The Great Wahl Clipper Oil Experiment!

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Ralph, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    In support of what seens impossible, I just got a 1950 American Flyer set operating again for a friend. It took a lot of cleaning and oiling to get the loco operational, but the track was hideous. A bright boy helped, but it was still terrible. A couple of swipes with a light-weight detergent oil brought the track back to life and the loco pulls its cars 'round and 'round with no difficulty even after a week of being idle. I did this three weeks ago and things are still working well. I would rather think that it was the light detergent that does the trick. :)

    (I hate this keyboard. It keeps leaving out letters. Or could it be me...)
  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    It's the oil...the oil, I'm tellin' ya:thumb:

    It doesn't make sense but I remember the mid 80s in MR magazine, Wahl clipper oil could all but wire your layout:D Knida cool for a nostagia modeler like me to see this come around again.:thumb:
  3. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Sooooooo, how about now?
  4. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Whoops! Has it been another week already!? Well, things are still looking good. That's it...I'm oiling up the main. I'll let you know how things go after that!
  5. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I'm wondering if I can convince the guys at the club to give this a try. I dunno though, they're a conservative bunch.
  6. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    So am I and I have been using oil off and on for 20 years. This is not a new thing. :)
  7. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author Member

    I swear by the stuff... and I know people who swear at it.

    It was banned at the local N-Trak club to which I once belonged. Equipment that was operated on another layout that was known to have been treated with Wahl's were removed from the N-Trak layout... which was a little extreme.
  8. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    I've been reading about this off and on for several years. I was told LaBelle worked, too. I have a cople N locos I piddle with, and was about to chuck the whole works. A tiny drop spread out with my finger and they all runn as smooth as 5DCC. A tiny bit DOES go a long way.

  9. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    you right Roger it not new been trying to find a short blurd i read in either a late 40's or 50's mag about a guy that used diesel fuel(tried it and it worked but coulden't stand the smell) to clean his track when i find it will share it :)
  10. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Its just that long history of success that you guys are reporting that has made me want to try the oil. You'd think every hobby shop would carry it! :) Anyway, my trains have been running smoothly, even at slower speeds than I usally run them on the main line.

    I made a mistake though and in my enthusiasm must have used too much oil on the tracks in my industrial switching area...this area always had some stalling and hesitation problems so I especially wanted to treat it with the Wahl oil. People have warned above that a little goes a long way. That is for sure!!!! After I oiled this section I was very pleased to watch one of my Geeps glide through the entire industrial complex...sweet! But, when I coupled this locomotive to a string of freight cars it stopped halfway up the only grade on my layout and ran in place with the wheels slipping! Lots of track wiping and wheel cleaning later all is well but do take that "little bit" warning seriously. Imagine an amount that you think wouldn't have any effect..and then use half of that! :)

    Well, once the over-use was corrected I'm delighted by the results. Trains are running smooooooth at slower speeds, switching is flawless, there's a bright golden haze in the meadow... :) Life is good with Wahl's! (Ralph is an unreimbursed spokesman and not in any way affiliated with the Wahl Company) :D
  11. Harold Cole

    Harold Cole Member

    Ralph,i tried your experiment and it works great.Not only does it keep the track clean and the engine wheels clean it made all my lighted cars run around the whole layout without hardly any of the lights flickering.Thanks for the tip. Harold
  12. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I'm glad its working for you! I'm still pleased by the results and have yet to see evidence of any oily gunk.
  13. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member


    'Been following this thread since the beginning. As has been mentioned, the use of Whal's does go back a long ways...Way back to the days of brass track. It was great for brass track since it tends to oxidize, and that oxide coating is what made brass such a bear to keep "clean" and made for erratic operation. The oil helped slow down the formation of oxide so performance was greatly enhanced. Nowadays though, with the almost universal use of nickle silver rail (which also oxidizes, but the oxide is conductive) the use of oil is not required. The principal obstacle to good operation nowadays is the dust, grime, soot, etc. which falls on the track, plus the widespread use of plastic wheels which leave a little of themselves on the track surface. The answer to this is to have a means of getting that stuff off your track before it builds up. I've been using a little accessory I developed for several years now and have yet to take anything to my track to clean it. Check it out...It's on eBay...Search for HO TRACK GUARD.

    You will stop worrying about your track and can concentrate on running your trains!
    Good luck!!

    Gus (LC&P).
  14. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Hi Gus,

    I do recall my days as a teen constantly cleaning brass track...wish some one had told me about Wahl oil then! As for now, I am currently using nickle silver track but still see remarkable results with the oil so far. I still plan to run my masonite block track cleaning car to scrape off any dust, etc. once in a while but its the performance of the locomotives that most impresses me after using Wahl oil. I realize you have a product of your own design (I remember you referring to it before) and I wish you well with it. Our Buy Sell and Trade forum is the place to advertise it.

  15. ausien

    ausien Active Member

    I was talking to a friend of mine, about whal oil, and he told me that in "N" gauge it doubles the horsepower needed to pull a train up a 3% grade, because of slip n slide, but works well in the larger scales, is this true? and can you get it downunder???
  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I Think you could get it down under. Do you have any barber shop/beauty shop suppliers near you? Wahl is probably the biggest supplier of hair clippers in the world, and the oil is for the clippers.
  17. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member


    As the scale gets smaller, the weight ( and therefore the tractive effort) goes down by one order of magnitude greater than the size. If you halve the scale, the weight goes down by four times. This is almost true, since some factors will remain almost the same (such as thickness of plastic castings, motor size, etc.). That's why the great drop in effectiveness in the smaller scales.

    Gus (LC&P).
  18. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Just an update: Things are still running smoothly with no evidence of unusual gunk buildup. Under normal circumstances (without Wahl oil) I would have needed to clean my loco wheels by now, using the old alcohol on a towel method. I'm seeing no hesitation with my locos at all and they continue to run well at slow speeds.
  19. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Neat ralph :) :)

    This might explain why I hardly ever need to clean my loco's wheels :D
  20. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Recent threads inquiring about track cleaning prompted me to remember this thread...
    It's been over a month since I last posted here but everything continues to run smoothly without any wheel or track cleaning since I first used the oil.

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