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Modifing N scale MT couplers to reduce side motion - SOLUTION FOUND

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PED
  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • 358 posts
Modifing N scale MT couplers to reduce side motion - SOLUTION FOUND
Posted by PED on Sunday, June 10, 2018 9:20 PM

I have a situation (backing a long heavy train) where the range of side to side motion in a N scale MT coupler is much greater than needed and is helping the trucks to jump the track due to the added leverage of a coupler that is cocked all the way to one side. I should note that the problem couplers are truck mounted and sit on the end of a long drawbar with the trucks set well back under long cars. This combination puts a lot of leverage on the trucks and causes them to jump the track. Body mounts will not work on these cars. 

I have two possible options to consider.

1) Add shims to the inside of the coupler to restrict its range of motion. This may not be possible since some of that space is also needed to allow the coupler to open and close properly.

2) Change to McHenry couplers on these cars. I already have a few cars with McHenry couplers installed by the Mfg and I find that they work well with my other MT couplers. I also noted that they do not cock to one side when backing as bad as my MT do. I think this change would greatly reduce the angles that the current MT drawbar/coupler combo apply to the trucks and reduce derailments when in reverse. However, I have heard comments that the McHenry coupler will not stand up to the stress of a long heavy train like the MT will.

Would prefer to avoid the hassel of modifying my MT couplers if possible. My intitial plan is to to experiment with some McHenry couplers on a few cars and see how it works. If this works, would not try to modify the MT.

Looking for comments or any other options.

Paul

Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Circa 1970's in south central Oklahoma

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 2,548 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, June 10, 2018 9:27 PM

Backing moves with long heavy trains are problematic in any scale.

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You are not going to like this... but my best advice is to alter your operations so there is not a need to back a long train.

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Sorry.
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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

PED
  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • 358 posts
Posted by PED on Monday, June 11, 2018 8:26 AM

SeeYou190

Backing moves with long heavy trains are problematic in any scale.

.

You are not going to like this... but my best advice is to alter your operations so there is not a need to back a long train.

.

Sorry.
.

-Kevin

.

 

Agree. I don't back this train unless I have to.  This consist of cars are 25 N scale Red Caboose Bi-Levell Auto Racks. They weigh about 1.75 oz each so the whole consist weighs almost 3 lbs. Thats a lot to back up. The only time I back them up is when I make a mistake in routing and send them down the wrong track and need to back them out. I may need to rely on my 0-5-0 helper get them out of that jam. They do pretty good up to about 15-17 cars but any more and they start derailing in reverse. However, I am still going to play with them and see what I can do to improve the situation.

Paul

Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Circa 1970's in south central Oklahoma

  • Member since
    May, 2012
  • 1,565 posts
Posted by angelob6660 on Monday, June 11, 2018 10:28 AM

I have MT couplers that I want to exchange into accumate couplers. That way I don't get the side by side, jointing up and down. It's looks unrealistic when a train travels slow or backing up.

Modeling the G.N.O. Railway, The Diamond Route.

Amtrak America, 1971-Present.

  • Member since
    March, 2012
  • 478 posts
Posted by trwroute on Monday, June 11, 2018 1:34 PM

Body mount couplers...I know you said that is not an option, but I have never seen a car where it couldn't be done.  In one way or another...

Chuck - Modeling in N scale and anything narrow gauge

  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: OH
  • 16,380 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, June 11, 2018 3:23 PM

SeeYou190
You are not going to like this... but my best advice is to alter your operations so there is not a need to back a long train.

Kevin,One should be able to back a long train its not that hard to do even in N Scale.

Slow speed and smooth control with smooth track work is a must.

Also slow speed and smooth control  requires wrist control training. No herky jerky movement on the throttle and no Tommy overspeed..

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
PED
  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • 358 posts
Posted by PED on Monday, June 11, 2018 7:18 PM

trwroute

Body mount couplers...I know you said that is not an option, but I have never seen a car where it couldn't be done.  In one way or another...

 

The problem is not body mounting. That would be easy to do with these cars. I think the problem would come in operations. Lots of overhang beyond the trucks. My curves are big and should not be a problem but I don't think they could handle turnouts - forward or backwards. Very similar to long passenger cars. They avoid body mount for same reason.

I am willing to experiment but I do not want to damage any of these cars then find out it will not work.

Paul

Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Circa 1970's in south central Oklahoma

PED
  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • 358 posts
Posted by PED on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 12:35 PM

PED

 

 
trwroute

Body mount couplers...I know you said that is not an option, but I have never seen a car where it couldn't be done.  In one way or another...

 

 

 

The problem is not body mounting. That would be easy to do with these cars. I think the problem would come in operations. Lots of overhang beyond the trucks. My curves are big and should not be a problem but I don't think they could handle turnouts - forward or backwards. Very similar to long passenger cars. They avoid body mount for same reason.

I am willing to experiment but I do not want to damage any of these cars then find out it will not work.

 

Time for me to eat crow. Howerver, the outcome is good.

Earlier I discounted the option of body mounting a coupler on these very long cars. I eventually came to the conclusion that anything other than a body mount would not achieve the results I wanted. After some google research, I finally found a site where they did successfully mount body couplers on N scale Auto Racks but they did not give much info on how well they performed in curves and crossovers which was my main concern. As a result, I decided to bite the bullet and mod a few cars with body mounts and see what happens.

These cars come stock with MT 1019 couplers on a MT truck. The 1019 is mounted on a long bar connected to the truck since the wheels are set so far back.

I wanted to minimize damage in case this did not work so the first thing I tried was to remove the stock trucks and coupler and install a MT 1015. Body mounting point is thick plastic so there was no problem mounting a coupler with a 00-90 mounting screw. However, with the stock coupler/bar removed, the truck would not sit correctly on the bolster since the original coupler bar acted as a spacer under the truck. Added a red washer and got it back together but it still did not sit right. Fixed this later below. This combo worked well except that the MT 1015 sits too low to mate properly.

The stock coupler is an underslung coupler so I pulled the MT 1015 and installed a MT 2004 which is an underslung version of the 1015. This worked great but the truck mounting was still not great.

I tried this setup on several cars then ran them (forward and reverse) around curves and through some turnouts (Kato #6) and Kato double crossovers. They preformed well so I was OK with this arrangement on a broader scale. In the web site discussing this same conversion, they reused the stock couplers so that was my next step. This requires you to cut the stock 1019 coupler into two pieces.

First, cut off the piece that connects to the truck and reuse it under the truck just like it was installed. This keeps the truck in the proper position on the bolster and it roll good. If you have a sharp thin cutter like a sprue cutter, you can snip the coupler bar off without needing to remover the truck. The truck is held on with a plastic pin which can be damaged when removing. Cutting the bar while truck is still installed avoids this risk.

Second, the 1019 coupler now sits on a short piece of the original mounting bar. The coupler lid is held on with a plastic pin. You need to remove the pin but the lid (and spring) will pop loose unless you touch a soldering iron to the back corners to seal lthe lid in place. On the top side of the coupler, you will see the end of the plastic pin. Use small drill bit to push the pin out. Now cut off the reminents of the bar. This will leave you with a coupler that you can mount with a standard 00-90 mounting screw. On the Red Caboose cars, they have a small circle where you mount the coupler. Drill your mounting hole in the center of this circle.

If you later decide to return to stock, you can buy a new 1019 coupler and bar from MT The only evidence you did this mod is the mounting hole which is covered up by the 1019 coupler

 

Paul

Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Circa 1970's in south central Oklahoma

  • Member since
    March, 2012
  • 478 posts
Posted by trwroute on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 1:51 PM

Good to hear.  Body mounting solves a lot of issues when running a train in reverse.  Glad you figured it out!

Chuck - Modeling in N scale and anything narrow gauge

  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: belgium
  • 793 posts
Posted by Marc_Magnus on Thursday, June 14, 2018 9:56 AM

 

I can agree with the fact MT couplers are responsible of difficulties in backwards motion.

The problems are coming from other factors, but not from the couplers.

 MT couplers are far better than any clones, there is no matching quality on the market.

The nickname of MT couplers "Cadillac of the couplers" is not usurpated.

Most of the troubles when you run a train in backwards come from the non body mounted couplers and further from the radius of the curves.

I model in N scale since nearly it exist on the market and reverse train run as well as the other scale if you follow some easy rules.

1. Body mount all the couplers including passengers cars

2. Cars need to weight as minimum as NMRA recommandation, over weight is not a trouble.

3.Check all the wheelset for gauge; they must be in gauge with a NMRA gauge

4.Your track need to be as fine tuned as possible, but it's also important for foward running, check it again and again, check all the turnouts with an NMRA gauge and touch up any slight out of gauge trouble; the track need to be level in the lenght but also from right to left, no dump or no two file of rails not on the same level.

5.Use the broadest radius you can in curve, I feel a 17" radius a minimum and most of my cars are 40 feet boxcars and 33 feet hoppers, use the largest turnouts in any place where it's possible; I use #6 in yard and industrial spurs but main is #8 with a few#10.

Now your train of 20 cars can go backwards easily without troubles believe me.

Yes it's a little bit work and some time consuming but the results are so rewarding.

New release of MT cars have for the most body mounted couplers and they are nearly NMRA weighted.

Marc from Belgium

 

 

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