Track cleaning cars.

John Moore Jan 26, 2018

  1. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Installing some track today that had been in storage for several years so I broke out of storage my track cleaning car that uses both a liquid and a rotary wheel. Besides not clearing my turnouts it was not running and a examination showed that somehow cleaning solution had gotten into the motor in the past and the motor was shot. Looking at Aztec they have a car based on a 36 foot roundhouse model and another based on a 40 foot car. Now that 36 footer would probably fit the bill for my curvature. So my question does anyone have the Aztec products and what pros and cons if any?
     
  2. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    John,

    I have several and they work quite will for me and do recommend you try one out. Just place in a train right behind the power. Don't need to run it all the time but every now and then for maintenance. If track has just been ballasted or if it has not been run for some time you many have to go over it by hand first with a bright boy.
     
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  3. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks. I had the one that is now in circular file 13. At almost 60 feet long it was to big for the original Turtle Creek so I built several Masonite pad cars using a 36 foot flatcar, which are somewhere deep in a box from the move still. They worked somewhat well but now looking for something better and that short length caught my eye for my 8 inch radius.
     
  4. emaley

    emaley TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have one in N and one in Z and absolutely love them both. Each successful loop gets better and better. I try to run them often and things give me fewer issues than before I got them. I will get a few more in the future.

    Trey
     
  5. Greg Elmassian

    Greg Elmassian TrainBoard Member

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    Have one in G and 2 in Z, highly recommended.

    Greg
     
  6. WFOJeff

    WFOJeff TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Brad,

    I went to their website and see 4 types of rolling stock for N scale.
    I guess my first issue is with limited Railroad choice I guess maybe it doesn't really matter since it is a tool...
    It is confusing to see such a large difference in pricing of the rolling stock from model to model.
    Predator™

    Eliminator™
    Steam / Early Diesle Era Boxcar Track Cleaner
    Wood Boxcar Track Cleaner
    Then I see the decision tree-
    Cratex® Rollers
    Sidewinder™ Rollers
    Cobra™ Rollers

    I am thinking in the bay area Northern Ca. that the Cratex is sufficient? I do use a brightboy to address the rails and I make a point of keeping the added ballast down low to avoid mainly knuckle scraping...

    You have recommendation?
    thanks
     
  7. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I am leaning toward the 36 foot car but I don't know if the couplers are truck mounted or not. The advantage for me would be in that car with truck mounted couplers making it even more flexible for my 8 inch radius, plus when I get the port area built it would be ideal for the tight dockside and port industry tracks. I also will be running it ahead or behind a lash-up of 44 or 70 tonners and probably with a couple of my Masonite pad flatcars. So I am still asking if anyone has the one based off the 36 foot roundhouse model. At some point maybe I will invest in a wet cleaning car since there is one based on a small tank car by another company. But for now I will stick to the abrasive cleaning. I am now located in a maritime environment also. Not far from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean plus two rivers and Mobjack Bay all within a few miles. So time will tell how this environment is on the track. However the layout is in a room with HVAC.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
  8. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Mine are all 40ft cars as when I got them my layout had tight turns and my era was earlier. The shorter cars will work just as well on large radius turns too. The Cratex roller type would be the place to start.

    Years ago when I bought mine he was in San Mateo and did all the local shows. I was able to pick out what I wanted from his table. You are correct in that road names may be limited. I would suggest the MW car as it would fit in anywhere.
     
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  9. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks for the input all who commented. My original car was one marketed by Atlas and I believe an import by them. It was an effective car both wet cleaning, and had a motorized rotary abrasive disc, plus able to also serve as a vac. Biggest issue with that car was it's size at almost the length of an E unit so it was only suited to large radius curvature.
     
  10. NARLIE

    NARLIE TrainBoard Member

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    I've been using the Predator a 40' gon with body mount couplers(TS1116). Comes equipped with 3 roller options. (Cratex, canvas and wipes)
    Does a good job but I had problems with a flaky MT truck, kept losing an axle, so changed it out. I agree with previous comments; Cratex roller is fairly light so heavy cleaning needs manual intervention not just the Predator.
     
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  11. GP40X

    GP40X TrainBoard Member

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    I have an older Eliminator that uses a Micro Trains body with a Cratex roller and it works very well.
     
  12. Rocket Jones

    Rocket Jones TrainBoard Member

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    When I ordered mine a few years ago I wound up talking directly to the guy on the phone. He answered some questions for me. Very happy with what I got.
     
  13. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have one of the centerline cars. Works okay when I want to fool with using it. Does make me wonder if one of the Aztec dry rollers would work in this car.

    Also run one of the old Roco 40 ft box cars with the Masonite pad under it on a regular basis. Converted it to M/T's, painted it grey, and lettered it MoW so that it can just look like an old in transit piece of equipment in a mixed freight. Actually need to look at the next train show and see if I can luck up and find another one or two of these.
     
  14. Jim Reising

    Jim Reising In Memoriam

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    Figure I oughta give you the benefit of my experience. I run the Aztec Predator as my cleaner of choice. (The "guy" mentioned above is likely John Claudino, all around decent fella.)

    I've tried Centerline. I've tried Atlas. The Predator - in my opinion - is best of show.

    I don't run cleaners very often; I found my dirt problems went away when I switched to metal wheels (because of signalling).

    When I do, I run a wet Han-D-Wipe roller. And a dry Han-D-Wipe roller. Or rollers, to be exact. Yes, that's correct, I run several cleaning cars.

    Bear in mind The Sub is a large railroad, and I'm not gonna spend all my time cleaning track. The Predators do the job very well.

    I run the wet roller ahead of a well car and the power. I've been using mineral spirits because as a polar chemical it simply works better than non-polar chemicals like alcohol and contact cleaner (see the article in a recent issue of MRH). If I didn't use mineral spirits, I would use Goo Gone, which I did for many years.

    Following the power is another well car and then multiple Predators with dry Han-D-Wipe rollers When I see the cloth material get dirty, I snip off a short length. So what's going on here is the mineral oil gets on the rails and is smooshed in by the well car wheels and the power (typically two six axle units), and the dry rollers pick up the residue. And by snipping off the dirty end, the dirt is off the layout for good.

    But why, you may ask, is the Predator better? Same reason ALL the Aztec cars are better at what they do - the rollers run at a very small angle, and therefore tend to slightly scrub the rails. Aztec is the only one to do this. It works.

    Good luck!
     
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  15. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    That is some great insight Jim. Thank you!
     
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  16. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I am probably going to order two of Aztec's cars, the Predator and the 36 foot car. Then if I can find my Masonite pad cars I will be able to run a lash-up of cleaning cars.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
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  17. SD75MAC

    SD75MAC TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have at least 6 Aztec track cleaners dating back to the late '90s. So I have some that are not made anymore, like a SF Hi-Cube boxcar with a liquid tank for running the track cleaner with a wet roller. I even have 2 cleaners in SP Daylight colors. Needless to say, I love my cleaners and during train shows, at least one cleaner is running on each train I run. A very happy camper for 20 years.[​IMG]
     
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  18. WFOJeff

    WFOJeff TrainBoard Member

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    Just as an FYI-I just went to the Aztec website to buy one of those and I happened to see this on the website. You may have already purchased or found the answer

    Equipped with Micro-Trains® trucks and body mounted Magne-Matic® couplers.

    (9" minimum radius)
     
  19. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I did to both statements. The Roundhouse wood boxcar needs to have the overhang below the underframe of the ends filed off smooth with the bottom in order to use MT trucks and was something I was familiar with regarding Roundhouse cars. Also the MT coupler if truck mounted needs to have the trip pin with no protrusion above the coupler. With truck mounted couplers I am able to snake around 7.5 and 8 inch radius.
     
  20. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

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    I have what I believe is an eliminator and it works very well. The website confuses me, because it states that "The hard black anodized aluminum chassis cleaning mechanism is housed in a special run Atlas® 21000 series boxcar." I think "Atlas" is a typo. a 21000 series MT is a 40' plug door boxcar, and that is exactly what mine is. That being the case, I swapped the orange MW for a boxcar red CGW shell and it looks great in any freight I run. Roadname selection doesn't matter if you have an existing collection of 21000 series MT, which for those modeling a few decades back, most probably do.
     

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