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RailRoad Modeling
For general topics on RailRoad modeling.
A couple of questions on couplers
md72
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Posted: Monday, December 28, 2015 - 02:08 AM UTC
The Model RR bug has bitten my grandson. He wanted an HO locomotive for Christmas (GP42 in Amtrak markings). I lucked into a small circle of track, at least until I fond the box with a lot more track in it. I did find a bunch of OLD rolling stock. A few kits my dad had started building over 60 years ago and a bunch from my childhood and maybe even some of my son's. About all they really have in common are mismatched, and broken couplers.

Does it make sense to weed through the functional stuff and replace the old couplers with new ones?

And considering that there are over 70 cars and engines in the stash, what coupler system makes the most sense?
windysean
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Posted: Monday, December 28, 2015 - 04:01 AM UTC
In HO, the industry standard now is the Kadee Company #5 "knuckle" coupler. Other companies like Accurail make a comparable one, but with a simpler integrated spring design. They are slightly large for scale, but work reliably on relatively flat track.
Some people are switching to scale couplers, but I'm more concerned about reliability myself, because the smaller size can lift and separate on smaller hills and valleys in the track.
As far as changing the older style "horn hook" couplers, they can be changed out usually pretty easily, depending on the make of the car.
Check that out.
Thanks,
Sean H
KoSprueOne
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Posted: Monday, December 28, 2015 - 08:15 AM UTC
I saw this post while I was at work so I couldn't reply until now.
Basically what Sean said.

Which type of coupler do these rolling stock have now?

Ram Horn hook coupler:
http://web4.hobbylinc.com/gr/hrp/hrp3013.jpg

Knuckle coupler:
http://www.internettrains.com/merchant2/graphics/00000002/LIF-1427.jpg

I think the knuckle coupler system is more sensible.




md72
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Posted: Monday, December 28, 2015 - 10:25 AM UTC
All of the above and then some, I think.

Lower left, horn hook from early 60's
Above that a knuckle coupler from the mid 80's
Horn hook from late 60's
Knuckle coupler from the early 50's, it has a hinge pin through the finger joint
35 cent knuckle kit from the early 50's
KoSprueOne
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Posted: Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - 09:13 AM UTC
Nice collection. I'd still go with knuckle couplers because you'll never really be "done" with a running RR layout.




North4003
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Posted: Thursday, December 31, 2015 - 07:32 PM UTC
Mike,
I use and like the Kay-Dee couplers. They have a number of different mountings and work every time. Even on older rolling stock they are worth the effort to retrofit the cars. BTW the replacement wheels are worth adding to rolling stock, 33" for freight and 36" typically for passenger. If you know the brand of the rolling stock you can use the Kay-Dee HO conversion table to find the coupler appropriate for the car or locomotive. http://www.kadee.com/conv/hocc.htm
md72
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Posted: Friday, January 01, 2016 - 11:00 AM UTC
Thanks. I went thru the Walthers catalog last night and dropped about $70 on various Kay-Dee couplers and tools. Lots of Bachman, Tyco and Atlas rolling stock. Even some Varney kits I built in the 60's.
JPTRR
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RAILROAD MODELING
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Posted: Tuesday, January 05, 2016 - 08:30 AM UTC
Hi Mark,

Looks like the gang got you squared away. Can't go wrong with Kaydees.

Thanks guys.
md72
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Posted: Tuesday, January 05, 2016 - 08:55 PM UTC
Well, we'll see. I finally got my order confirmation today (placed on 12/31). Are these guys trying to make the "S" teams for airplanes look good?
md72
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Posted: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 02:05 AM UTC
OK, so how do people that aren't mechanically inclined wade through changing couplers, or do they just avoid it??

I waded thru the suggested coupler exchanges for a Tyco / Mantua GP-20 on the Kadee site, neither of those looked right. Finally found a bunch of instructions on group sheet (#20-30 Couplers) that I was able to string together and get the GP-20 upgraded. Then I started off on a Bachman F-9, Oh boy. Sawing off bits, tapping new holes and cutting off screws... Is there an easier way??
windysean
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Posted: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 08:11 AM UTC
Consider converting your best models first, and weighing the effort on the others, I guess. Some conversions aren't bad, and some pieces are worth extra effort, but many may not be worth it.
Good luck!
-Sean H.
JPTRR
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RAILROAD MODELING
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Posted: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 08:57 AM UTC
Hey Mark,

I recall that the Bachmanns of today have different couple mounts than those of the 1980s and earlier. Is the coupler mounted on a bar extending from the truck? Or is it body mounted? Does the coupler have a box to mount to the loco?
md72
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Posted: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 09:57 AM UTC
I had to start with the engines, I had 2 and both were missing one coupler.
The Tyco GP 20 had the Talgo trucks, not covered as either the #9 or 38 on the Web.
The Bachman E 9 is marked Hong Kong, given its age, it could be pre China. It mostly matches a 37. The mount is molded as part of the base. I had to saw off the old box, build up the coupler assembly and try to put it all back on. Oops, no luck, the 0-80 screw is too short. The kit comes with a lng 2-56 screw, but I don't have a 2-56 tap. Three stores later I track down a tap and tap drill. I've got one end nearly done just have to trim off the excess length.
So rhe next steps are to figure out which cars to upgrade and try to find a new set of wheels for the GP 20. The plastic flanges are cracked and broken.
windysean
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Posted: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 10:57 PM UTC
If you're looking for a GP20, Walthers makes a good runner for only around $50, and then you wouldn't have to do any conversion or updates. I'm surprised a Tyco is still running, based on the age and motor type and brass components. I don't mean to tell you how to spend your money though, especially if the Tyco has sentimental value.
respectfully,
Sean.
md72
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Posted: Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 12:07 AM UTC
ya know, I don't really have a clue where this one came from. Could have been for my son's railroad, or something I picked up at a swap meet. It and the E 9 are probably the same vintage. Their long life is mostly due to being in storage for 20 years... Their prime advantage is that they're here. Bought the gs a Kato P42 for Christmas. But I wanted to break him into the whole take care of this stuff by starting with the older stuff.
windysean
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Posted: Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 01:01 AM UTC
That sounds like good advice for him.
thanks,
Sean