Bachmann Message Board

Discussion Boards => Large => Topic started by: punkin on May 17, 2015, 04:46:43 PM

Title: Caboose On The Way
Post by: punkin on May 17, 2015, 04:46:43 PM
Hello all,

I ordered a caboose for my train this weekend from ebay. It's the brand that starts with "L". It's supposed to be very nice but I just noticed when looking at the pictures it has different train connectors than what are on my Bachmann. The connectors on the caboose has a hoop and hook like connection but my Bachmann train has a completely different looking set up. Is it possible to get different connectors so that they can all be connected together?

This is the caboose that I bought, it's a model #4175;


Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: Chuck N on May 17, 2015, 07:23:36 PM
There are a lot of options out there. Bachmann has knuckle couplers, Kadee has knuckle couplers, USAT and others.

Your first choice is do you want truck mounted or body mounted couplers, or a mixture of the two.  I have many cars with Kadee #831s which are truck mounted and raise the coupler to body mount height.  The Bachmann knuckle couplers will work with the straight shank on the LGB truck.  Many of us prefer the body mount height.  This is a decision you need to make.

My best advice is to find a local group and pick their brains.  We at a distance, really can't give you the real advice you need, only recommendations.

You need to see what can be done and why.

If you have tight curves(less than 8' diameter), truck mounted will work better for longer cars.


Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: RkyGriz on May 18, 2015, 12:38:03 AM
Nice one there Punkin. The Queen Mary Drovers Caboose series is a great addition to any G Scale collection. The couplers on it are called "hook and loop" and I find them to be more reliable than the Bachmann knuckle couplers are.I prefer to use the hook and loop couplers as I've never had them let go . You watched my videos. Most of these trains are held together with the hook and loop couplers. The problem that I always have with the knuckle couplers is that they often let go and if you're not there to catch it, your loco will run into the car/cars that were left behind  and that can cause your train to  derail. It can even cause damage to the holders that the  brake bar on top of the pilot is held on by as they have a tendency to break easily and that assembly will cost you about $22.00 on to replace unless you're industrious and good with glue! I don't know about the reliability of Kadee couplers in G Scale but I do use them on my H.O. scale trains and I find them to be excellent in that application. I've thought about converting my G Scale trains over to them, but since I have 23 pieces of rolling stock to convert( the locos don't count) I'd be looking at well over $100.00 for a full conversion. Frankly, I'd rather spend that money on new track or other rolling stock! I would, however, convert over to them if I had lots of money to burn, which I unfortunately don't  have right now.
Hook and loop or Kadee's are probably going to be your best choice to protect your train.

Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: Loco Bill Canelos on May 18, 2015, 10:55:28 AM
Punkin, all

If your Bachmann knuckle couplers are letting go, an easy fix is to remove them and spray paint them with Rustoleum ruddy brown primer.  This will give them just enough bite to keep them together, and they will look very realistic as well.  I regularly pull 10 to 14 cars or more and they never separate when using the above method.

There is no need to use expensive replacement couplers unless you just prefer to.  The Bachmann Couplers can be installed on your new caboose!

Glad you are having fun!


Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: Chuck N on May 18, 2015, 02:13:26 PM

Like Bill, I haven't had any problems with the Bachmann knuckle couplers.  Do your couplers open and come apart, or do they stay closed and just come apart?

Two things come to mind.  First, are all of your couplers at the same height?  The faces should fully overlap, not just a partial fit.  Second is your track fairly smooth. Dips and rises can also lead to coupler failure.


Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: RkyGriz on May 18, 2015, 07:19:35 PM
Hi, Chuck. They come open. I try to make sure they are all locked, but more often than not one will open and leave the rest of the train in the "dust".The cars in question are all Bachmann J.S. passenger cars with factory metal wheels, so they are all the same height.Track is smooth with no dents, dips or rises. I don't have this problem with the stock couplers on my freight or passenger cars made by Lionel-only Bachmann knuckle couplers .

Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: Chuck N on May 18, 2015, 07:28:39 PM
Thanks for the reply, I'm out of suggestions.

A couple of last questions.  Does it happen at the same place on the layout, or randomly?  Is it always the same cars?


Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: RkyGriz on May 18, 2015, 08:38:24 PM
It's always at random places all around the track.I have a collection of 20+ Bachmann knuckle couplers so I switch them out when this happens which solves the problem -at least temporarily. The cars affected by this are all 8 of my Bachman J.S. passenger cars, the 3 tenders, and the 2 freight cars that I have. The rest of my rolling stock (Lionel, Kalamazoo, and Hartland) don't have this issue.

Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: Loco Bill Canelos on May 19, 2015, 10:11:43 AM
Like Chuck, I don't have a problem with my Bachmann couplers during a long pull. 

Since it seems to be happening only on the passenger cars and not the freight cars, it may be due to their longer length on your tight curves.

I have had them fail to couple when switching, but that also happens with the other brand of couplers I use.    Some years ago I was having a few trains come apart and I noticed it only happened when the train shifted from a straight section to a very sharp curve.  This was many years ago and I found it was only happening to the slick unpainted couplers, but not to the ones I had spray painted to look rusty.   Most often the couplers will come loose because of a track problem or problems as Chuck noted and that is the most common reason they do.  Sometime we think our track is perfect when it is not.  It can be as simple as an almost hard to see misalignment between a straight and a curve.

Another possibility is that something falls in the middle of the track.  One time when I kept having a break apart problem, I found a small piece of clear plastic was stuck between the ties and was pushing up the pins under the coupler much like a uncoupler track section.  Another time a pecan fell between the rails and acted like an uncoupler ??? ::).

Another possibility is that there is flash on the coupler somewhere which can cause only a partial closure and the couplers come apart.  This is rare however.

Another possibility is that the locking pin does not go fully down when coupling.  In this case I remove the coupler and grasp the pin and with good pressure push it up and down in the slot.  With the coupler face open you can test for this by slowly pushing it in till the pin drops.  If it fails to drop or only drops partially, you will know what the problem is.

Unwanted separation problems occasionally happen on most brands of knuckle couplers.  Folks often use the hook and loop couplers because they do not come apart while the train is rolling along, but they can be a pain getting apart.  My personal preference is knuckle couplers because I do not like the looks of the hook and loop couplers.  If you will not be doing a lot of switching you could install the hook and loop couplers for the best reliability.

Keep looking and you will find the reason.  If all else fails put the hook and loops on the passenger cars or try the painting trick.


Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: zubi on May 19, 2015, 08:41:17 PM
Punkin, great choice of a car! Use hook and loop couplers. They are reliable. Bachmann makes them too, you can fit them on your locomotive. Knuckle couplers mean trouble. If you insist on knuckles, LGB also makes them, but my advice is stick with hook and loop! Best wishes from Tokyo, Zubi

Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: RkyGriz on May 19, 2015, 09:55:57 PM
I don't like the way the hook and loop couplers look, but they're way more reliable than the knuckle couplers are. The only thing bad about them is they are not authentic and detract
from the realism of your train. I like Bills' idea of painting the knuckle couplers and am planning on eventually trying it, but I'll stick to the hook and loop couplers for now. By the way, Punkin, both types of Bachmann and LGB couplers are interchangeable meaning that LGB couplers will fit Bachmann and vice-versa.

Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: A Trainman on May 20, 2015, 09:56:49 PM
I just have to add my two cents worth.
I started using the "hook and loop" couplers with my 4-6-0s and Bachmann rolling stock. They couple together very easily and stay coupled, sometimes too well, like when you try to separate cars to put them away. Also they don't look very prototypical. Then I switched to Bachmann's "knuckle couplers". They worked OK, but sometimes became detached from each other and it took a lot of "slamming" cars together to get them both to couple.

On another note... I like switching.

The mechanisms made to unhook the "hook and loops" didn't go over to well with me.( bulky and unprototypical looking)
As for the knuckle couplers... I still had to stand up and manually trip (open) them. Although now some companies are offering radio controlled actuators to operate these.$$$
What suits me are KaDee couplers and track mounted magnets installed on the turnouts. They couple very easily and stay coupled. They also look pretty much prototypical. When I put my cars away for the night, I just lift it off the track and they release from each other. I find it very enjoyable switching cars and making up trains.

When I started in large scale I was happy just to watch them go round and round. Then I put in a siding. Than I put in a reversing track. Then to reverse it back, I put in another. Then another siding and a yard and on and on and on... :P

Good luck Punkin, all options are fine, what pleases you is what counts!

Once again welcome to the fun!



Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: punkin on May 20, 2015, 10:57:13 PM
Thank you very much for that insight. When the caboose gets here I'll be better able to visualize what I'm working with here. I have been doing a little web searching and I am finding it quite confusing. I hear a lot of people say that the kaydee connector is the best. I went to their website and that's where my understanding falls apart. There seems to be so many part numbers and determining which device to get so that the height of the two cars lines up seems to be a big issue. Maybe once the caboose gets here it will make more sense.

Thanks to you and the other for the advice and your patience.

Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: Chuck N on May 21, 2015, 07:59:47 AM
There are several decisions that you have to make before you choose a Kadee coupler.

1,  What is your minimum curve radius (diameter)?  If your curves are less than 8' diameter (4' radius) you will be better off with truck mounted couplers.   Above that you can use either truck mounted or body mounted couplers.

2,  If you are using truck mounted couplers, do you want a straight shank coupler #835, or a stepup #831 (this will mate with any future body mounted couplers in the future. 

3,  If you have wide radius curves, I use #830, for body mounted, but there are other choices.


Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: punkin on May 21, 2015, 08:37:54 AM
Thank you very much for that information Chuck N. That was very helpful  ;D

Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: Chuck N on May 21, 2015, 09:10:28 AM
A couple more comments.  I use the "G" gauge size coupler rather than the gauge "1".  The "G" is larger and holds a little better on rough track.  Some cars with a mounting block for the body mounted #830 coupler.  If the block is there I will use the body mount coupler.  If the car requires surgery, any cutting, I will use the truck mounted #831.  For those, the only cutting required is the small plastic tab, button, on the end of the tongue.


PS here is a link to a thread showing my relettered and painted Bachmann passenger cars.  While most of my cars have couplers at the body mount height, I kept this train at the truck mounted height with B'mann knuckle couplers.  The exception if the front coupler on the baggage car.  I had to raise it to couple with the engine.

I have had no problems with this train coming uncoupled.  It is on a tile floor, rather than ground.

Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: punkin on May 21, 2015, 09:47:48 PM
Thank you Chuck N,

Nearly everything you said was Greek to me but I'm working to take it in. I'm getting that truck mounted means on the movable wheel part underneath. I had no idea you could have them on the wheels or just direct to the body of the car. It would seem that to the truck would be easiest for turning.

I'm taking all this in and will do some additional web research. I really do appreciate the information.

By the way,...I never was a train guy but now I find myself looking and taking notice. There is some really great history...not just with the train itself but with the era and what people were doing with the trains. Amazing things they are.

Thank you!

Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: uscgtanker on May 22, 2015, 07:57:45 AM
choosing knuckles is relatively easy it's the mounting of knuckles to all match the same high. Bachmann likes to us a low coupler, meaning it's closer to the rail head. The other company's are either NMRA standard or real close. You can find a knuckle gauge at your local hobby shop they also work for display buffers. Since your running inside you don't have to worry about grades on your line. If you have pets you'll have debris but that's easily movable.

Enjoy yourself with the hobby and we always love to answer any questions. :)

Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: Chuck N on May 22, 2015, 04:09:36 PM

Yes the truck is the wheel assembly that screws on to the car frame.  Many trucks have a tongue that sticks out from the center of the frame.  The various types of couplers are attached to that tongue.  Body mounted couplers are attached directly to the underside of the car.

FYI, As long as you just pull your cars there is very little difference in the performance of truck mounted couplers and body mounted couplers.  The problem comes when you try to push a string of cars with an engine, such as backing up through a curve, either on the mainline or onto the diverging track on a switch.  The engine pushes on the truck which easily pivots under the car and will often derail the first truck on the car directly behind the engine.  With body mounted couplers you are pushing against the whole car.

I have also had problems pushing a snow plow with truck mounted couplers derailing when entering a curve when the snow is heavy or deep.


Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: Loco Bill Canelos on May 23, 2015, 09:44:10 AM
I use truck mounted couplers all the time and do switching without a problem.   I can back 15 cars up my 2.5% grade and through a crossover without derailing the cars.  I do operate like a real railroad and do not speed while backing(or going forward) through the switches, but I do use the wide radius switches.    I am convinced that properly laid track is the key to good operation with truck mounted couplers.  I use both Bachmann and USAT couplers as they work together pretty well.

My son disagrees with me and body mounts his couplers using only kadee couplers.  He is a freak about good track, but he just feels that brand of couplers looks more like the correct size and is more prototypical being body mounted.

So who is right?   Well, we both are because we have our own reasons for doing what we do.  I cannot afford to change to the expensive couplers and do not want to go to all the work of changing them, while he can afford whatever he wants and likes doing the conversions.  We just have a couple of conversion cars so we can run each others cars on both railroads.

My son uses an Aristocraft 1:29 snow plow gondola loaded with rock and on that tight couplers are a must.

this video shows us plowing snow on his layout, and if you watch it to the end you will see the door  which allow trains to run under the house!!

The rough running in this video is due to bits of ice on the track.  we definitely have fun plowing snow.  The trains are battery powered.

have fun!


Title: Re: Caboose On The Way
Post by: punkin on May 24, 2015, 04:13:00 PM
Thanks sveryone. Now that my caboose has arrived I see a slightly different arrangement where the couplers are concerned. I now better understand truck mounted and body mounted. I dont have a fancy track and turnouts (yet) and really like the simplicity of the hook and loop set simple. After taking the one that came with my train apart and doing the same with my other brand caboose some of the dimensional considerations now make sense.

Thanks for the education!