Need help #3

Hello there and thank you to all for the help I have gotten... I have got quite a few diesel engines and steam engines that used to belong to
my dad and they have not been run in a few years, some of the manufacturers names are Athearn, TYCO, Mantua, AHM, Proto(?), Rivarossi, Walthers Trainline, Bachmann Spectrum and some metal ones that I don't know the name of and even a Lionel HO set....The wheels need cleaned on them all really bad and they probably need oiled as well, in one of the boxes, I found an empty small bottle of LaBelle Oil, unsure what this was used for.. I would like to know of some ways to clean the metal wheels on the engines and also the Atlas track that I have....What kind of oil should I use to oil the motor? Should I oil the wheels and drive gears also? Same oil type for each?...I saw in a magazine that I bought that IHC makes a track cleaning car, would something like this work for me?....Bought some books on benchwork and layout building going to get something going!....I appreciate all the help...Mike
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Mike Kasiorek wrote:

Labelle and AeroCar make very good synthetic oils and grease, specifically for model use. If you can't get those, use _synthetic_ oils made for fishing reels. Do not use ordinary household oils, they are made from petroleum, and they will attack most of the plastics used in model trains.
For cleaning, oh boy, that's a big subject. The following is start.
It helps if you can find some fellow modelers in your area. They will be glad to help you learn. The following steps are the ones I use to clean an engine. If they don't work, more drastic measures are called for, which I won't go into here.
a) make a cradle to hold the engine upside own. Closed cell foam used in some packing cases works nicely for this. Or else make a channel of 1x4 lumber about 12" to 18" long, and nail or staple a strong lint-free cloth across the open top. An old miter box works just fine if you have one.
b) buy or make some power leads with plugs or spade terminals at one end to connect to your power pack, and alligator clips at the other to connect to your engine.
c) take the shell off the engine. This will take some study, as they are all different. look for screws, plastic clips and latches. You may have to slide a shell on a chassis to free L-shaped latches. Etc. I hope your Dad kept all the instruction sheets that came with the engines.
d) figure out where to clip the leads so you can run the engine. usually, one clip on the chassis, and one clip on a wire lead to the motor works.
e) look for obvious lubricating points (bearings, gears) and apply _small_ amounts of light oil. If your oil container comes with a small-bore application tube, use that, otherwise use a long pin to pick up a drop of oil and bring it to the lubricating point.
f) if the engine has an open commutator, apply contact lube-cleaner to it. A _small_ amount!
g) run the engine, slowly at first. When it's running well, you can put heavier oil or grease on the gears.
General rule: if you can see drops or patches of oil and grease, you've put on too much.
h) use a small screwdriver to (gently!) scrape the crud off the wheels as the engine runs. Tip the engine to one side so that the crud drops into the cradle, not the engine.
i) use some rubbing alcohol and lint-free cloth wrapper round the end of the screw driver to wipe the wheels clean.
j) test run on the track. If the engine doesn't run at this stage, there is a problem between the wheels and the motor, and you'll need more help. But this is enough for now.
HTH
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