Applying Commercial Automotive Transmission Lubricants to Model Railroad Gears

Save some money, one quart of ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) will last you though hundreds of locomotives, and years of service.

When test running some new locomotives of mine, I noticed a few noisy offenders and decided it was time to lubricate them.

LaBelle makes some awesome lubricant, but at $5 a bottle, its expensive.  Thinking back, I remember a certain thread on a forum, discussing using ATF.  Here's what I found.

  • One quart bottle of ATF, $2.19 at Auto Zone.
  • Two plastic, curved tip syringes from a Hobby Store, $4.95
  • Cap from an empty 1 gallon Gatorade bottle, $1.50 (cost of Gatorade!)

Carefully pour just a little bit of ATF into the bottle cap.  Using the syringe, suck up that ATF.  Carefully, and sparingly, dispense the ATF onto the gears of a gear box.

After some minor running, the noise should go away.  If it does not, then its time to completely dismantle the gear box, and re-lubricate every point of motion.

©2008/2020, Josh Baakko,