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How I clean by Prewar car wheels when I do a fantasy (Fantasy is a paint job that is what I like).
Rebuild. My Fantasy rebuilds are better than new.

Back to the wheel and axle cleaning.
I use a batter type hand drill a 6-32 bolt and nut and Scotch-Brite.
I put the bolt trough the wheel (you may have to tread it on as it depends on the wheel wear).
Screw the wheel to the end, then put on the nut.
Now place the bolt on the drill and hand tighten the chuck.
Put the drill is the reverse position, turn it on and move the nut to the end of the wheel so the wheel locks onto the bolt so it turns with the bolt.
Turn the drill on again with in the reverse position and use the Scotch-Brite to clean the wheels.
Once done put the drill in the forward position and back off the nut and wheel from the end of the shaft.
Once done reverse the position of the wheel (back wheel side out) on the bolt and repeat the operation to clean the back side of the wheel.
Repeat the process for taking the wheel off.

You will have to clean the centers of the wheel by hand with the Scotch-Brite.
Now do this for the rest of the wheels.
The axles are easy as all you do it put the axle in the chuck then turn the drill on and clean it with the scotch-Brite.
Now revers the axil in the chuck of the drill and repeat the cleaning process.

I do not have a tumbler and this seems to work fast and easy.

If anyone has another idea or process on how to clean prewar car wheels, please let us know.

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@RonH good tip. I clean my wheels with a similar idea but differently. I spin my wheels on the axel. I use a bolt which is sized to fit into my Dremel chuck and a nut as a backer. I cut scotch-bright pads into quarter size circles. I push the bolt through and secure the pad with the nut. The pad will spin the wheel and clean it. Than I flip the wheel over repeat.

Your method is more efficient. I would not have to cut the pads and change them frequently. I will have to give this a try on my next opportunity. Thanks!!!

This is what I am doing after I cleaned the wheels.

I am doing a Lionel paint scheme on some prewar cars and a 252 engine.

There is a post that I opened on this subject, if interested take a look “Show us your repainted Prewar Lionel trains in the Lionel orange and blue colors”.

Any way these wheels re for a 805 o gauge box car.

I am paint all of the wheels orange and to help with the prewar toy appearance (all of these items were junk/parts that were assembled together).

I wanted to show the masking process and I also use #4 stainless steel washers to go between te frame and the wheel.

This way the black painted frame and the orange wheels will not rub together.

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OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

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