Couplers Height and Manufacturer ID

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by jon-monon, Oct 7, 2002.

  1. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I was wondering how picky we get about coupler height? I converted several last night and some are slightly off, some are a good 10% off. Most of what I've converted come out dead on. I'm using Kadee's and I have The Gauge (the coupler height gauge, that is) :D I think common sense eyeballing it approach will keep me out of trouble, but I thot it was curiouse that the NMRA doesn't seem to like % or +/- tolerances in the RPs I've read. Aviation background makes me a little anal about such matters.

    Anyone know who makes the rollin' stock that uses a black clip (spring metal) that snaps under the draft gear box? It has a plastic pocket with a plastic stud for the coupler to pivot on. I have several and I 'm short a few clips.
  2. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    That would be Athearn. I'm not as fussy with coupler height as I ought to be. Some equipment just comes off the railroad and winds up in the "someday" area waiting for adjustment.

  3. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Great! Thanks on both accounts. I do the same; I figure I can tweak everything in once I have real track to run on. Meanwhile they just get bumped around.
  4. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hey Jon, On the Athearn cars the coupler height can be corrected very easily. Make sure there is no gap between the coupler box and the floor of the car. The coupler box is cast as part of the frame casting and tends to droop downward. Just put a small drop of ACC on top of the box and press it against the floor of the car to remove the gap.

    Attached Files:

  5. McFortner

    McFortner Member

    The Gauge Railway

    Vic, I think you hit on a good idea there without knowing it. How about we all join up and have a mutual private line: The Gauge Railway. We could each make up one or two cars for each of our layouts. We would just have to decide on a color scheme and general font for the railway name.

    I think I'll take this over General for further discussion by everybody....

  6. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    That's because there is no + or - tolerance for coupler height. As S1 sez.. "Coupler Center above Railhead" and that is exactly what it means. For best operation, there is no + or - or percent of tolerance. Center your coupler per spec and you will have very little trouble. I use the Kadee (HO) gauge and set all my rolling stock to it. I shim or trim as necessary to make it meet. Some locos are a little tougher, but it is still necessary.
  7. billk

    billk Active Member

    There has to be a tolerance, even if it is not specified. To approach even a near-zero tolerance would be well beyond our capabilities. Heisenberg's (sp?) Principle applies.

    BTW - I once had a car called a Heisenberg - every time I looked at the speedometer I got lost.
  8. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Both Roger and BillK are right on this one:) :D Seems we may have a bit of confusion between the words tolerance and standard. IMHO the standard is the the dimensions to which the coupler is installed and the tolerance is the outer limit of the dimensions in which it operates.

    Now if the Chrysler Corp would just bring back the DeSoto or if the Studebaker would rise up again I'd be happy!!!:D :D :D :D :p
  9. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

  10. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I just stomped on my kadee coupler gauge. According to HUP or the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle , You can't measure coupler height accuratly, because in doing so, you disturb it's position.:mad:

    Bill: yerright! There's always a tolerance, the problem is, the machine assumes the tolerance is up to him if it's not clearly sopecified;)
  11. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    To each his own.
    When it come to rolling stock;
    I don't meet a weight standard. The car weighs what it did out of the box.
    I don't tighten one truck, and leave the other loose. That was accepable in the days of sprung trucks, but now, with rigid cast truck frames, it's better to have both trucks free to follow the track variations.
    I set coupler height to the Kadee gauge +/- as little as possible.
    I'm about to visit another layout. I'll be running a 30+ car train with one engine at the point, and a live helper at the rear. I have never run on this layout before, and have no idea how well the track was laid. The owner of the layout is a member of the Gauge, and will be happy to tell you if my train was all over the ground or not. I have never had any problems with my rolling stock, on any of the layouts I have had the pleasure to run on.
    If I do have any problems, I'll stand corrected.(and I'll find out what was wrong, and make it right) If I don't have any problems, the owner of the layout can "take his three gloats" and glow in the praise of his excellent track work.
    As a qualifying statement, I run my equipment on a portable, modular layout. In this case, every four feet there is a potential disaster, because of the short interconnecting track pieces, and slight variations in roadbed, because different people have built each module. The "standards" I conform to help overcome these potential disasters, and help to make visits to other layouts successful, and pleasant.
    If what you are doing works, don't change.
    Oh yeah, I had to learn the hard way. :D :D
  12. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I'm doin' the same, cepin's I am weighting them to NMRA standards. Just joking about stomping on the kadee gauge :D :D :D I can let you know how it works when I get a layout :)
  13. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    The post stating ''whatever works for you, stay with it ", is the best advice. I do weight all my cars to NMRA spec., as I found it best for me to do so...I was having a problem with the odd 50ft express reefer tilting on curves, when directly behind the engine, and hauling fully weighted passenger cars behind them. I also always use a height gauge for couplers, either the KD, or a homemade balsa wood one made to the KD coupler guide dimensional specs.
    2 years ago I started a project, took every car off the layout, [was doing a major change on two areas of trackwork], and set up a spreadsheet file on each car. No car is to go back in service until
    a]weighted to NMRA spec.
    b] wheels replaced with KD or P2K wheelsets if necessary.
    c] couplers respringed and refitted, regraphited, and checked to gauge.
    d] car must be BACKED over whole main line, and thru tightest ruling turnout frog#, both directly behind engine, then at tail end of a 2 car train.
    [This sometimes just shows up a bad bit of trackwork].
    Sounds like a lot, but it really doesn't take long....and if your cars all get this screening, they will be the driving force for better & better trackwork.
    I keep about 12 different types of KD & McH couplers on hand, plus bolster washers, truck & draftbox screws, etc.
    If you don't need to do all this, more power to you, I just found it made a big difference in my own case.
    rgds/ Mike
  14. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Mike, thanks for sharing your methods. I am thinking along these lines, doing a thru c. Like I said, no real layout so I can't do d yet and I can't keep doing what works. The spreadsheet is a good idea too, and If I'm going to do that now is the time.
  15. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Was sitting here at lunch catching up on the posts and caught y'alls thread. Here's a "random" thought. Instead of a spreadsheet for the train listings, use a database. Then, in addition to generating a list of the rolling stock ( a report in a database) you can also generate a set of "cards" for use in operations, a report on manufacturer's you patronize, a list of just "B&O" rolling stock or whatever. I'm a fan of databases because of their flexibility of reporting once the data is input.
  16. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I agree. I have a little database dabbling in my background. In fact, I never use spreadsheets. I would go with a simple databse, a database built into some other program (I thinking some layout prog or ???) or the original database; the yellow pad :D :D :D

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