Aristo's "Plastic [In]compatible" ELECTRALUBE Legacy!

Aristo's "Plastic [In]compatible" ELECTRALUBE Legacy!

Ted Doskaris
September 25, 2019
Rev A Initial Release

September 26, 2019
Rev B Added info. for obtaining replacement side frames



The Legacy!
Damage Examples
Repair Process
Aristo Replacement Components
FYI - Brake Shoes
Electralube Conductivity
Alternative Conductive Lube





A long time ago I had discovered the hard way that Aristo-Craft's Electralube lubricant is not plastic compatible contrary to what is indicated on the product's label. Having used this product to lube axle tips on many of Aristo's car trucks resulted in catastrophic side fame journal cracks or outright breakage. This issue was first brought to the attention of Aristo-Craft by initiating a thread on Aristo's Forum at that time (3/26/2006) - a copy of which is preserved within Greg's Lubrication Web page.  Unfortunately, follow on posts to that thread are not available which had built the case that identified the use of Electralube as the cause of the journal box failures. As a consequence, Aristo-Craft subsequently changed the plastic material used for the trucks and sent me many replacements parts.



The Legacy! - lives on

Way back when, I had done many repairs to fix damaged trucks on 50+ various cars,
but now years later I belatedly discovered yet another car with a broken journal box - illustrated below!

Not only does the label on the Electralube bottle claim "plastic compatible", but the Instruction manual for the car also stipulates its use as an optional axle lubricant!




Damage Examples

Illustrated below are a few Aristo freight truck failures.



Illustrated below are a few Aristo heavyweight passenger car truck failures.


Illustrated below is a sampling of broken and cracked freight truck side frames.



Repair Process - with Replacement Trucks


Repairs included replacing the truck with the then available Aristo ART-29101 truck pair assembly (which came with plastic wheels and no coupler). I use metal wheels in place of the plastic wheels. Of course, lubrication was now done with Labelle's PTFE powdered Teflon, and other tweaks were done to the truck to optimize its performance - illustrated below.

Because Aristo-Craft is no longer in business, its replacement trucks are not readily available. Substitute trucks can be used - illustrated below. (Another choice is to use replacement trucks from Kadee - albeit more costly.)

The slack reducing Nylon flat washer shown above (originally having large round outside diameter) was cut to fit which is why it has a square shape.

Washers are available from example sources as follows:

1/4" Screw, Grade 6/6 Nylon Standard Flat Washer
0.257" (6.53mm) ID x 1/2" OD, 0.031" (0.81mm) Thick

Other Choices of Nylon Flat Washers, ID = 0.253 X .031 thick


Aristo Replacement Components

Much to Aristo's credit, they had changed the plastic material to Nylon which is not subject to damage from Electralube. (The USA Trains plastic replacement truck appears to be Nylon, too.)
Aristo had sent me many replacement components - illustrated below.



Bushings in the side frames are made of a different material (perhaps Delrin). They are not adversely affected by Electralube. If need be these can be extracted from damaged sideframes for eventual use in replacement side frames - illustrated below.


Illustrated below are Aristo replacement (Nylon) freight truck side frames with separate bushings that Aristo had sent to me.


Bushings had to be inserted in the replacement side frame journal boxes.


Replacement Sideframes & Other Parts

Because Aristo is out of business, their side frames are no longer available.

Rather than replacing an entire truck for the sake of damaged side frames, replicated side frames can be obtained thanks to advent of 3-D printing.

Gilbert Lacroix's GLX Scale Models Inc., located in Ottawa, On, Canada makes 3-D printed replacement side frames for Aristo Bettendorf trucks in ABS plastic that apparently do not utilize separate plastic bushings, P/N "3DFA-2910102-02 BOXCAR SIDE FRAME (PAIR)".  They also make other parts for selected Aristo products.



FYI - Brake Shoes

When using metal wheels, the brake shoes (which are a separate component used in each side frame) should be examined - illustrated below.



Electralube Conductivity

Electralube is stated to be electrically conductive. An example resistance measurement is illustrated below.



Alternative Conductive Lube

A gold or silver low resistance type lube is better to use for low voltage, ampere/s draw conductivity prevalent in "G" scale locos and rolling stock with lights, etc. - albeit at high cost. I use this product on power connections to the tracks for my track powered layout.

Example Chemtronics Circuit Works Silver Conductive Grease, CW7100, can be obtained via Amazon.






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