Author Topic: Best Of Question ...... track cleaning ..... how ??  (Read 7582 times)

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havingfuntoo

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Question ...... track cleaning ..... how ??
« on: July 27, 2010, 04:53:32 AM »
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Track cleaning suggestions please, and recommendations. I know this is flogged to death at times but urrrrrrr dirty track ........

Does any one use the Micro trains motorized track cleaning car? What other automated equipment should be considered or completely ignored?

I've had some reports of automatic transmission fluid being used very sparingly with good results, myself I'm not game as one or two of my locos have traction tires. A piece of masonite mounted under a car has been an old faithful for me and d-limonene (refracted orange oil) mixed with isopropanol always gives me an excellent finish (caution if you use either of these as they are both highly inflammable and will remove weathering painted on to the side of the rails if over used).

What other types of products would you suggest?

« Last Edit: October 11, 2015, 05:02:46 PM by tom mann »

wm3798

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Re: Question ...... track cleaning ..... how ??
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2010, 09:02:34 AM »
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I find that regularly running some trains does the trick for the most part.  Otherwise I use my John Allen pad car, soaking the pad with some alcohol, and dragging it around.

http://www.wmrywesternlines.net/rs_mow.php

Lee
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seusscaboose

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Re: Question ...... track cleaning ..... how ??
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2010, 09:54:53 AM »
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echoing Chief StormCloud  ;), running trains helps immensly. 

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Nato

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Re: Question ...... track cleaning ..... how ??
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2010, 11:23:20 AM »
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   Yes, running trains is the best medicine,next best a good old Bright Boy cleaning block and arm power. If your trains are not going to be run frequently then invest in one of the AZTEC track cleaning cars ,they come in various flavors ranging from the Delux "Monsoon" with a tank for cleaning fluid released by adjusting a needle valve, a crayex roller and a magnet for removing metal debres,to a simple car with just a roller and magnets. As a last resort I run my Tomix (Atlas ) track powered car which is quite good ,but pricey. It can be operated as a Suck-O -Lux vaccum car, rail polisher car with rotating sand paper l-like disks,and fluid dispensed on pads. This car must be pushed or pulled by a locomotive ,some have converted it to DCC,but really for my money,hand cleaning or maybe an AZTEC car is all you need. Nate Goodman (Nato), Salt Lake, Utah.

DKS

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Re: Question ...... track cleaning ..... how ??
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2010, 11:39:36 AM »
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I find that regularly running some trains does the trick for the most part.  Otherwise I use my John Allen pad car, soaking the pad with some alcohol, and dragging it around.

http://www.wmrywesternlines.net/rs_mow.php

Lee

Ditto. A cheap homemade Masonite pad cleaner, some alcohol, and regular running are extremely hard to beat in terms of effectiveness, economy and convenience.

There may be some lengthy discussion as a consequence of this question. There are a number of fellows who swear by clipper oil, but you'll also see others reply (including me) that clipper oil will turn all of your track to black sludge and ruin your traction tires. There are those who will advise against using abrasive pads because they "scratch the rail," but there's absolutely no proof that scratched rail is of any concern, and indeed brand new rail under magnification will reveal more scratches than a Brite Boy will typically inflict. Some will claim that the black gunk that collects on wheels and rails is "carbon from arcing," but chemical analysis will show there's no carbon in it at all, it's just dirt. Some will promote so-called "conductive track cleaner" products, but a simple experiment will prove that they have zero conductivity, and they're no better than alcohol. And there are a number of companies who make money from modelers who love gadgets (all manner of rollers, grinders, vacuums, etc.), but for the money you can build a fleet of pad cleaners that work much better. So be prepared for some back-and-forth.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2010, 01:36:05 PM by David K. Smith »
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Philip H

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Re: Question ...... track cleaning ..... how ??
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2010, 11:41:41 AM »
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Rubbing Alcohol
Paper Towel
10 Minutes of your time

Any questions?

Or what Lee said . . .
Philip H.
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chuck geiger

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Re: Question ...... track cleaning ..... how ??
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2010, 11:48:42 AM »
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After BRIGHT BOY or masonite cleaner - Wahl Clipper Oil (At Sally's or Wal-Mart) just a few drops. Don't
forget to clean loco wheels too.
Chuck Geiger
Page, AZ
provencountrypd@gmail.com

Roger Holmes

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Re: Question ...... track cleaning ..... how ??
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2010, 12:46:37 PM »
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For cleaning track in bridges and other hard to reach places I really like this abrasive pad on a stick from Micro-Mark.  Well worth the investment IMHO and currently on sale.

http://www.micromark.com/N-GAUGE-TRACK-CLEANER,8310.html

I've owned the Atlas track cleaning car for 5-6 years but have never used it because I haven't gotten around to converting it to DCC.

I've also used this aerosal can of stuff called "2-26" based on many recommendations on RW several years ago.  Good for trouble spots but I mostly just use a bright boy as I have been since having an HO layout as a little kid in 1960.

Best regards,

Roger

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ArtinCA

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Re: Question ...... track cleaning ..... how ??
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2010, 12:55:45 PM »
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I've owned the Atlas track cleaning car for 5-6 years but have never used it because I haven't gotten around to converting it to DCC.

There's a tutorial on the net for the conversion that's so simple, you would not believe it. I did mine in about 10 minutes.

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Ian MacMillan

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Re: Question ...... track cleaning ..... how ??
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2010, 05:48:19 PM »
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You can run the Atlas car straight outta the box on DCC no problems. I added DCC to mine so that I could control the speed of the motor.
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MichaelWinicki

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Re: Question ...... track cleaning ..... how ??
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2010, 05:54:43 PM »
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I find that regularly running some trains does the trick for the most part.  Otherwise I use my John Allen pad car, soaking the pad with some alcohol, and dragging it around.

http://www.wmrywesternlines.net/rs_mow.php

Lee

Ditto. A cheap homemade Masonite pad cleaner, some alcohol, and regular running are extremely hard to beat in terms of effectiveness, economy and convenience.

There may be some lengthy discussion as a consequence of this question. There are a number of fellows who swear by clipper oil, but you'll also see others reply (including me) that clipper oil will turn all of your track to black sludge and ruin your traction tires. There are those who will advise against using abrasive pads because they "scratch the rail," but there's absolutely no proof that scratched rail is of any concern, and indeed brand new rail under magnification will reveal more scratches than a Brite Boy will typically inflict. Some will claim that the black gunk that collects on wheels and rails is "carbon from arcing," but chemical analysis will show there's no carbon in it at all, it's just dirt. Some will promote so-called "conductive track cleaner" products, but a simple experiment will prove that they have zero conductivity, and they're no better than alcohol. And there are a number of companies who make money from modelers who love gadgets (all manner of rollers, grinders, vacuums, etc.), but for the money you can build a fleet of pad cleaners that work much better. So be prepared for some back-and-forth.


I think you lay some solid truths here David.  I'll add some of my own thoughts after trying to keep my track clean over the last couple of years.

While there is the tendency to lump dirt and oxidation together, I think to some extent they need to be talked about separately...

Dust and other particles that fall onto the rails make for good vacuum fodder.   

Oxidation though has been a more stubborn animal to understand and eradicate– If you can eradicate it. 

I've used the following methods/products to help control oxidation:
Bright boys
Cork
Extruded Styrofoam
Isopropyl alcohol
Goo Gone
Mineral Spirits
LaBelle Track Conditioner
Flitz metal polish
Aztech track cleaning cars (Yes, "cars".  I think I own one of everything John makes, including all 3 types of rollers and the "Monsoon")

The methods that take off the most black from the tops of the rails?  Flitz & the LaBelle product.  None of the other items/products remove the black as much as these two.  Goo Gone and Isopropyl alcohol are in the second "tier". 

The problem with Bright Boys and other methods where you are pushing or pulling a "block" or "pad" of some type over the rails is that if you have a pike with a decent amount of track, these things get covered in black very quickly and after a certain point you're looking at diminishing returns.

Now as far as the whole "wet/dry" argument, let me say that when I use a dry method to clean my rails, that the wheels on my loco's get black streaks on them much sooner after a good cleaning.   

While there's debate about how conductive oxidation is, it seems that once it makes its way to the treads of a loco, then conductivity goes down the toilet. 

When I use a wet method like the Labelle Track Conditioner, the track does become covered in a black "sludge"  ;D BUT, that sludge does not appear to negatively affect the conductivity of my locos– No black streaks appear on the treads.  I don't have any loco's with traction tires, so that's not an issue with me.

Flitz metal polish is an amazing product.  It's a bugger to keep off the webbing of the rails, but once you apply it and wipe it off, the shine it leaves is amazing.  I've taken to using Flitz first, and then a very light coating of the Labelle product.

I'm not saying this is the last word in track cleaning, but I think this something that everyone needs to test out for themselves.

havingfuntoo

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Re: Question ...... track cleaning ..... how ??
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2010, 06:20:18 PM »
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Thank you all for your comments, I have found that using abrasive pads such as 'bright boys' clean the track effectively  but leave a residue, which seems to find its way on to the wheels. Also products like 'Goo Gone' if not removed completely leaves a sticky residue. My problems are mostly on hidden track and places where I find it hard to access, my mate Murphy is always lurking there to greet my trains. Is the N scale Atlas suck car an effective performer? Are they still available? I do not see them advertised.       

havingfuntoo

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Re: Question ...... track cleaning ..... how ??
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2010, 06:23:52 PM »
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oh ..... re clipper oil ...... I have tried it but found it created more problems for me than it solved ..... 

Ian MacMillan

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Re: Question ...... track cleaning ..... how ??
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2010, 07:58:06 PM »
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Theres also Flitz metal polish that some swear by. It comes in a paste, but they also have a "Gun/Knife" version thats liquid.
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MichaelWinicki

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Re: Question ...... track cleaning ..... how ??
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2010, 08:02:18 PM »
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Theres also Flitz metal polish that some swear by. It comes in a paste, but they also have a "Gun/Knife" version thats liquid.

Exactly.

I tried using the paste on my track and it's very difficult to control.  And if it gets someplace it's not suppose to it dries in an attractive green color.  :P

The liquid version is my first choice.  It will spread throughout a rag, so there is less polish built-up on the rag itself.  The result is that it's easier to control.

Try it once.  You'll be shocked how much black it takes off the tops of the rails.