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Recently I've been reviving some early Marx locos. I replaced the original brushes because I didn't want to polish them smooth, even though they had plenty of life left.

Along with 91% isopropyl alcohol, I also use Deoxit (Amazon) on the brush holders and commutator with good success. They run much better now..

@Johnbeere posted:

Personally, I'm not convinced replacing brushes improves anything. Both the new or old brushes will expose new material to the commutator after a period of running, so the end result is the same.

I should explain that while replacing the brushes for a new set I also clean the commutator...

"Along with 91% isopropyl alcohol, I also use Deoxit (Amazon) on the brush holders and commutator with good success."

I suppose you could just clean the commutator and the brush holders but brushes are about a buck a piece and I don't want to replace them again, even for a 1930's engine.

Because old brushes can infuse moisture and oil, the already mentioned tension issue, and the mentioned carbon deposits on commutator.  A brush change normally includes proper cleaning.   It definitely can effect the old pulmore motors and how well they perform.  Same to a degree with old PW pick ups.  Running AC motors and once pickups attract moisture notice how some engines spark constantly at the pickup with rapid wear.  I have a small MPC alco in that phase right now.

Can happen to MTH pickups also, I have seen plenty of pickups that have an ok appearance other than a darker ring around contact with rail, but completely erratic at providing good middle rail pickup.  Changing pickups and issue is resolved.  G

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