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I recently saw a video on the disassembly of #2025. When the motor plus e unit, gears in the casing were ready for degreasing it was mentioned that the “entire unit” was immersed in simply green.
my questions: not sure how long one would set the unit in simply green or other product? If this is done, does one rinse the entire unit? Set out to dry and or blow dry? I am attempting to continue to step forward on this project. Thank you for any suggestions.

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Leroof.....Are you sure they immersed more than just the cab? I clean the cab in warm water and Dawn dish soap. Then brush with a old tooth brush being careful around the Cab number area. Then clean the motor and chassis with WD 40 or a good quality clean burn kerosene. Then reoil bushings, bearings etc.  Commentator, brushes and slots get a good cleaning also.


Hi Richard thx for your reply, but It’s not a question about the cab.


in the fore-mentioned video I saw, the person takes the brushes and plates off screws off and then immerses the remainder in simply green to soak and degreases the parts as a whole.

so my question is, if one chooses to soak this chassis gears, motor and e-unit as an integral unit in this simply green, how long would one leave it in to soak and would one rinse all of this passively or blow dry it if necessary.

i have seen others prefer to soak everything as in individual parts in other degreaser products such as Mineral spirits?
CRC for motors?
I am of the impression simple Green is friendlier stuff, but honestly not sure.


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Get you a gallon of this : it’s reusable, and very effective, ….I’m not a fan of anything water based on parts like this, …..pretty much the same stuff used in automotive parts washing sinks, ….use outdoors, use the proper PPE, blow dry with compressed air if you have, or let air dry for a day or so. An old Tupperware tub, and a small paint brush to clean are helpful,….put the stuff back in the jug for another day when you’re done …

Pat IMG_8189


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@DL Brunette posted:

I have had good results using mineral spirts. Its odor free, but you should take all the precautions that Pat mentioned above.  Mineral spirits have wider use around the house, like for cleaning paint brushes, so its good to have generally.

Agree,….either the product I recommended, or mineral spirits would work fine, …..but nothing harsh like lacquer thinner, etc, that could possibly eat the varnish off windings …..then it’s curtains ….


@Leroof posted:

non conducting film? Yikes!  I won’t be using the Green stuff.

i guess mineral spirits with the proper precautions will do it.

thanks everyone.

Yep, …just use common sense, rubber gloves so you don’t dry out your hands, and pair of birth control goggles so you don’t get it in your eyes, ….make sure you’re in a well ventilated area, …..simple ….but not simple green simple, …..😁


Cleaning is like cooking, it takes as long as it takes. And the dilution rate and temperature will affect the time it takes to cut through the gunk. I'd go 5-15 minutes to start, followed by a good rinse with hot water. If it's not clean enough, go at it again. But I wouldn't recommend immersing any wiring, especially if you have cloth insulation. Magnet wire might be OK. But you always run the risk of bricking your engine if things go wrong. If Lionel wanted us to dunk engines they'd have a few pages of it in their repair manual.

I haven't tried it with my trains, but I've done the simple green soak in an ultrasonic cleaner with my slot cars (after lapping gears). I just ran them for maybe a 5-minute cycle, then rinsed with hot water, followed by a good spray of CRC plastic-safe electronics cleaner. And the motors ran fine afterward.

For my trains, I typically just hose the innards down with the electronics cleaner spray as it does a pretty good job melting stuff away.

Please let us know what you end up doing and how it worked out for you.

Years ago a contractor used Simple Green that had not been properly diluted on an aluminum transit car. There was a lot of damage to the aluminum. After several hours on a phone call with Simple Greens chief chemist, we came away with the complete formula for the product.  The thing I took away from that experience is that Simple Green is quite acidic. There may be many good uses for this product, but I my mind, it is not cleaning trains.

Lionel post war trains make extensive use of Oilite bearings, which have the oil and graphite imbedded in a porous bronze material.  Nothing should be done that strips the oil out of these Oilite bearings.  To clean up greasy dirty old Lionel trains I use rags, paper towels, and cotton swabs.  For a solvent I use mineral spirits.  I would not soak a loco in any solvent or cleaner to avoid stripping the oil out of the Oilite bearings.  If I have bearings out of motors, I soak them in oil for several days to try to restore some oil back in them.  On the Oilite web site they offer a vacuum pressure impregnating device for restoring the oil in their bearings.  When storing postwar Lionel bearings avoid storing them in paper or cardboard as this will absorb the oil out of the Oilite bearings.  I am pretty sure that neither Lionel or Oilite expected these bearings to be in service 75 years later, but with a little care, I think some will run for another 75 years.

In the 70’’s-80’s when dad had his hobby shops and repair shops, he had a tank of carbon tetrachloride, …that was an amazing cleaner, albeit now a known carcinogen, and just about gone from this world,….non-flammable, so he’d take a motor hook up two power leads, get it running, and dunk it in the tank, …..I seen oodles he’d done that way, and they came out “squeaky clean” …..and needing oil badly!!…


Good ideas above. OHair dryer will indeed soften grease on a lot of stuff, enough that you’ll be able to wipe off a lot of it. A toothpick will lift a lot of goo from cracks and crevices. As for the solvents, whatever you use, let the piece dry thoroughly before you reassemble or power up.

Dollar stores also have bags of sponge swabs that may be better where you can’t have any lint from fabric or cotton swabs.
For cleaning non-electrical parts (like locomotive shells with soft paint) that might be damaged by Dawn and warm water, try dusting lightly with plain cornstarch and letting it sit a few minutes before you brush it off. Baking soda applied with a Q-tip or sponge swab will also work if the paint or decals can tolerate very light abrasion.

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