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Track cleaning the easy way


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Hi

 

Not sure if anyone here has heard of this or used it themselves. I came across this Youtube vid about a guy in the US that has almost done away with the work of keeping his track clean by using Automatic gearbox oil, or as described in the video Automatic transmision fluid. Hopefully my English version of his method is correct. The reason I posted this is, as much as anything to get your thoughts on this method. I am more into slow running shunting layouts were good running stock and clean track are extremely important so it would be great to hear what others think.

 

Heres a link to the vid, hopefully it will be of interest.

 

 

Best regards

  Martin

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I don't think it's a good idea at all. Auto gearbox fluid is for auto gearboxes and would most likely damage plastic, even if you had metal wheels the stuff would migrate to the plastic bush at the wheel centre and possibly onto the bogies.

Don't even bother trying it,

Proper track cleaning fluids are tested and designed for the job.

 

Warning: don't believe everything one sees on the internet.

 

Dave Franks

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This is just a variation of the old Wahl Clipper oil trick from the 70s. It didn't work then, and it won't work now. Short term it will make your trains run better but the longer you use it the more you need and the more frequent the application. Eventually you have to scrub all the oil and gunk off the track the old fashioned way. The same applies for stuff like Rail Zip and Goo-Gone. Also if you are running older Hornby or Lima, it will eventually eat your traction tyres.

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From Wikipedia:

 

Most ATFs contain some combination of additives that improve lubricating qualities, such as anti-wear additives, rust and corrosion inhibitors, detergents, dispersants and surfactants (which protect and clean metal surfaces); kinematic viscosity and viscosity index improvers and modifiers, seal swell additives and agents (which extend the rotational speed range and temperature range of the additives' application); anti-foam additives and anti-oxidation compounds to inhibit oxidation and "boil-off" (which extends the life of the additives' application); cold-flow improvers, high-temperature thickeners, gasket conditioners, pour point depressant and petroleum dye.

 

Presumably it is the highlighted addatives that actually help. The fact they are entrained in an oil helps distribute them.

 

Adrian

 

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As said AutoTrans oil is basically Hydraulic fluid, and that's an oil albeit thin.


 


One thing I have found that can help although its probably not as easy with a large layout is that I run a soft 4B or 6B pencil (artists stick) over my rails, this seems to help against oxidation and improve pickup.


 


Its something that I picked up from American model rail forums, as a lot of them use it.


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  • RMweb Gold

 

One thing I have found that can help although its probably not as easy with a large layout is that I run a soft 4B or 6B pencil (artists stick) over my rails, this seems to help against oxidation and improve pickup.

I'd have trouble getting mine back on the drawing board.......

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'll get me coat...

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Thanks for all the replies.

 

 Certainly not an easy fix and more likely a route to greater woes. Very good point about not believing everything you see on the internet, that of course goes for a great many sources of information. It is pretty much the reason why I posted, this community is a great place to gain knowledge and benefit from the experience of others. It certainly gives the opportunity to either dispel an idea or endorse it.

  A friend of mine uses the soft pencil method and it serves very well.

 

Thanks again

 Martin

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I believe some oils act as an electrolyte, and conduct current instead of acting as an insulant. Others contain a water dispersant, such as WD40, which may also improve conductivity. Oils such as 3-in-1 have a corrosion-attacker or inhibitor, which may also help to remove an oxide layer.

 

The point is, many of these things will have an immediate effect when first applied, but as they dry out, will lose the effect. If they leave behind no residue then simply re-applying the treatment next time you want to run trains will work. However, if the oil dries to leave behind gum deposits, then you are hoping that the re-application softens and removes those deposits, and if it doesn't, then the troubles will return.

 

I haven't seen any oils which attack plastics, and most oils now come in plastic containers or in metal cans with plastic pourers nor application tubes.

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As already stated do not believe eveything you read or see on the internet.

There are people out there who happily post info and videos knowing that it does not work and may even result in damage, they are like the 'Trolls' on social web sites.

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I work in the bus industry and ATF Fluid, as it is often called, comes in many differing types such as mineral, semi-synthetic and synthetic. The video doesn't give you much information and purely from a health & safety point of view I wouldn't entertain putting this oil anywhere near a domestic or model environment, and certainly not without the use of hand protection.

 

I think it is a load of BS quite honestly as most track dirt consists of dust and carbon which when mixed with oil will gum up the workings of  your railway. Originally most ATF Fluids were dyed a red colour and this looks to me to be exactly what Railzip consists of. It even smells the same. I tried Railzip.......only once!!

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I used to race radio controlled cars with a stock motor. I spent a lot of time with a rev counter and ammeter etc testing motors and cleaning the commutator with wd40 as many used to do. This is similar to what the guy did on the video, I suspect ATF has a similar impact to wd40......

 

My conclusion:

 

A motor with a less than totally clean comm will benefit from WD40

A motor with a really clean comm will perform better, adding wd40 actually reduces performance

 

Relating this to model railways and track I think we can say that the ATF method may improve dirty track but it is not as good as clean track, wheels etc. 

 

I would have nothing against trying it if you had a lot of track and were short of time but reality is nothing will beat a properly clean track/wheels etc.

 

As for oil dissolving plastic, I am dashing out to my garage to empty all the engine oil out of their containers before they all dissolve - not! Sorry just dont go with this thinking.

 

Anyone looking for more detail my original thread on motors is here:

 

http://www.carpetoval.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&Itemid=7&func=view&catid=9&id=30238

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Hi. An interesting thought, using ATF for cleaning track. True, it will not attack plastics. (Modern AT's have many plastic components in them. My car certainly does)

 

BUT I think this observation from a USA forum is worth reading. And I would not consider using ATF for track cleansing.

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Automatic transmission fluid (at least since 1990, and much earlier I believe) is specifically designed to be plastic compatible. Modern transmissions have many plastic internal components, and ATF is designed to lubricate, cool, and serve as a hydraulic fluid to transmit power inside the transmission - all without being renewed or changed for several years.

 

ATF is very "clingy" and doesn't dry out, which makes it very good for lubricating model locomotives. These very properties argue against it being an effective track cleaner. Although ATF has "detergents" in it that would dissolve the dirt on the rails, its "clinginess" would make the oily film next to impossible to remove (contrary to what the OP stated). Most effective track cleaners have components that evaporate quickly (alcohol, acetone, etc), thus leaving the rail dry after the residue is wiped. I am willing to be shown I am wrong, but ATF would be the last chemical I would consider using to clean my track.

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Stick with IPA and a lint free rag.

 

Put the Relco DCC destroyers and the Peco rubbers(scrapers) in the bin where they belong.

 

Keep the automotive fluids for the cars they were intended along with all the other quack 'remedies'.

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I'd go further, and ban any oil-based product from contact with the rail tops, such as plastic wheels, and traction tyres . And to even mention fish oil (WD40), and model railways in the same breath - ah sacrilege :no:, unless you feel it needs a dose of Omega 3 to energise it.

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I've had best results cleaning track by cutting off a piece from a leather belt and rubbing that along the rail tops., It doesn't leave the mess that abrasive track rubbers do, it doesn't leave bits of fluff or lint in the rail joints like cloths do, and it does seem to burnish the rail tops nicely. It seemed to work well enough for the old fashioned razors anyway.

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  • RMweb Gold

I've had best results cleaning track by cutting off a piece from a leather belt and rubbing that along the rail tops., It doesn't leave the mess that abrasive track rubbers do, it doesn't leave bits of fluff or lint in the rail joints like cloths do, and it does seem to burnish the rail tops nicely. It seemed to work well enough for the old fashioned razors anyway.

Funny but I read the post above and all I saw was,  Leather belt....rubbing...abrasive.....fluff...burnish.....stropping a razor....is it just me or is the Night nurse kicking in.. :swoon:

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