coupler question

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Russk, Mar 8, 2005.

  1. Russk

    Russk New Member

    My son & I built an N Scale layout using one of the plans that is in an Atlas Layout Book. The layout is on plywood (cookie cutter) with the track on foam roadbed. We are having lots of problems getting the trains to run smoothly. I have Rapido couplers. They uncouple contantly when going through a curve. The cars also jump off the track frequently, usually at turnouts. We are new at this. Should we switch to a differnet type of coupler? Are there any tricks to keeping these cars on the track? Thanks for any help or suggestions.
  2. cpr_boy

    cpr_boy Member

    Welcome to the forum! Try looking into changing from Rapido to Microtrain (MT) couplers. They work really well. You can even get a coupler/truck assembly all in one. I find MT trucks run much better and smoother than the stock ones.

    Hope it helps.

  3. Russk

    Russk New Member

    Thanks. I'll try that. Our locomotives came with the rapido installed. Can these typically be changed as well? I was wondering also if the cars should have weight added or any other tweaking.
  4. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    What our club did was change one coupler on a few cars.

    These became transition cars, rapido on one end and MT on the other. This way we can couple anything together.

    If you do it this way, you can run your cars and then slowly change the others to MT as time and money permit.
  5. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Welcome to the gauge Russk.
    You may want to take a very close look at the track and switches to see what is causing the problem. Changing couplers won't necessarily fix it. Watch the wheels of the cars going through the switch and see what is causing them to lift. A section of track may be slightly out of gauge or the switch rail may need a little filing. These are problems I have had in the past and the fix was relatively easy.
  6. pomperaugrr

    pomperaugrr Member

    If you nailed the track down, it is probably out of gauge. Driving the nails just a little too deeply can cause this. Just a thought, especially with the foam roadbed.

  7. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    The difference in the coupler action is that Rapidos move only up & down, while the knuckle couplers (MT, Atlas, etc...) move only ina side-to-side motion...this could cause problems for the Rapidos in sharp curves...
    But to echo what Robin & eric said, I would look into potential track problems before I focused on the couplers...
    You can get a track gauge to check to see if your track & wheels are in gauge...Check your rail joints to see if they're kinks or gaps...
    On turnouts, check the flangeways in the frogs, & gaurdrails...use a hobby knife, or dental tool to clear out any debris, stray pieces of ballast, etc...
    Good luck!
  8. inkaneer

    inkaneer Member


    Based what you described your problem is not the couplers but your track. The rapido couplers look bad but they can and do work pretty well. From what you described it sounds like you have several problems with your track. Getting solutions without first hand observation is difficult. I suggest locating a model RR club and asking them to come take a look at it. Model RR club members are a helpful bunch of people and getting the help you need should not be that hard providing there is a club near you. If there isn't then maybe a hobbyshop can offer advise. I suggest you run your train slowly through the problem areas and watch what happens. Note exactly where on the layout you experience these problems. Write down what you see. Do the wheels climb over the rail? If so that could be a gauge problem. Also check your rail joints. Are both rails the same height? It is easy when joining rail together to have one rail ontop of the joiner and not inserted into it.
  9. davido

    davido Member


    need more input!
    which plan?
    minimum radius?
    flextrack or sectional? code?
    what brand of turnout and frog number?
    long passenger cars or short ones?

  10. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Is it the same cars that uncouple all the time? I've had problems with a few cars that had 'defective' Rapidos on them. I switched a few trucks around to give these cars two good couplers and will replace the 'duds' with MT's or Accumates. The suggestion of making 'transition' cars is an excellent one, and something I'm doing. No need for a string of coal cars, for example, to all have MT couplers when they rarely need to come apart.

    The make MT's for most every loco, but they can be specific applications. I'd hold off doing these as they come unassembled and are something you'll want to do with a lot of patience, magnifying glasses and a clean, clear dark uncarpeted floor to find the springs when they go flying. :rolleyes:
  11. Livesteam

    Livesteam Member

    One problam I had was that there was not enough weight on the car, but i tihnk my track is that problam thats why im taking it out and redoing it.
  12. Russk

    Russk New Member

    I have spent the past couple of nights looking at the track closely, particularly at the nails etc. I'm having success but it sure is a slow process. I have some sections where it looks like the scenic cement is acting as an insulator between sections. If I can't get it clean enough I am soldering the sections together with a small bead of solder. It seems to work. Does anyone see a problem with doing this?
  13. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    I for one, solder all my rail connectors in place. Later ,if needed, I have cut a few expansion slots in the track

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