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In the process of removing old grease from my #397 Coal Loader motor.  Also replacing belt.  No problems at all so far.

I am changing the grease in the motor and read a lot of posts here about using Red N Tacky.

I have multi purpose grease (for use on wheel bearings, latches, etc) that looks the same consistency.  Both general purpose (tan color) and heavy duty (black) and also a general purpose one for foreign cars (also black).

I have those and an older can of Lubriplate (white lithium grease) and a small tub of white lithium grease.  I do a lot of automotive work.

I have no problem going out and buying Red N Tacky if you all recommend that.

What do you think?

John

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Worm gears have sliding contact.  This is unlike most gears, which have rolling contact. Because of the sliding contact on worm gears, lubrication is very important. Most applications of worm gears use oil filled gear boxes to lubricate them.  Toy trains have never gone to the expense of oil filled gear boxes, putting the worm gears at risk.

Red N Tacky is a member of a family of greases that are tacky and are designed to stay on the surface needing lubrication without the benefit of a lubrication filled gear box.   Most of my experience is with Chevron Ultra Duty 2, a high tack grease. But this is a lubricant used in industrial applications and is not available toy train sized packaging. The Lucas Red N Tacky appears to be a reasonable alternative. I use it on all of my toy train gearing, but the worm and worm wheel are the gears that benefit the most from this product.

Oh boy, maybe I better rethink my lubing regime, I've been using a light oil such as 3-in-one on my wheels and axels and a white lithium grease like luberaplate (sp?) on my gears, so far so good.  The guy at our club (Lone Star High Railers) that does all of the maintenance on our cars and locomotives said to just use a lite oil on the axels and a lite grease on the gears, he said that you don't really want a heavy weight grease on the gears as it has a tendency to harden up in the winter and then it makes the locomotive work a little harder until the grease loosens up.  Good thread, good answers so far.

My old #397 Coal Loader has an AC/DC motor with a plastic worm gear on the end of the shaft.  The worm gear turns two metal gear sets.  It doesn't rotate at high speed and, of course, doesn't get operated continuously for very long.

As a result, I ended up using high temperature multi purpose grease (the tan stuff).  I ran it for ten minutes and opened the gear case and it seems fine.  I have used the same stuff on Honda and Toyota wheel bearings (which is what it calls for) and it has held up.  I will check it periodically and post back at some point.

5w20 (by the way) is also what I use for general locomotive lubrication Dennis.

I have Labelle #106, but it doesn't appear to me to be anything more than Lithium and Teflon grease (correct me if I am wrong).

Thanks for all the input.

John

Throw my 2c worth in, given the nature of the trains, we aren't talking tectonic forces or ridiculously high speeds, for grease on worm or standard gears almost any light duty grease will do. I have used silicon, teflon and lithium based lubricants on trains and other applications, as long as it isn't really stiff (I wouldn't use wheel bearing grease for that reason, though some say it works great), you will be fine IMO.  The real problem isn't the type of grease, it is the lack of it, lot of people took the old Lionel "lifetime lube" to hear *lol*.

As far as oil goes, the best oil I ever used on my trains growing up was a top head oil called Marvel Mystery oil, used that with a needlepoint lubricator, and it worked great.

@J. Motts posted:

The guy at our club (Lone Star High Railers) that does all of the maintenance on our cars and locomotives said that you don't really want a heavy weight grease on the gears as it has a tendency to harden up in the winter and then it makes the locomotive work a little harder until the grease loosens up.  Good thread, good answers so far.

No heat at the club?

I'm thinking any temperature cause grease to stiffen up would be rather uncomfortable running trains.

Having said that. Read N Tacky being synthetic "shouldn't" harden.

Light automotive grease is fine. I've been using Mobil 1 synthetic grease for a few years on trains. Stays put and doesn't fling off. I'm not a fan of Red-N-Tacky but I won't get into that here. It's probably fine with trains, but I have an issues with it in the automotive world. Just put your grease of choice in a syringe and you're good to go.

As far as oil goes I use Mobile 1 5W-20. Just add a bit to a needle point dispenser and call it good. I just skim off a 5 quart jug when I do an oil change on one of my cars if I need a refill.

@feet posted:

I have read not to use a grease with extreme pressure additives as it will eat bronze gears. Not sure i believe that.

I brought that up on the forum some time ago as I ran across that potential problem mentioned on an industrial lube article.

It was discussed, and the consensus seemed to be that the additives only become corrosive at high temperatures., I.E. 200 degrees and up.

Since model train gearboxes do not get "hot" it was deemed a non issue.

Heres the thread if your interested: https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...or-our-trains?page=2

Last edited by RickO
@RickO posted:

I brought that up on the forum some time ago as I ran across that potential problem mentioned on an industrial lube article.

It was discussed, and the consensus seemed to be that the additives only become corrosive at high temperatures., I.E. 200 degress and up.

Since model train gearboxes do not get "hot" it was deemed a non issue.

Heres the thread if your interested: https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...or-our-trains?page=2

Pat, @harmonyards, has locomotives lubed with automotive grease with 1000s of hours and 1000s of scale miles of operation. Brass worm gears are like new. He'd know if the grease would kill brass/bronze worm wheels.

Last edited by Lou1985
@Lou1985 posted:

Pat, @harmonyards, has locomotives lubed with automotive grease with 1000s of hours and 1000s of scale miles of operation. Brass worm gears are like new. He'd know if the grease would kill brass/bronze worm wheels.

I'm sure Lou. It was my fault for posting a "scare" topic ( not my intent), partially a result of a failing Legacy locomotive gearbox that was more likely a manufacturing/ material flaw. ( you may recall that thread as well)

I looked everywhere for the specifics regarding the corrosion, but had no luck, before I posted that original topic.

I know what 140 degress feels like, as thats what my home water heater is set at.

If my die cast steamer was 200 degrees, my fingers would leave burned skin on the shell ....

Last edited by RickO
@RickO posted:

I brought that up on the forum some time ago as I ran across that potential problem mentioned on an industrial lube article.

It was discussed, and the consensus seemed to be that the additives only become corrosive at high temperatures., I.E. 200 degrees and up.

Since model train gearboxes do not get "hot" it was deemed a non issue.

Heres the thread if your interested: https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...or-our-trains?page=2

Thanks. If your model train gear box gets that hot  I'd say you've got a problem to say the least.

It’s always going to boil down to a thing of personal preference when it comes to what grease and oils to use,…..Labelle, Mobil 1, Red-N-Gooey, whatever ……as John mentioned early on in this thread, it’s the LACK of lube that kills gearboxes, or a mechanical defect as is the case with some locomotives ( Rick’s case) ….I’ve been in the automotive industry for 37 years now, there’s no magic grease, there’s no greasier grease than greasy grease…..we have both Lucas products and Mobil 1 products in the garage,…..just use common sense, if the grease is too thin, it’ll be driven away to the corners of the gearbox and never do it’s job,…..too thick, and now the locomotive has to work harder to push the grease around,….personally, when the Lucas man came to the shop with a drum of Red-N-Gacky, I laughed his butt right out of our store, we have a good powerful grease gun, and that stuff had a hard time coming out….just too darn heavy IMO for everyday use,……maybe a good high impact grease good for 5th wheels and what not, but it’s got no business in a ball joint or a tie rod,….but that’s just me,…..again, just use common sense, if it feels like it’s too thin, it probably is, if too thick, and the locomotive is straining, then you’ve got your answer…no need to overthink it, run your equipment, when you do your maintenance, if things look good inside, keep doing what you’re doing,….if the grease is slung off the gears, and bunched up in the corners not doing any good, then it’s time for a change, ….no??….

Pat

@feet posted:

I have read not to use a grease with extreme pressure additives as it will eat bronze gears. Not sure i believe that.

High pressure grease, or as it’s known in the field as “ high impact “ is designed to do a specific job. An “ impact “ or a direct collision of components requires a lubricant to stay together and not be completely squashed out or off the components it’s meant to protect. A good example of where a high impact grease would be needed is like the pins of a dump truck hydraulic cylinder, where metal pins collide with their holders. High pressure grease really has no business in a model train whatsoever,……that’s like killing an ant with a ICBM,….again, way overthinking it,…

Pat

Pat,

I  used Red-N-Tacky for over 30 years, but only on particular high stress, high pressure, high temperature joints and gears in farm machinery.  As you said, that is what it was invented for.   It is not used on all bearings and joints, just certain ones.  And it was also designed not to fail at very low temperatures as well as very high temperatures.

So, I was really surprised last year, when I got into O gauge trains, and found almost everyone using it on the little gears in their engines.

But, I did as they said, and the engines seem to run fine. The grease does not drip off or deteriorate at high temperatures and seems to stay put in the gears for a long long time.   (I think that this is why it is popular.)

It is a little bit stiffer during colder weather (around 55 degrees in my basement), but it only takes less than a minute or so for my engines to "warm up" and then they run fine.

So, I guess I will go with the overwhelming wisdom of the majority of the board,  and stay with it.  If one of my engines burns up from those cold starts in 5 or 10 years, I'll just toss it.  (For me, they are just toys.)

Mannyrock

A call to Jeff Kane of "The Train Tender" set me on a new path for gear-greasing. He advised me (I was fixing a #736 at the time) to make a "paste" of the red grease with a few drops of 5/20 Pennzoil for gears. That's what I use and it's gotten rid of some squeaking and even an motor that was stuck, it seemed, for no good reason that now is running well.

@Craftech posted:

By feel and by the fact that the duration of operational time is much much shorter.  Very scientific.

John

I’ve never seen a gear box get “hot” yet,….in either toys,….sure, the old Pulmor motors can get hot enough to fry an egg, but the gear boxes?….I’m not seeing that,…I’ve got converted Pulmors with thousands and thousands of hours, and have yet to see any kind of heat build up in a gear box……the gear boxes in model trains just don’t turn that kind of rpm to make any kind of heat,…..perhaps in the case of a large Pulmor there’s some heat soak coming from the motor that’s transient through the shaft to the gear box, but the gear box itself generating heat on its own, ….I’m not seeing it,…..

Pat

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