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Operating Tips for American Flyer Trains

The following are some TIPS that will help in the operation of all electric trains.
We hope they help newcomers to the hobby of collecting and operating.

One of the most important factors which causes poor operation of electric trains is dirty track. Track Cleaner is specially formulated to cut through the type of dirt build up on track.

Make sure the power to the rails is turned off.

1. Dampen a soft cloth with Track Cleaner.
2. Rub the cloth over the tops of the rails. Use firm pressure.
3. Then with the use of a dry cloth wipe the rails.
4. Reapply on any stubborn areas.
5. This should be done every few days if the trains are in constant use, or before using after a long period of non-use.
If severe oxidation exits or light rust is present, it may be necessary to use a fine sand paper, and buff the top and inside surface of the rails. Then follows steps 1 to 4.
NEVER use steel wool. And NEVER use any flammable liquids as a track cleaner.
Track Cleaner can also be used to clean the metal pick up wheels and pick up shoes.

Reverse units should be cleaned and lubricated periodically, specially formulated cleaners not only clean and lubricates, but also promotes good electrical contact.

A few drops of cleaner should be places on all the contact points of the moving parts. Such as the pawl, drum axle etc. Also a few drops should be spread on the reverse unit drum.
It is especially important on AMERICAN FLYER “E” Units which have had sticking problems, to apply a liberal amount of cleaner to the pivot point where the pawl is connected to the actuating plate. Activate the unit manually several times, and apply more cleaner.

All Plastics are prone to oxidation, that’s the white material that can be seen on the surface.
Plastic Cleaner gently cleans all plastic’s with out scratching. Leaves a lustrous shine that resists fogging, repels dust and eliminates static. Protects against smudges, scratching and oxidation.

Plastic shells, couplers and all other plastic parts on accessories, transformer cases, etc.

1. Remove surface dust with soft cloth.
2. Shake well. Apply a small amount of cleaner on a clean cloth.
3. Spread evenly over the entire surface to be cleaned.
4. Buff with a clean, soft, lint free cloth.
5. For stubborn cases, such as oxidation, (white surface residue), rub the cleaner into the surface, then buff.
If severe oxidation exits it may be necessary to use a hair dryer to soften the oxidation. EXTREME CARE MUST BE TAKEN.
Only heat the plastic until the white oxidation turns clear. Then wipe it away and treat the item starting with step 2.

Proper lubrication can not be stressed enough. An engine that is not properly lubricated will draw too many amps and will over heat the motor and burn it out. Cars wheels that are not properly lubricated will drag and overheat the engine motor.

It is very important to use the proper lubricant with the proper viscosity.

OIL is a high quality general purpose oil. It can be used on all points on accessories, that require oil.

LIGHT OIL is a very low viscosity oil, for lubricating moving parts, such as valve gear and car wheels.

MEDIUM DUTY OIL Best oil to use on motor bearings.

PEN OILER a new High Tech oil in a convenient pen oiler. This oil can be used almost anywhere.
The high viscosity, allows it to coat and stick to surfaces. Plastic safe.

GEAR OIL is a high viscosity oil, specifically designed for gears. Will cling to gear teeth surfaces.

DRY GRAPHITE is a superb lubricant, and helps reduce friction. Use in areas not conducive to liquid oils.

Grease is a high quality medium fiber grease meant for gears and delicate moving parts.

It only takes a small amount on a regular basis to achieve excellent results. Grease and oil should be used every 30 days or after about 10 running hours.

Most American Flyer steam type locomotives are equipped with a smoke and choo choo unit, so they resemble their prototypes in every respect. Proper care is essential for continued long lasting smoke. Using the wrong smoke fluid can clog the unit. And operating the unit for long periods without fluid in them can cause them to burn out. The choo-choo sound is accomplished by the movement of a piston in a cylinder, which forces air through a small hole and against a baffle plate. The same air then follows through the smoke chamber and out of the smoke stack. A heating element, wound around a glass wick which is saturated with fluid, causes the smoke, and the passing air pushes it out the stack in very realistic puffs.

When the smoke in your locomotive diminishes and a refill is needed, insert the small funnel into the tube in the smoke stack.
Then open the nozzle on a bottle Smoke Fluid and squeeze the liquid into the funnel; put it in slowly, so it has a chance to flow down into the reservoir and not spill over the sides.
Do not over fill, use only 8 to 10 drops.
You can attempt to clean out a smoke unit, by filling it with Smoke Fluid and letting it stand overnight without use. Then turn the engine over, placing a cloth under the engine and allowing the fluid to drain back out.

General cleaning of all types of train equipment can be done with any mild soap and a few simple tools. A small brush, clean rags and a little elbow grease will do the job. The most important thing is to take care around lettering and to dry each item thoroughly.

Disclaimer: Guides are submitted by readers and the views expressed belong solely to the author.

rfgco on Email
Owner and operator of The RF Giardina, Co., Inc. (RFGCO.com) since 1969.
Manufacturer of parts and supplies for American Flyer Trains and all other Toy Trains and Model Railroading. Selling mail order since 1969 and online since 1996.

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