Dirty Wheels


Long Winded Old Fart
I bought a Trix wheel cleaner a couple weeks ago & spent about 3 hours cleaning wheels on about 50 engines. Out of all the wheel cleaners that I have bought over the years, this one works the best.
Although I had to scrape some of the gook off w/a hobby knife to get the wheel cleaner started to work,
it did the job very well. It's made to hook more of them together. So, if you wanted to clean a whole engine at one time, 2 would do it. All you have to do is sit it on a hot set of rails. I have a short test track on my workbench & that's what I use.

Our club is starting a campaign to clean wheels on cars. Those of us who have started cleaning our stuff have been surprised to see how much gunk there was on the wheels. I've been using an Xacto knife to clean my wheels while another member uses a Q-tip soaked with alcohol. Both seem to work. It seems to be a matter of personal preference.

I'm about done with my cars and plan to hit my locos next. I'm going to lay an alcohol soaked cloth across a piece of test track and run the locos over it. Again, it's a matter of personal preference.

I bought a Kadee Speedy driver cleaner last year at a show, Seems to work quite good, its really a brass wire brush that takes power from the track ( or powerpack). It will do one set of wheels at a time, and it sure beats scraping with a blade.

Cheers Willis
I've had the best luck so far with a gallon of denatured alcohol (Bacardi 151 with poison in it;)) that I soak into doubled up paper towels. I just let the locomotives run over it while I hold them in place. Now, for the rolling stock, just use a q-tip and the denatured alcohol.
A couple of years ago our group decided to replace all of the non-metal wheels with Kadee's, and Proto Wheel sets. We have all but eliminated the need to clean the rolling stock wheel sets. We just use some alcohol occasionally on the engine wheels and track cleaning cars before each operating session and we have little to no problem.
Gotta go with grumpybob here. I cleaned wheels for eons, Xacto, rubbing alcohol, all of the ideas here work well. But it always came back.

When I converted (slowly over several years) to metal wheels (intermountain, Kato, JayBee, Old Pullman, Kaydee, etc), the problem virtually disappeared.

Bulk wheelsets are pretty cheap and you can use the existing truck frames if you want. I highly recommend 'em.
I should also mention that, like Ken and Bob, I have metal wheelsets. It does make a huge difference. I guess I should have stated that...
One other point to add here is that I also bought a reemer. This tool clears out the inside of most plastic truck pockets so that when you put the metal Wheel sets in they run much better. It takes a little time because you have to keep turning it as it fits in side the truck frame and reems out one side at a time. You will also find that the engines will pull more cars easier.

Haven't seen to many on the market, but might imagine places like Mirco Mark, and some of the Larger Hobby shops might have them. the are about 10 to 15 dollars. A friend of mine picked one up for me on his last trip.

Bob a.
Bulk wheelsets are pretty cheap
Who distributes the bulk wheelset packages? Sounds like the way to go, and cheap is what I need before I have to pay a divorce lawyer :)

Cheers Willis
Bob - I agree the reamer is the greatest thing since sliced bread (what was the greatest thing before sliced bread?). They are made by Reboxx http://www.reboxx.com/Tools.htm and it really makes a difference in the way even new cars roll.

Willis - I buy Intermountain wheel sets in boxes of a hundred. I've found them at train shows and on Ebay.
The greatest thing before sliced bread was sliced luncheon meats, which is why sliced bread was such a great thing.
Goll eee! and here I thought it was because people were buchering themselves with their knives :D
Thank's for the Intermountain info I'll keep an eye open for some on the 16th at the show.
Cheers Willis
A lot of ideas too good to pass up. I even tried a set of those pull tissues that you get in the automotive dept at Walmart. The only thing I didn't like about tissues & paper towels is trying to hold them down w/out them rolling up under the loco & jamming the mechanism. I made a set of rails over a slotted board to hold the paper towels, but I found the brass Trix wheel cleaner is the easiest way w/an x-acto knife w/the real tough ones. Like we all say"What ever works the best for us". I always like to get everyone's ideas on a certain subject. A lot of times someone else comes up w/a better idea. That's what's so great about the RR forums.

And don't throw out the old plastic wheelsets. You can always do this. ;)
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Ok I am a little confused on when, where and why you use this reamer. I looked at the link and it's cheap enough but how do you use it and where? It's looks so small? What size is it? Dontcha just love new people with dumb questions?

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It's to make the wheel sets fit better into the truck frame in HO. You use it on any new or old trucks to make the car roll easier. It works really well.
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Hey! that's ok! gonna order one of them pronto. Thanks for the descriptive photo, heck I was picturing me sitting there and twisting that little reamer by hand

Cheers Willis
Well you still turn it by hand, but you can run it over a table top to spin it. I love that little tool. It makes an incredible difference in the way trucks roll.