I need some help with clearance....

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by EngineerKyle, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    Morning! [:D]

    All my Atlas Locos clear all my Kadee magnetic ramps save one. It's a B.A.R. GP38. It doesn't always hang up, and it will often drag itself through, but I would like total clearance. On closer inspection, I see it's the bottom "plates" of the truck that hits the ramp. The plate being the part that has the Altas/China logo stamped on it. Both trucks interfer. As the axles and truck all seem to be part of the same unit, I don't know how to adjust this. It's not like raising the body with a washer on the bolster would help, like you do with rolling stock.

    I filed down the plate so the logo is gone and used the same file to bevel the trucks a little more and it's better, but still hangs.

    Anyone ever have this problem?

    Also, quick q #2

    Do Kadee coupler springs need to replaced often/ever? I've recently been getting unwanted uncouplings. I most cases, I can see the coupler box has sagged and I make the proper adjustment, but I was wondering if the little "copper leaf" springs need replacing from time to time. Most of my rolling stock is 18 months old or newer.

    THANKS in advance....
  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi Kyle,

    Although I don't have the engine you name (or much of any kind of diesels), the only solution -other than filing the bottom plate, is to put bigger wheels on those trucks, or take the coupling ramp down a tad.

    As to the springs, I have 20+ yo cars with Kadees on them and have yet to replace a spring.

    Good luck!!

    Gus (LC&P).
  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Some LifeLike Proto 2K models also hang up. The consensus I have seen is that you can lower the ramps to flush with the rail tops (or just slightly below but definitely not above), and the ramps will still work successfully. To lower the ramps usually means cutting into the ties - which you have to do with anything smaller than code 100 rail anyway.

    Another alternative is to switch to rare earth magnets for uncoupling. These mount vertically just outside the rails - I can't find my links to the article just now.

    my suggestions, your choices
  4. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    never had to replace the centering springs but from time to time have had to replace the knuckel springs.
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I don't think your Kadee magnets should be sticking up above the rails. If they are, you have to make they lower. They bottom of the trucks should clear anything at rail height. I have some British uncoupling ramps that hit the undersides of trucks.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    One trick that works very well is to mount the Kaddee uncoupling magnet under the track in the roadbed. Then put a piece of thin styrene over the top of the magnet, put the track down and ballast it. Just paint a couple of ties a little different, either new ties with the rest weathered or maybe a small sign. The idea is to just have some little scenery detail that you know about that will tell you exactly where you have hidden that uncoupling magnet.
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If the locos clear all ramps but one - then it is the ramp, not the loco that is the problem.

    If you are keeping the Kadees in tune, they should not wear out. The graphite lube "Grease 'Em" can be puffed into the gear box every once in a (long) while.

    I am not sure, but I don't think that the between the rails magnets can be mounted under the track (at least Kadee offers a different unit for that application).

    In any case, now you know why our local NMRA club removed all the magnets from our display module... :rolleyes: :D

  8. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    Got it backwards Andrew... All the locos clear all the ramps... excepting one LOCO. That bad boy hits three out of seven. If I lower those three ramps, I'm afraid they will be too low for the other 5 locos, and all the rolling stock which work swimmingly well...

    I think the consensus here is; I should gauge the ramps to make sure all are below the rail heads... but to file away at the truck plates on the offending loco a hair more just the same.

    Thanks all! :thumb:
  9. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    If the uncoupling ramps are in fact all below the top of the railheads - then nothing will hit them. If anything on any rolling stock sags or is below railhead height, it will snag on turnouts where it has to cross over rails. If a locomotive or car is bumping over the rails of a turnout, then it needs fixing. Otherwise, the uncoupling ramps need lowering.

    yours in low hanging fruit
  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Your last note made me wonder if there is something loose, or not put together properly. Maybe there is some flash on the cast parts (if any)?

    Is it just one truck of the loco, or both that hit the ramp?

    As Fred noted, nothing should go below the railhead (except the flanges ;)), including parts of trucks, and coupler pins. How does this loco go through turnouts?

  11. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member


    It's just one truck... and it makes it trough turnouts fine. We are talking ANGSTROMS here regarding clearance. The truck plate seems to be on securely, and there is no flashing or anything... she's just about filed away/wore down enough to continue. Thanks...

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