Puddling traction tires - a new one for me

As I was "dusting" (hah) this AM, I decided to move my displayed MTH #1 scale NYC J3a Hudson to a better position. Picked it up and found 2 big puddles of dark grease on the table top (I have no track under it) and all over the bottom of the #3 driver tires and flanges.

Great, a leaking gearbox. I cleaned it up (409; lighter fluid) from the furniture and flanges (seems awfully thick for grease...), and then noticed that the gearbox was on the #2, not the #3, driver axle.

Then I realized that it was the traction tires that had melted into 2 big puddles - seriously, a viscous liquid - in my living room. I have never seen this on any locomotive. The loco has never been run by me, though it was lightly used when I got it. My house is cooled in the summer, heated in the winter, and spring/fall has the windows open - like now. Interesting chemical process, but not a temperature one.

Just a caution. I have never seen any of my O-scale MTH locos do this, but...

Note the gearbox on the #2 driver, at left. I wish that I had taken a photo of the living room table puddles and the #3 driver before I cleaned up.

Those rail slider pickups look much worse than 3-rail center pickups - but at least they are not absolutely necessary and are removable.

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Couldn't help it - the bottom loco is Lionel's O-scale J3a. The boxcar is from my teen HO days (a few months, really) and I kept it for sentimental reasons. Got to re-attach a truck - broke it today, too.

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Could be a chemical reaction between traction tire material and shelf surface.

I have had similar issues with rubber hose washers melting in plastic bins down in basement.

           OPKKS RR

The Transcontinental RR 

     "Tryin ta git it rite"

part of the D Reg U Latd Co

I had rubber fishing lures melt thru the plastic tray in a tackle box due to chemical reaction between two dissimilar plastics.

Just about all my old (1990s, last century) Williams brass engines had tires that were in pieces when I got them a few years ago, but no goo.

Could it be a reaction between the tire material and furniture polish???  I have a bottle of Homer Formby's Lemon Polish and a spray can of Pledge, but neither really say what's in them.

Then again...maybe it's these engines telling us to run them and not let them sit on a shelf

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

Having A Blast Running BPRC

I remember back in the 90's Lionel had a problem with the wheels of vehicles used as flat car loads reacting with the flats they were on and the rubber and the cars both reacting badly. Later flats came with a sheet of a different material under the vehicles.

Brian White

The tire shouldn't touch the table because of the wheels flanges. The only physical contact would be with the wheel itself. So we may be able to rule out the furniture polish. Since the engine was bought used, the seller may have cleaned the wheels with a solvent that got between the tires and wheels and never evaporated eating the tire over time. It also could have been run immediately after the seller cleaned his tracks. D500, do you have any contact info from the seller so that you can ask him what he uses? This makes me want to experiment with solvent liquids that we all normally use, then take some  used replaced tires and let the soak in a jar of each, to see what will dissolve them. 

Dave Z

The plasticizer used to make rubbery materials, including plastics, is known to migrate. I first noticed it with some of my childhood toys and have fallen victim to it with other pieces even in recent years.

Do a Google search for plasticizer migration or plasticizer migration toys for more info.

Jim R. 

BRIAN WHITE posted:

I remember back in the 90's Lionel had a problem with the wheels of vehicles used as flat car loads reacting with the flats they were on and the rubber and the cars both reacting badly. Later flats came with a sheet of a different material under the vehicles.

The 16955 Flat with New Holland Loader, I believe being the worst (probably 1st one or 2 produced before they noted the problem).  For years I looked for a "mint" version of this car, and I am convinced none exist.  Every one I have seen has some evidence of the "melting", many looking like the load was intentionally glued to the flatcar!

Dennis LaGrua posted:

Back in the P/W days we never had problems like this.

Untrue.  Look up the post war hand car.  I'm sure people more fluent in PW than I am will confirm.  There was a reaction with 2 different kind of plastics used for the hands of the figures and the pump handles, so many have an issue whee the hands are gone, or at least separated from the handles. {edit: per CW's response, it was most likely  the feet reacting with the base, not the hands reacting with the handles. - my error, Sorry!}

-Dave

I have had this same problem with various locomotives, over the years.  Between melting, shredding and normal wear depositing "stuff" all over the rails, I have determined that rubber tires are intended for highway vehicles and not locomotives - including Mitch's Birney Safety Cars.  This has prompted my move to MTH locomotives, exclusively.  Most MTH Premier line locomotives have the "2-3" feature that allows the owner to change out wheel/axle sets and exchange the rubber tired sets for solid wheels.

Transitioning to 3RS (thanks to Forum mentors) and having recently watched Rich Batista's great video, "It's All About the Trains", I now know that we can buy the MTH scale wheel "22" series locomotives and operate them on our 3R layouts!  In earlier Forum threads, folks have expressed concern about wheelslip and additional mechanical wear; I counter with the fact that real railroads must deal with these same issues and that the solution, in both cases, is to add more locomotives to the consist.  Witness the extremes, Chicago Great Western (CGW) and Montana Rail Link (MRL) operations:

12341398_10154100656044523_2924770635737647023_n3d0537c5-867a-5584-821e-8a3e26d00d82.image

It was not uncommon for the CGW to operate over its relatively flat profile with 6 or more units on the head end.  MRL operates coal and grain trains over Mullan Pass with 3 or 4 high horsepower units on the head end, 3 or 4 units mid-train, and one or two DPU helpers on the hind end.  Having enjoyed counting locomotives and cars on many occasions as the units scream up and over the mountains, I've calculated that there is an average of one locomotive for about every 15 loaded cars of coal or grain.  The term "awesome" is now so abused as to be virtually meaningless, however, if you'd like to begin to refresh your concept of the word, please enjoy this video and others of this operation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...3zXS4dKQA&t=504s

We are very fortunate to now be able to create multiple unit consists ("lash-ups") without the extreme frustrations of the E-unit era.  Sand, the other real world solution to wheelslip, is not viable in 1:48 but clean rail is.  Furthermore, by eliminating or minimizing the use of rubber tires, clean rails are easier to obtain and maintain.  Famous for shorter than prototype trains, we O Gauge operators often over-power our trains, anyway, so there is no downside.  Lionel and Atlas O, both producers of many fine locomotives, would do well to follow MTH by offering similar solid and/or scale wheel options for those of us who prefer more realistic operations without smearing rubber goo all over the rails.

GENERAL NOTICE - Safety is of the first importance in the discharge of duty.  Obedience to the rules is essential to safety.  To enter or remain in the service is an assurance of willingness to obey the rules.

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Untrue.  Look up the post war hand car.  I'm sure people more fluent in PW than I am will confirm.  There was a reaction with 2 different kind of plastics used for the hands of the figures and the pump handles, so many have an issue whee the hands are gone, or at least separated from the handles.

On my Postwar Lionel #65 hand car the reaction was between the feet of the rubber men and the deck they stand on.
I think the hands are OK, but I'd have to dig it out and check.

Reportedly the problem was resolved for last ones made.

The plastic superstructure has been reproduced, so if you see one for sale, there is a good chance it has a repro body.

C.W. Burfle

If I ever run the loco (I haven't - I do not have a single inch of #1 gauge track!), I'd probably just skip the tires altogether, as I do in O when they fly off. Unless there is an obvious problem, which there seldom is. This loco also has no blind drivers, giving it better adhesion than a typical 3RO steamer with blind center driver(s) that pretty much hang in mid-air.

I was just curious if anyone had seen this; again, I have not seen it on the MTH O product. Different factory/designers, I conjecture. The little "puddles o'tires" were as much funny as anything else, after I saw that my gearbox wasn't spilling its contents. I really hate traction tires; carbon steel (not stainless) grips rail well. Too bad that the rubber RR tires weren't left at the toy end of the spectrum, where they make sense for 40% grades.

--------

I have heard about the fishing lure/tackle box/2 plastics issue somewhere.

The loco was sitting on a wooden furniture surface having a few old (80's) coats of polyurethane on it. No track. The tires were touching nothing; flanges only. There was no furniture wax (I had some of that once...in a previous life) on the surface.

Anyway, just a heads-up. I believe that it was strictly a materials issue, sort of a "rubber/neoprene/whatever pest" thing. Hopefully it won't show up in MTH O items, as it is not only a failure, it is a very messy failure.

C W Burfle posted:

...............
On my Postwar Lionel #65 hand car the reaction was between the feet of the rubber men and the deck they stand on.
I think the hands are OK, but I'd have to dig it out and check.

Reportedly the problem was resolved for last ones made.

The plastic superstructure has been reproduced, so if you see one for sale, there is a good chance it has a repro body.

My mistake.  I trust your recollection for PW stuff far more than my own, but I knew there was an issue with these (I got the wrong end of the figure though - my bad!). 

I edited my original to reflect.  Thanks for correcting my error!

-Dave

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