Cleaning Märklin Locos

eXact Modellbau Jan 10, 2019

  1. eXact Modellbau

    eXact Modellbau TrainBoard Member

    Hi folks!
    Who owns older Märklin models knows the problem: resinification :(

    For time-saving cleaning I have built a loco-bathtub:

    2019-01-08 21.47.11.jpg 2019-01-08 21.47.55.jpg

    Here you can watch a video showing the usage. Please excuse that it is in German, but you will get the idea:
  2. Rip Track

    Rip Track TrainBoard Member

    Hi Larry,

    That's fascinating. Sorry, I don't understand German, at least not very well. Is this actually cleaning, or could it be a break-in process? When I was flying RC, I had a friend who liked to break in his new brushed electric motors by running them submerged in water. Could that be what's happening in the video?
  3. Rip Track

    Rip Track TrainBoard Member

    Just realized "reinigung" means cleaning. :oops:
  4. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

    How do you keep from getting electrocuted? Is it just really low voltage, or......
  5. zedhed

    zedhed TrainBoard Member

    I recall a Marklin Workshop with Ken Brzenk who was the head troubleshooter and fixer of Marklin America many years ago. In his description of cleaning a Marklin loco he stated that the brushes should be removed before using a cleaning solvent as the graphite in the brushes would soften/deteriorate over time. I have always removed them prior to cleaning.While it seems that the operating bath is effective, I'd want to know if there is any long term damage to the motor. Thanks for the posting.
  6. eXact Modellbau

    eXact Modellbau TrainBoard Member

    Hi folks
    No fear! This is what other model trainers do too, and has been around for quite some time. There were no consequential damages recorded.
    The liquid is called SR24 and is a light oil for steam generators. Since it is an oil, no short circuits can occur. Petroleum should work too.
    A brown standard Märklin transformer is connected to the rails.
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  7. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

    I could say that it is a way to assure that *every* component is lubricated, however:

    Do I want that all over unnecessary chassis parts, leading to collection of dust/debris
    Do I want all that oil over parts that I would touch when picking up the loco, then handle other cars?
    Do i want all that oil between commutator contacts?
    Do I want all that oil within all the motor windings, decreasing heat disbursion?

    Wait . . . I'm thinking of more negative effects.

    KISS (Keep it Simple Stu.... )
    Kurt Moose and markm like this.
  8. markm

    markm TrainBoard Supporter

    I would be concerned about the effect any oil will have on the traction tires and the eventual dripping of oil on to the tracks.

  9. Loren Snyder

    Loren Snyder TrainBoard Member

    Wouldn't the final step in reassembly be to blow dry the loco with compressed air to remove extra oil?
  10. eXact Modellbau

    eXact Modellbau TrainBoard Member

    The oil has a very low boiling temperatur. But that also means it evaporates pretty easily. So it dries relatively fast. Blowing off with compressed air speeds this up.
    Please excuse that the video is in german. The guy tells it all. ;)
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  11. IronMan1963

    IronMan1963 TrainBoard Member

    Sounds like it might be similar to transformer oil. I am an electric motor mechanic and we have several types of motors that run in oil. It is low viscosity and relatively easy to cleanup. Need to bring home a quart and check this out on an old Tyco loco.
  12. Loren Snyder

    Loren Snyder TrainBoard Member

    What is SR24 closest to here in America?
  13. z.scale.hobo

    z.scale.hobo TrainBoard Member

    One listing I saw says:
    <<<"Model train oil" is one of the absolutely indispensable accessories of any model railway. This rather confusing designation refers to the "smoke and cleaning fluid", the best for 40 years is the market leader "SR24 model train oil"

    The agent consists of a mixture of slightly viscous oils. It is however not a lubricant, but a cleaner! It is excellently suitable for following purposes:

    It can be used as the steam oil in the smoke generators of all sizes and from all manufacturers. Because it evaporates virtually completely, it is suitable for steam locomotives as well as E.g. for floor models on the system such as industrial models with a chimney.

    As the cleaning fluid, it shows particular strengths: either, soak a piece of cloth and wipe it over the railroad tracks or use it as a cleaning fluid in a rail trolley.

    * Who has an ultrasonic bath, can insert there the means as cleaning fluid, it has immediately dirt expectorant effect and no rubber.

    * The applications in the household are little known: who has not already nasty adhesive residue from price labeling and other stickers resented? With the model railway oil remove these residues and the all stickers easily: tired of paint and a few minutes to soak, then you can easily pull off the sticker and wipe away the adhesive residue.>>>

    I bought a bottle. :D Sure seems interesting.
    Raytl and bostonjim like this.
  14. mdvholland

    mdvholland TrainBoard Member


    Attached Files:

  15. Bayern1982

    Bayern1982 New Member

    what parts did you use to make a loco bathtub?
  16. eXact Modellbau

    eXact Modellbau TrainBoard Member

    Based on my experience, I would suggest today: take something out of glass. You can leave the SR24 in there. My plastic shell has deformed over time. I think the oil diffuses into the plastic.
  17. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

    In the late 80's some of us were racing RC cars with brushless motors. We ran them at medium rpm in a glass of water or isopropyl alcohol specifically to break in the brushes, say a 1.5v battery turning a 6v motor for an hour or so. Obviously that was something different than HOS! But it did not harm the brushes. We felt it produced more power from better contact, but we are not racing trains. Anyway, I personally wouldn't worry about running my loco in a fluid bath. That would obviously be the best way to ensure all the gear surfaces are clean. I am lucky to have an ultrasonic cleaner with a stainless steel tub, maybe I can put a small section of track in that.
    So for me this is all about the fluid used to clean. Are there any known adverse affects of just using isopropyl alcohol? Or lighter fluid? How is this fluid better? I really don't like the idea of it being oil at all. Does it dry leaving no film?
    Always a great subject for Marklin lovers, thanks for posting.
    bostonjim likes this.
  18. tjdreams

    tjdreams TrainBoard Member

    Don't get isopropyl alcohol Or lighter fluid on the shell they can remove paint and decals, and if allowed to soak in for too long it can soften and deform the shell.
    husafreak likes this.
  19. Curn

    Curn TrainBoard Member

    I spent some time today trying to figure out what SR24 Modellbahnol is as it is not sold in the US. The SDS for it says that it is 100% isoparaffin C10-C11: CAS 64741-65-7. I was looking for similar products more readily available here. Chemically similar to Paraffin lamp oils, orderless kerosene fuel, and orderless mineral spirits, although most of these things a wider mix of carbon chain length paraffins so you would have more of the short carbon chain lengths which tend to damage paint/plastics, and up to C20 paraffin which would take weeks to evaporate off.

    I could only find pure CAS 64741-65-7 from chemical supply companies, and its really expensive to get lab grade kerosene.

    The best alternative I could find was Klean-Strip Oderless Mineral Sprites for CARB (California Air Resoarse Board) which is 100% C13-C14 isoparaffin CAS: 64742-47-8. Longer hydrocarbons, and will take longer to dry, but should still work. I think I'll give it a try in my sonicator. And if it doesn't work out, I can burn it in my oil lamps when PG&E turns off the power.
    rray likes this.
  20. rray

    rray Staff Member

    Back in the day, you could get TV Tuner Cleaner in a spray can with a 1/32" red tube on the nozzle. You can still get PCB Flux Remover spray today.

    I purchased some old 3 pole Mikado's off ebay in 2004, and they were filled with that chunky crystalized grease in the bearing box, and I used a toothpick to remove the chunks, then blasted the loco with TV Tuner Cleaner, gearbox, and motor internals, and it blew/disolved everything out of the loco. It left a slightly oily feeling film.

    The next thing I did was blast the loco with PCB Flux Remover. It removed absolutely any remaining residue and oils, very clean and dry afterwards. It tends to spray on the colder almost cryogen side so you would blast it fast as to not freeze the loco. Spotless and like new, ready for Labell oiling.

    Time, 15 minutes total for loco disassembly, cleaning, lubing, and reassembly. Locos ran just like brand new. I have no idea what the chemicals involved were but I am talking industrial clean!

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