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  • Topic: Thickened Bachmann lubrication

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    • October 14, 2020 12:39 PM EDT
      • Saint Helena, CALIFORNIA
         
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      I believe that Vaseline may attack certain plastics.  I have experienced this over the years and avoid using it when it may touch any type of plastic material.  For the most part I only use synthetic oils and greases for my trains.  

       

      The usual "your mileage may vary" caveat applies. 

    • October 14, 2020 5:04 PM EDT
      • Victoria, BC
         
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      Pete Thornton said:

      the Bachmann lubrication products I have used (according to their video instructions) has really thickened up

      I forgot to mention that the Bachmann "EZ-Lube gear grease" has a very limited shelf life - and presumably therefore a very limited usage life, which you just discovered. My original pot hardened up to a useless mass after 10+ years, and the replacement (1 or 2 years old) is already separating into sort-of oil and sort-of grease, so I have to stir it before use.

       

      I would suggest using something else. LaBelle seems to make lubricants that work. I use synthetic oil I bought on Amazon, and vaseline grease from my wife's bathroom pot.

       

      This opens up a whole other path for discussion.  My Bachmann lubrication videos show them using old in bottles with very thin "needle" tips so they say to get right down outside the motor block to lubricate the axels.  In fact the Bachmann oils I have been able to buy come in bottles with tapered plastic tips and there is no way they fit down in such narrow spaces.  The only way I can see to use them is to have the loco upside down and dribble the oil down in that area, hoping to hit the axel.  A sure way to over-oil!   And the Bachmann grease I was able to buy is a very thin watery red stuff, unlike the thicker stuff shown in the videos.  It is unlikely to stay on the gears.  I thought I should stick to the lubricants Bachmann recommends but I am sure the other brands of locos have their own products that work just fine (and possibly way better.)   I am curious whether the Bachmann oils would have thickened up if the loco was run only in an indoor setting, or if the thickening is a result of absorbing dust etc. from running in an outdoor environment.  Also on the west coast we have a lot of humidity and that probably has some bearing on how the lubricants behave.

      Dave

    • October 14, 2020 6:19 PM EDT
      • Saint Helena, CALIFORNIA
         
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      Dave:

       

      I use these Precision Oil Dispenser bottles for applying the oils.  My locomotives are mostly Bachmann and am indoors.  I have experienced the thickening of the original grease in the gearboxes so I don't think it has much to do with being in the great outdoors.

    • October 14, 2020 6:46 PM EDT
      • Kansas City, US-KS
         
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      The grease in my older LGB Mogul was hardening so its not just Bachmann grease.  They probably use the same grease since the application and operating conditions are basically the same. 

      LGB red oil comes in a pen dispenser with the needle tip for easy application. 

      I wouldn't flood an area with oil unless you can get the excess oil off afterword.  it attracts dirt.  Also, I am not sure how Bachmann does the electrical path from the track to the motor but over oiling will cause connectivity issues in the LGB engines I've worked on.    

    • October 19, 2020 5:19 PM EDT
      • Victoria, BC
         
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      Time for an update, as I finally made a start on trying to remove thickened lubrication from my Bachmann Shay.   I began by masking off the side and top of the loco with plastic sheeting taped to the running boards, with a cutout in the piston area.  Since the drive line on the right side of the Shay starts with the motor in the front truck which drives the wheels and through bevel gears the whole drive train, I disconnected the sliding couplings at either side of the central piston/connecting rod/valve gear/crankshaft mechanism so it could be turned by hand.  It was almost frozen solid at first but as I slowly turned it, it got easier and easier to turn.  This was clearly the area presenting the most drag on the whole system.

      My first attempt was with Dawn.  Not knowing how much to dilute it (so little is used in a dishwashing situation) I decided to try a 10:1 water:Dawn mix to really hit it.  Not sure if a more dilute solution would be more or less effective to try.   I mixed the 1 part Dawn to 10 parts HOT water and put that in a spray bottle.  I then sprayed the entire lower side of the Shay with liberal amounts of this hot soapy mix and turned the connecting rod/piston mechanism by hand.   I then let it sit for about ½ hour and then went and hit it hard again before another ½ hour sit and the final hit with the soapy mix.  Then I took another spray water with clean HOT water and sprayed the heck out if, getting rid of all the soapy mix.  My impression was that the Dawn mix didn't do a thing for it.  After it had sat for some time it seemed to be just as frozen up as before.

      My thoughts now are that the valve gear have a lot of surfaces that just slide past each other, as well as the connecting rod to crankshaft areas.  When it seems freed up by rotation the gunk on these surfaces sheers and allows freer motion, but then after sitting, the gunk on the mating surfaces flows back together locking everything in place again.  So how to get rid of ALL the gunk on touching surfaces without complete disassembly. 

      So next I tried isopropyl alcohol (70%) in a spray bottle.  Again I liberally sprayed the mechanisms while turning by hand and almost immediately it seemed so much freer.  I then sprayed with hot water to flush the areas clean and let it sit.  To my disappointment, they stiffened up once more. I wasn't getting the mating surfaces truly clean.

      Today I gave the alcohol another go, but this time with a piece of spare brass tubing chucked into my electric drill, and the end inserted into one of the sliding couplings, I spun the crankshaft etc. mechanism continually while again spraying very liberally with isopropyl alcohol, hoping that it would make its way in between the mating surfaces eventually.  Perhaps it did, but I am not sure it really dissolves the gunk. After less than an hour, the mechanism is already stiffening up.  I would try penetrating oil if I thought it wouldn't harm the plastics.

      So I am still on the quest for a solution.  At this point, over lunch, the "management" of our railroad asked if I had tried contacting Bachmann about this issue.  It can't be unique.  So perhaps that is next.

      Dave

       

    • October 19, 2020 5:47 PM EDT
      • Not one of the WannaBe's,
         
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      Sorry I didn't elaborate on the Dawn but I don't mix it just straight from the container. Use a flux brush to spread it throughout the affected areas allow it to sit  a half hour, and then rinse under water hot or cold as you again use a new flux brush to move the grease/oil out of the model. Apply dawn again straight from the container and brush clean all the nooks and crannies

      I buy my flux brushes by the bag of 30 or so. they are a stiff bristle cheap brush use till they are clogged with grease then toss and use a new one. I really never thought of diluting the Dawn as I wanted it to adhere to each area.

       

      https://www.harborfreight.com/12-in-horsehair-bristle-acid-shop-brushes-36-pc-61880.html?cid=paid_google|||61880&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=&utm_content=&gclid=Cj0KCQjw8rT8BRCbARIsALWiOvTb0jel2czqshiM3uAYrxm8kIwbt8yYuo9WTmIy9on0xBDyZcnYA-caArJ8EALw_wcB

      https://www.amazon.com/Pro-Grade-Acid-Brushes-Count/dp/B01NBTV5V2/ref=asc_df_B01NBTV5V2/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=216743026518&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=9805380576860239190&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9006745&hvtargid=pla-419753936317&psc=1

       

      Above are two sources so you know what I use. Really any cheap stiff bristle brush will work. On larger non delicate pieces or areas I use a hand scrubber.

       

      https://www.justmanbrush.com/hygienic-hand-nail-brushes/?sku=919157BL&gclid=Cj0KCQjw8rT8BRCbARIsALWiOvQNWd__M4vANe7DskEUJobwUlFiKaWmy_w2btrISfn7TrdNXwvFaqYaAu2xEALw_wcB

       

       

      Dave

      This post was edited by David Marconi,FOGCH at October 19, 2020 5:49 PM EDT
    • October 19, 2020 6:55 PM EDT

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      VictoriaDave said:  I would try penetrating oil if I thought it wouldn't harm the plastics.

      Dave

       

      I have been using 5/30 and 0/20 Mobil 1 synthetic motor oil for years.

    • October 21, 2020 1:25 PM EDT
      • Victoria, BC
         
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      David Marconi,FOGCH said:

      Sorry I didn't elaborate on the Dawn but I don't mix it just straight from the container. Use a flux brush to spread it throughout the affected areas allow it to sit  a half hour, and then rinse under water hot or cold as you again use a new flux brush to move the grease/oil out of the model. Apply dawn again straight from the container and brush clean all the nooks and crannies

      Thanks for this reply.   Wow, that is interesting to me.  I always wondered whether straight detergent was more or less effective than the same detergent mixed with water in some proportions.  Not being a chemist, I had guessed it worked better with water.  So I need to try this for sure, but the suggested solution is really only likely to help remove the gunk from outside surfaces.  In my case, I think the main problem is the gunk in between working surfaces - valve gear surfaces rubbing together, crankshaft to connecting rod surfaces etc.   The gunk in these crevices seems to glue the whole mechanism together and I doubt straight Dawn is thin enough to penetrate there and certainly the brushes won't touch these areas.   My tests need to continue. 

       

       

      This post was edited by VictoriaDave at October 21, 2020 2:49 PM EDT
    • October 21, 2020 3:45 PM EDT
      • Not one of the WannaBe's,
         
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      in those really tight spots a tooth pick will help remove the main wad of grease then the ultra small glue brushes or dental floss brushes should help get the dawn in those areas and mix a drop of dawn with a single drop of water to thin it a tad

      and remember lightly brushing full strength dawn on those tight areas will work it in to the cracks just as the grease worked into the cracks

    • October 22, 2020 12:30 PM EDT
      • Victoria, BC
         
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      David Marconi,FOGCH said:

       dental floss brushes should help get the dawn in those areas and mix a drop of dawn with a single drop of water to thin it a tad

       

      Dental floss is a great idea and one that I will definitely try.  Also I note the ideas you sent me via a message and I will certainly take those into consideration also.  I think I will devise some sort of container whereby I can prop up the Shay at an angle with the cranskshaft area immersed into the container full of Dawn and just let it soak for a day or two.   Thanks for all your thoughts and good ideas.

       

      Dave

    • October 22, 2020 2:25 PM EDT
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      If you have any WD-40 around, give that a shot. 

      ____________________________________

      "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --Martin Luther King Jr

    • October 25, 2020 1:18 PM EDT
      • Victoria, BC
         
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      David Marconi,FOGCH said:

      in those really tight spots a tooth pick will help remove the main wad of grease then the ultra small glue brushes or dental floss brushes should help get the dawn in those areas and mix a drop of dawn with a single drop of water to thin it a tad

      and remember lightly brushing full strength dawn on those tight areas will work it in to the cracks just as the grease worked into the cracks

      OK, I followed this excellent advice almost to the letter and then went on from there.  With the Shay on its side, I dribbled full strength Dawn onto the areas where the thickened lubrication was gumming things up.   I then worked the crankshaft well with a piece of square stock chucked into my electric drill and slid into the coupling on the crankshaft.   Next I went into the tight crevices with dental floss, really working these areas trying to shift the gunk.  Then I built a little trough out of styrene.  I had to remove two screws that hold the entire piston / valve / crankshaft assembly so I could pull it away from the loco body slightly.  This let me slip my new trough up around the whole assembly.  I filled that initially with a 1:1 mixture of Dawn and HOT water to really let this assembly soak. 

       

      Every hour or so I would withdraw the mechanism out of the bath enough to couple up to my electric drill again and give it a good spin.  Then back into the bath.  I carried on with this for a day.   Then I removed it all from the bath, went over it all with Q-tips, pipe cleaners and dental floss and a small stiff brush.

      I still wasn't convinced all the gunk had been removed so I decided to repeat the bath but this time using a 1:1 mixture of Sunlight dishwasher detergent and HOT water, as shown in the photo above.  (I have always been impressed with Sunlight when I had a greasy mess to remove.)  Another day of soaking, hourly spinning etc.  Then back out to brush and attack with dental floss etc.  Then I replaced the bath mixture with just clean HOT water and soaked, spun a few times and then replaced the Hot water bath a few times to get rid of all the soap.  After a day of drying out, the mechanism seems to be finally quite free (but of course now completely without lubrication.  I will probably just leave it in this state until spring, when I will do a proper lubrication before putting it back out into service on the outdoor layout.

    • October 25, 2020 5:02 PM EDT
      • Not one of the WannaBe's,
         
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      Dave you might want to put a drop of grease on the works of each cylinder and give them a few turns to spread the grease instead of leaving them sit dry till spring. I would also set a hair dryer on low heat and work the drive as it gets blow dried to help get the damp out of the small crevices and hidden joints. Again give it a week or so to totally dry before any lube is applied. Glad it freed up for you

    • October 26, 2020 6:05 PM EDT
      • Victoria, BC
         
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      David Marconi,FOGCH said:

      Dave you might want to put a drop of grease on the works of each cylinder and give them a few turns to spread the grease instead of leaving them sit dry till spring. I would also set a hair dryer on low heat and work the drive as it gets blow dried to help get the damp out of the small crevices and hidden joints. Again give it a week or so to totally dry before any lube is applied. Glad it freed up for you

      I am really conflicted about lubrication now.   Since that stuff does seem to thicken over time, I am thinking of leaving it dry until spring and then giving it lubrication at that time so that I get the longest possible running time.  I presently have the Shay up on blocks, running the motors (with the drive shafts still not connected to the crankshaft) and brushing on bits of straight Dawn onto the bevel gears etc. to get the thickened gunk out of those areas also.  I will re-dab every hour or so for a while and then spray those areas with HOT water to get rid of the Dawn (and hopefully dissolved gunk).

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