and regular running of the trains will help keep the rail clean. If the layout sits for a while, you probably would want to run some sort of track cleaner car over it to clean off the dust which will accumulate, before running trains. We find at the modular club where we set up once or twice a month, and where some modules may not make it more than every other or every third set up or even less frequently, that we have to do a lot of track cleaning when we set up.
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    I've noticed a problem like this occasionally where the wheel is out of round or sitting higher than the rest. I think it may be that the dirt isn't getting rubbed off by the railhead. The dirty tracks may be lying a bit lower than the other side.
    When I cleaned my Lionel wheels (after 45 years of inaction) there was a big layer of crud on the tread, but there was a bare spot where the round rail head had been.