Cleaning LGB Lok wheels

FurkaSOCal

FurkaSOCal

Registered
26 Dec 2017
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San Diego
#1
Hello all,

Recently I've been considering cleaning my locomotive wheels with a Dremel tool. I have attachments that are similar to a scotch pad which I use with great success for cleaning track. Also I just picked up a softer felt type attachment that is advertised as being specifically for polishing brass and metal which I think might work nicely.

In the past I have just been using the smoke fluid/paper-towel on the track method, but that doesn't seem to cut through the hard packed stuff that accumulates. (I've attached a picture of the type of dirt I'm talking about but I'm sure you all know!)

I just wanted to see what thoughts everyone had about using the Dremel to clean the wheels, I don't want to scratch anything!
 

Attachments

trammayo

trammayo

Interested in vintage commercial vehicle, trams, t
24 Oct 2009
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Co. Mayo
#2
I wouldn't use any powered tool or abrasive to clean wheels. Instead, I use meths (wood alcohol), or Isopropynol, on cotton bud sticks - don't overdo the application of the liquid it might splash elswhere!

I just turn the loco over, cradled in a suitable cardboard box and apply power - either to the pick-up skates or wheels.

I have also found that the multi-surface wipes (for kitchen use) are very good also. For the latter, make sure the bulk of the wipe is in your hand - a finger tip is sufficient to get the wipe on the tyre tread - otherwise, if it's loose and dangling down it might get caught in the motion (don't ask how I know!).
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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#3
As Mick says never abrasive on the Plated Wheels. However to me it looks very much like there may be some pitting in the Plating on those wheels. If so and it is affecting running new wheels could be the only option. But as Mick described if his cleaning suggestion works and gets things running ok do not worry too much. If you remove the plating in any way you will end up with the Brass below which will tarnish even quicker.
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
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#4
I would also run the loco with moistened cotton-buds, but also do the backs of the wheels..

Then check continuity down each side of the loco.
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
22,921
3,080
North West Norfolk
#5
I know the sort of felt tool you mean for the dremel - the difficulty is in using a circular tool on a circular wheel, there's not going to be a lot of contact.

Loco wheels are easiest cleaned, as others have said, with the motion running slowly, then either the cleaning fluids mentioned above or acetone (your good lady's nail polish remover) using a small piece of cloth or the cotton bud - doesn't take long and deals with some of the worst build ups of crud.
 
dutchelm

dutchelm

Registered
24 Oct 2009
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N Somerset
#6
A cotton bud & a bit of spit on a slowly turning wheel works wonders.
 
stockers

stockers

Trains, aircraft, models, walking, beer, travel
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#7
I use something like this - a soft brass brush
108304_442bd9b44e48da51560e019b0b035200.jpg
 
Gavin Sowry

Gavin Sowry

Garden Railroader and Raconteur
27 Oct 2009
5,794
1,963
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Hutt Valley, NZ
#9
......... but also do the backs of the wheels..
Good advice, particularly if there are plunger type pick ups rubbing on the backs of the wheels.
Often, this can be the cause of poor running, rather than the wheel treads themselves.... think about it.
 
Bill Barnwell

Bill Barnwell

Registered
30 Sep 2017
446
500
74
Ormond Beach, Fl
#11
Hello all,

Recently I've been considering cleaning my locomotive wheels with a Dremel tool. I have attachments that are similar to a scotch pad which I use with great success for cleaning track. Also I just picked up a softer felt type attachment that is advertised as being specifically for polishing brass and metal which I think might work nicely.

In the past I have just been using the smoke fluid/paper-towel on the track method, but that doesn't seem to cut through the hard packed stuff that accumulates. (I've attached a picture of the type of dirt I'm talking about but I'm sure you all know!)

I just wanted to see what thoughts everyone had about using the Dremel to clean the wheels, I don't want to scratch anything!
I clean mine with a dremel and us the pictured bit which doesn't harm the metal
 

Attachments

stockers

stockers

Trains, aircraft, models, walking, beer, travel
Staff member
GSC Moderator
24 Oct 2009
25,278
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60
Nr. Ashford, Kent. England.
#13
How often do people clean the wheels? Many of my locos have never been cleaned. The unplated wheels on the Piko Rotcamel probably get done once or twice a year.
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
22,921
3,080
North West Norfolk
#14
How often do people clean the wheels? Many of my locos have never been cleaned. The unplated wheels on the Piko Rotcamel probably get done once or twice a year.
The 2-8-0 Connies - never
The 4-6-0 Annie - twice a year

So why the difference? both wheels are plated :nod::nod::nod:

The battery stock - much more freuqently, not for conductivity purposes but because the crud collects in quantities by why on the locos and not on the rolling stock ?

:think::think::think::think::think::think:

It seems to be a bit like in the '70s when the BRE built a structure in a boggy field without damp courses to study rising damp. A few years later they were still waiting for the damp to rise, and the only conclusion that they could draw was that rising damp was unpredictable :nod::nod::nod: except of course when Leonard Rossiter was on screen and then it was predictably funny :D:D:D:D
 
D

Dan

Registered
28 Jan 2010
154
14
Eastern MA
#15
I cut my LGB track cleaner pads into three pieces and use these to 'polish' the loco wheels.
They look almost new after I do this.
 
FurkaSOCal

FurkaSOCal

Registered
26 Dec 2017
35
4
27
San Diego
#16
Great info thank you! I need to clean this locos wheels fairly regularly since it's small and doesn't have as much surface area for pickup like my larger models. (The big locos I've never cleaned yet)
 
FurkaSOCal

FurkaSOCal

Registered
26 Dec 2017
35
4
27
San Diego
#17
I clean mine with a dremel and us the pictured bit which doesn't harm the metal
do you happen to have a model number or something for that? I have brushes that look very similar.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
13,499
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70
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
#18
The battery stock - much more freuqently, not for conductivity purposes but because the crud collects in quantities by why on the locos and not on the rolling stock ?
Just a thought, I have a Wizzy Cranks that was conveted to BatteryPower getting on for 10 years ago now. All the Track ick ups and interal Circuit Board taken out with no "Back" Connection from any power to the Wheels. Just this minute looked at the wheels and they are as ckean as the day I batterificated it.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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8 Mar 2014
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#19
Dremel has a quck release madrel, and several items that connect to it.

I believe the illustration was of something similar to this:

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These are about 3/4" in diameter, and come in several grades of "scotchbrite" material... like the green stuff on your kitchen sponge.

The quick release mandrel fits into the "Butterfly" opening... these are scratch free. but they wear very quickly, so I am back to the small wire brush for my dremel... held at an angle with the wheels turning, do a very good job and no scratches I see...

Again 3/4" in diameter...

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