I have seen vinegar and Envirorust for track that can be submerged and baked but what about switch with electrical connections, etc.?
Steve, what type of switch? Model #/maker? Prewar/postwar?
Mechanical cleaning with a small soft wire brush, Scothbrite pads the better choice, be careful not to remove all, (all) of the galvanized coating. I have painted track/switches with Testors Model Master acrylic paint, and removed paint, from the top of the rail, as needed, for proper operation. Long storage, or a humid environment, a light coating with 3&1 oil to inhibit surface rust. IMO Mike CT.
Painted, Airbrush application. Paint removed, from the top of rail, with lacquer thinner (note safety precaution), and a scotch brite pad.
HEY Mike ,
Be darn careful with the lacquer thinner. Its vapors are more volatile than gasoline. 😨
thanks guys. It's a modern MTH tinplate switch that I would rather not disassemble and soak. Was wondering if using a vinegar soaked rag or toothbrush would work if then ensured somehow post cleaning to dry or not ruin wiring internal to switch. see picture attached.
I'd clean the turnouts by hand. Soft brass "toothbrush", scotchbrite, brush clean with paintbrush then Light oil rag rub. Repeat in a few days, then weeks, then months, etc.. The need will fade.
Removing too much oil with solvents is how the rust got a foothold. Only the railhead and flange rub need to be real clean. Thats only like 50° out of the tube diameters 360° and starting at 1oclk-4oclk, thats a small grade(1°), an apex(12oclk), and a grade (4oclk). Excess oil elsewere won't climb up to get to twelve or three oclk. Most metal likes a thin coat of oil. Just what it's surface can hold when dry wiped well with a clean cloth.
Inspect connections; rivits, tabs may need cleaning, flushing dry and reset(pressed,knurled,etc) to reseat the connection. Bad rust might need penetrating oil... better off the rivit is replaced really.
(i like wd-40 to cleañ & flush, never lube. Leaves most tin paint looking nicer too.)
CRC electrical contact cleaner; nice protectant in it
From appearance, a little CRC cleaning and on contacts is about all those need. Basically a polishing.
Is the rust where you can easily get to it? I would use 0000 steel wool and some WD40. In my other hobby of working on old bicycles, I have heard of using crumpled aluminum foil and water to remove rust from chrome.
Fine sand paper works for me. Use sand paper to clean the Marx 1590 brass contacts on the movable part to switch power from track to track too. No steel wool around electrics. No chemicals either.
Foil kinda works for a fine abrasive. Not messy anyhow. I used to use it on my spokes as a kid. I think the way it holds shape allows a softer grip too. It may be an decent arthritic alternative to fine wools.
Worth a shot to see if you like it.
Just a few years ago I sold a blue 40s JC Higgins batwing headlight/battery "gas" tank / rocket nozzle luggage rack, 1/4 skirts w/louvers, etc. All original but 3 links of skiptooth chain. When I brave another try at a ride today it's on a metallic brown Raleigh 20 Folder, chrome fenders, aluminum rack, rectangle mirrors, speedo(kmh), removeable batt.op, lantern style lamp, w/visor swinging handle, and a 2cnd swan neck headight & small tailight on the 6v generator. It looks like it belongs in Quadrophenia with all the chome up front. It holds it own next to a Crate or Murry chopper.
I have another folder. A nice.aluminum Micro I once imagined might be taken along on travels on public transportation; in the case it's like a fat umbrella with a wheel at the bottom. Injuries will likely prevent those rail rides, to ride, from ever happening though... So you'd better do it for me