Intoduction and First layout

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Amrap1, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member do you adjust the coupler height. I'm sure it depends of the type of mount?

  2. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    I second that question :) I picked up a bunch of athearn bluebox rolling stock how do i adjust them?
  3. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

    When assembling the kadee couplers, the directions are as follows:

    If the coupler is too high, put a small washer above the centering spring in the box. If its too low, or droops, use a washer below the coupler. If its still too low after the washer, I would remove the box and then with a small file, remove some the area above it, then replace the box. Remove very little and recheck often:thumb:

    Image is linked from Kadee's site
    © 2006 Kadee® Quality Products Co.
  4. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    I just got a shipment of 15 pieces of Athearn BB rolling stock last week, and their coupler height are actually good. I answered Amrap1's question in the other thread on the Athearns vs. Bachmanns' coupler heights:

    The only Athearns that needed underset couplers I've encountered so far are their cabooses and BB F7 Superweights.

    Hope this helps!
  5. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member


    Sunday I did ask a couple of dealers that had couplers and they both looked at me like your dog does when you fart. They probably didn't know much about couplers!

  6. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    I looked at the 4 Athearns I assembled and only 1 coupler was slightly lower. I put a washer under the screw that holds the truck down and it seems to line up fine. Now I need to figure out how to fix the height difference between the Bachmann Locos and the Athearns cars. The couplers on the Bachmanns are lower. I'm alittle affraid to sand/trim the plastic on the Chessie B&O 4139 where the coupler is screwed into the body. But it does look like the easiest to modify.

  7. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    You don't have to modify anything.. Just grab a few Kadee #47 underset couplers. They have the coupler head set higher on the shank, so when you put it on the engine with the too-low coupler pocket, the head is at the right height.

    Hope this helps.
  8. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member


    I will definatly try the couplers.

  9. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Just got off Kadee's Website. I ordered the underset couplers, 30 series draft gear box and a coupler height gauge. I hope this works. After I placed the order, I was kinda looking around the site and found a coupler conversion kit for my Chessie loco..hmmmm.

  10. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Got my parts from Kadee. Tom.....The Underset couplers are LOWER on the shank! Duh to me for not realizing that Under means lower! The loco couplers were already too low.

    However, I did order Talgo Truck Adaptors. Now my McHenry couplers fit right on my older cars. I ran the Athearns cars with the Bachmann Chessie Loco and the older Tyco/now McHenry couplers with the Bachmann New York and they both ran much better. They both had problems on the same two spots. Bad soldier joints on the flex track.

  11. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Hmm... Looks like there is a bit of confusion here.

    If your locomotive's couplers are sitting too low (i.e. the trip pin is in danger of dragging along the ties), then the UNDERSET couplers are the right ones to use. It will RAISE the coupler height.

    If your locomotive's couplers are sitting too high (i.e. the trip pin is like quarter of an inch off the rails or something similarly ridiculous), then you need OVERSET couplers to drop the coupler height to a lower position.

    Your loco's couplers were too low, as in the trip pins were dragging near the ties, no?
  12. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Tom and anyone else following this thread. I said the Loco couplers were lower, I'm BAD...they are higher.

    Remember that I'm new to all this but love what I've seen with peoples layouts. I'm also ADS (Attention Deficit Syndrome) and CDS (Compulsive Disorder Syndrome). This means that when I get an idea to do something, I put everything I have into it. Unforntutaly the ADS doesn't allow me to pay attention to or forget the small details, especially when it's something new and there are so many opinions and choices. Give me directions on how to do something or put something together and NO PROBLEM. Give me options and I'm lost or it takes longer.

    After all the work on the flex track, I either have to re-do it or use sectional Atlas track and learn to do a better job at soldering. Both Lcos ran cars around the track clockwise. when I ran them counter-clockwise, the cars derailed alot more often. It's got to be more of a track problem than a coupler problem.

    I will not give up!
  13. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Resoldiered the sticky flex track joint and ran the train around for 1/2 hour with no problems. Switched the turn outs and they still ran smooth.
  14. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Sorry about my rant 2 posts ago. I was depressed with all the work I've done and that things aren't working out the way I hoped.

    The next day I put more cars on and the problems returned! I removed MOST of the flex track with sectional track and ran 2 locos with 1 car each. They ran around fine. When I added more cars I had more problems. I read somewhere about the weight of cars. The Athearn Blue Box kit cars are much lighter than the older cars. I tried putting some weight in the cars with the best coupler matches and both trains with 3 cars ran alot better but they both had problems on the same two spots. (bad joints between Flex and Sectional). Three Questions...

    1. How much should a 40' car weigh?

    2. Why soldier the joints? I don't have any problems with the speed of the trains I've been able to run so far. Except going up the grade which is 3" high in 7' run. (see #3) As long as the joints are tight, there shouldn't be a problem..right?

    3. Couldn't I just run 2 wires from the DCC connection to the track over to the grade?

    Still aggrevated...but feeling better and getting closer!

  15. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    1. A 40ft-box car should weigh around 4 ounces.

    2. soldering joints between track sections are done sometimes to improve electrical continuity... Since you didn't specify what kind of problems you are having (stalling with the wheels spinning? derailing? start-and-stop?), I'm not sure what to recommend here.

    3. Yes. Use 14AWG as your bus wires (the two wires from the DCC connection), and solder 18AWG feeder wires from the bus wires to the track every few feet.

    Hope this helps!
  16. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Hey, Ed. You're taking on quite a task for ADS and CDS, and you're doing great. Consider it therapy. :) We all get frustrated in this hobby, and hate having to tear stuff out and redo it, but I think it simply comes with the territory.

    My method is to think a lot ahead of time, make drawings where appropriate to assure that things will fit, and proceed slowly and deliberately. But that's me, and I'm an engineer (civil/environmental, not loco -- well, maybe a little loco!) by profession, so it's natural for me. It also means that this layout it taking FOREVER to get underway, and the kids are losing patience with me.

    Looking at the pics you had referenced on connecting flex track gave me an idea. I still think the couplers are critical to good alignment, but the idea was in staggering the connections. Ideally, you'd want the connections staggered by half a length of flex track, though that would be very difficult to handle and achieve, as you would have to "thread" a free rail through all the ties on the adjacent half. Maybe just several ties or several centimeters would be OK. This is good because it would avoid having the joints at the same place, and should make for smoother operation.

    Unfortunately, I've already sized most of my flex track (though have not yet attached it permanently), and just getting it cut to proper length around curves is enough trouble! LOL

    Looks like you've got a good thing going. I might suggest using a cork roadbed under the track, however, and that will help give something to attach the track to while you are fiddling with it.
  17. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    I weighed my cars tonight. Most are under 3 oz. I'll be glueing weight to them!

    Mostly it's an uncoupling problem. I DO have a slow down on the upgrades, which may be a power problem. Both trains speed up on the down grade and then go back to normal speed on the flat track.

    Since I don't believe my problem is power, except on the upgrade, i would probably only need to direct power to that point.

  18. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    It is therapy and a goal I want to accomplish. I would feel better if the trains ran right and I could bitch about the scenery!

    If I were to do it all over.....I would use flex track on the flat sections and sectional track on the raised areas and the raised curves.

    I pinned the track down to the 2" foam and it doesn't move. I have the cork roadbed ready for when the train runs right.

  19. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Your locos slowing down going up a hill and speeding up coming down the hill is actually normal.. It's just obeying Sir Isaac Newton's laws of gravity. :D

    Say, you aren't still using that old pancake-motor-drive Chessie #4127 U36B loco, hopefully? Those old pancake-drive locos are weak pullers and they tend to slow down on the upslopes a lot more than better locos.

    Also, if your slope is too steep, the slowdown will also be a lot more noticeable. You really don't want to exceed 4% grade-- No more than 4 inches of vertical rise per 100 inch of horizontal run.

    And yes, different coupler heights can cause spontaneous uncoupling on slopes.

    Hope this helps.
  20. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    That's what I though considering I am using probably the cheapest DCC system. Do the more expensive DCC systems let you program them to pickup speed on upgrades and slow down on downgrades?

    No the Chessie will probably just sit somewhere as a part of the layout. Maybe I'll use the cars I can't run with it to detail a loading or unloading dock. If someone would have told me how to convert it to DCC, I wouldn't have bought the other 2 DCC Locos. It was given to me, so it's no big deal if I can't run it.

    I was also thinking of making a "train wreck" with some of the cars that are missing wheels and Locos that I can't run. Build it into my scenery...not the center point....something that is not too obvious.


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