Easy way to clean wheels?

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mtrpls

Ignorance is Patriotic
As I consider cleaning the wheels of my large freight car collection, I am wondering if anyone has stumbled upon an easy method? I keep hearing that cleaning the wheel treads with a track cleaning eraser, like a Bright Boy, is the most common way... however, this seems long and tedious when having to clean so many wheel sets.

Can anyone share an easier method, or some helpful advice?

Thanks!
 

jeffrey-wimberly

Dr Frankendiesel
Put a paper towel across an old peice old piece of track and pour some alcohol on it. Roll the car back and forth across it and watch the black gunk come off.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
As I consider cleaning the wheels of my large freight car collection, I am wondering if anyone has stumbled upon an easy method? I keep hearing that cleaning the wheel treads with a track cleaning eraser, like a Bright Boy, is the most common way... however, this seems long and tedious when having to clean so many wheel sets.

Can anyone share an easier method, or some helpful advice?

Thanks!
Yes, While rotating the wheels, individually, dab the affected surfaces with a Q-Tip dipped in alchohol, Goof-Off, Goo-Gone, paint thinner, acetone, WD-40, or any other petroleum distillate. Try really hard to keep whatever you use off your fingers and off of any plastic...such as the trucks.

Set each car aside and do another four our five. Then, in the order that you dabbed, take each car and wipe the wheel with a paper towel. A sharp blade might come in handy for stubborn stains, but you should find that these products will do a good job of cleaning your wheels.

Note that metal wheels, while not immune, tend to keep your rails cleaner, and tend to keep clean longer themselves. Plastic wheels, on the other hand, tend to muck up the rails before long and will accrue to themselves a lot of the muck.
 

modelbob

Administrator
I haven't tried it myself, due to the expense of the unit, but I understand one of those ultrasonic cleaners designed for jewlery will do a great job of de-gunking the wheels. It has a distinct advantage over a bright boy in that it doesn't scratch the wheels. Those minute scratches tend to collect dirt.

It would be hard to justify buying one just for you model railroad, unless you have a large collection of cars, but if you've got somebody who could also use it for jewlery, it might be a worthwhile investment.
 

grove den

naturally natural trees
Bob, Selector I don't have a large collection but I went( that was for 5 years) to my optician, He did that for free!(2 loco's =8 wheels)

Jos
 

mtrpls

Ignorance is Patriotic
Yeah, all of my rolling stock have metal wheels, as they don't get to see service unless they have them! But even metal wheels will collect dirt over time...
 
I have a 3'x6' loop and I use my 4-6-0 to pull a track cleaning car and then about 10 cars to be cleaned and then another track cleaning car. I fill them with alcohol and let them rip seems to work good for me. I find that constant track cleaning helps as well as how you store your cars when not in use.
 
I haven't tried it myself, due to the expense of the unit, but I understand one of those ultrasonic cleaners designed for jewlery will do a great job of de-gunking the wheels. It has a distinct advantage over a bright boy in that it doesn't scratch the wheels. Those minute scratches tend to collect dirt.

It would be hard to justify buying one just for you model railroad, unless you have a large collection of cars, but if you've got somebody who could also use it for jewlery, it might be a worthwhile investment.
Rest assure, the Germans have brought this to model railroading. PIckup a Trix unit, I saw one at my dealer works with both DC and DCC layouts. i think the price was $40 or under.
 
Oh yeah, and I would NEVER use a bright boy or abrasive pad! It will work in short term, but long term will make the surface collect more gunk.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Oh yeah, and I would NEVER use a bright boy or abrasive pad! It will work in short term, but long term will make the surface collect more gunk.
A bight boy is the equivalent of 600 grit sand paper, it polishes. Its not very abrasive at all.
 




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