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| | |-+  New style Bachmann magnetic couplers vs. older horn style
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Author Topic: New style Bachmann magnetic couplers vs. older horn style  (Read 20056 times)
Dan S.

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« on: October 14, 2014, 09:50:56 AM »

Good day Folks,
I have been out of model trains and layouts for 30+ years now, but just starting to get back in to it. I have a question concerning purchasing some of the older/earlier bachmann rolling stock with the old style horn couplers? Can these cars be converted over to the new style magnetic Bachmann knuckle couplers with out much trouble? I purchased a new Bachmann starter set and would like to increase my rolling stock to mate with the new silver series rolling stock, is it possible? I would appreciate any help in this matter. Sincerely, Dan.
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jbrock27

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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2014, 12:05:42 PM »

How much trouble depends on how old the rolling stock is that you are referring to.  Does it have talgo trucks, which are the trucks and couplers together in one or are the couplers and trucks mounted seperately with the couplers mounted in boxes that are attached to the body of the car?
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Keep Calm and Carry On
rogertra


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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2014, 12:44:11 PM »

The question should be: -

"Why are you purchasing equipment that old and that doesn't come up to the standards expected today of model railroad equipment?"

Buying for price in old model railroad equipment can only lead to disappointment, as we've seen numerous times on this board, especially when it comes to what were considered "entry level" products.

Cheers

Roger T.

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Dan S.

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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2014, 01:13:13 PM »

Thanks Gent's,
I just wanted to increase my rolling stock and as we all know with any hobby you can get over budget in a hurry. There are many Bachmann H/O railcars on e-bay that are of excellent condition but have the older type couplers, these cars are of the Bachmann brand name, but didn't know if I where to bid on items that I could change the couplers out to the new style knuckle couplers of today. I don't know if the coupler and truck set are together or separate as there is no mention in ad, I have not bid yet till I find the answer I'm searching for. Thanks again. If typically that the older series Bachmann rolling stock is not able to handle the new magnetic couplers of today, that info would be very appreciated. Dan.
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jonathan


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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2014, 01:41:39 PM »

http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/board/index.php/topic,18567.0.html

Dan,

The short answer is, YES, you can put knuckle couplers on old equipment.

The LONG answer has to do with what the present coupler boxes look like.

The link above demonstrates upgrading old rolling stock with new trucks and couplers.  It's a bit of work, but if you like your present equipment, it may be worth it to you.

What others are trying to tell you:  it may be cheaper to buy new rolling stock than upgrading older rolling stock.  The choice is yours.  I've done it to some sentimental value equipment.

Regards,

Jonathan
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Dan S.

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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2014, 02:46:09 PM »

Thanks Jonathan,
I understand now! the light went on in my head. I didn't know that some of the older bachmann cars had the trucks and couplers mounted as 1 piece units, but I see now that may be the case. Greatly appreciated. I also see that the older Bachmann rolling stock has plastic wheels and axles on trucks, this may be the reason why these cars sell for $1.00 each on e-bay! Thanks for saving me the pain of finding out the hard way. Happy modeling to you. Dan.
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Doneldon

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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2014, 03:40:07 PM »

Dan-

You can most certainly put knuckle couplers on older rolling stock. This can be quite a big deal with some cars but most Bachmann equipment goes pretty smoothly. However, you might want to ask yourself how much work and expense you want to invest.

Older cars tend to have plastic wheels which contribute to track maintenance issues. They can be changed out for metal wheelsets but that runs a couple of dollars per car. If you have Talgo trucks, with the couplers mounted on the trucks themselves, you really ought to change the trucks for regular ones and mount replacement couplers to the car's body. This introduces more time and cost. Yes, you can cut the Talgo arm off and replace the plastic wheels, but you'll still have to do a coupler change so you'll still be spending at least $5. If you replace both couplers and trucks, plan on a good $8 or more. That's quite an investment in a car which may have cost $5 or less. And you'll still have an obsolete level of detail and paint quality.

Whatever you do, get rid of the Talgo trucks and horn-hook (aka, X2f or NMRA) couplers. I strongly urge you to consider replacing your old couplers with Kadees. Kadee is the gold standard for knuckle couplers. They've been making them much longer than anyone else, they have a large array of couplers for hard-to-adapt rolling stock, and they also have some which are an easy install in most cars. You don't need to remove other brands of operating knuckle couplers unless they fail in some way, but do use the Kadees for all new installations.

Welcome back to the hobby and good luck with your project.
                                                                                            -- D
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jward


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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2014, 11:10:02 PM »

my personal opinion is that it is better to have a few good running cars and locomotives than a boatload of poor ones which will only frustrate you.

if you are going to buy older stock in the hopes of bringing it up to silver series standards, you'd be better off buying old athearn or roundhouse cars. they already have coupler boxes designed for drop in replacement of couplers, and decent trucks. to get them up to standards all you need to do is replace the couplers, possibly add a small washer to th truck bolsters to get coupler height correct, add metal wheels if you so desire, and add a little bit of weight.

from my extensive experience, it is more important that any wheelsets conform to nmra rp25 specs than it is that they be metal. with that in mind, older 1970-1980s era athearn and roundhouse cars had rp25 wheels, tyco, ahm, Bachmann and lifelike cars did not.

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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
rogertra


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« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2014, 12:37:30 AM »

my personal opinion is that it is better to have a few good running cars and locomotives than a boatload of poor ones which will only frustrate you.

if you are going to buy older stock in the hopes of bringing it up to silver series standards, you'd be better off buying old athearn or roundhouse cars. they already have coupler boxes designed for drop in replacement of couplers, and decent trucks. to get them up to standards all you need to do is replace the couplers, possibly add a small washer to th truck bolsters to get coupler height correct, add metal wheels if you so desire, and add a little bit of weight.

from my extensive experience, it is more important that any wheelsets conform to nmra rp25 specs than it is that they be metal. with that in mind, older 1970-1980s era athearn and roundhouse cars had rp25 wheels, tyco, ahm, Bachmann and lifelike cars did not.


Agree 100%.  See my previous post on this matter.

With the exception of Athearn and Roundhouse rolling stock, and locomotives as well for that matter, the older stuff falls into the toy train, entry level stuff at best and is not worth purchasing, nor even accepting as gifts.

The vast majority of my current rolling stock is 20+ year old Athearn and Roundhouse cars and nothing by the other manufacturers mentioned above.  Mind you, they all now have metal wheels and, of course, Kadee couplers.

The fleet is supplemented by newer cars but really, in a 20+ car freight train of weathered cars or a freight yard with 30 plus weathered cars on assorted tracks, you're hard pressed to tell the more modern models from the older Athearn and Roundhouse cars as all the cars just become part of the scenery.  Smiley

It's the locos and slightly behind them, if you'll excuse the pun, cabooses that you spend more time looking at.

Cheers

Roger T.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2014, 12:40:16 AM by rogertra » Logged

jbrock27

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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2014, 04:43:38 PM »

**Footnote

I would like to add something here, lest there be any misunderstandings or misconceptions.  Not all "old" Bachmann rolling stock is the poorly detailed and poorly painted talgo truck junk:  in between and just prior to the release of the Silver Series rolling stock that comes with metal wheelsets, was Bachmann rolling stock that was set up the same way as the Silver Series with the exception of having plastic wheelsets instead.  They are out there.  This is why I asked the question in the way I did in my first post on this topic.  For these Bachmann rolling stock, all you need to do is replace the wheelsets with metal ones and if you don't like the plastic spring type EZ mate knuckle couplers that come stock on them, you just loosen the draft gear box screw and replace them with EZ Mate Mark IIs or Kadees, with the metal coil spring.
My friend whose SDP40 I worked on for him, gave me a Bachmann 4 bay Hopper in return for my help and this is all I had to do to it to get a nice running, looking piece of rolling stock.  No big deal as Richie the G would say.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2014, 05:31:29 PM by jbrock27 » Logged

Keep Calm and Carry On
Jerrys HO
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2014, 04:48:18 PM »

Another foot note would be to add one knuckle to one side and leave the other side matching the older cars so you can use them whilst you save time and money to upgrade along the way. Thank Jeff Ward for that one I believe some time ago.
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jbrock27

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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2014, 05:10:06 PM »

Ahh yes, ye old transition car...
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Jerrys HO
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« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2014, 05:19:23 PM »

Ahh yes, ye old transition car...

Yeah that's it!
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jbrock27

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« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2014, 05:25:48 PM »

An old tried and true concept.  Although, I suspect less and less folks these days employ one these days.  I can say, I for one, no longer prefer/like HH couplers.
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jward


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« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2014, 06:45:59 PM »

I don't think there were many things more reviled in model railroading than the old horn hooks. most of us switched to kadee couplers fairly early. kadee was the standard from which most knuckle couplers in use to-day were derived. but for many years kadee's design was patented, and knuckle couplers only started to appear on new cars & locomotives when those patents expired and others could copy the design. back in the day, kadees were expensive, nd many cars were not designed to accept them. thus, the conversion car, a cheap way around the problem of running 2 incompatable types of couplers. with a couple of conversion cars, you could run what you had while budgeting the time and money to eventually convert all cars and locomotives to kadees.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
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