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Worn out wheels?


1954G

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Hello,

I have been having issues with an old Kato 10-822 Akebono set that was purchased used. The rear lights of the Kani and Ohanefu blink on and off even after the wheels have been cleaned.  Having disassembled the carriages, the copper contacts look clean. But even after the usual Q-tip/isopropyl alcohol treatment on the wheels, the blinking is unchanged. And I've noticed that there is a lot of rolling resistance, and that the factory "blackening" is almost entirely worn off the wheels.

At this point, I believe my next step should be buying replacement wheels. I've never had to do this with a used train before-cleaning has always been sufficient-and this train was released only a decade ago.

Or is there some other solution I am overlooking?

Thanks.

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railsquid

It's possible gunk has built up inside the copper contact parts inside the bogies, particularly the depressions where the axle pinpoints rest:

 

50590027771_065448de6e_z.jpg

kato-driving-axle-replacement_11 by Rail Squid, on Flickr

 

Cleaning these out (e.g. with a toothpick/cocktail stick dipped in IPA or something) can make a big difference.

 

You may want to check whether the previous owner kept their models in the lint trap of a dryer:

 

31779498677_2cb893d0d0_z.jpg

microace-101-axle-fluff_02 by Rail Squid, on Flickr

 

Above is a MicroAce model but the principle is the same.

 

It's also conceivable that the wheelsets may have been subjected to "pitting" due to electrical issues; in that case replacement wheelsets might be a good idea (probably part 11-606).

Edited by railsquid
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Thankfully, kato uses standardized wheelsets so replacement wheels are very easy to find.  First try squid's suggestion above, but if the problem persists you can find replacements.  You will need to know if your train uses "long" or "short" axles, and whether you want solid wheels or the spoke type.

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10700939
https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10227454

  • Like 1
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Depending on how well the previous owner looked after the set, the above servicing Squid mentions should be standard practise for used purchases.

 

If you remove the bogies from the body, do you still get resistance? Are the wheels positioned in the pick-up cups properly? 

 

I would also check that the copper strips that run under the chassis are seated properly as well as the light unit contacts for the end cars are properly aligned. These are small bent pieces of copper and can be easily out of position if not put back together properly. If there is any movement in them this will also cause flickering of the light units. I have sometimes had an issue where the contacts have been slightly bowed with age and the contact between bogie pick ups and copper strips has been temperamental.

 

It's just a case or working from wheels to light unit and ruling things out. 

 

 

 

 

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gavino200
7 hours ago, Kiha66 said:

Thankfully, kato uses standardized wheelsets so replacement wheels are very easy to find.  First try squid's suggestion above, but if the problem persists you can find replacements.  You will need to know if your train uses "long" or "short" axles, and whether you want solid wheels or the spoke type.

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10700939
https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10227454

 

What makes them "long" or "short"?

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8 hours ago, gavino200 said:

What makes them "long" or "short"?

 

The wheel spacing is the same, but on the "long" wheels the axle points stick out past the wheels about an extra mm or two.  It's hard to tell unless you have both types next to each other, but they are not compatible and you need the correct type for your specific model.

 

20210331_122341.thumb.jpg.578b0d7fec1e1b7764c281167e423c1c.jpg

Edited by Kiha66
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katoftw

Also referred to as new power collector type for well the new type. Which has the narrower axle to fit in the cups.

 

The shorter new type are pretty much todays most common for power collectors.

 

And the longer types used for freight with no power collection.

Edited by katoftw
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40 minutes ago, katoftw said:

And the longer types used for freight with no power collection.

 

This simply isn't true, kato has used both types in all kinds of cars.  Trust me, I have made this mistake and have the stock of spare parts to prove it.  Measure the wheels you are trying to replace first to ensure you have the right type, otherwise you may spend a fair amount on parts which are not useful to you.

If if is the long axle type wheels you need, I have a fair amount of them due to this reason and I'd be happy to sell some to you if you need it.

Edited by Kiha66
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katoftw

It was a generalization. But true what you say if someone else reading missed the context that 'pretty much' isn't absolute.

 

I learnt the same way as you, brought the wrong type once.

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Thank you to everyone. I followed railsquid's photos and disassembled the bogies, then I soaked the wheels and copper contact parts in isopropyl alcohol overnight. I finished the cleaning with a toothpick and paper towel. The improvement was drastic - the flickering is almost gone, and the train functions normally. Plus the wheels are nice and shiny now. I might even try installing interior lights this evening if I'm feeling lucky.

 

The wheels were not worn out, just very dirty and with perhaps some surface corrosion.

 

I might order 8 spare wheels ( part 11-611, https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10700941 ) eventually for the Kani and Ohanefu, but now it's not a pressing matter.

  • Like 4
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1954,

 

you might look at getting some wd40 contact cleaner. It’s better than isopropanol to lift gunk and what is left behind is less likely it looks like to build up more of the black gunk from current arcing from track to wheels. I’m just starting to experiment with it and I’m liking it so far. I wouldn’t soak plastic bits in it yet over night (although eventually I do want to experiment with that on the usual plastic parts) and I’m not sure you could as the voc is pretty highbut it’s fine for the usual cleaning I use to use with isopropanol. Right now I just squirt a bit on a makeup swab or paper towel or rag and it works nicely, but it does evaporate very fast.

 

jeff

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Welshbloke
On 4/3/2021 at 8:53 PM, cteno4 said:

1954,

 

you might look at getting some wd40 contact cleaner. It’s better than isopropanol to lift gunk and what is left behind is less likely it looks like to build up more of the black gunk from current arcing from track to wheels. I’m just starting to experiment with it and I’m liking it so far. I wouldn’t soak plastic bits in it yet over night (although eventually I do want to experiment with that on the usual plastic parts) and I’m not sure you could as the voc is pretty highbut it’s fine for the usual cleaning I use to use with isopropanol. Right now I just squirt a bit on a makeup swab or paper towel or rag and it works nicely, but it does evaporate very fast.

 

jeff

 

I've just got hold of a can. Been using it on motors where oil had found its way into the brushes and commutator (but the brushes can't be pulled out to clean everything) like Tomix and a Kato Ge 4/4 II. Judging by the amount of black gunge which shot out from the opposite side to the cleaner can straw it does a pretty good job, although I've only bench tested the motors so far to check that they worked afterwards rather than a proper loaded test run.

 

It will also take all the oil out of motor bearings, so add a tiny drop once everything has dried out.

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