He guys(and gals), I have old Lionel track and it has rust on it. What is the best way to remove rust off my tack? Also paint? 

Additionally I have an old 1688e that has light-medium rust on it and want to get it off without ruining the paint. Is there anyway to do this? There is rust on the drive rods and handle bars going down the engine.

Original Post

Patrick,

Honestly, cleaning rusted track is not worth the trouble nor time wasted. If you attend shows that draw quality vendors you can buy used track that's in excellent condition. Better yet we have a forum sponsor that sells top quality re-conditioned O-Gauge track. Oh Darn! I cannot remember the name.......I think it's "The Tin-man 3Rail" (?)

 God Bless,

"Pappy"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Light rust removal can be accomplished with a ScothBrite pad (not sandpaper). For heavier rust removal, and to get into the rail ends where the steel pins go, using electrolysis is the best way to go. Electrolysis is what causes oxidation in the first place, and electrolysis is used to remove it. It is the method used by museums and restoration companies. Easy to set up and inexpensive, it will get track, trains, and anything else rust free in a short time without damaging good metal, and without caustic chemicals.

 

Larry

There is a product that I recall using in the boat yard I once worked at. Anyway, this stuff removed rust instantly. I used it on propellers. Which if one tried to clean the rust any other way......they would be there for ever. Anyway, a boat store or perhaps Loews or Home Depot would carry the product. Though I am not sure if it can be used for this delicate work. Perhaps a small amount with a small regular hobby brush will do the trick.

 

Anyway, I cannot recall the name, but it is very strong and very toxic as I recall. Not the sort of stuff I would use around children.

 

Pete

Nothing Connects People Like Trains!

Originally Posted by the train yard:

There is a product that I recall using in the boat yard I once worked at. Anyway, this stuff removed rust instantly. I used it on propellers. Which if one tried to clean the rust any other way......they would be there for ever. Anyway, a boat store or perhaps Loews or Home Depot would carry the product. Though I am not sure if it can be used for this delicate work. Perhaps a small amount with a small regular hobby brush will do the trick.

 

Anyway, I cannot recall the name, but it is very strong and very toxic as I recall. Not the sort of stuff I would use around children.

 

Pete

Oxalic acid I think. Here's a quote from Wiki...

"Oxalic acid's main applications include cleaning or bleaching, especially for the removal of rust (iron complexing agent). Bar Keepers Friend is an example of a household cleaner containing oxalic acid. Its utility in rust removal agents is due to its forming a stable, water soluble salt with ferric iron, ferrioxalate ion."

Chuck TCA LCCA ARRL BMWMOA

Evapo-rust. I think I've seen it at Lowes, Wall-mart, and more.

 Soak, agitate, soak, overnight if you like. Tinplate guys like it because it doesn't do anything but remove rust & clean the paint a little. Citrus based. I used it, and a plastic bristle brush, on a rusty Marx set, all 7 in an afternoon. Gets pits clean too once rust thins. Mostly soak time. I will definitely use it again.

 

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





I agree with SJC.Throw it out and get new track.The rust will keep coming back.Not worth the time and aggravation.Besides it is fun to come home with a box of new track.Nick

No such thing as over kill-do it RIGHT.                                                                                                                             

Previously I did a dunk in muriatic acid too. Pre war & marx. 4 years, no issues.

But they have a point on price. I was getting 30" for under $5ea. Bought for the same "low buck" build at the LHS.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





I stand by my opinion posted above about tossing the old track and buying new with a small afterthought.   I have used Evaporust on my tools to rid them of rust. I was very pleased with it's performance and low toxicity. However, I applied a thin coat of oil on the tools to keep the rust from coming back. The tools I didn't do that.....I got the rust back. Putting oil on track is not going to end well.     So, bottom line.....why bother?

 

Roger

Originally Posted by the train yard:

There is a product that I recall using in the boat yard I once worked at. Anyway, this stuff removed rust instantly. I used it on propellers. Which if one tried to clean the rust any other way......they would be there for ever. Anyway, a boat store or perhaps Loews or Home Depot would carry the product. Though I am not sure if it can be used for this delicate work. Perhaps a small amount with a small regular hobby brush will do the trick.

 

Anyway, I cannot recall the name, but it is very strong and very toxic as I recall. Not the sort of stuff I would use around children.

 

Pete

Think it's called Naval Jelly but you must rinse it off when done.

 

Also ,   Ihave a number of lionel tinplate track in very good condition if interested.

If you're absolutely intent on saving the track just give it a heavy spray of WD40, let it sit an hour or so then hit it with a soft wire wheel on your drill.  Then just wipe it dry with an old cotton tee shirt.

Wild Mary (AKA Nick) Retired & "Riding The Wild Mary"

 

 

Forum Member Since 24 Sept. 2004

 

Oxalic acid and Evapo-Rust. Good information, thanks guys. On the other hand, I don't mind having some light rust on track laid in "industrial" areas of the layout for the sake of realism. The top of the track can be clean for operating purposes, but rust on the sides make it look a little more realistic rather than shiny and new. 

I know people won't believe this but the way I remove surface rust is to soak the parts in a strong bleach solution. It makes the rust "bloom" off the surface and you can rinse it of and brush too.  I sold industrial chemicals and chlorine an rust don't like each other. the chlorine won't attack the metal like acid will. DO NOT, absolutely DO NOT add any acid to the bleach. It will fume off the chlorine with dire results but it dos take rust off. I plan to clean some old Standard gauge track I have. If you can spare the dimes,though, I would buy new track. I converted most of my layout to new tubular track,mostly 40" straights, and sure made a difference in running trains.

Originally Posted by gunrunnerjohn:

I agree with Alan, they're doing interesting stuff at Tin Man 3Rail.  He has a variety of products, and I've followed his progress since he started working on this.

 

I like what he is doing, kind of feels good to restore, but was wondering about the pricing of say 072 curves. The restored grade is $10 when Lionel's list price is 6.99.

Just wondering...

Chuck TCA LCCA ARRL BMWMOA

Has anyone used evapo rust on an entire standard gauge wheel set, truck, or car? It sounds too good to be true. I am rehabbing a standard passenger car with lots of surface rust on all of the nickel parts. It would be great if I can immerse the whole car.

I have never tried it on a prewar car, or postwar for that matter.

I'm restoring a 1966 Mustang, and have used it on hundred's of fasteners, painted parts, chrome plated parts, and parts that still have "soft" parts on them such as plastic and rubber bushings. Never had a problem with Evapo-rust damaging any of the above.

 

I've used it on postwar trucks, and it didn't remove the finish.

 

The only thing that might happen is some of the paint may flake off around any rust you can see, because the rust has spread to parts of the car still covered in paint. I wouldn't hesitate to dip a car in it for a couple days, myself.

Originally Posted by Adriatic:

Evapo-rust. I think I've seen it at Lowes, Wall-mart, and more.

 Soak, agitate, soak, overnight if you like. Tinplate guys like it because it doesn't do anything but remove rust & clean the paint a little. Citrus based. I used it, and a plastic bristle brush, on a rusty Marx set, all 7 in an afternoon. Gets pits clean too once rust thins. Mostly soak time. I will definitely use it again.

 

My vote goes to Evapo-Rust also. Just be careful if you are aware of any rust under paint; it might loosen paint in those areas. I de-rusted a pile of Standard Gauge track by placing the sections upside-down in enough Evapo-Rust to cover the rails. I used a cookie sheet covered with a plastic tote bin lid, because the liquid tends to evaporate. The final track finish was "antique" but rustless.

Also de-rusted a heavily-scaled SG Lionel 390 cab right down to the pinholes by just soaking in it.

 

Firewood

 

"Nice try, Lao Che!"

 I'm glad this came up again. I have had an issue with a Marx M-10000 Denver tin plate set.

  With a long overnight soak it did soften paint. And to the point it could be pushed off with finger pressure.

The strange thing is, it only happened on one side of each car.

I suspect some kind of electrolysis action doing multiples, because I did 2 batches of four, upside down and side by side, and two cars were not affected.

 

 I say it is to be used with some caution now.

Previously I did one at a time, they were 6" Marx O, and they didn't need an overnight soak.

I will use it again. But allow "dry time" between treatments on bad rust.

Someone had also mentioned that some pre war paints would be sensitive to any long term wetness, of any kind.    

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Originally Posted by Patrick Kazy:

Thank you everyone! I would like to restore my track because i am sort of broke. I am only 18yrs old and a senior in high school. I will definitely look at that  website though

 

Just clean the tops of the rails and the pins. That will get you running. Scotch Brite.  Pads.

Carl

Arctic Railroad

I like the suggestions for saving this old track or other rusted pieces, we live in too much of a throw away society. All of my track, save a few that sneaked through is 50- 70 year old Gilbert track.

Ray

Thanks everyone for your guidance. I'm redoing a Flyer West Point car. The price and condition make it an easy decision to restore. From what you have said, I will start with Evapo-rust on only the nickel couplers and wheel sets, and maybe a few other parts. The roof will need to be stripped and painted. I don't want to mess up the lithography on the car body. I got it really cheap, and the goal is to make it a runner that looks good from three feet away. 

 

I appreciate the help.

Is it an early AF? Later paints are much more likely to be immune.

It really is a gentle product, but those early paints could even be water based.

The paint industry had a move to much better products as a whole. 

If I hadn't soaked overnight, it would have likely been fine.

I was repainting anyhow, the rust was very deep on the M-10000 set.

The six inchers were average in the rust dept. But soaked hours.

 If it has paint on the inside you might try it there.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Thanks for the tips! I removed the trucks and the roof panels, and kept the lithographed body as is. A six hour bath of evapo rust removed ALL of the surface rust completely, and the roller pickups are clean and roll again. For the roof panels, a 9 hour bath removed all rust and all paint - it worked as well as boiling it in Tide.

 

The almost junk car now has a new life. You guys are great! Thank you.

Patrick, I was in the same 'boat' as you - without a lot of cash for the hobby and a lot of 3 ft long pieces of 027 track - which is pretty inexpensive new but I still wanted to redeem them if I could to increase the length of a layout run. So I rubbed a scotchbrite pad across the top, and also used a dremel-style motor tool too (sanding or scouring the top of the rails). I left the sides, etc the way they were. The track wasn't very far gone to begin with. But this worked. 

Good grief!!!  The best, easiest and cheapest way to remove rust from track is with a bench grinder with a wire wheel.

 

I've cleaned many pieces of track that were dirty and rusted that, for a minute or two were run through the bench grinder wire wheel, came out looking like brand new.

 

I've saved one model train owner hundreds of dollars in not buying new track.

 

It is only the top middle rail (for electrical pick up) and the two outside rails (for ground) that need to be "clean".  While the track may look crummy, it is the electrical contact with the locomotive pickup rollers (which must be clean) that makes it go.

Yeah, you can dump your dirty track in a container with solvent or whatever, but the best method is using a bench grinder with a wire wheel to remove all of the rust and debris to have raw, clean metal for pickup rollers and wheels tomake your train go without any problems.

Oh, and for rusted drive rods and stuff, get a dremel tool and buy one of those rubber abrasive wheels that will remove the rust and polish in a few seconds and theyll look like new.

CRATEX rubberized abrasive wheels:

 

https://contenti.com/cratex-mi...rubberized-abrasives

They have changed their website since I was there several years ago,

but get the 441-074F abrasive wheel for your Dremel tool.

 

Scroll down to the number:

https://contenti.com/cratex-mi...rubberized-abrasives

 

It does amazing things in cleaning, brightening and restoring rusted metal.

 

But you gotta be careful.  This abrasive wheel is very effective.  So go lightly on anything that you want to remove the rust.

Trust me.  It is the quickest, easiest and most effective way of removing rust from your train items.  But you do have to be careful when using it with a Dremel tool.

Riki

                There's many good ideas posted here. 

 

I recommend to the OP, approach all with caution. What worked for one person might yield disaster for you. Many of these are used by those with years of experience. If you have a piece that is a rare or hard to find. I strongly recommend that you hire a professional to perform the work correctly. This is my opinion based upon many years of experience in this wonderful hobby.

Respectfully,

"Pappy"

My Two-Cents                 

 

Riki, I'm not sure you've seen track from the "rust belt".

Your pin joints might rust causing "death" to some track faster than the rail tops need work. 5 years of no use in a garage, basement, or attic can leave some looking like WEMDD's wheels.

 A chemical solution would be great.(hey that's punny)

 

 A hobby bench grinder does a decent job topside.

But a bump & grab will tear apart 0-27, and your finger tips on my Thor.

 

 I found a good Scotch-brite tool. Two 5"or 6" wheels doubled on a hex. Drill mounted, or on a die grinder.

  Its my fav. because the size gets two rail tops with each perpendicular pass, and is wide enough to hit both sides going between as you make parallel passes. The wheels also separate slightly with pressure, to stay on the track as you get the sides of the rail. A slight cant to parallel and plumb is all it needs.   

 

 

  

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





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