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Author Topic: Body mount couplers  (Read 3636 times)
chieffan

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« on: April 23, 2014, 06:24:28 PM »

Relatively new to large scale railroading but have been in HO scale for any years.  I know many things that worked in HO will not work in large scale.  I have mostly Bachmann rolling stock with truck mounted couplers.  I would like to change over to body mount couplers but not sure exactly what the best procedure would be to mount the coupler.  In HO i simply glued the draft box to the end of the car at the proper height and that was about it.  Large scale Bachmann couplers have no draft box.  Can I use the truck mount coupler as a body mount by screwing it to the car body at a consistent height close to the truck mount height?  Would appreciate any advise anyone can toss this way.  Thanks much.  Chieffan
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Chieffan
armorsmith


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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2014, 08:08:41 PM »

Chieffan,

The answer is 'maybe'.  It depends on a number of issues. First and foremost is 'What is the smallest DIAMETER circle of track you plan to use. A difference between Large Scale and the smaller scales is we here refer to curvature in terms of diameter in stead of radius. That being said, I do not recommend body mounting couplers if you are using less than an 8-10 food diameter (4-5 foot radius). Smaller than that will inevitably cause derailments.

There are a number of options for couplers. Depending on  your preferences for fidelity, yes the 'talgo' style mountings used on the trucks can be 'utilized' in a body mounting situation. Bachmann also makes a coupling with a draft box at a reasonable price in the same material as the standard Big Hauler couplers that come on the trucks.

Another option using a Bachmann product are the couplers for the Spectrum line.  These are a bit larger and more robust than the Big Hauler, but I prefer their reliability over the Big Hauler couplers.  They are a bit pricier than the Big Hauler as well, and are designed to be body mounted.

I would also assume that you are fully aware of the variety of KaDee couplers available for large scale. I do not use them, but many do and are quite satisfied with them.  Accucraft also makes large scale couplers that are very reliable, robust and cost a bit more than the others. Scale fidelity on the Accucraft is quite good as well.

You will find a plethora of information on this site as well as Large Scale Central (www.largescalecentral.com) and My Large Scale (www.mylargescale.com). All of these sites have a host of very knowledgeable folks willing to share their experiences with novices.

Welcome to the world of large scale, and Happy Railroading!!

Bob C.
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Chuck N

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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2014, 08:41:36 PM »

Chieffan,  I agree with Bob.  The most important question is the diameter of your curves.  Truck mounted will handle 4' diameter if you are pulling the train.  If you are backing up or pushing the train they tend to derail.

You may have to build up the floor if you go with body mounts.  Often the end beam is lower than the bottom of the floor.  The coupler pocket must be parallel with the floor.

For most of my cars I use Kadee "G" gauge couplers.  They have several options.  My choice for body mounts is #830.

Chuck
« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 12:49:28 AM by Chuck N » Logged
chieffan

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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2014, 09:11:21 PM »

Thanks much for the reply and information.  You both confirmed what I was afraid of - a 3' diameter curve may be to sharp for body mounts.  In HO I overcame that problem with longer freight and mostly passenger cars by mounting the draft box using the center hole snug but allowing it to swing side to side.  A piece of spring wire epoxied back from the draft box and laid along side the draft box returned it to the center position.  Did not work the best for backing on curves but stopped the problem of uncoupling on the curves.  Don't know if something along these lines would work in this scale or not.  I may do some experimenting and see what shakes out.  Thanks much guys and have a good evening.

Roger   Undecided  Huh?
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Chieffan
Chuck N

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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2014, 12:29:09 AM »

Chieffan, do you mean 3' diameter or 3' radius?  For 3' diameter you will have to bend your own track.  AristoCraft had some tighter than 4' diameter, but they are now out of business.

Your body mount with a swinging action and a centering spring would work, but as you said backing up would be a problem. 

In your original post you mentioned gluing the coupler box to the floor of a car, in HO.  I would not recommend that for Large Scale.  Screws or nuts and bolts are more secure.  You would have to experiment to find a glue that would hold up under the weight of some of our trains.  Not to mention the jolt to the coupler when you back an engine into a car to couple.  Over time, I would think that a glue might fail.

Chuck
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chieffan

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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2014, 08:04:11 AM »

Your right, it is 3' radius.  After so many years of HO and talking radius hard to get that out of my head and think diameter.

Will have to actually look it over close to see just how much curve back will be required.  A lot can be eliminated by switching cars closer to the front of the train rather than the back.

Definitely will bolt or screw the coupler pocket to the car body.  Even in HO the glue sometimes failed, depending on what plastic was used for the spacer between pocket and car floor.  I don't think the weight of my train would be a problem as I don't intend to be pulling any long trains.  8 to 15 cars at best.  Some long trains do not look good on some layouts.  Mine is one of them.  I like to be able to hide the whole train under operating conditions.  All in what one wants I guess.  Thanks for the correction and information.

My HO layout was one of the largest private ones in the central part of the country.  With well over 600 ' of track, all hand laid, and took up most available space in a 14' wide by 70 ft long trailer house.  Full signaled controlled.  Became more work to keep it running right than it was worth.  My outdoor layout is not going to get to that point.  I want to sit back with a glass of tea and run trains with the granddaughter and not have to work on things all the time.

Will do some experimenting and keep you posted as to how it works out.  Right after it warms up above 50.

Rog
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Chieffan
Chuck N

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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2014, 09:07:14 AM »

Rog,

How much space do you have for your outdoor layout?  Can you use larger diameter curves?  6' is quite tight.  Many Large Scale engines and cars will not easily handle that diameter. 

I am assuming that your Bachmann equipment is "Big Hauler", because of the truck mounted couplers and that is close to 1:24.  If you think you might want to branch out to other "G" scales, 1:20.3, 1:29, or 1:32,  there isn't a lot available that will run happily on 6' d curves.  Tight curves add a lot of stress to an engines gears and motors.

Those of us who have experience in "G" outdoor layouts make the following recommendation "use the largest diameter that will fit in the available space and make passing sidings twice as long as you think you will need".  Trains and equipment tend to grow and expand in the fresh air and sunshine.

Welcome to the hobby and keep us informed as to what you are doing. 

As Bob recommended make contact with one or more of the other large scale forums.  I use my large scale.

Chuck
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armorsmith


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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2014, 02:30:00 PM »

Roger,

Chucks advice is as right as rain.  Largest possible curvature and longest possible passing sidings.

As for fora, I read a bunch. Obviously I read this one, plus both the other fora I posted, as well as Garden Railways (both magazine [paper] and the GR Froum).  I also frequent the Narrow Gauge Discussion Forum, although that one is PRIMARILY for narrow gauge and prototype, there is still a wealth of information there.

There are other fora available, most of which cater to the smaller scales, with 'Large Scale' section. I generally don't frequent those as their membership in large scale is so small.

Welcome aboard, and don't hesitate to ask. Our knowledge (gained by skinned knuckles) is your wisdom (gained by others skinned knuckles).  Wink

Bob C.
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chieffan

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« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2014, 08:45:54 AM »

I think the largest curves and longest sidings is true in all scales.  When I started in G, I bought out a gent that was going to the nursing home.  Had a lot of HO and a Bachmann Big Hauler with a loop of track.  Unfortunately the end of that loop is still part of the main line now and has the 180 turn.  At this point, uncoupling is not a problem with all Bachmann talgo mounts.  Backing through this curve is another situation and changing to body mounts I don't think would make any difference.  Room wise - very limited on that end.  Could probably make a change in track and eliminate that original loop and lengthen out that 180 curve.  Doing so would disrupt several other scenery structures, etc.  I really don't think it would be worth all that trouble, at least at this point, to go that route.  Possibly down the road I may do it but at this point it will probably stay as it is.  Will do some playing around with the swinging coupler first and see what happens there.  We get to soon old and to late smart, huh?  Thanks guys.

Rog
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Chieffan
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