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I would equally caution you not to always heed “anecdotal” info in lieu of what a manufacturer  recommends for their engines. I guess that’s why anecdotal evidence is defined as “of an account not necessarily true or reliable because it is based on personal accounts rather than science or research”. Just because the few clubs you’ve surveyed or heard from don't use it doesn’t negate or render unreliable  a manufacturers recommendation for their engines by a long shot, particularly when so many hobbyists have used it in accordance with that manufacturers recommendation with great success on their hard run engines, IMHO.

Also just curious, do you have any factual basis to support your statement that “The lubricity of Tacky may be inadequate for the plastics or even damage them” or is this just your hypothesis? I think if you posted a link to any support for this claim,  it would be very helpful to those on this forum, particularly if you’re advocating that they disregard it’s recommended use by one of the major train manufacturers.

You’re running with a ball that wasn’t even thrown,….nowhere in any owners manual did the referenced mfr. you speak of say to use that particular grease in their gear boxes. You’re taking the words of one tech from the service dept. and making it gospel,…..and that’s fine for you, as mentioned, do as you see fit with your trains,…..but I hardly consider what was said in that post as absolute,……what @swrr is saying and really rings true is we’d rather much have in field reports of what’s working and what’s not,……again, they’re your trains you can use ground coffee in your gearboxes if that floats your boat……but don’t cram down our throats what one service tech said at one mfr. because y’all consider it gospel,…..I’ll remind you that another major manufacturer had a really bad issue with grease turning to concrete, and it wasn’t necessarily time that did it,….as a young service tech for my father, we saw grease issues within a year’s time of production,…..you certainly wouldn’t have used the grease they recommended at that time,…..do understand, in no way am I trying to sway you,…….you use what you like, and what works for you,……

Pat

Last edited by harmonyards
@swrr posted:

Yes, we all would like to know that.  Maybe Labelle should get a clue and offer four times as much for half the price per unit volume that is in that 0.5 oz tube.  The plastic tube itself may cost more than the grease itself.  

Labelle isn't stupid - if they spill the beans, their sales would probably dry up.  I suspect that a lot of common products are packaged in small quantities and sold to hobbyists at a huge markup.  If we only knew...

MTH uses Lucas Red & Tacky for train maintenance. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2aj7y4tgi8

In fact, I’ve been using it for over 20 years with excellent results on my heavily run engines.

My inner cynic wonders if maybe they want to generate demand for spare parts (which you can't get right now anyway, but that's a different thread...). 

Seriously, my personal, anecdotal, non-professional opinion is that grease is a lot like changing the oil in your car - the key is performing regular maintenance.

@harmonyards posted:

You’re running with a ball that wasn’t even thrown,….nowhere in any owners manual did the referenced mfr. you speak of say to use that particular grease in their gear boxes. You’re taking the words of one tech from the service dept. and making it gospel,…..and that’s fine for you, as mentioned, do as you see fit with your trains,…..but I hardly consider what was said in that post as absolute,……what @swrr is saying and really rings true is we’d rather much have in field reports of what’s working and what’s not,……again, they’re your trains you can use ground coffee in your gearboxes if that floats your boat……but don’t cram down our throats what one service tech said at one mfr. because y’all consider it gospel,…..I’ll remind you that another major manufacturer had a really bad issue with grease turning to concrete, and it wasn’t necessarily time that did it,….as a young service tech for my father, we saw grease issues within a year’s time of production,…..you certainly wouldn’t have used the grease they recommended at that time,…..do understand, in no way am I trying to sway you,…….you use what you like, and what works for you,……

Pat

LOL! You really are too funny, Pat.  Look, if you think an official video on MTH's website, entitled "Diesel and Steam locomotive lubrication", in which they advise to use Red and Tacky on the gears is just the reckless, idle musings of "one tech from the service department", well then more power to you on that one.  Fortunately, readers of this thread can go to MTH's website and watch the video and decide for themselves.  We'll just have to agree to disagree on that one, partner.

As for your comment that I am "running with the ball that wasn't even thrown". Well, I think you're engaging in a bit of projection there.  As i mentioned in my prior post, "I was just pointing out that, aside from personal preference of avowed, semi anonymous hobbyists on a message board [like you], one of the major train manufacturers recommends and uses red and tacky for their locomotives maintenance.  Thought that might be useful and worth considering for anyone reading this thread, particularly those using mth engines for 2 or 3 rail". Sorry, but that certainly isn't "cramming" anything down your throat.   Quite frankly, the people calling a product "junk" and claiming that "the lubricity of Tacky may be inadequate for the plastics or even damage them", without a scintilla of factual support like, you know, some examples of plastic gearboxes malfunctioning from users of the product, and attacking anyone who posts a contrary view sure seem like they're cramming something down someone's throat, and it certainly isn't nutritious as well as a pretty good example of you running with that ball past the endzone and right off the field, LOL!  But hey, we'll just have to agree to disagree on this as well. Fortunately, the wonderful readers of this forum can read, watch and decide for themselves.  Like you,  I don't care if you use olive oil, pasta sauce or ketchup to lubricate your trains. Go right ahead and follow your anecdotal accounts of what your brother's, friend's, uncle's baby sitter heard that they do down at their club. Me? I'll follow the MTH approved videos and continue to use red and tacky for my 2 rail and 3 rail engines, some of which surprisingly have plastic gears as well (thanks Lionel), along with the many others on this forum that have been doing it for numerous years with their hard run engines (as a quick forum search will reveal).





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LOL! You really are too funny, Pat.  Look, if you think an official video on MTH's website, entitled "Diesel and Steam locomotive lubrication", in which they advise to use Red and Tacky on the gears is just the reckless, idle musings of "one tech from the service department", well then more power to you on that one.  Fortunately, readers of this thread can go to MTH's website and watch the video and decide for themselves.  We'll just have to agree to disagree on that one, partner.

As for your comment that I am "running with the ball that wasn't even thrown". Well, I think you're engaging in a bit of projection there.  As i mentioned in my prior post, "I was just pointing out that, aside from personal preference of avowed, semi anonymous hobbyists on a message board [like you], one of the major train manufacturers recommends and uses red and tacky for their locomotives maintenance.  Thought that might be useful and worth considering for anyone reading this thread, particularly those using mth engines for 2 or 3 rail". Sorry, but that certainly isn't "cramming" anything down your throat.   Quite frankly, the people calling a product "junk" and claiming that "the lubricity of Tacky may be inadequate for the plastics or even damage them", without a scintilla of factual support like, you know, some examples of plastic gearboxes malfunctioning from users of the product, and attacking anyone who posts a contrary view sure seem like they're cramming something down someone's throat, and it certainly isn't nutritious as well as a pretty good example of you running with that ball past the endzone and right off the field, LOL!  But hey, we'll just have to agree to disagree on this as well. Fortunately, the wonderful readers of this forum can read, watch and decide for themselves.  Like you,  I don't care if you use olive oil, pasta sauce or ketchup to lubricate your trains. Go right ahead and follow your anecdotal accounts of what your brother's, friend's, uncle's baby sitter heard that they do down at their club. Me? I'll follow the MTH approved videos and continue to use red and tacky for my 2 rail and 3 rail engines, some of which surprisingly have plastic gears as well (thanks Lionel), along with the many others on this forum that have been doing it for numerous years with their hard run engines (as a quick forum search will reveal).





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One thing we can agree on, I’ve never seen any grease eat up plastics ,…….I’ve yet to see anything plastic in O gauge get ruined by the grease itself……I’ve stated that before in this thread,…..my complaint with red-n-tacky is its too thick, and too gummy,……but that’s my opinion, and many many folks use it and are happy,…so let’s leave it there,….😉

Pat

LaBelle will never tell us what generic grease they use in those pricey tubes - but I will take a look at the 113 specs - I am so cheap I use the LaBelle quite sparingly.

But I really smear on the Lubriplate 110 - it costs me nothing!

And for the record - while I was the MTH maintenance guy for the local museum here is what we came up with:

Day in, day out, six days a week eight hours a day - axle gears every three years.  Motor worms every six years.  Axle bearings every decade!  Motors almost never - except in the beginning we replaced them when the worms wore out.

White lithium grease (Lubriplate or equivalent) on all gears.  SAE 30 on all axle bearings.

Also, we ran a NWSL Mod 0.5 in a steamer - once we put ball bearings on the motor shaft the gearbox out-lasted three large K&D motors.  Used LaBelle Teflon grease in that one.

  • I am with Pat - use what makes you happy.

This topic certainly has generated a lot of controversy.

  It would be great if some of the grease manufacturers revealed what the ingredients were in their products so that we could make more informed decisions but that probably will not ever happen.

Without that information all that we really have is anecdotal data with the most impressive data coming from large 2-rail museum layouts.

I agree with Pat in that I have never seen grease attack plastic.  My concern about Tacky is that it is so viscous that it may prevent adequate release of heat in a plastic gearbox cases which are sometimes found in 2-rail locomotives. The excess heat could weaken or warp the plastic.  This is an educated guess from someone with a degree in chemistry.  I may be wrong or I maybe right. Regarding lubricity, the NGLI specs maybe a guide.  

@swrr posted:

I agree with Pat in that I have never seen grease attack plastic.  My concern about Tacky is that it is so viscous that it may prevent adequate release of heat in a plastic gearbox cases which are sometimes found in 2-rail locomotives. The excess heat could weaken or warp the plastic.  This is an educated guess from someone with a degree in chemistry.  I may be wrong or I maybe right. Regarding lubricity, the NGLI specs maybe a guide.  

Just curious. if that's your concern and you're open to considering anecdotal evidence (because there are admittedly no facts or actual incidents of gear failure to to support your theory), why not discount that fear of plastic gear warpage based on the numerous accounts of those on this forum that have used Red and tacky for decades on our 2 and 3 rail heavily run engines  without any such effects (a simple forum search will bring them up, since this is an often discussed subject)?  This includes lots of RMT beeps, Lionel MPC era product from the 1970s and other engines that are loaded with cheap, plastic gears. In fact, here is a post by one of the best techs on this forum giving you his anecdotal take (but in his case, I get it. Its not like this john guy knows anything about trains nor has he been working on them for decades)  -

I use Red-N-Tacky for gears, hasn't failed me yet.

JW&A Enhancement Products at Henning's Trains

Lionel Factory Authorized Service Station
MTH ASC Factory Authorized Service Center
ERR Dealer
North Penn O-Gaugers Modular RR Club

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

---------------------------------
Honestly, I'm not looking to pull your chain. I'm just trying to see if there is any rational basis to stop using the lube that I've been successfully using for the past 20 years for my hard run trains (along with numerous others, which also happens to be used by MTH in their Lubrication tutorial videos), particularly for engines with with plastic gears like you've flagged.  Again, I'm not trying to convince you to use one brand over any other nor am i saying that mine is better than yours, etc. In fact, use whatever works for you and don't stop. I'm just trying to get a handle on the critical  statements you've made about Red and tacky to determine if i should somehow change and use some other product or even remove it from my trains.  Fortunately, so far, I haven't seen anything to warrant that.  
@Mallard4468 posted:

Labelle isn't stupid - if they spill the beans, their sales would probably dry up.  I suspect that a lot of common products are packaged in small quantities and sold to hobbyists at a huge markup.  If we only knew...

My inner cynic wonders if maybe they want to generate demand for spare parts (which you can't get right now anyway, but that's a different thread...). 

Seriously, my personal, anecdotal, non-professional opinion is that grease is a lot like changing the oil in your car - the key is performing regular maintenance.

Seriously, my personal, anecdotal, non-professional opinion is that grease is a lot like changing the oil in your car - the key is performing regular maintenance

and that’s the key as stated numerous times,……if you faithfully do routine maintenance, you probably would never have issue even with straight up old school white lithium,….

I think a lot of the hoopla about red-n-tacky is folks think it’s so good because it is so gummy, ( swrr uses the term viscous cause he’s a chemist, I use gummy cause I’m a mechanic) and they see all that pretty red dye swimming around their gearboxes thinking they did something,…which is not necessarily a good thing,….thick goopy gummy grease makes the motor work harder to mush it between the gears,….we have several drums of grease,…..Molly based, high impact, and disc brake wheel bearing grease ( full synthetic) ….2 are Lucas products, 1 is Mobil1……the Lucas man brought us a drum of red-n-tacky he was dying for us to try,…( obviously he needed to unload it)  so on a fairly cool day 50’s for highs, we tried that red-n-tacky through our pneumatic grease guns,….the mess wouldn’t even hardly come out the gun!….open the lid, the stuff was just way too thick,….our high impact grease even at 50 degrees still came out of the gun, and it too is a Lucas product designed for high impact ( tie rods, ball joints, king pins, etc.) never had a failure due to that product,…..and that product IMO is just too thick for a model train gear box,…..anyways, I told the Lucas man to take his frozen cherry mud back to where he found it,……for many years, in the gear boxes, I followed bob2’s idea of sparing Labelle, have at it with the lubriplate,…..now, I just use the synthetic disc brake wheel bearing  grease, it’s a lower viscosity grease, and pretty much anything I work on agrees with it, so I stick to what works,….I have locomotives measuring in the thousands of hours, with not one failure,…..again, as stated routine maintenance is more the key than any of this scientific stuff,….😉

Pat

Just curious. if that's your concern and you're open to considering anecdotal evidence (because there are admittedly no facts or actual incidents of gear failure to to support your theory), why not discount that fear of plastic gear warpage based on the numerous accounts of those on this forum that have used Red and tacky for decades on our 2 and 3 rail heavily run engines  without any such effects (a simple forum search will bring them up, since this is an often discussed subject)?  This includes lots of RMT beeps, Lionel MPC era product from the 1970s and other engines that are loaded with cheap, plastic gears. In fact, here is a post by one of the best techs on this forum giving you his anecdotal take (but in his case, I get it. Its not like this john guy knows anything about trains nor has he been working on them for decades)  -

I use Red-N-Tacky for gears, hasn't failed me yet.

JW&A Enhancement Products at Henning's Trains

Lionel Factory Authorized Service Station
MTH ASC Factory Authorized Service Center
ERR Dealer
North Penn O-Gaugers Modular RR Club

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

---------------------------------
Honestly, I'm not looking to pull your chain. I'm just trying to see if there is any rational basis to stop using the lube that I've been successfully using for the past 20 years for my hard run trains (along with numerous others, which also happens to be used by MTH in their Lubrication tutorial videos), particularly for engines with with plastic gears like you've flagged.  Again, I'm not trying to convince you to use one brand over any other nor am i saying that mine is better than yours, etc. In fact, use whatever works for you and don't stop. I'm just trying to get a handle on the critical  statements you've made about Red and tacky to determine if i should somehow change and use some other product or even remove it from my trains. Fortunately, so far, I haven't seen anything to warrant that.  

Interesting points you make.  The only motivation here is trying to find out the most rigorous anecdotal data for 2-rail locomotives.  I have spoken to engineers, people who have been repairing O scale locomotives for 50 years, museum layouts—none use Tacky.  There are a few queries I still need to make to a couple large midwestern 2-rail layouts.  I am keen to hear from them.

If RNT works for you then that’s great.   It certainly is cheap.  Have you tried Lucas white lithium grease?

It looks like you used to Lubriplate Aero with good results.  https://www.modeltrainforum.co...ads/lubricants.6053/

@swrr posted:

Interesting points you make.  The only motivation here is trying to find out the most rigorous anecdotal data for 2-rail locomotives.  I have spoken to engineers, people who have been repairing O scale locomotives for 50 years, museum layouts—none use Tacky.  There are a few queries I still need to make to a couple large midwestern 2-rail layouts.  I am keen to hear from them.

Sounds great, swrr.  My only motivation is to nail down if there is any factual support for your claim that "the lubricity of Tacky may be inadequate for the plastics or even damage them”.   Have you asked anyone in your sample if they had used Red N Tacky and if so, did it damage their engines like you've claimed or have they found it inferior?  If they haven't even tried it, well then that's hardly support for your claims or a basis to say the product is inferior, particularly when so many hobbyists, seasoned train mechanics on this forum , and manufacturers outside of your limited sample have used it successfully per their anecdotal accounts on this forum (as I've previously pointed out). It would be really helpful if you can ask the people you are referencing  if they have used Red N tacky. and  share the results of their experiences with us.



If RNT works for you then that’s great.   It certainly is cheap.  Have you tried Lucas white lithium grease?

No, I haven't for my trains but I've used it on my garage door though. RNT has worked very well for me and I plan on continuing to use it unless i can find support for your claims that it is inadequate and may damage the gears.



It looks like you used to Lubriplate Aero with good results.  https://www.modeltrainforum.co...ads/lubricants.6053/

You are confusing me with Gunrunner John, one of the seasoned train mechanics on this board that has posted about his use of Red N Tacky.  You might want to ask him about his experiences with it.  I have only used red N tacky on my train gears for the past 20 or so years.  I don't recall what i used prior to that.

Strap,

To be fair I never said that it was inferior product.  I voiced a concern about its viscosity with respect to plastic cased 2-rail gearboxes “The excess heat could weaken or warp the plastic.  This is an educated guess from someone with a degree in chemistry. I may be wrong or I may be right.”

i also OPINED that RNT would be OK for all metal gearboxes, (Weaver, MTH, ETC ) but that’s opinion.  I may be wrong.  Time will tell.

i have to say this topic is worn out IMO.

@swrr posted:

Strap,

To be fair I never said that it was inferior product.  I voiced a concern about its viscosity with respect to plastic cased 2-rail gearboxes “The excess heat could weaken or warp the plastic.  This is an educated guess from someone with a degree in chemistry. I may be wrong or I may be right.”

i also OPINED that RNT would be OK for all metal gearboxes, (Weaver, MTH, ETC ) but that’s opinion.  I may be wrong.  Time will tell.

i have to say this topic is worn out IMO.

Huh?  you said (and this is a direct quote) "The lubricity of Tacky may be inadequate for the plastics or even damage them" in response to one of my posts.   As explained previously, I use red and tacky on a number of hard run engines with plastic gears. As such, this is of great concern to me.  The word "inferior" is a synonym for "inadequate". So not to quibble but that sentence is definitely calling the grease possibly inferior for its use on plastic gears and any reasonable reader would interpret it as such.  To be fair, if you didn't mean to say it, then you may want to edit your post on the first page.

But hey, we totally agree on one thing - this topic is worn out.  I'll leave this thread since there are no facts to support your claim nor has anyone observed plastic gear warpage in connection with RNT over the decades of its use by model train hobbyists.

Last edited by Strap Hanger

I've noted something that Brian Scace from OST has said a number of times. Some greases are thick and allow pockets to form and some greases/oils flow which allows the grease/oil to move back onto the gears which is what we want. I use both. The red and tacky seems to form pockets in my opinion but I do use it. The LaBelle seems to have some flow but it does seem to get dirty very quickly which is somewhat alarming. I dunno. If you are diligent about pressuring Red N Tacky into MTH frames until it oozes out the sides, of course it will be fine.

It seems like the ideal would be a heavy oil that is dripped in from above, the gears run through a trough picking up liquid on each revolution, while any sediment washes to the bottom due to gravity. Remove the bottom plate, remove any sediment and re-oil. I think this is how Midwestern works but he does diesels so I'm not all that sure.

Whenever I have an open house, most of the engines on the layout get their gear boxes checked out and greased. I guess I'm in the camp of routine maintenance is best. I don't have any plastic gears which might make a difference for some people.

Last edited by christopher N&W

Here is some follow up for those interested.

it turns our Bob D was not so thrilled with RNT as reported five years ago:  https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/topic/47185666324811160

Twin City Model Railroad Museum 2-rail layout uses Labelle grease.  This is a huge 2 rail layout.

Dr. Tinker uses Lubriplate lithium grease 630-aa. Has been using for about 50 years and indicates that he has no problems with it drying out.

Still waiting to hear from other O scale 2-rail clubs.

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