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  • Topic: Coupler cleaner/lubricants

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    • July 31, 2017 11:46 AM EDT
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      Coupler cleaner/lubricants

       

      Looking for a bit of help on what to use to clean my couplers (a mix of Kadee, AMS and Bachmann knuckles).  Since I leave some of my rolling stock outside, something ideally that wont wash away, but also that wont dissolve the plastic in the couplers.  

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    • July 31, 2017 12:19 PM EDT
      • Port Orchard, Washington
         
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      Graphite?
    • July 31, 2017 12:32 PM EDT
      • Easton Mass. some times Cocagne NB,
         
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    • July 31, 2017 12:53 PM EDT

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      Bob,

       

      Only have experience with AMS couplers, and I do not leave outside, but powdered Teflon or graphite is probably best. WD-40 will attract dirt while it is still liquid, get inside and totally gum up the works. the only caveat to both of my suggestion's is that they need to be worked into the plastic by numerous operation of the couplers to have any retention value. just applying and operating once or twice will not have the desired effect.

       

      Al P.

    • July 31, 2017 12:54 PM EDT
      • Milpitas, California
         
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      I would recommend White Lithium Grease. Available in tube or spray can. Just bought a can of it yesterday at Home Depot. I read somewhere (maybe here?) that it's the go-to grease for lubricating axels in G-scale rolling stock. Just a little dab'll do ya on the ends of the axels. I'm sure it works great for couplers too.

       

      http://www.homedepot.com/s/white%2520litium%2520grease?NCNI-5

       

      After reading negative things about what goes into WD-40, I would not recommend this for small parts (or even big ones for that matter). Professionals who fix and maintain garage door openers and bikes will give a big thumbs down to WD-40 as it accumulates dirt and creates more of a nuisance than it does lubricate. 

    • July 31, 2017 1:15 PM EDT
      • Easton Mass. some times Cocagne NB,
         
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      So what would you use to clean them before you use the powdered lubes ?

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    • July 31, 2017 3:00 PM EDT

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      0/20 mobil 1

    • July 31, 2017 3:54 PM EDT
      • Sylvester, Ga
         
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      I've used a graphite product that has a liquid carrier that evaporates quickly.  Its call Lock-ease.  I've used it on everything from HO Kadee couples to fishing reels and small tools.  locks and outdoor padlocks  I haven't used it on any G-Scale couplers yet (everything still packed up).  I would try it on one couple of each brand to be sure it doesn't affect the plastic - but I've never had a problem with anything plastic I've used it on.  For couples, as Al says - need to work it into the couple by opening and closing the couplers numerous times while the carrier evaporates.

    • July 31, 2017 6:54 PM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      I would try and stay away from grease of any kind. I bought a bunch of KaDees from a gentleman who swore they didn't work for......that they didn't work. Sure enough they were sticking fully deflected one way or the other, and the ones that would spring back, were sluggish in springing back. I cleaned out the grease that he had put in the draft gear box, lubed them with a dry lube, and they have been working fine for me for years.

       

      I use a powdered lubricant that is sold for pinewood derby cars, its a white powder lubricant. Just a small bit of it in the boxes, and a good working in (as has been said) and the couplers work well.

      This post was edited by David Maynard at July 31, 2017 6:56 PM EDT
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    • July 31, 2017 7:28 PM EDT

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      David,

       

      I believe that is white Teflon.

       

      Al P.

    • July 31, 2017 8:37 PM EDT
      • Milpitas, California
         
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      David Maynard said:

      I would try and stay away from grease of any kind. I bought a bunch of KaDees from a gentleman who swore they didn't work for......that they didn't work. Sure enough they were sticking fully deflected one way or the other, and the ones that would spring back, were sluggish in springing back. I cleaned out the grease that he had put in the draft gear box, lubed them with a dry lube, and they have been working fine for me for years.

       

      I use a powdered lubricant that is sold for pinewood derby cars, its a white powder lubricant. Just a small bit of it in the boxes, and a good working in (as has been said) and the couplers work well.

       

       

      Mr. Maynard, I believe you're right. I was in a hurry earlier and didn't think about what Bob was asking for. I'd only but a little grease on the ends of large scale train axles to help with long-term use and squeaking, but I'd never put it on #1 or G-scale Kadee's. A million years ago I was into HO gauge and never put any oil or grease in the Kadee coupler boxes. I've never used powdered lubricants, but if it helps with soap box derby cars, I'm sure it'll work well for Kadee couplers.

       

    • July 31, 2017 9:18 PM EDT
      • Branchport, NY
         
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      Bob

      I guess you need two products - one to clean and one to lubricate.

      Have you tried alcohol to clean them? I would test on something to make sure it doesn't melt the plastic.

      There are lots of choices for lubricating. I would stay away fro WD40 and other things that tend to leave a wet film.

      I would think some of the dry lubes like Teflon or graphite would be good.

      Tom

       

    • July 31, 2017 9:29 PM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      Al Pomeroy said:

      David,

       

      I believe that is white Teflon.

       

      Al P.

      AL, I believe it is. Every year when the pinewood derby stuff comes out, I usually pick up a long mandrel for my Dremel tool. Its for truing up the wheels on the cars, but it works well for the fiber cut off wheels I use in my Dremel. I also picked up the dry white lubricant. One tube goes a long way, if you are careful and don't squeeze the tube. Last year I finally bought a second tube of it, for back up.

       

      I used 91% isopropyl alcohol to clean the grease out of the draft gear boxes. It didn't harm them. A stronger solvent probably would have cut the grease with less effort, but the alcohol and then washing with water and Dawn dish soap did the trick.

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    • August 3, 2017 4:10 PM EDT
      • Saint Johns, Florida
         
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      On sticking Bachmann knuckle couplers, I have used transmission fluid with good results.

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    • August 3, 2017 6:22 PM EDT

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      I use lock-eze also, keep several cans. The black graphite is carried in by the solvent carrier, and the carrier evaporates and leaves the graphite.

       

      White teflon does not look good on black couplers. No grease of course.

       

      For cleaning, flush with electronics cleaner spray, does not harm plastic. Available at Walmart.

       

      It does not show in the picture, but the stuff normally comes with a long flexible thin tube, so you can flush right at the pivot, and into the coupler box if needed.

       

       

       

      This post was edited by Greg Elmassian at August 4, 2017 7:38 AM EDT
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    • August 4, 2017 11:04 AM EDT

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      There are also other plastic-compatible "contact cleaners" but I've had better luck with this one. Work the coupler a bit while shooting the fluid at the pivot points.

       

      I know that some people have trouble with the "trip pin" rusting. in this case, I use a quick spray on the pin only where it sticks out from the bottom, and I use a anti-corrosion spray, best found in marine supply stores.

      Some of these are lanoline based, very safe on all surfaces, another I use (thinner film) is again by CRC:

       

       

      I go into a store, and often buy stuff I've never seen and then try it out. Lots of stuff is no good, but the marine supply stores are a gold mine since they are fighting salt water.

       

      Greg

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    • August 9, 2017 12:32 PM EDT

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      Lube outside parts?

      Joe (transmission fluid) and Rooster (Mobil 1) have identified two lube products that are plastic compatible - which is an essential feature.

      I apply Mobil 1 on the couplers and then wipe off the excess. The oil remains on the moving part with the dirt attraction removed.  Works great!

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