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Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by sabretooth47, Jun 21, 2007.
Does anyone recommend using graphite powder as a lubricant for engines?
In a word, No!
For the motor bearings, a plastic compatible oil like LaBelle 108. for the gears, a light weight gear grease, like LaBelle 106, or Lubriplate, some older engines used white lithium grease.
Graphite powder works great on the couplers, and where the couplers are mounted on a "swing arm" (older Athearn 86' flats, and their 89' box cars, or the Walthers autoracks), for the pivot points.
If the electrical pickup comes off the axles, use a conductive oil, or none, on the axle bearings.
In an engine that will have extensive running time, the recommendation is to disassemble, clean, and re lubricate, on a regular basis. Cleaning removes the dirt, and particles that occur from wear. Just relubing, leaves these particles, which accelerate the wearing process. My HOn3 2-4-4-2 gets a clean,relube, every second show. It's been running, all day, two days per show, without fail for over twentyone years now.
If you think you might like graphite for a lube on the siderods, you can try NeoLube. It's a graphite suspension (in alcohol), so that it stays where it is put. It also has the side effect of giving a nice "gunmetal" colour to the (often) bright, shiny stamped metal siderods. Be warned though:
1) It is very slippery, so if you get it on the wheel treads, you will not ba able to pull anything! (It does clean up with more alcohol, but it's tricky).
2) It conducts electricity, so be sure to be precise in your application!