Cleaning O scale Lionel loco wheels each time

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by RRfanMike, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. RRfanMike

    RRfanMike New Member

    I just acquired a mid sixties vintage Lionel set - I have done some basic cleanup on it and it seems to run well except I need to clean the wheels on the loco just before I run it, otherwise it won't run very far or not at all.

    One I take some alcohol to the wheels for a quick cleaning it runs dramatically better. Next day, though, it won't run properly until it's cleaned again.

    I do plan to do a more thorough cleaning but I was wondering if the wheels might be oxidizing overnight, making this occur. I was considering a conductive oil of some sort might help but haven't found any recommendation for such a thing, any ideas?


  2. lionelfan

    lionelfan Member

    Try cleaning the track and the wheels. It sounds like your drive wheels are picking up dirt from the track, which might account for why you must clean the wheels each time.

    I would be VERY careful putting any kind of oil on the wheels themselves, this could cause slippage and poor contact with the track.

    Just my 2 cents...
  3. Marxed

    Marxed Member

    sit down and do a total cleaning of everything, all your cars and all your track... if you clean your track and your engine, all the dirt junked on your cars will come off and get your track and engine dirty
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    This last year, I dug out my Lionel which had been stored since the sixties.
    I found a huge buildup of gunk (that's the official term) on the car wheels. I took this off with a combination of every wheel cleaning procedure and solution I had.
    I started with a small screwdriver just to get cut into the gunk -- then turn the wheel to scrape as much as possible.
    Then wheel cleaning solution on a paper towel and run the wheels through it. Run back and forth; when the towel turns black, shift it a bit. Keep going until it stays clean. (have lots of spare towel!)
    For wheel cleaning solution, I use both Goo-Gone and Aero Locomotive Works cleaner.
    I made a final step with a supersonic denture cleaner that I bought once. It's just the right size for Lionel trucks, but be careful taking them off -- the little ring that holds them can disappear or snap.
    Avoid over oiling -- a drop on point of a pin is enough. Oil that gets on the tread mixes with dust to create gunk.
  5. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Mike, when you run the engine, do you see a lot of sparks? If you see a lot of sparks and you've just cleaned the engine, it points to dirty track.

    I know some HO and N scalers will put a tiny, tiny amount of Wahl oil on track to aid conductivity and reduce arcing and dirt buildup, but I've never heard of trying that on the locomotive itself. If you want to try it, they apply a bit to a towel, and wipe once across the surface. Any more than that, and you're guaranteed to end up with slippage and more gunk. I've never had the need to try it though.
  6. mrcedar

    mrcedar New Member

    :wave: David Where did you get the goo gone?
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I get mine at Canadian Tire. (Chain of auto/hardware/bits)
    I've also seen it at Michaels' (craft store) but ours discontinued it.
    Also some hobby shops.
  8. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    I have used a pocket knife to remove sludge from wheels and drivers and a cu-tip died in nail polish remover. Change the cu-tip often or you will just smear the dirt and oil arounf.

    Dont get that in traction tires it will ruin them but on an old engine traction tires should be repalces.

    Keep the track clean as well.

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