3n1 oil and Lionel lubrication

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December 11, 2012 12:42 PM

Can 3 n 1 oil be safely used to lubricate Lionel Tinplate Trains?

 

I have heard mixed opinions on this subject.

 

Thanks,

 

John

 
 
 
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December 11, 2012 12:50 PM

I'm told that Lionel stated at one point that it might not be compatible with all plastics, but that might not affect your trains if all metal.  The thing I've noticed, using it for years, is that the engines seem to need to warm up for a few laps (like the old cars) before hitting their stride.  But it hasn't caused any damage.

 
 
 
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December 11, 2012 1:15 PM

Originally Posted by Rice Burner:

Can 3 n 1 oil be safely used to lubricate Lionel Tinplate Trains?

 

I have heard mixed opinions on this subject.

 

Thanks,

 

John

I would say yes, on metal parts. I sometimes use it myself. But a lot of guys will have strong preferences for synthetic oils and other products which may perform somewhat better.

 

 
 
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December 11, 2012 1:27 PM

One of the first things I had to do, when I grew up and decided to start running my old Lionel 2026 again, was to clean out the old, caked, dried-out gummy 3-in-one residue from years ago.

 

On that basis alone, I use only modern synthetic oils on my trains.

 
 
 
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December 11, 2012 2:00 PM

thats what I use at train shows, 3 in 1 oil.

I run trains all day(changing the locos out every

40min or so)

Ive been using that for 20 yrs and have had no

problems. I also use a food flavor injector as a grease gun.

(walmart $3.00)

I cut the pointed tip off and filled it with white

lithium grease to grease all my locomotives.

 
 
 
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December 11, 2012 3:45 PM

In the '20s Lionel provided a sample of 3-in-1 oil with every outfit.

 

Ron M

 
 
 
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December 11, 2012 3:56 PM

I also use 3-in-1 oil for smoke fluid, works fine, but some forumites imply I'm stupid for not using MEGA-STEAM. Mineral oil and basic chemistry ... but we better not get into that !

 

 
 
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December 11, 2012 4:56 PM

3-in-1 oil used on Ives and Lionel tinplate in my family from 1924 to 2008.

The smell of 3-in-1 is part of the tinplate experience.

 

Now, I use this

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Liquid...;hash=item4cf222729f

mostly because of the very convenient tip puts the oil where you want it, and the slightly thicker viscosity keeps it there.

 

 

Rome, Watertown, and Ogdensburg Rail Road - "The Hojack Line" 1853-1891

 
 
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December 11, 2012 7:26 PM

I've used 3 in 1 now for over 30 years and never had any negative affects or problems.

Gandy
 
 
 
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December 11, 2012 7:35 PM

I don't use it.  I buy and use the lubricants specifically made for model trains.

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

 
 
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December 11, 2012 7:54 PM

Here's a link to the 3 in 1 website.  

 

http://www.3inone.com/faqs/

 

franktrain

 
 
 
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December 12, 2012 1:34 AM

Originally Posted by Popi:

thats what I use at train shows, 3 in 1 oil.

I run trains all day(changing the locos out every

40min or so)

Ive been using that for 20 yrs and have had no

problems ...

 

Originally Posted by ron m:

In the '20s Lionel provided a sample of 3-in-1 oil with every outfit.

 

Ron M

 

Originally Posted by hojack:

3-in-1 oil used on Ives and Lionel tinplate in my family from 1924 to 2008.

The smell of 3-in-1 is part of the tinplate experience...

 

Originally Posted by TheGandyDancer:
I've used 3 in 1 now for over 30 years and never had any negative affects or problems.

Gandy

 

Originally Posted by franktrain:

Here's a link to the 3 in 1 website.  

 

http://www.3inone.com/faqs/

 

franktrain

 

Hoo-ray for 3-in-1 !  A time-tested traditional oil for traditional trains !

 

 
 
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December 12, 2012 2:18 AM

Back in the 50's I used 3-in-1 oil for smoke fluid in the pill type smoke units.

I don't recommend this use.

 
 
 
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December 12, 2012 6:57 AM

I stopped using 3-in-1 oil as a lubricant years ago. Typically I use a labelle product. 

I use my 3-in-1 oil for wet sanding metal.

 

 

 
C.W. Burfle
 
 
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December 12, 2012 7:19 AM

just go to their website and read the MSDS which will give you all the information

needed to make a valued judgement.

 

Bernard

 

Bernard

 
 
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December 12, 2012 10:07 AM

I would never use any traditional petroleum-based oil on trains. They dry out and can leave a gummy residue. I use a synthetic product called Break Free CLP (Clean, Lubricate, Protect). It was designed for use in automatic weapons, which reciprocate at high speed and high temperature and a gummed-up lubricant can get you killed. If it's good enough for a belt-fed FN Minimi at 700 rounds per minute, it's good enough for my Bild-a-Loco. 

 
 
 
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December 12, 2012 10:21 AM

I have Break Free CLP in my gun cabinet, I may have to consider that for the trains.  It works well on the guns...

 

TCA, North Penn O-Gaugers, MTH ASC Certified Technician

 

Nothing is so easy as the job you imagine someone else doing.

 
 
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December 12, 2012 10:26 AM

I’ve used Labelle’s products for my trains or years. Their regular oil for the usual lube points and the white grease for gears.

 

TCA, LCCA

 
 
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December 12, 2012 11:23 AM

Originally Posted by Rice Burner:

How about the  use of WD-40?

 

Thanks,

 

John

 

 
 
 
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December 12, 2012 12:02 PM

WD-40 is NOT a lubricant. It is to replace moisture in/on the article.

 

Ron M

 
 
 
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December 12, 2012 12:36 PM

The motor manufacturers we use in the air conditioning equipment we manufacturer recommend SAE 30 non-detergent oil be used for sleeve type bearings. That is what I use on my trains.

 

CSXJOE
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All Saints Episcopal Church

213 Madison Ave. (Rt. 9)

Lakewood NJ (732) 363-7799

Meet every Tuesday nite, 7:00 - ~10:00 PM

www.ocsmr.com

 
 
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December 12, 2012 1:23 PM

According to the Manufacturer's claim, WD-40 is indeed a lubricant. From their site:

 





quote:
WD-40 Multi-Use Product is the ultimate multi-purpose problem solver. WD-40 removes gunk, penetrates to loosen stuck parts, prevents rust and corrosion, and is a light lubricant.




 

That written, I do not use WD-40 as anything other than a metal protectant.

 
C.W. Burfle
 
 
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December 12, 2012 3:05 PM

While they claim "light lubricant", it's also a very temporary lubricant.  As I've stated previously, I've personally dealt with the effects of leaving WD-40 on an item for an extended period of time.  Specifically, I'm talking about guns, though the same effects would clearly be exhibited for any mechanical device.  After a year or two, it turns into some sort of sludge-like varnish that is almost impossible to remove!  I've had to soak guns for a week in solvent to loosen the WD-40 before I could even disassemble them!

 

IMO, it fails miserably as a lubricant.

 

TCA, North Penn O-Gaugers, MTH ASC Certified Technician

 

Nothing is so easy as the job you imagine someone else doing.

 
 
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December 12, 2012 3:40 PM

Originally Posted by gunrunnerjohn:

... After a year or two, it turns into some sort of sludge-like varnish that is almost impossible to remove!  I've had to soak guns for a week in solvent to loosen the WD-40 before I could even disassemble them! 

IMO, it fails miserably as a lubricant.

I wonder if the WD-40 may have partially dissolved other old oils or cosmoline which redistributed and re-solidified in different places after the WD-40 dried out? I haven't experienced WD-40 itself turning into a "sludge-like varnish". Just interested.

 

I consider WD-40 to be a penetrant and "temporary" lubricant, as for removing rusty bolts.

 

 
 
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December 12, 2012 4:10 PM

Water Displacement formula 40!

 
 
 
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December 12, 2012 4:18 PM

Originally Posted by Ace:
Originally Posted by gunrunnerjohn:

... After a year or two, it turns into some sort of sludge-like varnish that is almost impossible to remove!  I've had to soak guns for a week in solvent to loosen the WD-40 before I could even disassemble them! 

IMO, it fails miserably as a lubricant.

I wonder if the WD-40 may have partially dissolved other old oils or cosmoline which redistributed and re-solidified in different places after the WD-40 dried out? I haven't experienced WD-40 itself turning into a "sludge-like varnish". Just interested.

 

I consider WD-40 to be a penetrant and "temporary" lubricant, as for removing rusty bolts.

I can't say as I bought these used and they were already "protected" using WD-40 according to the seller.  I did know what I was getting, and the end result was fine, but it was a PITA to get them apart the first time!

 

I use WD-40 to flush water off of mechanical things, but truthfully I have had a spray can of it for years, and it's still pretty heavy, not much use.

 

TCA, North Penn O-Gaugers, MTH ASC Certified Technician

 

Nothing is so easy as the job you imagine someone else doing.

 
 
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December 12, 2012 4:31 PM

As you may have well noticed, opinions are like something else...everybody has one. I prefer to use, Lucas's Gun Oil when a light oil is needed. The mighty Red N' Tacky when something heavy duty is needed.

 

God Bless,

Pappy

TCA TTOS

Pappy's happy when it's about prewar trains.

 
 
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December 12, 2012 5:30 PM

Originally Posted by gunrunnerjohn:

I have Break Free CLP in my gun cabinet, I may have to consider that for the trains.  It works well on the guns...

Same here.  It does work well (on trains and guns), and it has the added virtue of containing teflon in suspension.  But on the other hand, it's a bit thin, and doesn't seem to last as long as LaBelle oil or synthetic motor oil.

 
 
 
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December 12, 2012 7:29 PM

Can vasoline be used safely as a gear lubricant?

 

Thanks,

 

John

 

 
 
 
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December 12, 2012 9:38 PM

Vaseline will attack many plastics. and it is absolutely deadly to any kind of rubber or neoprene. I wouldn't put it anywhere near my trains. 

 
 
 
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December 13, 2012 6:01 AM

When I first got into the hobby, one of my kid's trains started slowing down considerably. Having no hobby lubricants in the house yet, I used some Vaseline on the gears, and the train went back to running as it should. I left the Vaz on the gears until I got some hobby grease, and have seen no damage to this day.

 

I use WD-40 more as a solvent than anything else. It's great for removing tree sap and road tar.

 
 
 
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December 13, 2012 6:56 AM




quote:
IMO, it fails miserably as a lubricant.




 

I am not a big fan of WD-40, I posted the manufacturer's claim because the manufacturer encourages the belief that it is a lubricant, and many people believe that.

I use WD-40 as a metal protectant on tools, and sometimes as a cleaning agent / rust remover.

It does work as a penetrant in some cases, but I find that PB Blaster works better.

Liquid wrench works well for me too.

I prefer to use CRC 2-26 as a metal protectant on the metal parts of trains that require something.

 
C.W. Burfle
 
 
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December 13, 2012 7:02 AM

I've found that WD-40 is great for cleaning and restoring the lustre to postwar metal locomotive shells. Just spay it on, leave for a moment or two, and then polish off with a soft cloth to restore that as-delivered finish.

 

Nicole. 

Not quite dead yet.

 
 
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December 13, 2012 8:22 AM

Nicole, that's a perfect application for it, you don't have to depend on it's long-term characteristics.

 

TCA, North Penn O-Gaugers, MTH ASC Certified Technician

 

Nothing is so easy as the job you imagine someone else doing.

 
 
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December 13, 2012 8:39 AM

 

Originally Posted by Rice Burner:

Can vasoline be used safely as a gear lubricant?

 

Thanks,

 

John

 

 

Absolutely. Gilbert recommended it in their owners manuals for their worm drive locos. I've use it for gear lube for decades and never had any issues with it attacking paints or plastics. I often wonder where these damage story's get started. Lionel used Lithium Grease and now THAT caked and got hard!!
 

Gandy

 
 
 
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December 13, 2012 9:05 AM

If you simply must use Vaseline, be sure it is confined to a gearbox. So long as it only contacts metal, it's safe (albeit far from the best lubricant available). It will destroy anything made of rubber, neoprene, or silicone, and is not good for some plastics. I am an underwater photographer and one of the first things you learn about diving and underwater photography is that Vaseline is not to be used anywhere near any kind of underwater equipment because it will eat away the seals. It is tempting for some lazy divers to use Vaseline on seals rather than the correct silicone grease. Some divers learn the hard way when they put it on their mustache to seal their mask and it chews up the mask. The consequences of using the wrong lubricant in diving are considerably greater than with toy trains. 
 
Originally Posted by TheGandyDancer:

 

Originally Posted by Rice Burner:

Can vasoline be used safely as a gear lubricant?

 

Thanks,

 

John

 

 

Absolutely. Gilbert recommended it in their owners manuals for their worm drive locos. I've use it for gear lube for decades and never had any issues with it attacking paints or plastics. I often wonder where these damage story's get started. Lionel used Lithium Grease and now THAT caked and got hard!!
 

Gandy

 
 
 
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December 13, 2012 3:16 PM

Nicole,
 
 I believe that WD-40 would be a good cleaner and paint restorer on the paint of tinplate trains. It does a heck of a job of removeing bugs, tar, and other road grime on automobiles without damage to your cars paint.
 
 If it doesn't hurt the paint on a 30K,40K, maybe more automobile, I would think it would be safe on the paint of tinplate trains, cleaning and restoring the original paint lustre and giving it a beautiful shine.
 
 This is just my opinion.
 
Thanks,
 
John
 
 
Originally Posted by N.Q.D.Y.:

I've found that WD-40 is great for cleaning and restoring the lustre to postwar metal locomotive shells. Just spay it on, leave for a moment or two, and then polish off with a soft cloth to restore that as-delivered finish.

 

 
 
 
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December 13, 2012 3:18 PM

I definitely know it is suppose to attack rubber and latex products.
 
Read the warnings on a box of condoms. LOL.
 
John
 
Originally Posted by Southwest Hiawatha:

Vaseline will attack many plastics. and it is absolutely deadly to any kind of rubber or neoprene. I wouldn't put it anywhere near my trains. 

 

 
 
 
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December 13, 2012 3:32 PM

I'm going to have to chime in here. WD-40 and other related petroleum based solvents like LPS,PB Blaster will pit and oxidize the paint surface over time.I have seen many postwar Lionel and AF trains ruined over the 40+ years in the hobby because while it looks good at first, WD40 attacks the plastic and the paint pigments.The surface becomes chalky,waxy and pitted.It's like a slow acting dull cote. To shine in polish tinplate and plastic trains,Armor-All is an excellent choice.It's a plastic protectant. I have used it for nearly 40 years on prewar,postwar and modern trains. I am extremely picky/fussy about the condition and appearance of my trains.Armor All works great and is safe.

 

As far a 3 in 1 oil is concerned.Its OK for prewar and postwar metal to metal areas requiring oil.I prefer Labelle lubricants and lithium based greases for modern era trains with lots of engineering plastics. Labelle has plastic compatible oils.

 

Vaseline is a no no for trains,it has a high moisture content and will actually rust metal over time.It's original use is a hair dressing-really.

 

Ricky

 

 

 

 

Proud member of the Mid America 3 Railers and the TCA.

Last edited by Boomer December 13, 2012 3:41 PM
 
 
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December 13, 2012 5:28 PM

When we had the big Standard Gauge layout in the Berkshire Mall (Wyomissing PA) some 35 years ago, we used Castrol's Motorcycle Chain lube out of a pressured can. With the small tip we could apply a small amount to the gears and the consistency made sure that it stayed where we put it. This display was up for some four weeks and operated seven days a week and eleven hours a day M-S and six hours on Sunday.

 

Ron M

 
 
 
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