Cleaning Loco Wheels By Brute Force

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Brakeman Hal

Well-Known Member
Today I discovered a way to clean the 8 drive wheels on my 0-Scale 2-Rail GP-35 Diesel.

I had been troubled by its frequent stalls and occasional spurts for 1/4 inch when I try to push it ahead, so this time I set it on the track, and by holding it firmly and not letting it move, I applied full power from my controller and just let it sit and grind for up to 10 seconds, then let it go.

It then ran around my 130 feet of track without a stall anywhere!

Brakeman Hal, age 84
 
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DakotaLove39

Always Improvising
Uh.. yeah don't do that a lot. Best way to clean track and wheels are with mineral spirits. For cleaning wheels, a little mineral spirits on a paper towel is good enough.
 

glenng6

Member
Steve gave you very good advice. I have been using mineral spirits since the early 80's and have never had a problem. I use an eco-friendly version which helps the environment and you, at the same time. Glenn
 

troyphoto

Well-Known Member
perhaps putting some "cleaner" (Isopropyl alcohol if you can find any) on a rag, under one set of wheels, letting that set rub the grime off on the rag. Wet another part of the rag, and let a new set of wheels spin. (I know I've seen a vid on youtube of the method)
 

Brakeman Hal

Well-Known Member
O-Scale 2-Rail Track, Motors, Drive Gear, and Wheels are much more rugged than that lightweight HO stuff!

I'll do it again this way!
Hal
 
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Brakeman Hal

Well-Known Member
My Santa Fe #3307 GP-35 weighs five pounds alone, which is more than some entire HO trains!

Move outta the way, HO Shrimp!
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The weight of that diesel on the heavy O-Scale rails was enough to do the job without fooling with cleaning solvent. Besides...with the engine inverted in its service cradle, I would require 2 hands to hold the power leads to the wheels and another hand to apply the isopropyl alcohol...I only have 2 hands.
Hal
did you at least wipe up the crud that was left on the track??
Yes, I at least wiped it.
Hal
 
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Selector

Well-Known Member
I would not do this. It would undoubtedly be effective in scrubbing crud off the tires, but it would also scrub the sintering/plating off the tires. Nickel Silver is quite hard, harder than most people think, so I would not be concerned about doing this at random places around the layout. But the tire surfaces are much more discrete and limited to the one locomotive's ability to be effective. Nickel silver/steel will quickly wear away the pristine surfaces of the metal tires.

My method has been to invert the loco, cradle it, apply power to it via wires, and to use a piece of scrap scale lumber to scrub off the visible crud, and then to wipe the tire with a clean painter's cloth wet with kerosene or mineral spirits. Better, is to run trains often and to wipe the rails after a long time away with a cloth dampened with alcohol. Taking up dust really cuts down on the arcing that changes the dust to carbonized crud.
 

TrucTrain55

Well-Known Member
Uh.. yeah don't do that a lot. Best way to clean track and wheels are with mineral spirits. For cleaning wheels, a little mineral spirits on a paper towel is good enough.
Be careful using mineral spirits and rubbing alcohol if you have a sound board it will mess with it. I use Rail Zipp very safe and been using for years
 

DakotaLove39

Always Improvising
Be careful using mineral spirits and rubbing alcohol if you have a sound board it will mess with it. I use Rail Zipp very safe and been using for years
Rubbing alcohol actually has long-term negative effects on a molecular level. I'll post about this elsewhere.

I clean all of my wheels with mineral spirits. Never had a problem. None of my sound locomotives have had an issue.

Steve gave you very good advice. I have been using mineral spirits since the early 80's and have never had a problem. I use an eco-friendly version which helps the environment and you, at the same time. Glenn
Thanks, Glen. I'm a zealot about taking care of my stuff properly.
 

TrucTrain55

Well-Known Member
Rubbing alcohol actually has long-term negative effects on a molecular level. I'll post about this elsewhere.

I clean all of my wheels with mineral spirits. Never had a problem. None of my sound locomotives have had an issue.


Thanks, Glen. I'm a zealot about taking care of my stuff properly.
Last winter I cleaned my Weaver O scale with Alcohol and had a effect to the sound for a while. It is 3 rail so this may make a big difference due to the fact it’s AC not DC I never thought of that till now. I’m like you I take very good care of my stuff it’s to hard to replace anymore. It’s better to service it regularly and take care of it not abuse it
 

Brakeman Hal

Well-Known Member
Hey, wvg_ca... I would never attempt cleaning someone else's track and I would never have anything to do with an HO layout!

Besides...would you really slap an 84-year-old gun-loving Conservative? 🇨🇦
 
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