MT vs. Accumate Couplers

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by lock4244, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. lock4244

    lock4244 Member

    Does anyone out there have a favorite between the Micro-Trains and Atlas Accumate couplers? I'm curious to see if anyone out there has a firm favorite and why. And anyone with an operating layout and large trains (25 or more cars), how do the Accumates hold up? My layout has been torn-down for a few years, and I did not have the chance to run Accumates and test them myself. IMHO, I like the Accumates are better in terms of looks, but they have an annoying tendancy to uncouple for no reason (specific cars of mine are "bad actors", most are no problem at all). Accumates also roll better, especially when you want the car to stay put in a siding!

  2. Blake

    Blake Member

    I stick with body mounted MT couplers, 1015's mostly. Trucks all seem to be good. I have Intermountain and Atlas trucks with Atlas metal wheelsets installed and they seem fine. I do still have a great many cars with MT truck mounted couplers as well. I had some bad experiences with Accumates when they first came out. I have since aquired an Atlas Trainmaster that I will leave the Accumates on for a while. They seem to be operating well. IMHO, stay with the MT's and just experiment with the Accu's.
  3. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    Accumates belong in the garbage,
    Micro Trains belong on your cars!

  4. lock4244

    lock4244 Member

    Unfortunately, I have a growing fleet of cars equipped with Accumates... not by choice. The thing is, after spending $27 - $30 CDN on an Intermountain covered hopper, I've got a real problem spending another $5 or so on putting MT's on them! Not being el cheapo here, but this really pushes the cost of these cars through the roof. However, seeing as I'm just operating a small, temp. switching layout, I don't have to benefit of real testing and reliabiliy isn't much of an issue. Thanks for your views, guys.


    "IMHO, stay with the MT's and just experiment with the Accu's"

    Blake D. Tatar

    "Accumates belong in the garbage,
    Micro Trains belong on your cars!"

    Mike (SD90)
  5. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    I find when ever I have a problem with a train, it's always at the accumate equiped cars, the only problem is that it will take time and $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to switch all of my cars over to MT, but it will be done!

  6. Blake

    Blake Member

    On my small railroad, I need to do allot of backing up into staging tracks. I found that the truck mounted couplers cause many derailments when pushing around curves. To combat this, I tried body mounting couplers on a few cars and had excellent results. My tightest radius is 11" and the body mounted couplers give me no trouble at all. My point for bringing this up is....a package of 10 MT 1015 kits is around $10. So, not only do they work better, but they are cheap too. My only dilema is: what to do with MT truck mounted couplers? I tried cutting the couplers off and body mounting them but that doesn't work (box is too big). Do I just cut off the couplers and discard them, or would it be worth my while to try to sell them and get new trucks as well?
  7. Bikerdad

    Bikerdad Member

    body vs. Truck mount

    Okay, not to be a knucklehead here, but how are the couplers mounted in real life? On the body, or on the truck? Second, how does one go about attaching the body mount couplers, and are there any limitations in doing so?
  8. Blake

    Blake Member

    The real ones are body mounted. MT cars all have holes for the screws to hold body mount couplers. All you need to do is to tap it for a 00-90 screw. Intermountain cars also have this feature. Some Atlas cars have a dimple where you need to drill and tap the hole. If you buy the MT 1015 couplers (kits or ready built) they give you the necessary screws. If the car has no dimple, just find the centerline of the car widthwise and scribe a line on the area where the coupler will go(measure the width of the car and divide by 2). Then measure 1/8" from the end of the car. Where the 1/8" measurement intersects the scribed line, make a dimple with the tip of your scribe. Drill the dimple and tap the hole. Screw the coupler in and you're ready to go. If the coupler is high, lower it with the shims provided with the couplers. If it is low, raise the car off of it's trucks by adding a truck washer (I have never needed to raise a car off of it's trucks yet but that is how it is done).
  9. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    Body mounted???

    Perhaps integral frame mount. I think if couplers were mounted to the "body"- locomotives would be dragging around piles of junk behind them.

    Your actually attaching the couplers to the center "beam" of the car frame.

    Did ya ever stub your toe on a broken coupler in a train yard? Ouch!

    Further- becuase I model N-Gauge I appreciate its caveats like- backing trains into a yard on a curve while crossing several switches. Not to dispute whether frame mounted (heretofore referenced as "body" mounted) couplers vs the truck mounts- there are inherent physical forces that do not translate to 1:160. Much as you try.

    Frankly, I don't know why the manufacturers haven't started to body mount. They simply should. I make suggestion that the manufacturers get with the program and start a trend towards body mounts. "Here, Here"! "Hoorah"! Of course they could sell their truck mounted couplers much as they sell their body mount kits/assemblies to those who "need" them.

    Further, I think a grass roots effort could be made to lobby the industry to give us decent body mounts.

    I could be wrong- has anyone done a layout with tight curves and runs long (35+ cars) trains with body mounts?


    Gee- I didn't know I had so much to say about this.
  10. Cinnibar

    Cinnibar Member


    I guess I’ll have to agree with the opinion that MT’s are the best. I don’t run trains much over 10 or 12 cars but backing truck mounted can be irksome at times with either coupler but, in my experience, more so with Accumates. I was pretty happy when I bought some Atlas ore cars and did not have to replace the couplers but I’d have to say they don’t seem quite as trouble free as MT’s. Almost all of my box cars are MDC 36 footers and I had to replace all of the couplers on those so the ore cars were nice because I just weathered them and put them into service. But I think 1015's will be mounted soon. said that cutting off the couplers on truck mounted didn’t work, the box is too big. What did you run into? A height problem? The wheels hitting? Could you elaborate a bit on the problems you ran into? Thanks! Guess MT wins!;)
  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I was surprised, back when i did N, that MT sold underframes with couplers attached, but used truck mounts on their cars.
    I suspect the problem with the boxes from the trucks is that they are too wide and the trucks don't turn.
    The only cars I had problems with the body mounting were tank cars and some hoppers where there was no solid floor at the enmd of the car, just a very open bit of framing.
    The problem with backing truck mounted couplers is that the trucks tend to skew to the sides and the sharp part of the flanges run along the rail and pick at joints and frogs. It's even worse in HO where the horn/hook couplers have sideways springing.
  12. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Even in 1:87.1, backing cars with truck mounted couplers, causes problems.
    I just had to do some repair work on a layout that had rapido couplers on all the rolling stock.........and, unsoldered rail joints in the middle of curves........... I think I need another bottle of scotch!
  13. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    I had a runaway train thanks to Accumate couplers last night, it all piled up at Exsahw, luckly, nothing was broken but the Accumate couplers!, I'm not running any trains up grades anymore, unless they have MT's. Accumate couplers are unreliable and are just going to end up costing lots of money if you run them, ie , trains landing on the floor! THEY ARE GARBAGE!

  14. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Some very definite opinions on Accumate vs. MT couplers. I've started acquiring some rolling stock, one Intermountain, one Atlas car so far. My Via engine is an out-of-the-box Kato P42DC... I'm assuming that it has Accumate couplers, correct? The SD40-2 that is arriving this week I believe has MT couplers.

    While it seems clear that there is a need to replace the Accumates, will they work with MT couplers, even if only in the "meantime" before I start acquiring new trucks? I know Rapido couplers don't work with MT or Accumate... or is this true as well?
  15. lock4244

    lock4244 Member

    Accumate and MT couplers are compatible. I think the newer Kato units have some sort of Kate knuckle coupler.

  16. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    I too have gone through testing MTs Accumates and Kaydee car mounted couplers. So far the MTs win. I had to put a smalll washer on the pin holding the Accumates to keep the truck wheels from touching the car body. They then run as smoothly as the MTs do but at this point , I have not tested the coupler strength. I like the idea of car body mounted couplers like the prototypes but when buying new trucks I just got them with couplers mounted and haven't done anything about them yet.
  17. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Thanks for the tip... The Kato Engine has a coupler that resembles both the Accumate and MT... but my eye isn't that good to identify parts at the moment. The P42DC's couplers are also body mounted. I'm assuming that's normal for engines. The couplers come with a small metal pin that can be inserted into them. I am assuming this is for decoupling operations.

    While we're on the subject, are there any suggestions on the best way to handle uncoupling operations? Any threads or references I should check out. I'm near a Lee Valley tools here in London, and apparently they have rare earth magnets. VERY powerful, and they're quite inexpensive...
  18. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    Nope, Kato has their own line of knuckle couplers.

    All three of these couplers (MT, Accu-mate, Kato) are "compatible" in that you can hook up a train of cars and watch them go, but expect some problems along the way. MT to Accu-mate connections tend to let go at times, and Kato to anything non-Kato seems to have a hard time coupling by gently backing your train... I've had to sometimes HOLD the car in question so it would "grab."
  19. Bikerdad

    Bikerdad Member

    Re: Couplers

    Cinnibar, I have some of those 36 footers as well as the MDC Overtons. Exactly which couplers are you using for the replacements, and did you have to replace the trucks as well? Did you do body mounts?

    Inquiring minds and all that...
  20. Cinnibar

    Cinnibar Member

    Trucks & Couplers


    On my 36 foot Box Cars I discarded the MDC trucks and bought Bulk Pack Micro Trains (1010-10) Achbars with truck mounted couplers. I would really have to say that backing has not been a problem with these. And we do a lot of that during Ops. Sessions.

    My passenger cars are Bachmann "Old-Timers". I cut the truck mounted Rapidos off at the bolster and used those trucks. I body mounted (frame mounted) MT 1016's.

    Son of a gun - I forgot - I DO have an MDC 'Overton' coach and I gave it the same treatment as the Bachmanns.

    I hope this helps!:)

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