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Lubricants


Bernard

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I have had a few older sets from Ebay over the years. They almost always need fully stripping down, and good polish on ALL the brass contacts in the wheels and lighting system, degrease and oil.

 

I only use a SPOT of sewing machine oil on the motor bearings, and never oil the bogie gears.

 

Here is my tip  :) 

 

I had a power car that insisted on squealing no matter what I did oil wise!

I found the squeal in the end, it was the large black plastic drive cup the drive shaft goes into at the bogie end.

These drive cups seem to dry out and then squeak and squawk. these noises happened at mid speed.

 

The answer is a small drop of silicon oil as used for RC car shock absorbers on the outside of the drive cup.

This will stop the squeak and squawk immediately. The outside of the cup is actually a bearing.

 

I have done this now at least 4 times on older power cars that come to me squeaking from Ebay. It works every time! The silicon oil will not harm the plastic as the oil is designed to be used around plastic. 10-40 weight RC shock oil is fine, just one small drop.

 

Hope this helps anybody that has a squeaky power car.

Edited by sunbeam
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Sunbeam,

 

Do you mean on the worm gear that sits on top of the main truck gear, just behind the universal socket the drive shaft goes into?

 

Those worm gears are usually lubed with a thick grease of some kind (like the silicone grease you use) and usually a culprit in squeezing and do dry out with all the grease eventually being thrown off the gears. Also why they usually squeel differently on curves than straight sections. Constant wine that only changes with power applied I've found usually indicates dry motor bearings.

 

Cheers,

 

Jeff

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Hi Jeff,

 

IMG_0580_zps9jd2nj9p.jpg

 

Just a spot on the plastic where the arrow is pointing works for me every time :)

 

As you say, it seems to be a drying out situation caused by age, which is why I find it on many of my Ebay wins.

Edited by sunbeam
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Yep that's the end of the worm gear there that plugs the end of the housing and is the universal joint for the drive shaft. That and the worm gear itself rubbing some on that cover seems to be where a lot so squeeling comes from! Again this is the one I usually hear change in pitch when the train goes in a curve vs straight as I think the twisting of the main top truck gear pushes the worm gear around and changes the squeeling some.

 

Going to have to try the silicone grease, not used them on trains,mjust a heavy plastic grease I've had for ever and has worked fine. Silicon greases seem like they may be a bit more stable.

 

Jeff

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Just a spot on the plastic where the arrow is pointing works for me every time :)

 

As you say, it seems to be a drying out situation caused by age, which is why I find it on many of my Ebay wins.

 

I have also experienced squealing from that exact location.  Happened on all of my Tomix 400s and E3s (to be fair, two of those models were 15+ years old and bought used).  I have used NG Jel but it dries out pretty fast and is sort of runny--not a great product IMO.  

 

This Tamiya Cera grease might be the ticket, since some Japanese reviewers said it worked well on Tomix worm gears.  It's about 6 dollars on Amazon.  http://www.tamiya.com/english/products/87099grease_hg/index.htm  

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Is the blue Tamiya gear/differential grease usable for N scale? I'm asking as afaik this is the only one available from the local hobby shops.

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I had a power car that insisted on squealing no matter what I did oil wise!

I found the squeal in the end, it was the large black plastic drive cup the drive shaft goes into at the bogie end.

These drive cups seem to dry out and then squeak and squawk. these noises happened at mid speed.

 

The answer is a small drop of silicon oil as used for RC car shock absorbers on the outside of the drive cup.

This will stop the squeak and squawk immediately. The outside of the cup is actually a bearing.

 

I have done this now at least 4 times on older power cars that come to me squeaking from Ebay. It works every time! The silicon oil will not harm the plastic as the oil is designed to be used around plastic. 10-40 weight RC shock oil is fine, just one small drop.

 

Hope this helps anybody that has a squeaky power car.

 

I followed your tip on a squeaky power car that I bought used with a good discount due to that defect

 

I used silicon oil 25 weight, cleaned and oiled both boogies and now it's smoother then it has even been

 

thanks a lot for your suggestion

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Can you teach me on how to maintain and lubricate trains? I recently bought two JR 205 and TOMIX 500 series. They are mint condition but hasn't been run for quite some time. The dry sound is woeful. 

 

So can you guys teach me how to lubricate these trains?

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Most dry/screeching sound is caused by friction in the worm gear box, grease like this:

 

48519678297_0d747178cf_z.jpg

Tomix worm gear box lubrication by Rail Squid, on Flickr

 

Grease is Tamiya "Cerano" grease; maybe not quite so much as in the picture, and dab any excess off with a tissue.

 

Motor bearings may also need a tiny tiny drop of oil (I use Kato Unioil, other alternatives available) like this:

 

48078969597_95b19a0efd_z.jpg

MicroAce 209-500 series maintenance by Rail Squid, on Flickr

 

(unit is MicroAce, but the principle applies to any motor)

 

Extreme before-and-after example:

 

 

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Excellent tutorial squid! 
 

for the light weight oil these are handy to just do a tiny tiny touch of oil as too much can really muck things up in motor.

 

micro applicator. Many oil applicators are actually pretty big tipped for larger stuff than our little motors. Just out a few drops in one of these and you can apply pretty small drops.
 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/2pcs-Precision-Oiler-Pen-Pin-Needle-Oil-Lubricant-for-Watch-Sewing-Repair-Too-Tk/363100197050?hash=item548a7550ba:g:wkIAAOSwswVa0EsC

 

Also needle applicators they use for watches. Just a metal rod with a little ball on the end to hold a little bit of oil. Just touch to the bearing sleeve

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lubricant-Precision-Oil-Pin-Pen-Needle-Lubricator-Watch-Clock-Repair-Tool-W-S/383782473991?hash=item595b37d107:g:wZsAAOSwDQdfY0cE

 

can also use tooth picks or even a fine gauge hypodermic needle as it will suck a little into it and you can sort of draw it out while you dab it on the sleeve joint.

 

trick is to just use a little and make sure it’s a lightweight bearing oil, thicker oils can really muck up bearings.

 

also clean out any dried or mucked up grease in the gear box before re greasing.

 

a medium weight oil works well on the truck gears. Good to closely inspect the truck gears as they can have sucked up a lot of crap and if over oiled you can end up with some really caked on crap in there along with bits of hair and puzz. I’ve cleaned out some on club members that were absolutely packed and unraveled a fine like 4” hair before! The really light, short cat hairs are the worse! Disassembling the whole truck is sometimes in order if you can’t pick the hairs out with very fine tipped tweezers. Not a horrible job just tedious and take photos while disassembling so you remember what goes where easier. You can also just plop a whole truck in soapy water in an ultrasonic bath and then follow with 70% isopropanol washes in the ultrasonic cleaner. Won’t get out wound in hairs and puzz but usually can loosen them so they are easy to pick out with very fine tipped tweezers. I disassemble as a last resort. Good light and magnifier (dissection scope or little digital microscope) really help look in for crap before thinking about disassembling.

 

get some inexpensive fine tipped tweezers on ebay from China for a couple of bucks to do this poking around as it can be a little nasty on the tips and not good to fouls up a really nice expensive pair of fine tipped tweezers.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Stainless-Steel-Acne-Removing-Needles-Acne-Blackhead-Cell-Tweezer-Makeup-Hq/124184893349?hash=item1ce9ff17a5:g:c~EAAOSwHoFXrFJ~

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Quote

also clean out any dried or mucked up grease in the gear box before re greasing.

 

Yup, this can be a problem:

 

47926424607_6a97657c2f_z.jpg

MicroAce E231-500 (Yamanote Line) by Rail Squid, on Flickr

 

5 hours ago, cteno4 said:

Good to closely inspect the truck gears as they can have sucked up a lot of crap and if over oiled you can end up with some really caked on crap in there along with bits of hair and puzz. I’ve cleaned out some on club members that were absolutely packed and unraveled a fine like 4” hair before! The really light, short cat hairs are the worse! Disassembling the whole truck is sometimes in order if you can’t pick the hairs out with very fine tipped tweezers.

 

Exhibit A:

48148385731_00c13be9c4_z.jpg

Tomix 209 Series (Nanbu Line) by Rail Squid, on Flickr

 

Exhibit B:

48148474237_af1feb225b_z.jpg

Tomix 209 Series (Nanbu Line) by Rail Squid, on Flickr

 

Do also check the non-powered bogies, it's surprising what you might find:

 

45996236714_ea492b305c_z.jpg

microace-101-axle-fluff_01 by Rail Squid, on Flickr

 

Quote

Not a horrible job just tedious and take photos while disassembling so you remember what goes where easier.

 

This.

 

 

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LOL stuffed toy filling in the last one?

 

one of our members brought me an old Tomix de15 with the spring worm drive. It had been growling badly and really slowing down. Flipping it over I noticed some hairs in the truck gears and pulled at them some and realized more in there. Tore open the chassis and the whole spring worm dive was packed solid with tightly wound cat hairs and black muck! He had 2 cats! I stripped the whole unit. There were cat hairs caked into every nook and cranny. Once completely cleaned and back together with a new motor (he had bought one thinking this was the issue) it still growled from the spring worm drive design but purred compared to what it was sounding like! I wish I had taken pictures!
 

It was almost as gross as opening the pc one of the video editors used and chain smoked at. Joe the studio cat used to like to sleep on the pc as it was nice and warm. I popped it open to put in a new card and 2 years of cigarette smoke left a layer of brown sticky goo that all the cat hair stuck to. Looked like a fruiting alien mold growing on everything! First time I ever scrubbed a mother board with soap and water! 
 

cheers
 

jeff

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So I fixed the 205 and the 103 series. All of them are KATO and follow the same design. I've lubricated their axles and they run smoothly. 

 

Now.. The Tomix JR 500 Shinkansen. This boggles me. It was worse, a lot worse when it came. It felt like everything is completely dry. I lubricated the axles and it ran, but was limping. I gave it a bit more and a bit on the gears of the bogie. It was smooth but was jolting. 

 

1363179626_WhatsAppImage2020-10-31at4_41_51PM.thumb.jpeg.128ec5b6619d644ffb2be1c07461e983.jpeg

I'm confused on what's wrong with it. I don't think the capacitor is the cause. I want to look at the brush and the motor closer but I can't seem to get the motor out and detach it from the axles to the bogie. What's more, I had a sneaking suspicion that the traction tires behind and front are the main cause, as the sound is not recreated if I jolt the train as it is lying upside down. 

 

384062805_WhatsAppImage2020-10-31at10_42_50PM.thumb.jpeg.860e3e3e0b278f093d257c7baca69afa.jpeg

Thoughts?

 

Edit: managed to get the wheels out. I see a wormgear on each side. Im giving it a thorough clean. Should I also lube where the plastic bar meets the gear?

 

P.S I use lubricant for sowing machines applied using a 1.4mm Minus screwdriver

 

P.P.S: Vids

 

 

 

 

Edited by AhmadKane
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the 500 may be gunked up in the trucks some. It’s sputtering some which can be dirty contacts as well (those can go hand in hand). If you have some canned air blow the motor out well. Open motors like that can sometimes get crap in them. The worse is a small bit of metal filings that can cause all sorts of intermittent motor issues. Why it’s good to outfit your cleaning car or any car with a strong neodymium magnet under it to suck up any stray tiny metal particles on the tracks. I’ve been amaze at what metal crap gets picked up by the magnets! Rare they get all the way into a motor but I’ve seen it. Also make sure to work on a clean area with open motors as they can easy pick up metal particles on your work bench from a previous project.

 

be careful about using that wire brush wheel cleaner there on your workbench, as many of the powered chassis have traction tires and the brush will eventually shred them. One school of though as well is the wire brushes can make more scratched on the wheels which can lead to more arcing (due to moisture and other stuff in the tiny crevasses) and can also potentially just grip more gunk on the wheel. I clean the motor wheels by flipping the car over and applying power to one set of wheels and while spinning just push a makeup applicator to each wheel for a second, cleans and polishes then super fast. I just make a block with two brass strips wired to power that I touch to the flange tips. Or two stripped wires taped to a piece of cardboard works.

 

also big to always run the vacuum along the track after doing any scenery work before running trains. This is the number one of someone handing me a train saying it was running great then it stopped and they had just done some scenery work. Plaster dust is really bad it makes an odd cement with oil in the trucks and then a nice aggregate of fine bits of ground foam!

 

ok my opus
 

the bits to lube are

  • Gears in truck - medium weight oil (akin to a 3 in 1 oil thick enough to stick but still penetrating)
  • Worm gear - medium grease (The tamiya silicon rc grease squid mentions is great and hearty)
  • motor bearings - very fine oil and very sparingly (sometimes called watch oil for tiny bearings)

you don’t need to lube the universal joint at the motor that the drive shaft sits in or the universal joint at the work gear where other end of the drive shaft goes in. The drive shaft doesn’t turn in the universal joint cup so no lubing needed. But as others have noted sometimes the outside of the universal joint is sitting in a pocket and needs some grease on the outside of the universal joint to spin easily in its pocket.
 

Sometimes you get lucky and just a touch of oil (again add in tiny bits and then run some and repeat, don’t soak them) to the truck gears and it’s great. Other wise you have to start to disassemble to start to see what’s what. Inside. Truck gears can look ok thru the slots (here is where some magnification helps) But once you pull off the truck you can see more and then truck disassembly can be necessary. I usually use one of those little dental applicators (like a tiny qtip) and just dab a tiny bit of medium oil in the slot on the gears, then run a few laps and see if it helps and if it does take it off look at it and if still looking dry apply a little more, run, inspect, repeat. Sometimes it takes a few tiny applications to all of a sudden start running smoothly once things get evenly oiled, other times I expect there was some crap in there that was causing some friction and the new oil loosened it and finally blew out of the way (of course this could lead to buildup later).
 

ive been lazy at times with trucks that are mucked up and don’t show signs of hairs of puzz and just running them thru the ultrasonic bath cleans them up great! It’s really satisfying to plop one into a clean bath and when you turn it on a dark cloud starts to come out of the truck and you end up with very dirty water! Repeat until bath stays clean, then isopropanol and let dry and relube. When I disassemble a truck I usually just wipe off all the puzz and drop all the parts to a truck in a small wire tea ball and plop that thru some cycles of the ultrasonic bath. Easy way to keep all the parts together and a lot less tedious than trying to clean each part well by hand.

 

its kind of a stepwise process.

  • First usually for me it’s the truck gears that either need oil or cleaning and oiling. Truck gears are the most area to collect along with over all frictional area and also those slots to suck up crap! Sometimes you get lucky and they are just a bit dry (the openeness of the truck allows oil to slowly be expelled) and a dap of medium oil does it, other times does nothing or worse if there is muck in there it just gums up things more and a thorough cleaning is needed.
  • Second is cleaning the contacts. Dirty contacts can add to the overall not running right and usually hand in hand with trucks getting full of mucked up oil and schmutz.
  • Third is worm gear grease getting hard or all thrown out of the gears.
  • Last is the motor bearing. I usually give them a tiny touch of fine oil when I pull a chassis apart but rarely has that been issue.

I’ve rarely ever seen motor brush issues in Japanese n scale. Many brushes are all sealed in. The only motors I’ve had to replace are ones that got blow out from getting very mucked up in the drive train with crap and the owner just kept applying more voltage and finally just burned the motor out or they were running like 5-6% grades full throttle and just over taxed the motor.
 

one other odd sputtering, growling, slowdown or directional issue can be a partially stripped drive shaft. Some times you will loose a bit of the teeth ends of the drive shaft that fits into the universal gear. This results in it being able to not fully engage and it can slip some, usually noticeable when pulling extra cars. But it can just look like a dry or mucked up drive change. First time I encountered it years ago I totally cleaned out everything and it still did it and with a long time poking finally noticed one end of one drive shaft could at times turn in the universal joint. Other times this happens all the teeth get stripped off and it just spins but sometimes it’s just partial and intermittent and really frustrating! It’s just takes seeing a bunch of things to learn a good diagnosis triage like for a Human patient.
 

doing maintenance like this is just a slow learning process. You just have to start doing it and fiddling to learn how the various designs come apart. It’s also just getting comfortable pulling things apart and just having some care and patience. The latter is a must as these can be fiddly and frustration is your enemy. There are a few videos out there on disassembly of certain models. I’ve always meant to sit down and do some videos on how to take apart the handful of standard designs, but never gotten to it as they can be quite tedious to do well and edit up. Also at times you need someone shooting in close as you do this, it can even be hard to show someone directly as you do it. Again is one of those things that you just need to do yourself some and take your time, take pictures and be patient.

 

jeff

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I think that this thread was what I really needed to read, considering the things I’ve experienced with my trains. 

 

I now feel a lot more optimistic about being able to maintain them. And I’ve put out four orders to various suppliers, for light and medium oil, Tamiya grease, and isopropyl alcohol. 

 

Thanks to those who’ve contributed. Much appreciated!

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Follow-up question re: cleaning out gunk.

 

I've bought a bunch of 99% isopropyl alcohol (because it seems pointless to mess about with smaller bottles from pharmacies when you can get it by the gallon from an agri-vet-supply company).

 

Should this be diluted, or will it be safe for cleaning trains? I don't want to ruin finishes with it.

If it should be diluted, to what level? 90%? 70%?

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70% is good for cleaning. I only use 90% for fast douse and shake off to expel water and dry things out. 
 

yep use to get by the gallon really cheap and easy, but covid has made it hard to find until recently and drug store price es are like 2-3x what they were.

 

jeff

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