N scale noob, truck mounted vs body mount couplers.

briansommers787 May 12, 2018

  1. briansommers787

    briansommers787 TrainBoard Member

    56
    9
    9
    I have watched Youtube videos and I'm still confused.

    What is the easier of the solution?

    I am planning a 7'x7'x12" shelf layout and it will have a tight 9-3/4" curve to join the two 7' sections together.

    I want to make them all the same and universal. I'm thinking just going with the MT Bettendorf 1000.

    Any recommendations. I was wanting to go with the tru-scale but OY that is to tiny for me. This will be good enough.

    btw, does the Bettendorf 1000's come with metal wheels?
     
  2. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    7,227
    1,224
    99
    Body mounted couplers on long equipment and tight curves is a recipe for a derailment. By tight I mean 9.75 and under radius. And by long I am generally referring to 60 foot or more. On cars that range from 34 and 36 foot, and 40, and 50 foot the body mount usually works fine. The coupler swing on a body mount limits it's radius of curves. Where the truck mount has far more swing and thus can navigate the 9.75. That is why a number of manufactures stay with the truck mounts to be able to run longer equipment on 9.75 R. Some manufactures list a minimum radius with their product which helps in the design of track and knowing if a purchase will run on your pike. Plus long length cars do not look good on tight raduis because they overhang the track severely on tight curves. You can mix body and truck mount couplers in a consist as long as the curvature radius doesn't exceed what the body mounts are capable of.

    I have a layout that has a narrow gauge flavor to it and curves are 8 and 8.5 on my layout. I have some freight cars which have body mounts but they are 34 and 36 foot cars. Almost all the 40 foot cars have truck mounts and I run both types together with no issues.

    If you can design your layout with 11 inch radius and higher you won't have issues with most equipment.
     
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  3. briansommers787

    briansommers787 TrainBoard Member

    56
    9
    9
    Thanks, I'll be good then.
     
  4. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    5,402
    311
    74
    To your other question, all the MicroTrains trucks I've bought came with plastic wheelsets.
     
  5. NtheBasement

    NtheBasement TrainBoard Member

    87
    5
    9
    I use mt trucks all the time, no problems with them. They are the most reliable option out there if you want magnetic uncoupling.

    You probably already know this but...
    Bettendorfs are appropriate for old (40s? and earlier) layouts. Roller bearings are standard since the mid-60's. http://www.spookshow.net/trucks/trucks.php
    You have the right size - I use short shank trucks for 98% of my cars.
     
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    57,289
    2,565
    594
    You will not be unhappy with truck mounted, (so-called "talgo"), M/T couplers. But I have body mounted that same brand for many, many years. The look is nice and operation has been just fine for me. (y)
     
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  7. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

    2,222
    86
    34
    If you have a minimum curve radius of 13" and higher, then body-mounted couplers will result in less derailments, especially when backing up trains, or rounding curves up a grade.
     
  8. CarlH

    CarlH TrainBoard Member

    327
    17
    17
    I have used a lot of tight curves (9.75 inch and 11 inch radius) on my layout, and based on that experience I will second the suggestion to try to use 11 inch radius curves instead of 9.75 inch radius curves to join your two sections together. It makes a big difference, and it is worth doing some change in your space or layout planning (if necessary), to allow yourself to use 11 inch radius curves, even if all your couplers were truck mounted.

    Keep in mind that most modern diesel locos use body-mounted couplers. Places in your train where you have a body-mounted coupler connecting to a truck mounted coupler (like at the back of your loco) are trouble spots, and these become worse as the radii of your curves get tighter.
     
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  9. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

    197
    23
    9
    Whatever radius you choose, it will prove to be inadequate. But still, think where N would be today if instead of 9 3/4 for a "recommended minimum" 11" had been chosen. I chose 18" for my Cajon layout, but for several reasons had to reduce that to 12" in a couple of locations, and was surprised how much trouble that would cause. Even Talgo couplers were a problem at 12", but after body mounting my entire fleet, many of the problems disappeared.
    An unmentioned advantage to body mounts is the ability to lower the unfortunate riding on stilts look required for truck mounted couplers.
     
    Hardcoaler and BoxcabE50 like this.
  10. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

    2,222
    86
    34
    I stuck to 18" radius for my N scale layout, and can run anything now. I was burned by the radius issue when I used to be in HO scale and 18" was a curse. I also discovered N scale flextrack fits within HO scale rails so I used 18" radius Atlas snaptrack as a basic form for some of my curves when shaping my Micro Engineering flex.
     
  11. Thomas Davis

    Thomas Davis TrainBoard Member

    72
    17
    11
    A consideration here is what locomotive you intend to run. Given a 12" deep shelf layout, I am assuming it is a switching layout. There are few, if any, good quality switchers or road switchers, or smaller steam, that have truck mounted couplers. In my collection, the only locos that come to mind that I have with truck mounted couplers, made in the last 35 years, are Life Like Es and Kato Fs and PAs, and those only on one end (ok, the B units have truck mounted on both ends, but it would be a rare instance where a B is switching without a cab).

    So an Atlas VO1000 or MT SW1500 or.... well, you name it, will most likely have body mounted couplers- so to avoid problems between the loco and train- especially when backing up during switching, I would body mount everything.

    That said, is there a reason why that connecting curve MUST be 9.75R? My own recommendation would be to adapt your track plan to accommodate the broadest curve you can fit in that is consistent with whatever you are modeling (some industrial situations are very tight- but the cars and locos used in those areas are limited to the ones that fit). A 60' car looks odd on a tight radius track, and movements through it with a heavy train, or backing through it, are potential derailments regardless of how the couplers are mounted. Operationally, in the long run, you will be much happier with a broader curve, and it will be well worth whatever time you spend now amending the track plan.
    Tom D
     
  12. Thomas Davis

    Thomas Davis TrainBoard Member

    72
    17
    11
    That is a great idea, and a whole lot less expensive than one of those curved track templates.
     
  13. briansommers787

    briansommers787 TrainBoard Member

    56
    9
    9
    Thanks for all of this good info.

    It will be some time until I'm ready to lay track. I think I'll buy a little flex track and mock up some curves and push/pull some trains cars around and see what happens.
     
    mtntrainman likes this.
  14. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    2,277
    2,853
    54
    That's a valuable point Bill. I'd never thought of that. I've been disappointed with my Life Like LV northeastern caboose for this reason and now there might be hope.
     

Share This Page