Large Scale Central

Time to Replace LGB Drive Wheels?


I have been taking advantage of garden therapy to cycle my locomotives around the Triple O to make sure they are all working. Naturally, the B’mann 4–6-0 North Star failed, but I am used to that. What I did find unusual after running our LGB “Stainz” 'Oma’o is that the little guy left brass dust in turnout frogs:

Turning 'Oma’o over, I noted that the “silver” coating on one driver had worn away:

The wheels on the top of the picture were passing through the frogs.

Two quick questions"

  1. Should I be worried about this dust getting into the motors of my other trains and shorting things out?
  2. Is this a reason to replace the drivers?

'Oma’o’s history may help trouble shoot. The loco came to Hawaii in 1998 as part of larger shipment of LGB trains to family on the rural North Shore based on a receipt in my possession. 'Oma’o came to us as part of a larger “dump” that included that family’s entire collection via couple that bought and sold abandoned storage lockers. Evidence suggested the entire lot probably served as Christmas decorations before going into hibernation for an indeterminant amount of time. The wear on the pick-up shoes is almost certainly from Triple O service, but I a surprised to see that sort of wear on the wheels.

Thanks as always!


Having owned LGB engines for some 40 plus years I have never done anything except replace the sliders and remove the motor block bottom and generally clean and lube the gears. As far a dust getting into the drive system I personally would think this wouldn’t be a problem, but I have seen where the axles wear in the motor block mounts (plastic) become sloppy, this area should have a little grease put on it from time to time. One question, is the brass on the wheels coming from the track, or are the wheel coatings actually wearing off, I have never seen this before, but would I worry about it, no.



In answer to your question, I do use “greenie weenies” (Navy for ScotchBrite pads) to clean the tracks, and I have to give the contacts between blade and switch rails a particular large amount of elbow grease to ensure continuity. I’ve just never observed brass dust. The loco itself had a bright brass band around the flange, where presumably the coating has worn away, but that was on the non-frog side of the loco that day. The others showed some wear. I was running another loco the day before with sliders worn to the point of translucence. Maybe that’s the source?

It would be interesting to track this down, but I am relieved that it is nothing to worry about!


as far, as i remember from german forums - you generally have to start worrying about your wheels, when the coating falls off in flakes.

as you are using a lot of sharp curves, you can expect to collect some of the brass from the inner side of the outer railheads on the sides of the wheelflanges.

your rails on the pic don’t look very shiny. so it might be notable, if you got curves with shiny sides of railheads on outer rails.

Do you always run in the same direction? It looks like just one side is wearing down. Would this be the side of the loco that is pressing on the outside of the track rail? If you always run clockwise try going counter clockwise for a while and spread out the wear.


In fact, we do always run the trains counter-clockwise for reasons lost to Triple O history. Guess we will have to break with tradition!


I read a article some years ago where a modeler tried to turn down the LGB wheels on his lathe to make the flanges more to scale size. Not sure what lathe he was using, maybe a hobby lathe, and turning down steel wheels with plastic centers would probably limit to what you could do. I would think if this is a concern for you I would just buy and new motor block and be done with it, I wouldn’t just buy wheels with axles, because there must be other parts in the block would also need replacing.


Thanks. I think I’ll just run it as is until it wear out then, which will probably be some time in 2097.