sticky turnouts

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Santa Fe Jack, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

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    Hey, all.

    I am now getting around to installing the switch machines, and seeing how they work with the turnouts. Right away, I can see a problem. Oh - and for background, these are the nice Walthers Shinohara code 83 Ni-Ag turnouts that look great. But they need work...

    Nearly all of them (I have some #4s, #6s, some curved #8s and a #6 double crossover) are a bit sticky. When I examine them, I see two types of problems:

    1) The cross-connector that holds the ends of the free rails together (this is the the part that the switch machine is supposed to move back and forth) is rubbing against a neighboring crosstie. The rubbing is just a bit too much friction for the switch machine to overcome. My proposed solution is to cut the plastic on the back of the rails (the plastic layer that consists of the ties and plastic hidden under the rails to hold all the ties in place) and move the last few ties down just enough to give room to the turnout crossmember. The only down side is that now the free rails are looser in the end where it joins to the other rails, but, well, it has to be looser in order to work. I think this will work as a solution for problem 1.

    2) The free rails tend to drag (in some cases) on the ties below. As I look closely at the collection of turnouts, I see a surprisingly wide variety in how they are finished. The manufacturer must look at each one individually, and make adjustments by trimming the tops of the ties to get the rails to clear. But in some cases, it's not enough, and there is still drag. And it's tough to compensate.

    So -- any ideas on how to rework these turnouts would be appreciated. I had not expected to have to do this. :( But it's all part of the hobby. :)
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    I have some of these, and while I did not notice the point (movable) rails dragging on the ties, I do have the "throw bar rubbing on the nieghbouring ties" problem.

    My solution was simply to make the throw bar and neighbouring tie narrower with some sandpaper. I simply folded it and inserted it between the two and sanded until they moved freely. Not a real hi-tech solution, but it worked.

    I would not loosen the ties and try to move them away. You run the risk of getting things out of gauge. If you wanted, you could simply move the closest/offending tie. Slide it over a bit, or simply remove it and replace it with a PCB tie (watch for short circuits) or wood.

    Andrew
  3. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

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    Hey, Andrew.
    I tried the sandpaper idea, too, but decided it was too time consuming. Moving one tie, or a set of four or five in the area, seems to work as well, and is easier. I am not worried about any change in gauge, as I am moving the nearby group of ties only about 0.1 mm. That's all the clearance I need.

    Another question:
    Would anyone advise lubricating the moving parts? I am guessing not because any liquid lube (e.g. oil) would attract junk, and a dry lube (e.g. graphite) would conduct electricity. Thoughts?
  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I lube moving parts on all turnouts including a little oil on the top of any tie that the points slide over. I do it before ballasting so the ballast and glue won't glue the turnout in one position or the other. As a side benefit, the points are left nice and free and lubed, but the main reason for it is to keep the ballast glue from sticking the works.
  5. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

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    I'm not nit-pickin' ya, Santa Fe Jack!!:)

    Just if anybody's interested:

    "Nickel silver is a metal alloy of copper with nickel and often but not always zinc. It is named for its silvery appearance, and contains no elemental silver."
    -Wikipedia

    Ni, ya, but no Ag.:D :D
  6. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

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    Well, now that's interesting. And it makes sense -- if there were real silver in there the track would be much more expensive. I'd wondered about that.

    So it really ought to be called "silvery copper and friends"... :)

    Now I'm curious about the actual recipe for the alloy...
  7. Spawn of Chaos

    Spawn of Chaos Member

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    Just looked at your layout pics; the idea of benchwork that can be raised to the ceiling actually will be very handy for me since I have a 40X60 room of which I am allowed about 10X10 for a layout...

    Plus the whole layout is looking good.