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...and should I have just rubbed it all over my track?? Does it make tires deteriorate faster or anything? The track is a beautiful shiny black color like it was when it was new. I was bored last night and it seemed like the right thing to do. Please tell me what I have done.

What happened was I bought a large used set with quite a bit of track that had been stored for five years and connected it to my existing track. I tried cleaning it but the cars would stop and start a lot.

If RailZip does what the bottle says it does, should I be putting it on my tjet shoes and brushes for better connectivity?
Thanks,
OB
 

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To answer your first question.....No. Rail zip is not WD-40

And no you did nothing wrong to your track. Many folks use it sparingly to recondition their track and give it that "glow". You ruined nothing.
I would not do it every week, but three or four times a year would be fine.

The rail zip is used on the contact points for your shoes. It reduces corrosion on copper, brass and silver. Lots of guys simply put a drop on a Q-tip and keep it in their pit box and give each shoe a quick rub between lanes. This lets that tiny bottle last a long time
 

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Actually, according to Gregory Braun's site www.hoslotcarracing.com click the "chemistry" link on the left... and I quote:

"The steel power rails in all brands of HO slot car track tend to oxidize (rust) when not in use. Model Railroading enthusiast often use a product called RailZip to slow the inevitable rail oxidation process.

Dexron ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) has essentially the same chemical properties as RailZip, but it's much more economical. A 1 quart bottle will cost about $2.00 and should last a lifetime.

Apply a small amount of Dexron ATF to a clean rag and then wipe it on just the steel power rails. Let it work overnight, and then the next day wipe up any remaining residue.

Dexron ATF has strong detergents for cleaning and anti-oxidants for retarding new rust formation. Best applied at the end of a night of racing." end of quote.


Hope that helps
Dan
 

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I have a great deal of respect for Mr Braun, but he's a software developer and not a chemical engineer. What's the "essentially the same" assessment based on, the published MSDS (material safety data sheet) or some other and more insightful knowledge of the actual formulation and performance of the two products for this application? Or perhaps empirical scientific research - "I tried it and it seemed to work?"

Are there any Chemical Engineers or chemists that can vouch for the equivalence of ATF and RailZip for this application?

I'm not disputing the claim at all, I'm just a little skeptical of quoting a source if you don't know what's behind it. You did quote it, which is exactly the right thing to do. Hey, it could be 100% true, just like everything else that's published on the Internet is. ;) It could also be wrong.

I also have nothing against empirical and experience based knowledge. When I want to learn about the best ways to make a slot car go fast, I'm going to talk to the best slot car racer I can find. The last person I would ask would be an electrical or mechanical engineer, unless they also have better qualifying credentials, like a Nats championship under their belt.
 

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As a chemist, I wish I could help here. But, looking at the MSDS, I can't tell. The entire composition of Railzip is listed as proprietary and confidential on the MSDS, and is not disclosed. ATF is 85% mineral oil (highly refined paraffinic oil), and 15% additives, which are not identified. There are some minor differences (flashpoint, evaporation rate, HMIS data) in the MSDS's that would indicate that the Railzip people are probably not just repackaging transmission fluid, and selling it as track cleaner. I don't believe the mineral oil base of the ATF will harm the track, but don't know what the additives are. I agree, unless someone has first hand knowledge, has actually used it, my recommendation would be to try it out on a spare piece of track. Maybe someone has an extra old rusty 9" curve that could be sacrificed to the slot gods in the quest for knowledge?????
 

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I have been using ATF on my Tyco track for some time (about a year) and it seems to work well for me. I have experienced no problems and the rails are always ready to use. I let the track sit for 3-4 months (I bought another track) and when I put power to the track all lanes except one worked fine. The bad lane was due to "electrical contact issues" and was quickly fixed. I believe Blackstone labs will test fluids (they did my oil when I had a ford diesel) and could probably tell you what you want to know much better than I can.

I will continue to use it and expect the same great results until I no longer get those results. Nothing against railzip but I would rather use something I already have on the shelf at a considerable savings....

Of course most folks think WD-40 is oil as well....lol

If you are interested http://www.bat-jet.com/mascar/dans.html The left track is the TOMY I built last year (2008) and the Right one is a much larger 6 lane custom routed.

Thanks
Dan
 

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What happened was I bought a large used set with quite a bit of track that had been stored for five years and connected it to my existing track. I tried cleaning it but the cars would stop and start a lot.
This is an electrical issue, most likely oxidation on the rails and piece-to-piece electrical connections. Get some 1000 grit sandpaper or emery cloth, mount it on a wooden block, and very lightly sand the rails on the old track until they are shiny. Then wipe the entire track clean with a lint free rag sprayed with isopropyl alcohol. Wipe it down until you no longer get any black residue on the cleaning cloth. Do the same thing with the track connections. Whether or not you use Rail-Zip or anything else, it's very important to get the oxidation off the track first. Once you get the rail clean and start running cars on it, you should not have to repeat the sanding step for a very long time, if ever.

Also, clean the pickup shoes on your cars. The cheapest way to do this is a pen eraser, the gray ones. A pink pencil eraser works okay but not as well. If you have a Dremel rotary tool, a steel wire wheel running at a fairly slow speed will also work as will a rubber/silicone cleaning wheel specifically designed for polishing metal.

The biggest factors in track performance is the environment and the electrical design. Your long term results from any cleaning regimin will depend more on where the track is located and how well the track is wired than any other factors. Clean and low humidity with lots of power taps is good, dirty and high humidity with few power taps is bad. I only clean my track with 90% isopropyl alcohol lightly sprayed on a microfiber cloth. This gets up any residual oil (deposited from over oiled cars) and dust. Works great and I have never have had a single electrical problem. I also have 6 power taps on an 82 foot running length and the track is in a climate (heat, cool, and humidity) controlled space.
 
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