Problem with cars uncoupling

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by joe lent, Dec 31, 2004.

  1. joe lent

    joe lent New Member

    :confused: Hi,

    I'm having touble with keeping my HO freight cars from uncoupling
    around loose corners...any pointers??? I have older Tyco and newer Athearn
    Freight cars. The couplers look the same on all the freight cars.

    Also, I have a older Tyco (Mantua) steam engine that barely moves in forward motion and yet flys around the track in backward motion. Any tips on
    maybe reversing the motor so it runs faster in forward motion??
    You can e-mail me at
  2. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    First, welcome to the gauge!
    Uncoupling usually occurs when coupler heights vary, or the couplers bind in a curve. With the variety of rolling stock you have, it could be either, or both.
    With the probably need to add thrust washers to either the motor, or the worm shaft in the gearbox. This keeps the worm from moving front to back when direction is changed.
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    One quick question on your couplers, are they a one piece horn hook, or do they have a working knuckle?
  4. joe lent

    joe lent New Member

    Hi Russ,
    The couplers are one piece horn hook.
  5. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Welcome toThe Gauge, joe :wave:

    The key to your coupler problem is the mix of Tyco and Athearn cars. Because Tyco was built primarly for the toy market, the standards are much looser than Athearn's which are built for the scale modeler's market. As you grow in the hobby, one of the things you'll want to do is change over to another coupler. Kadees are very good and offer a wide variety of retro fit kits, even for Tycos.

    As for the lokey, it too is a Tyco and made for the toy market. The motors generally weren't made to be worked on, using rivets instead of screws during assembly, making it difficult for a beginning modeler to maintain. If you're handy, they make a great first llocomotive to learn on.
  6. Muddy Creek

    Muddy Creek Member

    Hi Joe,

    Not sure what you mean by "loose corners." Could the problem be humps or dips in the track where the uncoupling occurs?

    I can't offer fixes, only suggest problems because causing them is what I'm good at.

  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think your problem is the mix of Tyco and Athearn cars. Athearn cars will have body mounted couplers which will swing toward the outside of the turn in a corner, the Tyco car have talgo or truck mounted couplers that will track in the center of the track in a corner. If you cut the coupler boxes off of the trucks on the Tyco cars and body mount the couplers with a proper height adjustment, and make sure your wheels are in gauge, I think your problem will disappear. It might seem more logical to modify the Athearn cars to match the Tyco cars, but talgo mounted couplers are almost impossible to push backwards through a corner at any speed since the forces on the coupler when pushing the car around a corner will tend to push the wheels off the track.
  8. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Russ is right, that is another part of the problem I overlooked being so used to doing this modification like it was second nature.

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