Rolling Stock Maintenance – The Wheel Doctor
Rolling Stock Maintenance – Wheel Doctor
Keeping track & loco wheels clean is an essential part of running a model railway. There is various tools for cleaning powered driven wheels on locos but what about the non powered wheels on locos & rolling stock? These can be cleaned by hand using any thing from a track rubber, cleaning fluid / solution, to using a rotary tool with a soft brass brush wheel attachment.
We’re going to look at one device called ‘The Wheel Doctor’, this has been on the market for many years now. Produced by a company called Bachrus this device has two functions, these being to clean any non-powered wheels & also as a diagnostic tool.
The Wheel Doctor comes in a self contained hard plastic shell case complete with a double sided instruction sheet. In the case is two removable sponge pads, motor driving roller bar via continuous belt drive, two wires connected to the motor & a button to operate roller. The roller is covered in rubber type material to aid grip on the wheels being cleaned.
You’ll need to connect the two wires to a suitable 12V power supply to power the motor. Bachrus say you can use up to 20V (AC or DC) to power the motor with out doing any harm to it.
The Wheel Doctor will work a variety of scales so ideal for if you run various gauge / scale model railways.
The sponge pads sit in two tubs which help contain any cleaning fluid, as well as prevent them from moving whilst in use. One sponge pad is use for cleaning the dirt whilst the other helps remove any cleaning fluid.
Use a cleaning fluid / solution of your choice such as those shown on the right.
Bachrus advise to avoid using cleaners that are designed to remove petroleum based residue such as Goo Gone!! In their words they say it’ll give the drive shaft a bad case of Reflux.
Now repeat for the other axle on this wagon.
Any excess cleaning fluid wipe off the model.
Wheel Diagnostic Tool
The Wheel Doctor can also be used as a wheel diagnostic tool. First clean the wheels as dirt build up can cause wheels to shimmy.
- For a wheels on a bogie Bachrus suggest first removing the bogie with wheels still in place.
- Place wheel set directly onto the top of the drive shaft but not into the cleaning pads.
- Start the the drive shaft & look for any deflection from the wheels or axles.
- A deflection in the axle could be a cause of a wheel wobble.
- If the wheels jump up or down this could be caused by an imperfection on the bearing surface on the axle ends.
- Check the wheel tread manually for any cracks or other imperfections
If any issues are found then corrective action can be taken to fix or replace any problem issues. Having used this Wheel Doctor Tool for many years I highly recommend well adding to your loco tool box.
(At the time of writing the company Bachrus is up for sale. More details to be found at www.bachrus.com)