LGB ball bearing wheelsets...service advice

Brixham

Brixham

No buffers were hurt at this sign
27 Aug 2010
1,204
Recently I acquired some rolling stock with ball bearing wheelsets.... However, even though there isn't much wear on the wheelsets treads, the ball bearing part runs roughly, as if there is no lubrication, maybe they've been cleaned out ( traces of Work of the Devil Fluid 40 underneath the coach ) and left.

Now some feel like they have off round balls

I have nothing to loose by trying to clean them out....my plan is to flush through with IPA ( Industyrial Propyl Alcohol )..not beer,
let them dry out and add a sparing drop of oil.

Advice taken..about the wheels I mean

I'll try the worst set first.

Malcolm
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
26,166
Tamworth, Staffs.
Well, in theory, they should not have rusted??

Sounds like a plan.. They may just need running? - If there is some tarnish, or muck, it will hopefully loosen, and running will improve.

Kill, or cure, might be to run with a little brasso in them.. You would definitely need to flush them through, thoroughly, afterwards,
 
W

Walts-Playmobil

Playmobil Trains.
I have one that the wheel on one side has sized up and will not move. It had been out on the caboose of my Playmobil train in the front garden for over 10 years. I replaced it with another one. I use it to supply two flashing red LEDs on the back of the caboose and the lights in the coaches. There is also a wire to the loco so in theory there are eight pickups on the train.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
4,048
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
I think while the wheels may be stainless, the bearings seem to be carbon steel. All you can try is flush them, with air or a strong solvent spray, and try working (not spinning) the wheel bit by bit.

Greg
 
Brixham

Brixham

No buffers were hurt at this sign
27 Aug 2010
1,204
Update
I took the worst performing wheel, and span it as hard as I could...it stopped going round after 2 seconds

Holding the axle vertically, I flushed through with IPA until it starts to drain through the back of the wheel....it doesn't need much, within a few turns it freed up considerably, now rotates as if the balls are round, so left overnight for the ipa to drain/dissolve
Today that same wheel spins for over 20 seconds.

Oiling? I'm tempted not to..even with a light machine oil.

Malcolm
 
Madman

Madman

Registered
25 Oct 2009
13,691
Pennsylvania, USA
I've had some with the same problem. I think Greg is correct about the ball bearings being carbon steel. I had left some rolling stock outdoors, but covered. Moisture still finds it's way in, however. As has already been pointed out, flushing with some sort of electrical cleaner, etc., then blowing it out with an air hose helps. Finally simply running them seems to finish the job.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
17,541
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Update
I took the worst performing wheel, and span it as hard as I could...it stopped going round after 2 seconds

Holding the axle vertically, I flushed through with IPA until it starts to drain through the back of the wheel....it doesn't need much, within a few turns it freed up considerably, now rotates as if the balls are round, so left overnight for the ipa to drain/dissolve
Today that same wheel spins for over 20 seconds.

Oiling? I'm tempted not to..even with a light machine oil.

Malcolm
Was that Greene King IPA.
 
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Reactions: Ralphmp
Brixham

Brixham

No buffers were hurt at this sign
27 Aug 2010
1,204
I prefer to flush away ipa in another manner.
A beverage establishment at the Llanfair gala seems to have my brand of choice, not always the version I prefer

Malcolm
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
4,048
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
It usually works relatively well, since the inner and outer races are usually SS but the balls are carbon steel. The reason is that your cannot have metal to metal under extreme pressure with the same metal. It causes galling and metal transfer and destruction. For similar reasons, you will see that the worm on a motor and the worm gear it contacts are normally different metals or materials.

For example, in the "prime mover" gearboxes, Aristo used ceramic balls, and metal races. (very smart by the way, since it is not recommended to have high currents through ball bearings, the point of contact is too small, i.e. the exact reason they are low friction makes them unsuitable for high currents)

Greg
 
Trains and More

Trains and More

Registered
11 Aug 2019
29
85
B.C. Canada
I have often wondered about ball bearings and for that matter roller bearings. Real electric trains are returning the current that is going into the hundreds of Amps back into the rails trough the bearings of the wheel sets???
Especially when they are lubricated, will the constant mini-arcing not destroy them very quickly?
 
Fred2179G

Fred2179G

Registered
20 Apr 2017
476
USA
the hundreds of Amps back into the rails trough the bearings of the wheel sets???
I would assume there are lots and lots of wheelsets to spread the load?
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
4,048
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
I think they use slider contacts, even a roller bearing has a very small contact patch, thus, as stated, concentrates millions of amps per square inch.

Again, the very thing that makes them low friction makes them a bad conduit for power.

Greg
 
justme igor

justme igor

Registered
17 Apr 2020
134
48
Netherlands Westwoud
Lithium based grease or ball bearing grease from a bicyclist store?
Could that be a option?
Indeed blow it dry with air
For general degreasing i use some more aggressive stuff, from the car industry, i don't think that would do those small bits any good?
Hope this could help.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
4,048
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
Oil is better in our smaller ball bearings, grease can add too much drag.

Blowing with air (and I have done it) carries a warning from BB manufacturers: if you spin a BB at very high speed with compressed air AND the bearing is completely dry, it is POSSIBLE to "burn" the bearing.

Just a warning, it can be a temptation to spin the wheel really fast.

Greg
 
Eeyore.Boater

Eeyore.Boater

Registered
24 Oct 2009
67
Stafford
I have often wondered about ball bearings and for that matter roller bearings. Real electric trains are returning the current that is going into the hundreds of Amps back into the rails trough the bearings of the wheel sets???
Especially when they are lubricated, will the constant mini-arcing not destroy them very quickly?
Real electric trains have earth return brush gear on the ends of the axles.
 
justme igor

justme igor

Registered
17 Apr 2020
134
48
Netherlands Westwoud
Oil is better in our smaller ball bearings, grease can add too much drag.

Blowing with air (and I have done it) carries a warning from BB manufacturers: if you spin a BB at very high speed with compressed air AND the bearing is completely dry, it is POSSIBLE to "burn" the bearing.

Just a warning, it can be a temptation to spin the wheel really fast.
I bought some of those small bearings(7mmx3mm(x3mm hole dia))....jzeees they are really small, how the heck i want to get lithium grease into them after decreasing......
Oil would be much better yes.
And yes they are getting hot, to hot to handle, when spinning with air.
But blowing dry or spinning with air?

With best regards