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Old 09-05-2018, 11:47 AM   #1
minipix
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Default Bachmann J72 pickup

I recently bought myself a Bachmann J72 tank engine (on DC), and very nice it is too. However, I've noticed that it's quite jerky, as if it's not making a very good electrical connection. It's certainly nowhere near as smooth as my Hornby J93, which is also 0-6-0.

I took the J72 apart just now to see how it all works, and basically the wheel axles themselves are the conductive bit, sitting on a metal frame that's isolated on each side. The axles presumably need to be suitably lubricated so that the wheels will go round, but at the same time there needs to be good electrical contact between the axle and the frame resting on it. Do I need some special sort of conductive grease in there, rather than 'normal' loco lubrication? I've given everything a wipe down to get rid of the muck and stuff that was in there (the loco was second hand), and it's a bit better, but nowhere near as smooth as I'd like it. Any suggestions?
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Old 09-05-2018, 12:18 PM   #2
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I hardly ever lubricate my locos. Try it with dry axles. Peco make an oil Electrolube might be what you could use.

Edit: now called Power-lube
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Old 09-05-2018, 01:03 PM   #3
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Dont use grease! They are known as split chassis locos. I've run mine dry or almost dry. I think in past years I may have used a very thin spray oil. I spent ages cleaning them up after. If you do use something, consider a very thin oil. The Peco powerlube that WTD suggested may be ok. Best find a way to dab a tiniest amount without applying oil directly to the chassis. I find that if over oiled, it takes ages to get the oil off. In the past I've used GT85, which at first works OK, but as it contains teflon, the teflon remains after the dampness goes and acts as an insulator, so it did not have the effect I wanted it to have.
I have four or five class 03's using split chassis designs (By Mainline and Bachmann... Both different) and they all run very well once one has given the areas where the axles contact the chassis a good clean.
What I have used in the past is electrical contact switch cleaner and it works well BUT beware. Some makes can attack paintwork so make sure the body of the loco is no where near if trying one of these sprays.
Peco used to do a product called Electroclean which was in such high demand that I never did manage to get my hands on one! I actually saw it being used when years ago I bought a high milage secondhand Mainline J72 and the seller sprayed it and it really brought the loco to life! It ran well for ages untill it finally wore its con rods through. I still have it somewhere. I need to make new rods for it.
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Old 09-05-2018, 10:52 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice folks. I'll try to give it a more thorough clean and see if that helps!
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Old 22-05-2018, 08:03 AM   #5
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Good news! I've cleaned everything up on the J72 and it now runs much better. I cleaned out the connections on the split chassis and the axles to make sure they were nice and dry, and I also cleaned the wheels with a fibreglass pen so that they were nice and shiny, and it now runs really well. Still not quite as smooth as my Hornby J93, but I expect that's partly due to the age and the condition of the motor. The J72 motor itself still seems a bit loud to me, but I'm going to try to run it in for an hour or so sometime soon to see if that helps.

So thank you to MG and WTD for your advice and help, much appreciated.
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Old 22-05-2018, 09:22 AM   #6
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It is nice to be thanked and even better if advice works
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Old 22-05-2018, 11:47 AM   #7
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Glad you've got it to work.
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