DON'T clean your track!

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Gary60s, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. Gary60s

    Gary60s New Member

    If you clean your track with an abrasive such as a “brite boy” on a regular basis you will leave tiny scratches that will fill up with dirt and grime and will make conductivity worse by accelerating the formation of oxide insulation. I did it weekly and finally got fed up. Researching through some old publications, I found an article by Linn Westcott, in which he recommends a product called
    NO-OX. This was published over 40 years ago! The product is still being made by Sanchem (Sanchem Inc.) and has evolved from a liquid form to a paste.
    The full name of the product to be used on steel or brass track is
    “NO-OX-ID A Special“. The results it produces are truly amazing and will make you wonder why you ever cleaned your track!

    Here is a place to get an 8 oz. tube.

    Providing that you haven’t gunked up your track with plaster, glue, or oil, you should remove any of these contaminants prior to NO-OX application. Applying it to your track is best done by putting a small 1/4” x 1/64” smear on your finger and rubbing it on 100’ of rail. Resist any temptation to apply more! You don’t want the rails slippery, what you are looking for is an almost MICROSCOPIC layer that will convert the oxide coating from an insulator to a conductor.

    I applied the NO-OX to my layout 3 years ago, and have experienced skip free running ever since. This is even after periods of no running for as long as a month. I HAVE NOT CLEANED MY TRACK IN 3 YEARS!

    An added bonus, is that the NO-OX has changed my loco wheels into better conductors, as I have not had to clean them either.
  2. mole

    mole New Member

    HEY! This sounds wounderful. Could it be that this product is the same
    type of one used by electricians called "NO-OX". Lawrence
  3. Gary60s

    Gary60s New Member and the same...different variants.
  4. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi...Nickel silver track oxidizes. The difference between brass and NS, is that the NS oxide is CONDUCTIVE...What causes faulty running on NS is essentially dust, smog, and grime which accumulates from plastic wheels. If you want to get rid of these, you need not apply ANYTHING to your NS track, just run a smooth NON-ABRASIVE cleaner regularly to remove these from your track. I use my Track Guard...What do you use...?
  5. Gary60s

    Gary60s New Member

    I don't clean my track. An occasional vacuuming every 3 months whether it needs it or I have an aztec cleaning car but find that it is not needed any more. Some extra info that may keep my track in great shape: Central air to keep humidity down and a covered basement ceiling to keep dust down.
  6. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Keeping dust & humidity down is half the fight won..!!
  7. mole

    mole New Member

    Hello again thanks again for the tip. Can I get some feedback on useing
    "dielectric silicone compound". I've never used it but I have a feeling it
    wouldn't be a good thing to use. Lawrence
  8. Gary60s

    Gary60s New Member

    not sure but i think thats used on heat sinks for power transistors...i wouldnt use it on track. Silchem (one of the manufacturers) says it can be used to protect electrical things, but i'm not familiar with it.
  9. mole

    mole New Member

    Thanks; Ive used it on auto repair & elec conects , BUT i'm a firm
    believer when in doubt don't. Lawrence
  10. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    ...ever tried an old piece of cork? (no joke!) NON-abrasive cleaner that works suprisingly well, and if you just laid track, I'm sure you have 100's of little track cleaners, er, small pieces of unused cork laying around for this! And the best part is that it's FREE (or low-cost if you don't have any...and at 99cents for a 36" track cleaner, why not? cut it into 3" strips and run it around the layout.

    I'm serious, it really does work! :)
  11. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Miles is right..!! I use it to clean newly laid track (I was surprised to see how "gunky" new track is). I also soak the cork witha bit of alcohol to get all the gunk off.
  12. Gary60s

    Gary60s New Member

    Cork is great for cleaning track! It's one of the many things I've used back when I wasn't so lazy and enjoyed cleaning track. For long term trouble free and maintenance free running there is nothing like NO-OX!
  13. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Well I am going against the grain..I clean my track with Alcohol,clean lint free rag and *GASP!* a brite boy.I was using Radio Shacks Channel Turner Cleaner before our local 'Shack closed.

    Do you really know how tiny those scratches are? We had a big discussion on another forum..Heres what came to light..
    1.You will need a microscope to see the scratches set at 10,000X.
    2.As this topic shows their is usually a plug for a miracle cure to end track cleaning.
    3.This urban legion about a brite boy scratching the track was started by a article in MR shortly after a $75.00 track cleaning car hit the market.

    That's what came to light in the discussion.
  14. Gary60s

    Gary60s New Member

    Scratches or no scratches we are all still faced with the effects of corrosion and the formation of oxides that prevent good wheel to rail contact. I have no interest in promoting NO-OX other than to relate my
    excellent results with its use. Again, I HAVE NOT CLEANED MY TRACK IN 3 YEARS!
  15. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    We admire your enthusiasm for a product that works for you. However, you have to understand it if some people have other thoughts and still others remain a bit skeptical. You've posted here a total of eight time, seven of which are related to this track cleaning product, that's enough to make people wonder about your relationship. Don't get me wrong, we appreciate your letting us know about this, just that there's a whole lot of other subjects to talk about here.
  16. mole

    mole New Member

    I believe in saveing energy & time when & where I can, 3 years is a
    solid number to me. I want to say thanks to all of you. I'm an old man
    but a new moldel railroader, an old brain trying to learn new things can
    be difficult. Theres no club close to join & I thank GOD that i've found
    a place like this! Model On! Lawrence
  17. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    I have used dielectric silicone compound for many years, as a thermal conductant!
    It greatly aids the transfer of heat from power transistors to their heat sinks, especially in high current applications, like driving a deflection coil in a large CRT, or operating a large DC motor. It is, by design, an insulator! it does not conduct electrical current. Not exactly the thing I would use on my track. :mrgreen:
  18. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Im right there with Gary, I got some NO-OX from Gary last year (Gary and I meet on another forum a while back) and I applied it to my track just as he said, I am VERY suprised by the results!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :thumb: This stuff is great and I recomend getting some if you dont like cleaning your track :mrgreen:
  19. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author Member

    Another product that has its supporters and detractors-- and not much in between-- is Wahl Hair Clipper Oil. Some swear by it, others at it. My dad and I started using it after our supply of No-Ox dried up (sorry, couldn't resist).

    There are reports that Hair Clipper Oil adds nasty gunk to locomotives over time, but I've used it for more than ten years now without that experience and without worries. I find it works quite well overall and gets those long unused locomotives (of which I own a lot!) going again in short order. But to be fair, some N-Trak groups permanently ban any locomotive that's been on a layout that uses it.

    I use a soft block of wood as my primary track cleaner, by the way. I also have an old Roco track cleaning car that gets pushed around the layout by a surplus Life-Like E8.
  20. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    I use an old Tshirt ,about once a month, to clean the "black stuff". I have a track cleaning car ( it has a piece of masonite fixed to the bottom ) and about every 3 months I use contact cleaner.
    The most important: try to run your trains daily, even for just a few minutes.

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