Author Topic: cleaning trucks  (Read 723 times)

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Day One

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cleaning trucks
« on: March 06, 2014, 06:32:55 PM »
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I've got a few locomotives that need some TLC.


Many have trucks with very dirty wheels and less than free rolling gears and wheels.

Would popping the trucks off and throwing the whole truck in an ultrasonic cleaner be a quick way to clean them? Or would it do them harm? I have a LOT to do and many have been sitting for quite a while so I'm looking for techniques that would be quicker than dismantling and cleaning every single one.

Was thinking of doing the ultrasonic cleaner, blowing them dry with an air gun from my compressor, and then lubing the gears.

what do you think?

Scottl

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Re: cleaning trucks
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 06:38:39 PM »
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No advice to offer, but I really like your collection  :)

Day One

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Re: cleaning trucks
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 06:43:44 PM »
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Not mine. Helping a friend get his UP Blue Mountains layout ready for Meet N March which is coming up quickly here in Portland.

wazzou

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Re: cleaning trucks
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 06:52:45 PM »
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That would be one Keith Schaber.
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Denver Road Doug

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Re: cleaning trucks
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 06:54:41 PM »
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No advice to offer, but I really like your collection  :)

Same here--on both counts--but I'm interested in what the experts have to say.

Your friend's TLC pile is twice as big as my entire loco roster!   
NOTE: I'm no longer active on this forum.   If you need to contact me, use the e-mail address (or visit the website link) attached to this username.  Thanks.

Philip H

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Re: cleaning trucks
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2014, 07:18:25 PM »
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I think the two issues you'd face are using plastic compatible cleaning solution, and how the trucks are put together. If the truck side frames are glued on you might loose a few.
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MichaelWinicki

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Re: cleaning trucks
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2014, 07:27:59 PM »
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I would use the "Paper towel" across the track trick– applying some kind of solvent (I use mineral spirits) to the paper towel.  And then holding the locomotive so one of the trucks is getting power while the other truck's wheels are being cleaned on the paper towel.

I question how efficiently the ultrasonic would clean the brass cups that interact with the tips of the axles.  I think you would have to tear the truck apart to properly clean those. 

And if you're tearing the truck apart you might as well do the gears by hand.

tracksentinel

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Re: cleaning trucks
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2014, 09:09:59 PM »
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Here is a subject I have a lot of experience in.
I remove and disassemble the trucks on my locomotives after 3 to 5 hours run time. My biggest problem comes from fuzz/lint/cat hair accumulating in the bearing cups and axle points. It amazes me how much this affects conductivity in N scale engines.
Being as my layout is in the same room (basement) as my clothes dryer, lint finds it's way easily to my track. Then there are the two cats. One got so fat she can no longer jump onto the layout. The other is a bit more curious and does jump up occasionally.
I generally pop the trucks off of a loco and soak the copper bearing pickups and wheelsets in 91% rubbing alcohol. I clean the plastic frames with a Q-tip soaked in alcohol. For cleaning the bearing cups, I found these finned plastic teeth flossers at the Dollar Store 50 for $1.59. They work great for hooking the fuzz and gunk out of the bearing cups. Tweezers are used to pick fuzz off axle points. I usually give the wheelsets a quick check with a gauge and then reassemble them. I can usually do a pair in about 10 minutes or so.
That looks like a lot of evenings worth of work you have there.
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Day One

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Re: cleaning trucks
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2014, 11:49:45 PM »
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Much work to be done still...
I've opted not to try the ultrasonic cleaner. Many of these engines are super detailed and have brake lines, speed recorders, sanding hoses, etc on the trucks. I'm sure most of those would not survive ultrasonic cleaning. I've been sticking to cleaning wheels with a cloth soaked with some alcohol across the tracks and running the engine to scrub the wheels clean. If I run into bad runners, I'll look at dismantling trucks and cleaning them individually.

Thanks for the input everyone.

Ron McF

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Re: cleaning trucks
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2014, 02:11:37 AM »
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If the trucks aren't painted, I use pressure-pack electronics cleaner (sprayed through the supplied plastic tube/nozzle) to blast grot out of the them.  After spraying the truck, I tap it down on a hard surface to shake loose any debris, then I use a paper towel to blot up excess liquid before setting the truck aside to dry.  Then I lube it before reinstalling it.

I've also done this to clean muck out of motors.

Regards,
Ron

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