How to best clean wheels?

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by MinnMonkey, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. MinnMonkey

    MinnMonkey Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Likes Received:
    What is the best way to clean wheels on rolling stock?

    Also what are the benefits to using metal wheels versus plastic ones?
  2. pjb

    pjb Member

    Dec 22, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Simple wheel cleaning

    :thumb: Metal Wheels
    They roll better when conditions are equal.
    They get the weight down low and help with
    center of gravity issues, thereby. Given the fact
    that most common kitcars or RTR, are too
    light out of the box, the metal bogie and wheels
    help with the whole issue of car weight and,
    as previously noted get it down low.

    The easiest way to clean car wheels is to
    take some light absorbent cloth or a heavy
    weight paper towel and wet with a volatile
    solvent of mild variety. That would be alcohol,
    although Varsol and similar on a porch or
    park bench setting would do. Do not use any
    that would be absorbable through your skin
    or would cause a plastic wheel to distort
    secondary to it breaking down the hydrocarbon
    So use the rubber/plastic gloves you can buy
    in your local supermarket or hardware store.
    Place the cloth over a length of track and run
    the truck with wheels (preferably attached to
    car for ease of accomplishing cleaning) back
    and forth over the matter. The dirt will appear
    and use the item as much as you can until
    it wears out.

    Dipping a toothbrush in your
    ETOH (100% , or woodETOH - NOT medical
    70% antiseptic work best), or whatever cleaner
    used ... can be used on hard to clean
    wheels. Be careful that you do not damage
    valve gear or other appearance related
    artifacts on locos when using your scrubbing
    toothbrush. Or for that matter,be careful
    to not knock springs or brake cylinders
    off your trucks, either.

    Wheelsets are only half the matter, as other
    discussions appearing on this site indicate.
    You have to clean track as well, and the same
    cautionary note applies to wheels as to track
    Even more so than rail, - LEAVE OUT out abrasive
    cleaning materials such as: emery or sanding
    cloths; abrasive erasers; files; and any other
    grit using stuff when wheel cleaning. Especially
    if, as your question would indicate, there
    are nylon or other plastic wheels involved.
    Obviously, cleaning your rail will reduce the
    buildup of dirt on wheel flanges. This also
    means less of the more tedious work of
    cleaning wheels , as opposed to cleaning
    rails , will be needed.
    Good-luck, Peter Boylan