What trucks or couplers do I need?

drabina Oct 10, 2017

  1. drabina

    drabina TrainBoard Member

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    I have a few cars with older Rapido couplers. I would like to upgrade them to Micro Trains knuckle couplers either by replacing just the coupler or, if needed, the whole truck. I just have no idea what size couplers do I need and if the current trucks are compatible with the MT knuckle coupler. I am pretty new to the hobby so how do I go about figuring out what fits my cars?
     
  2. zinker55

    zinker55 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Go to Micro Trains Website, they have lists and guides that you can download for most manufactures. :)
     
  3. drabina

    drabina TrainBoard Member

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    So far no luck. I have looked up three cars I have (Model Power and Atlas) and none of them are listed. I am probably missing something obvious.
     
  4. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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  5. drabina

    drabina TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks. From the link I found out that most likely 1035 Micro Trains couplers are going to work with my cars.
     
  6. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    No problem. It's amazing how hard it is to come up with a question for this forum that no one has asked before!
     
  7. nd-rails

    nd-rails TrainBoard Supporter

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    Depends on the type and era of cars you refer too. And what others you may buy in near future.
    There are alternatives to MTL trucks and couplers.

    If older cars (40's- 50's), Bettendorf trucks w couplers; if more modern, Roller Bearing trucks.

    either by replacing just the coupler or, if needed, the whole truck.
    Yes this can be easier, tho expensive if overkill.

    I just have no idea what size couplers do I need
    Ummm, couplers don't come in 'sizes' per se. What do you mean otherwise?

    and if the current trucks are compatible with the MT knuckle coupler. I am pretty new to the hobby so how do I go about figuring out what fits my cars?


    Like me with a decade of miscellaneous purchases, I've been upgrading systematically- years ago started with 10 packs of MTL, but now I use Unimate couplers; tried Con-Cor fixed coupler trucks and a mixture of cheaper metal wheels (Atlas for instance) bought in bulk packs seem perfectly ok despite what purists/ rivet counters may suggest- after checking 'rollability' and functionality of movements.

    You want to check free rolling, binding and 'sticking' because truck sideframes are worn, too tight or the plastic bearing surfaces gouged. I sometimes drill out the hole and use a plain sharp pencil to add a layer of graphite to help the axles. If wear is too great then out they go, and a new truck, wheelset (axle lengths matter) or mixture is used and tested.

    I mark all replaced trucks with silver pen- putting a + on the under bolster frame, and lightly colour the outside 'springs' on the trucks to be visible when in a box. It works!
    Regards dave
     
  8. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    Can you please tell us what kind of cars they are? The manufacturer is not enough to have us give a good recommendation
     
  9. drabina

    drabina TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. I guess, the truck/coupler replacement is not as straight forward as I was thinking.

    As to the coupler size, I thought that they come in short, medium and long but I may be mistaken.

    Here is the list of the cars I own that do not have magnetic MT couplers:

    1. Atlas China - Chessie Systems C&O 601316
    2. Atlas China - SCL 746565 42' Gondola - Model 35033
    3. Bachmann - Rock Island 6144
    4. Bachmann - Union Pacific R.R. #7 and #9
    5. Con Cor - Chessie Systems C&O 3291 Caboose
    6. Micro Trains - USAX Caboose - Model 83133
    7. Model Power - US Army Tanker - Model 83759
     

    Attached Files:

  10. brokemoto

    brokemoto TrainBoard Member

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    The Atlas cars, the B-mann hopper and the Model Power tank car will all accept a MT 1000, which is the basic, Bettendorf friction bearing freight truck with a coupler on it. That Atlas covered hopper and C-C caboose might want a Roller Bearing truck, #1030. This does not apply if the Con-Cor caboose has a body mount coupler, mind you. I do not have any extended vision cabooses as they are out of my modelling era, thus I am not certain about the construction methods used on that caboose. The Atlas covered hopper will accept either the 1000 or the 1030 The 1030 might be more prototypical on that particular car.

    Are you sure that the U.S. Army caboose is a Micro Trains and not a Model Power? Some of the early MT cars did come with a Rapido coupler option. I do not recall ever seeing an MT U.S. Army caboose, but I have seen the MP. If it is an MP, it might want the MT 1003, if the coupler extension on the 1000 is too short. I have found that for some of those ATSF prototype cabooses, the 1003 works better than the 1000; but not all of them. As there are now more prototypical cabooses available for the roads that I run, I do not run those ATSF/USRA II prototypes with my road lettering hung on them any more.

    A word of caution on the MPs. Some of those come with a split truck pin that is cast into the undercarriage. If yours are like that, the MT 1000/1003 will not work unless you do some surgery to the undercarriages. Even then, you will need some other parts. There are other ways to skin that proverbial cat, though. I have had the best luck retaining the Original Equipment trucks and adding MT couplers to those.

    The swap is easy: pull out the truck pin, the factory truck falls off. Put truck pin into MT truck, put new MT truck onto car.

    The B-mann nineteenth century passenger cars are a different story. You must retain the Original Equipment trucks on those. You use 1133/1134 on them. The swap is not that difficult. One thing, though, if you plan to buy more older B-mann products, the 1133/1134 is almost universal for them (and work on many of the newer B-manns, as well). The MT coupler tweezers are something that you should buy if you plan to work with this particular coupler. They are almost a sine qua non. The 1134 is simply an 1133 with a longer shank. You use it on body mounts that will be operating on sharp curves. I would guess that there is a possibility of using the Athearn/MDC nineteenth century passenger car trucks on these things, but I have yet to try it. The short Athearn/MDC passenger cars simply use the archbar trucks, while the fifty foot cars have a different truck that is also on the wood fifty foot refrigerators/express cars. The ride height on these cars is most toy-like. You can adjust it. I have done only one and that was some time past. I would have to dig out the thing and see what I actually did. I did a body mount on it, as well. The surgery for the ride height might be beyond what you might want to do, at the moment, so, for now, if you will simply replace the factory couplers with the MT 1133s, you will be able to run the cars.

    Most of the manufacturers are getting away from the Rapidos and have been doing it for some time. I used to prefer the Rapidos, but when I saw that the manufacturers were dumping them, I changed over most of the equipment that I was running. You have picked a good time to go to knuckle couplers, while you still do not have a large collection of equipment. I had a much larger collection of equipment, thus it was both expensive and time consuming to convert everything.
     
  11. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    Whichever coupler or truck/coupler you decide upon be sure to be consistent. Yes Accumates will couple with MT's as will McHenry and the Bachmann coupler. The MT coupler is and has been the defacto standard for NScale for 40+ years. Very early on I choose this coupler preferring to use them in the truck/coupler combination. I use the short shank length as it provides the nearest coupling distance between cars. I have not regretted my decision. I run Ntrak and long trains, on the order of 40+ cars, are the norm. I have on occasion run trains as long as 143 cars with no problems. Other members of our club decided to go with the Atlas Accumates. There we discovered that they were good up to about 20-25 cars then things, bad things, started to happen. Couplers would uncouple or worse yet, they would fall apart. Supposedly this only affects the Accumate couplers made early on and the newer ones are better. However, for the sake of consistency I'm sticking with the MT's. The Mt couplers have given me yeoman service.

    For good operation consistency is the key. By standardizing on the MT truck/coupler combination I more or less insured that all my rolling stock would roll consistently alike. In addition I weighed my rolling stock and added weight to those cars that were lighter to bring them up to NMRA standards. Again, being consistent is the key here. So decide which way you want to go but be consistent.
     
  12. drabina

    drabina TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for a detailed explanation and instructions. I really appreciate it. You are right, the USAX Caboose is Model Power not MT.

    I will tackle the cars that accept MT 1000 trucks first, then move to MP cars and leave the passenger cars for the last conversion once I become a bit more experienced in the swap.
     
  13. nd-rails

    nd-rails TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes sorry my mind was on the wrong tangent (or not at all) late at night.
    Go with brokemotos suggestions and you'll be fine.
    Longer shanks where you need clearance (between cars) to turn on sharp curves, or more 'prototype' like appearance on later cars (like hoppers/ LO). Dave
     
  14. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    Previously I used the plastic pin to attach the truck to the car but found this was less than satisfactory. I have since gone to using 2-56 x 3/16" screws, Much more reliable method of attaching the trucks to the cars. The screws I use are black oxide phillips flathead machine screws. Get the black oxide as they are easy to screw in with a magnetized screw driver. Otherwise you will become easily frustrated. These screws are available for $4.30 a package (100 screws) from a company called Micro Fasteners, Inc. Get a couple of packages to save on shipping. Here is the URL:

    http://www.microfasteners.com/fmppk0203-2-56-x-3-16-flat-head-machine-screws-phillips-black-ox.html
     
  15. Keith

    Keith TrainBoard Supporter

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    Maybe at a later time, you could body mount Micro Trains couplers on the MP caboose.
    I body mounted MT couplers on a several Atlas cabooses.

    After I screwed the couplers in place, I just left the exposed screw As Is, since it really isn't seen.
    Matches up perfectly with the MT coupler gauge! In the photos, the Limited caboose has Atlas steel
    wheels and the DRGW caboose has stock MT trucks.

    Both cabooses together.
    [​IMG]

    Checked against the MT gauge.
    [​IMG]

    Yes, gauge IS level! Inserted into end of a section of Atlas C55 curve track!
    Here, you can see screw that holds couplers in place. Have not had operational
    problems before, or after conversion. Maybe 10 minutes to do.

    Micro Trains has truck/coupler drawings, that you can use to match trucks to, so
    you know which truck is the right one, for each car. I've used it plenty in the past!
    Still do if I need to reference the proper truck(s).
     
  16. WFOJeff

    WFOJeff TrainBoard Supporter

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    I changed out the Rapido couplers/trucks on this Vintage Atlas #2293 Mobilgas 3 dome tank car , I believe I used for simplicity sake an extra wheel set I had-
    Micro-Trains N 00302021 (1000) Bettendorf Trucks with Short Extension Couplers (1 pair, Assembled)

    Real easy exercise in this example.
    ATL-2293 3 Dome Tank Car brown Mobilgas.jpg
     

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