Following are possible effects of long storage:
a) corrosion of wheels and tracks
b) oxidation of oils and greases in motor and gear train (turns
lubriucants into varnish like stiff glop)
c) corrosion of contacts (wipers) that pick up power from wheels
d) corrosion of commutators in motors
The above can be fixed by careful cleaning, using suitable solvents and
chemical cleaners - caution, read the labels first. A good hobby shop
will have the needed supplies. This will also entail disassembling the
engines so you can get at the gears and motor. Some abrasives may be
needed to clean wheels and track. Following cleaning, lubricate
sparingly, using plastic compatible oils and greases. Do _not_ use
sewing machine, fishing reel, or 3-in-1 oils, etc - these are petroleum
based, and will warp and destroy the plastic.
e) corrosion of soldered joints inside power pack (controller)
Repairing this entails opening the power pack, which you should not do
if you don't have experience repairing electrical appliances. If the
power pack won't produce power, it's probably safest to replace it - any
HO power pack will do nicely, and the more expensive ones are much
better than Hornby's (or any other train set power packs, which are low
f) warping and cracking of plastic parts by petroleum based lubricants
Sometimes warped and cracked plastic gears and gear boxes can be
replaced with new parts -- if you can get them. Sometimes oil-induced
damage to plastic parts is not repairable.
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