Atlas Loco Dirt Problem

I have an Atlas Alco RSD4/5 (about 10 years old) that has always had a problem with intermittent pickup. I believe the problems has to do with the
specific metal these wheels are made of, and am looking for a solution. I'd like to know: * Has anyone had similar problems with these engines * Suggestions on solutions
I previously used CTC32 command control and have just switched to DCC. As I want to have sound int his engine, good rail contact is critical.
I'm convinced this is a problem with the wheels, as all other locos on the layout will generally run quite well (especially after layout is treated with Dr. Bonzola's oil, an outstanding locally bottled track cleaner). I can clean the wheels on this loco and a day later it is back to intermittent operation again within a few minutes. I can apply Dr. Bonzola's oil and wait about a 1/2 hour, it will run pretty well. However, by next day it is back to intermittent. (Any other loco treated with this cleaner will operate quite well for several months at least, and applying drop of oil every 10' or so on the layout is normally sufficient to keep everything working well for weeks, except for this Atlas engine).
I suspected insufficient pickup - the RSD4/5 had 6 wheel trucks that only pick up from 4 wheels, so I added pickups on the other wheels. Very little improvement seen as result.
I am convinced that these wheels must be made of an alloy that oxidizes quickly, as the track cleaner obviously takes some time to have an effect (seems to be a chemical de-oxidation process) and the wheels re-oxidize over time.
I'd appreciate anyone telling if they have had similar experience with such engines and what cure (if any) they have found.
Thanks Rick
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You may want to consider doing contact shoes to ride on the rails themselves. The loco needs to be weighted a bit to compensate for the lift on the trucks but that is no biggie. A properly setup set of shoes will allow for flawless operation even when the track is so dirty that nothing else will run for very long. You won't believe how good they are until you have tried them.
-- Bob May Losing weight is easy! If you ever want to lose weight, eat and drink less. Works evevery time it is tried!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Rick, I had the same problem with my Atlas/Kato GP7's and Kato SD40's I tried taking the wheels out of the trucks and polishing them with jewelers rouge and the Dremel. What I found was plain old brass wheels underneath the blacking chemical. The h.o. models over the years have improved, someone forgot to Improve the wheels. The old Athearn rubber band drive units had brass wheels Tyco, Revell etc. I really don't care If the wheels look nice blackened, I would rather have It run properly. Kato, Atlas, Athearn Genesis, Proto 1000 & 2000 Insist on using cheap brass wheels from the 50's with a little blacking chemical to make them look nice. I have tried some Atlas nickel plated wheels from there RS 11's, this was better but did not last long as the plating started to wear off the wheels. I have currently changed over to North West Short Line Premium Nickel Silver wheels. These are solid nickel silver, no plating to wear off, and have had very good results. These come In different wheel sizes and tread. The ones I used are 40" 110 Tread, Part number 37191-4. You get 12 In a package and these fit Stewart, Kato, Athearn Genesis most Atlas and some Lifelike. They do make the larger axle size for Athearn and Proto 2000. If you deceide to change out your wheels check your drive axles for cracks. I had one unit with 3 cracked axles.
Hope this helps Gord
Richard Stern wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Richard Stern wrote:

I had a similar problem with an SD-24. Like you I added pick-ups to the center wheels. Normal cleaning of the wheel treads and flanges did very little. but cleaning the back of the wheel and more importantly the pickup where it wipes against the wheel. I "lubricate" with LPS-1 and it would run for several weeks before needing service again. This was on a filthy club layout with a PMP-112 command control system. It is now sitting here waiting for conversion to DCC.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

One thing to check is the axle stub which rides in the contact plate outside the wheel face. You must remove the sideframes to get to them. The Atlas units have nickel silver wheels which are great conductors when clean. --------- Ken McCorry
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.