"How to" Series

Cleaning & lubricating gears | Installing new wheelsets | Replacing U-joint: Steps 1 - ?


Removing cover plate


NOTE: Although not essential, clearning and relubing the gears will actually be much easier to perform before you install the decoder in the cab area.  Otherwise, it requires you to remove the mounted decoder from the foam tape.


Step 1 - Turn the locomotive over on its back and place it in a foam cradle or folded towel. Remove the two screws securing the geared wheelset plate.

Cleaning the gears


Step 2 - Lift out wheelsets and place the plate cover and wheelsets in a glass jar filled with mineral spirits to dissolve the old grease. (Unless you plan on replacing the wheelsets. If so, set them aside.) For a thorough cleaning of the gears, you will need to:


  1. Remove the hood and light board and unsolder the pickup wires from both sets of trucks to lift them out.  CAUTION: Do NOT lose the center truck spring between the chassis and the top of the truck.

  2. Remove the plastic cover on top of each truck gear column to get to the worm gear assembly.

  3. Lift the worm gear assembly and place it in the jar of mineral spirits.

  4. Use an eye dropper or plastic paint pipette (with the built-in bulb) to flush mineral spirits through the gears. Flush from both sides until all the old grease has been dissolved.  Any persistent sludge can be removed with a toothpick or tweezers.

  5. Use an old toothbrush and mineral spirits to remove old grease from wheelsets and worm gears

  6. Flush all degreased parts with Iso-propyl alcohol

  7. Dry inside gear column with compressed air and flush again with mineral spirits, if needed.  Clean with Isopropyl alcohol.

Replacement NWSL geared wheel sets


Step 3 -