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Operating locomotives after extended storage

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  • Member since
    March 2017
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Posted by Track fiddler on Thursday, March 7, 2024 8:56 PM

Sorry, double postEmbarrassed

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Posted by Track fiddler on Thursday, March 7, 2024 8:45 PM

ricktrains4824

TF - While some shops may still have (or can order) traction tires, I would use Bullfrog Snot. (The product, no need to hunt down a large frog with allergy problems.

 

LaughLaughLaughThat's some funny crap Rick.  Thanks for thatLaugh

Many times I've had to go on a purple or pink elephant hunt, only to find out that neither one existsIndifferent

Can't fathom for the life of me though, how a liquid product could fill a relief notch in a micro steel wheel consistently enough for smooth operations.  Just don't quite get that? Huh?

 

TF

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Posted by maxman on Thursday, March 7, 2024 7:46 PM

ricktrains4824
Pretty much a universal traction tire, where the goop (once dried) acts just like a traction tire would

Some have made this comment before.  So far as I know, the traction tires fit in a groove.  I don't believe that the snot is made to act as a groove filler.

However, I'd like to hear from someone who has actually done this.

  • Member since
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Posted by selector on Thursday, March 7, 2024 5:33 PM

I rotate 'roads' on my layout, meaning that I might run two, at most three, sets of locomotives for one railroad at a time for consistency. I'll do this for anywhere from three to six months, typically, and then put all the rolling stock and locomotives back in their original packaging and store it.  I'll extract the same from another railroad and run that for several weeks.  This often means that I don't run my third, fourth, or fifth set of items for up to two years, often more.  It keeps it all fresh and interesting that way.

But what I wanted to say is that, when I put the one set away, I lube the running gear of my steamers (but I have yet to lube a tower or motor), and place a small scrap of paper in the box indicating what I have done, what needs to be repaired or tweaked, and what the date of storage is/was).  When I get around to that railroad's stuff in a year or three, I can see immediately what needs doing and I am reminded of the date when I last used the items.

As for lubes, I still have my first ever HO engine from 2004/5, the original BLI Paragon Hudson with QSI, also still working.  To this day, I have maybe ten 15+ year-old steamers that still run like tops, at least six of which still have QSI decoders that work reliably (to date I have had one QSI quit on me, two Paragons, plus one Loksound).

Again, never felt I needed to get inside a steamer's shell to clean out old lubes and to relube it.  Mine still run with ease.  I only lube the outer running gear and axle boxes with Dextron ll/lll Mercon ATF, which seems like it's the ticket for my stable.

  • Member since
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  • From: NW Pa Snow-belt.
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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Wednesday, March 6, 2024 11:13 AM

TF - While some shops may still have (or can order) traction tires, I would use Bullfrog Snot. (The product, no need to hunt down a large frog with allergy problems.)

Pretty much a universal traction tire, where the goop (once dried) acts just like a traction tire would.

As far as getting a loco running after storage, I reccomend the clean and re-lube method, like many have, just to keep from creating issues with dried-up lube. (And it's good to use very little, not packed-full like some manufacturer's units are. That just creates excess drag on the drivetrain, making things work harder and hotter than needed.)

Ricky W.

HO scale Proto-freelancer.

My Railroad rules:

1: It's my railroad, my rules.

2: It's for having fun and enjoyment.

3: Any objections, consult above rules.

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Posted by PDizzel on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 3:12 PM

Many thanks for the helpful replies!

Paul

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Posted by Track fiddler on Saturday, March 2, 2024 8:01 AM

Hello PDizzel

I've heard of thin lube, (like LaBelle introduced in the 70s) thickening up like wax after non operation for many years, but never seen any evidence of that.  Perhaps it's just a rumor.

This locomotive was given to me on my 23rd birthday by my girlfriend Lavon.  It was at a time inbetween layouts.  Quite a long time of 35 years to be exact.

 

Check out the date on that thing.  It was about 3 years ago the locomotive was taken out of the box and ran for the very first time.  Surprisingly enough, that thing ran like a champion.  

I'm fnding this thread informative and I'll probably be relubing my old loco's up.  Sounds like a good idea to meWink

 

PS.   That loco has traction tires, and pulled the most cars up a 2% grade.  FRRYKid had mentioned traction tires in his post.  Makes me wonder if those could be drying out and may have an issue down the road.  Don't have a clue where one would find replacements for those.  Does anyone have a good source for stuff like that?

 

TF

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  • From: Miles City, Montana
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Posted by FRRYKid on Saturday, March 2, 2024 2:42 AM

Unlike many modelers, my trains are inactive during the winter. (My layout lives in an unheated garage. Many of the pieces I've had for along time lived in an unheated shop building on the ranch where I grew up.) During the spring when it warms up, I get the engines out to make sure they are still running and to fix any problems that may have developed in storage. (I have one engine that I need to run on the layout as I replaced the traction tires on the wheels and it was having problems on my test track. It is an old engine - older than me!)

"The only stupid question is the unasked question."
Brain waves can power an electric train. RealFact #832 from Snapple.
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Posted by wrench567 on Friday, March 1, 2024 7:36 PM

  My trains were in storage for over a decade. I took them all apart and relubed gears and bearings. Especially the worm shaft bronze bearings. I found several that had seized on the shafts. I don't care if it's climate controlled. There's still moisture in the air. The oil light bearings will suck up moisture like a sponge. Anyway, it's a good idea to perform preventative maintenance before placing it back in service.

   Pete.

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Posted by dknelson on Friday, March 1, 2024 9:33 AM

As our counterparts in the toy train part of the hobby can testify it can be amazing how well and how readily old trains will run after years, even decades, of storage.  That is not to say that a through inspection and cleaning and relubrication before even trying is not a good idea however.  And some older models, perhaps less so in N than larger scales, have metal parts that have suffered from zinc rot.

One thing to be mindful of is the lubrication of the gears however.  As those of us in HO with experience with the oldest of the LifeLike "Proto2000" diesel models have learned, in addition to the infamous cracked gear problem, the Chinese manufacturer slathered on a thick grease on those engines that very quickly solidified into solid rock (well OK, almost)!  Many modelers burned out the motors trying to make an engine actually move.  Cleaning out the old crappy grease and applying (lightly) new lubricant became a routine.  Something to think about.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by kasskaboose on Thursday, February 29, 2024 3:42 PM

What type(s) of locos? 

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Posted by Canalligators on Thursday, February 29, 2024 9:40 AM

I'm in process of un-mothballing the railroads.  The first thing is to repair anything that doesn't work, such as lights, missing couplers or details, bad electrical connections, replace coupler and truck springs, etc.

Then I do periodic maintenance on all rolling stock.  For unpowered equipment, I clean the wheels, lube the wheel bearing surfaces, check coupler function and position, and check truck motion.  For powered equipment, I also lube the motor bearings, u-joints and gearboxes.  I lube couplers with a dry graphite-based lube, and running gear very sparsely with plastic compatible oil.  (Grease tends to get gloppy with age.)

I have about 75 pieces of unpowered rolling stock, and about 25 pieces powered.  The periodic service takes me a full day or a couple of evenings.  I lay it out on a big table, doing groups of pieces assembly line style.  I do it on everything every couple years, or when coming out of storage or obtaining a new piece.

Genesee Terminal, freelanced HO in Upstate NY
  ...hosting Loon Bay Transit Authority, run through Amtrak and CSX Intermodal

CP/D&H, N scale, somewhere on the Canadian Shield

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, February 29, 2024 8:26 AM

I don't think that a test run first would hurt anything. It should would spare you from opening up the loco if the loco runs OK.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Operating locomotives after extended storage
Posted by PDizzel on Thursday, February 29, 2024 7:45 AM

I model in N scale.  Is there a good protocol for preparing to run locomotives that have been in storage (climate controlled) for 15+ years?  Should the drive trains be cleaned and lubricated before the locomotives are run again?  Should any other matters be addressed?  Many thanks for any advice!

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