Big disappointment about new MTL 33' Metal Wheels

Dogwood Jul 8, 2019

  1. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wish everyone could run their trains in the environment David has. Then you can keep your layout, track and wheels clean.

    On the gunk issue, the first question you have to ask yourself is what is it? I know that answer on my layouts. Everything in the air that mixes with oil from lubricating the locomotives as well as oil from fingers, never mind spillage from friends eating and drinking around the layout. You have gunk. Again as those in the cleaning profession call it, Environmental Build Up.

    I would agree!

    I've seen plastic wheels wear a groove in them. A caboose on one of the San Diego Narrow qauge model railways showed grooves worn into its wheels. They were using a sharpheaded homemade rail and is most likely the culprit causing the wear. No idea if they were Delrin by MTL. I doubt it. I don't they they made any back when.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
  2. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

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    We did some tests on a large NTrak setup. We cleaned all of the track on the layout every morning. We cleaned the wheels on a group of cars, to use as a test set, different brands (ATL, MT, IM) with a mix of plastic and metal wheels. We then ran them for three days and then checked to see how much dirt had accumulated on the wheels. The plastic wheels were dirt magnets. It was amazing how clean the metal wheels stayed and how dirty the plastic wheels got.

    Another show we tried a different experiment. We cleaned all the track off, ran cleaned metal wheels on one main and cleaned plastic wheels on another main. When we cleaned the rails the next morning of that show the rails with the metal wheels were noticeably cleaner than the mainline with plastic wheels running on it.

    After those tests I got rid of all my plastic wheels.
     
  3. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    jpwisc, shares what happened on a club layout. It leaves me wondering what the real difference was. My historical (not hysterical) experience says, it doesn't matter what kind of wheels, as I've cleaned off as much gunk from metal wheels as I have plastic wheels.

    Looking at today. Now today's wheels. That's almost a different story. Newer metal wheels and Delrin Wheelset's are a different story. In that they don't collect as much gunk or dirt and are easier to clean, as is the track. As mentioned earlier something has happened.

    David would say and I believe he is right it's all about metallurgy. Something he understands better then I do.

    As to today's model railroad. Mine and others! I haven't talked about how we attempted to solve some of our problems in the environments we had to work with. Keeping in mind every-time the wind blew and someone went in and out of the train room (train shed) tons of particulate pours in. Mixing with moisture in the air, oil from fingers, lubed locomotives and wheel-sets. Gunk! Yes, I have to say Environmental Build Up.

    To start with vacuuming the layout is a good place to start as it removes animal and human hair, dander, talc, dust, and etc. Wiping down the rails with a soft cloth or as mentioned a cloth diaper. Never mind other uses that come to mind. o_O:whistle::confused:

    Track cleaning cars. Some of us took Masonite and cut them into small pads and attached them to box cars. Rough side down toward the track. Placing the cleaning car at the front of a set of locomotives to clean the track ahead of them. Hopefully, this will keep their wheels cleaned.

    You can buy cleaning cars with a sponge pad and wet it with Alcohol, no less then 91% Isopropyl Alcohol. There are other cleaners you can use. One I don't use is Goof Off. Any detergent based cleaner will leave a residual that will attract dirt. More gunk.:rolleyes:

    After the layout is initially cleaned and the worst of the dirt removed from the track, then out go the cleaning cars.

    One more trick. Put these Masonite padded cars right in behind your locomotives and run them in the train. You don't want the drag it creates half-way back as you can string-line the train through a curve. Yep, I've done that.:sick:

    These Masonite pads can be cleaned with sand paper.

    A No... No. Do not clean your track with sand paper. Ever. The scratches left behind will indeed attract and hold dirt.

    The best room for a model railroad is one where the air is conditioned, filtered, the humidity is minimized. Don't believe me ask David.

    You want an idea on how to clean wheels. Go back and read George's posting. I like.
    See signature.:cool:
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  4. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    Joe,

    I'm sorry, I cant send you photos of this. It happened 8 to 10 years ago. I have since lost the layout and some rolling stock to a divorce. Good news was it was worth it. And I can't say it was your wheels for sure, although your LP's were the most common on the layout, there were a few others.

    Bill
     
  5. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

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    I read an excellent article about the formation of the gunk found on our rails. The author mentions another source is micro-arcing. According to the article, as our locomotives roll along the track there is a very small amount of arching that takes place between the locomotive wheel and the rail surface. This micro-arcing along with the dust in the air, oil, etc. forms the gunk on the rails.

    As for body mounting couplers I'm with you, I have a very small HCD layout with 10" radius curves, I don't have room for a larger layout. I have never had any problems with truck mounted couplers causing derailments. Although I have slowly been switching the freight car fleet to Micro-Trains metal wheels, I'll probably never go to body mounted couplers. In fact I have a couple of cars that would derail on my tight radius curves and while passing through the diverging route of my #4 turnouts. I've since converted those cars to Micro-Trains truck mounted couplers and the derailment issues have gone away.
     
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  6. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Arcing was a real problem on my S Scale, American Flyer Trains. On a more recent note i would have to clean the black smoke like dust off a modern O and S scale layout built for a friend. You could see the arcing. Shut off the lights in the layout room and you could follow the locomotive and lite cars around the layout by watching just the wheels.

    Good point and well put Rich S.
     
  7. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Here's the solution - in a manner of speaking - to your arcing problem:


    [​IMG]
     
  8. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

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    Actually it's not. All the WAHL clipper oil does is keep the gunk in a fluid state. If you don't believe me, put a few drops of the clipper oil on your rails, run your layout for a month, then wipe the rails with a white cloth. What you're going to wipe off is black gunk in liquid form. I'm speaking from personal experience. I went hook, line and sinker for the WAHL clipper oil about 30 years ago, until I got tired of cleaning the liquid gunk off everything. I've since gone back to tried and true method of using Bright Boy's, Cratex blocks and Masonite cleaning pads.
     
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  9. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    My post was about arcing, not gunk.
     
  10. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

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    Micro arcing is what is helping to cause the gunk. Oil is an insulator, it does not conduct electricity. Since our models still run with clipper oil on the tracks, the models have to be pushing enough of the oil out of the way to conduct electricity, so the arcing is still taking place.

    Believe it or not the best way to reduce Micro arcing and improve electrical pickup is to spread a thin layer of graphite on your rails.

    Here is an article describing the process.

    http://mrhpub.com/2015-05-may/port/files/168.html
     
  11. Maletrain

    Maletrain TrainBoard Member

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    [Can't open the file, so don't know if it addresses my question.]

    Wouldn't spreading a thin coat of graphite on the rails reduce locomotive traction significantly?
     
  12. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    We can test your assertion by having BarstowRick apply the oil to the tracks of his friend's O or S scale layout, run the trains in the dark and see if the arcing remains visible.
     
  13. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

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    You might not have Adobe installed, which could be preventing you for opening the article? As for traction, if you're experiencing wheel slipping, you've put too much graphite on the rails. A think coat of hair clipper oil is going to cause greater traction issues than a think coat of graphite.
     
  14. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Arcing is always present.

    That O and S scale layout is long gone. My bosses layout. His adopted son went up and into the Mortuary Attic and took a sledge hammer to it. Totally destroying it. It was a, "Dad put out more money out on this layout then he did me", syndrome. That wasn't true but that's another story for a different time and place.

    We need to go back to some basic science classes. Arcing occurs naturally with anything electrical. Static Electricity for example. All electricity is looking for a ground. It doesn't have a brain, it doesn't care how it gets there and it will travel the shortest route possible. It will jump to ground and that's called arcing. We've always had that with our toy trains, from the earliest to the latest. Micro-arcing is just a different phase or description of the same thing. I can think of N and Z scale and they fit such a micro-description. The fallacy here is, it's responsible for the Gunk. Not so fast on that one. A contributor perhaps but not the cause.

    An example: Watch the brushes on your electric motors they arc all the time.
    Safe to say you aren't going to stop it.

    I've used Wahl, Singer, WD 40 and some LaBelle oils on my track. They will destroy the rubber traction tires and collect all the ingredients for the recipe to make gunk. Can you guess where? I thought so.

    Anything that is Oil Based or Detergent Based leaves a residual that will attract dirt, dust, animal and human hair and the same with dander, talc, pollen from every plant source around you which is part of and makes up the particulate found in the air (it's got to land somewhere). You can point to the positive and negative ION thing. I need to say this and then duck and run for cover. Graphite would be one of those. A powdery type of talc. Magnetically attractive. You don't want that graphite up and in your electric motor. Not recommended by this hobbyist.

    The problem here there are so many wife or husband wise tails, toy train myths that aren't the resolution to your problems but contributors to said problem. I think I've said this before but in cleaning circles we call the dirt that builds up in edges and corners, either on carpet or hard flooring "Environmental Build-Up." Most of the time it's easily removed with a rag or mop. You'll find more stuff in this build-up then I have time to explain it here.

    We can clean our layouts in the same manner. Here's a hint vacuuming will remove most of it. The stuff that's gotten wet and hardened or crystallized will need to be lifted and removed either by wicking it up or mechanically IE., a Carpet Extractor or Wet Vac. The key to cleaning is let the cleaner of choice sit and work. It needs to break down the surface tension to penetrate to the base of the dirt, stain or gunk. Loosen it up. Then you can lift and remove it.

    I could tell you stories of how in the hospital where I served as an AAD, the Engineering Dept. would use Graphite on hinges and the mess it would cause for housekeeping. Never mind the slip factors on the floor and the potential for serious falls. But no time for that this morning.

    First off get your track and wheels clean to begin with. Remove all residuals. Clean cloth and water will serve said purpose.
    Get your layout into a controlled environment. Filtered air. Low humidity. Air Conditioning where possible. No pets or animals. Funny but the last suggestion. I have a few cat's I will allow around my layout because they are careful where they step. I need to vacuum a lot before I operate. Cat hair isn't friendly to wheel bushings or gears.

    I don't know if I've covered everything here. You need a place to jump off from and I provided that. Work on this, prove it to yourself and you'll be headed in the right direction.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
  15. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    For most of us it's a learning process and we are forever on a learning curve. Nothing new going on here. If you are a newbie or even have some considerable experience, we are all still learning. It never stops.
     
  16. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Gunk...its real...its there. If you get it no matter what type of wheels you run its simple. Clean your track...clean your wheels and be prepared to do it again...and again...and again...and......... Routine maintenance is part of the hobby. I get it...I clean it...I run trains. I never give it a second thought. The 1:1 railroad performs routine maintenance why shouldnt we. If you get 'gunk'...there is no magical cure...LOL.

    End of story !
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
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  17. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Aw geez George, End of Story? Your no fun at all.

    LMAO at how right you are. Can I add "Get used to it!"
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
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  18. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Rick, That is what I said, it's not the cause just part of the problem. Using graphite on the rails helps improve electrical contact between the rails and the wheels, but don't use powered graphite, use a graphite stick. Also if you can see the graphite on the rails, you've applied way too much. The basic formula is lightly slide the graphite stick over your rails, leaving an almost microscopic coating.

    Now the fine print, even though I've read the above mentioned article and can understand how this would be a better choice over using oils on the rail. My method of choice is keeping my rails clean using my Cratex cleaning block, my bright boy track cleaning car and keeping the wheels of my locomotives clean using good old IPA.

    Track Cleaning Train.jpg
     
  19. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    why clean your wheels with a beer?
     
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  20. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Rich S. and Bremner, I owned one of those track cleaning cars. Until it came up missing and I suspect stolen. Again a story for a different time and place. I like the way it cleaned the track although itself high maintenance.

    Why clean your wheels with a beer? Because it takes the edge off.

    We is good.
     

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