Cleaning Car Wheels

Howdy,

I am the owner of several old Marx cars in various conditions. Some of the wheels are just covered with crud; make that Crud. I started with a bright boy but could see where the pyramids would be even smaller by the time I got done. So I put a wire brush in the Dremel and carefully used it to remove said crud. Is this a heresy in the wheel cleaning sect?   What other methods are in use. I know one shouldn't let the wheels get so dirty but this dirt was decades in the making and not all by me.  Thanks.

Jim K

Original Post

Be careful with the wire wheel.   I just got thru cleaning 50 freight cars worth of wheels and kept getting some of the wire strands from the wheel stuck in my fingers...OUCH!!!

Also, I noticed the wire wheel gets loaded up with crud, ends up just spreading it around on the wheel.  Periodically clean the wheel, soak it in alcohol or some kind of solvent to dissolve the crud.

I've seen buildup of over 1/32" on wheels.  I can't help but think that it could cause a derailment or two.

My engines are Battery-Powered, Remote-Control (BPRC) and I thought that no voltage to the rails would produce less crud on the rails and wheels. It might, but I still have to clean them because of airborne dirt, dust, debris settling onto the rail surface.

I wonder if we took some polishing compound and applied it to the wheels while using the wire brush if it would polish them enough to prevent crud accumulation?

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

Having A Blast Running BPRC

All of the above.  I use a wire wheel at the lowest speed I can manage without stalling the Dremel.  Clean the wheel frequently; I dip it,  running slowly, into a jar of mineral spirits, and then let it spin itself dry inside the jar.  

Mitch 

It's crackers to give a rozzer the dropsy in snide!

 

Remember, SCROUNGE!

I use a ScotchBrite wheel on a Dremel for cleaning wheels.  Put it on a mandrel, trim the corners a bit, and have at it.

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Clean the wheels?  It's been years. May have to look at them to see if they need to be cleaned.  I like John's ideal on cleaning the wheels.

If you have no alcohol, will beer work?

Next thing.   You guys will want me to clean  the track yearly.

 

 

Keith Johnson

For the caked on stuff, I use a flat screwdriver to scrape it off.  The reason I like the Dremel is I'm basically lazy, and it's quick.

Careful when using alcohol, it can damage painted surfaces.  If you get your fingers wet and handle the car, you could very easily leave your fingerprints in it! 

I generally use craft sticks to scrape a buildup of crud off.  Saw off a rounded end, then bevel on a piece of sandpaper.  Makes a good, damage-free scraper.  I prefer mineral spirits over alcohol for final cleaning, makes a good grease/crud cleaner with almost no chance of harming any paint. 

Might want to wear latex-type gloves while doing this, or else your fingers and hands will get black and your skin will dry out.  I usually figure this out every time I have a wheel-cleaning session.  

Paul  

Ship Rock Island ROCKET FREIGHT

 

2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high anyway.

I love the smell of fresh-brewed creosote first thing in the morning.

I use a soft wire wheel (brass) in a dremel tool.  I hold the wire wheel at about a 45 degree angle to the freight car wheel-this spins the freight car wheel and also removes the crud.  I realized how necessary cleaning the wheels was when I started using insulated sections to activate signals last year.

 

RAK TCA 94-3880 TTOS C45 Southern California DCS Demonstration Team Angels Gate High Railers LCCA
clem k posted:

How do the 2 rail guys do this  ?

I clean my wheels and track frequently so nothing other than a little carbon builds up. I clean the wheels on my locomotives and rolling stock by cutting a paper towel into a 3" or 4" strip, moisten it with a citrus cleaner/degreaser, then lay it across the track holding down each side as the train runs over it a few times.

Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

right here. made my own engine wheel cleaner with detachable scotch bright pads held on with velcro strips glued down to the wood. then I just hook up to my prefered power with the alligator clips. I then hold the engine at the truck that touches the track to keep it from running away. then slowly apply power and get the engines wheels moving at a nice rate and let the scotch bright pads do all the work. then turn the engine around and do the other truck. works on steamers too. I added some wire on one end to just hang it up when not being used. at the end where the alligator clips are soldered on I added a jumper wire attaching it to both outside rails for good ground contact for the engines wheels. as the atlas flex track  outside rails are insulated from each other. I chose the atlas track because of the flat top rail and had a scrap piece laying around. I also made the lenth in the cut in the two outside rails just a tad bit longer than one diesel truck lenth. so I could mount the pads for the cleaning job. It really works well and makes cleaning my locomotive wheels rather easy now. I also can put some felt pads in place of the green pads to further get all the dirt off the wheels and polish them clean.

Roger g.

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catnap posted:
clem k posted:

How do the 2 rail guys do this  ?

I clean my wheels and track frequently so nothing other than a little carbon builds up. I clean the wheels on my locomotives and rolling stock by cutting a paper towel into a 3" or 4" strip, moisten it with a citrus cleaner/degreaser, then lay it across the track holding down each side as the train runs over it a few times.

Thank you catnap.....I drive over masking tape to pull the crud off the wheels

I've read many times about using Goo Gone and thought I'd give it a try. I cannot believe how powerful a natural, safe to smell, product could be. I've been using it for about 4 years now and noticed the wheels and tracks stay cleaner longer after using it. I think it's because it leaves a film on the wheels and track that help to keep dirt from sticking. When I first started using it, I would remove the film with alcohol, but quit after I noticed getting a slight headache latter in the day, after I was breathing the fumes for a while. That's when I noticed the wheels and track stayed cleaner longer. My only concern would be wheel slip for people that have grades on their layout. 

Dave Z

seaboardm2 posted:

I use qtips and  95 %alcohol.Pick the car up turn it over.Dip the qtip in alcohol then press against the wheel.Turn the wheel while pressing the qtip on the wheel.A few good turns should do it.The qtip will turn black from the dirt.That is how I do it.

Same here

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Alan MancusMWasko


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