CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF YOUR TRAINS (INVESTMENT?).
1) Keep cars clean. Check your locomotive maintenance book.
2) Establish which type and manufacturer of couplers you are going to use.
Most couplers are not comparable with each other except for the horn/latch type.
3) Plastic wheels on cars. Plastic wheels only have a surface hardness between
.003 and .002, so in a short time the wheel will wear through and cause
problems such as debris on rail, flat spot on bumps in wheel tread,
and wheel flanges wearing through on chunking the rim. If you operate
a lot, a monthly inspection is best for each car with plastic wheels.
Most club layouts and many family layout have gone to steel wheels to solve
this problem but are more expensive. Most manufacturers offer the same wheel
replacements as a retail item. Do not forget to lube axle bearings/bushings.
4) If you have lighted or operational cars refer to your locomotive maintenance.
For electrical cleaning, check wiring to lighting and light bulbs. Replace burned out
light bulbs. Do not use any light bulb not recommended by manufacturer and do not exceed
as you may melt plastic parts.
5) All electrical pick-up wheels, wheel wipers, and glide shoes must be cleaned
in order to pick up electricity for motor and lighting operations. This problem
is 80% of most locomotive failures.
6) When working on models, use top quality tools on all fasteners. Most damage
to fasteners are done by using poor quality tools to work on models.
7) Electric motors that are repairable are Buhler (LGB), Cannon/Maxon, Pitman,
Sagami, Micro-Motor, and some Machimia High Performance (Robotic)
motors. Motor brush replacement and polishing motor armature suggested repairs,
if motor bearings and armature shaft are damaged - replace motor.
8) Electric motors that are non-repairable are Mabuchi (REA, Aristo, Bachman,
and some USA trains, Machimia standard hobby motors). These motors can be identified by
locking tabs holding motor together using sealed brush holders.
9) Most common motor failures:
a) no lubrication to motor bearings/bushings, motor either does not run or
b) over lubrication - oil/grease is everywhere causing debris to collect on
motor, retaining motor heat and fowling armature-brush contact.
c) when motor brushes are replaced on motor is cleaned & lubed, carbon
dust from the old brush set is not cleaned from armature and motor
d) dirty or pitted motor armature
e) worn brushes
f) rust caused by moisture, which deposit on motor armature, armature
shaft, motor bearings and brush holder
10) If you have a dual motor drive, the motors should be matched by RPM and
Watts of power per RPM curves. Remember ball bearing motors are more
effective than bushing motors, they cannot be mixed.
11) When replacing motor brushes replace as sets. If motor brushes
are wearing unevenly check brush alignment and repair as necessary.
12) When working on models, each manufacturer uses specific fasteners to
assemble the model such as:
a) special plastic rated self taping screws;
b) precision class 2 fit machine screws in both U.S. and metric threads;
c) standard self taping machine screws in both U.S. and metric threads;
d) standard self taping sheet metal screws (P&K screws) both U.S. and
Improper use of fasteners cause most of the major damage to all models
(airplane, boats, trains, etc.)
13) Do not over torque any fastener on any model
14) Electrical main boards (mother board) any model with lights, smoke, sound,
loco motor and in some cases exhaust fans, have a main board with a switch
controlling them. Most appliances plus into the board and caution must be
used where each item is plugged in. Use extreme care (make your own
wiring diagram if necessary) to correctly plug items being used to correct
terminals or plugs on main board. Failure to do so will cause complete loss of
board once power is turned on to run locomotive. DO NOT modify a main board,
the manufacturer has designed their power requirements into the
board, and by modifying board can cause severe damage up to catching locomotive on fire.
15) Transmission (gear box) and running lubrication all moving parts need some sort
of lubrication or it will wear out. Your lubrication schedule should be designed
around these factors:
a) hours of operation;
b) track conditions - straight, a lot of curves, inclines, curve radius;
c) what type of load - caro, weight of cars, pulling track cleaning car;
d) train storage condition - left in the elements, outdoor G locomotive get watered
on by sprinklers, store them in a protective shed;
There are many types of lubrication now being sold, use manufacturer recommended lubricants
to take care of your locomotive. Also use manufacturer information to lube the working parts.
Use plastic compatible lubes on any plastic surface for lubrication is involved,
otherwise the part or parts will be destroyed.
Use light lubrication with more frequent lubrication on small moving surfaces such
as valve gear main and con rod pins, cross head guide.
Before relubing any surface always remove the old lube. This prevents the old lube
depositing debris into the new lube turning it into a grinding compound.
16) Wheel condition-
If the wheels get excessive wear on the tread or the flange it will cause
damage to your trace and also on the wheel axle journal bearings. When
wheels are worn replace them, if you have traction tires on your wheels,
replace when worn.
17) Keep locomotive clean by removing oxidation and debris from locomotive
stalls, windows, tenders, etc. Pollution in the air and UV from sun light can
cause sever damage. Use only natural soap with water, Windex, sig mfg
(model airplane) makes a plastic surface cleaner. LGB recommends their
smoke oil applied to a cloth and lightly wiped on care and locomotive
surfaces after cleaning to protect from UV damage.
18) Always operate locomotives at the manufacturers suggested voltage (12vdc,
14 vdc, 16 vdc). Excessive voltage can damage motors and electronics.