MTL passenger trucks w/Offset bolster pins - any truck-mounted options?

Taymar Aug 20, 2019

  1. Taymar

    Taymar TrainBoard Member

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    Hi all,

    I have a set of MTL passenger cars which all have body mounted couplers. They don't stay coupled well, or couple/decouple reliably compared to other cars I have with truck mounted couplers, so I'd like to try and replace them with truck-mounted couplers, but have noticed the existing trucks have an offset bolster pin (pic below).

    On the Micro trains site, I only see 6-whel passenger trucks with the bolster pin directly over the middle axle, which won't fit my cars without the truck interfering with the tanks and other underframe items.

    Do I have any options please? I'd be even ok with going to a 4-wheel truck vs. 6.
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    Out of curiosity, what radius curves do you have?
     
  3. Taymar

    Taymar TrainBoard Member

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    The tightest is 14" radius.

     
  4. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Over the years we've had problems operating truck mounted coupler cars, coupled to body mounted cars. We've also discovered that converting all the train equipment to body mounted couplers is the best solution. Car mounted couplers are the best mounted couplers.

    Your 14" radius curves are a step in the right direction and these cars will work okay on them. My minimum (not that it matters) is a 15" radius curve. They work well.

    I hope that helps.
     
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  5. NDave

    NDave TrainBoard Member

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    Here are two solutions that solved a similar problem I was having backing MTL heavyweights thru some #7 turnouts into my stub passenger terminal (in my case, the MTL heavy weight was derailing the tender of my FEF-3 as it backed thru the turnouts):

    Solution #1. Get a set of 3 axle MTL passenger trucks with truck mounted couplers, and make off-centered holes. I think I used these:
    6-Wheel Passenger Car Trucks w/ adj. couplers 1pr. (1018)
    N Scale 6-Wheel Passenger Car Trucks w/ adj. couplers 1pr. (1018) 6 wheel passenger car trucks with a..
    Prod. Code 003 02 061

    These will have centered holes for the king pin. So, now you need to fill the factory hole and make an off-center hole.

    First, take the axles out. IIRC, there is a raised lip around the factory kingpin hole that makes a sort of bearing that the truck rides on against the body bolster. Carefully shave this down flush. Then, fill the factory hole with some epoxy and let it cure (I did this with the truck frame on a piece of wax paper to make a flat surface on the bolster side of the truck (seems to me, I had to perch the truck frame on something to do this, because the side frames are higher than the bolster). Shave and sand the surface smooth. If the epoxy plug pops out (glue doesn't stick well to the delrin), ACC it back in. Once the bolster surface is smooth, drill a new off center hole. Again, if the epoxy plug pops out, you can ACC it back in. You will need to use the spacer washers (that come with the trucks) between the truck and body bolsters when you mount the trucks, to get the correct height and allow the truck to swivel freely.

    I did this mod on the baggage car at the head end of my passenger train, to couple to my FEF-3, and it solved my derailing issue for as long as I used it... but I eventually moved on to...

    Solution #2.
    Move the body mount couplers about 1-2 mm back under the car body. I did this on all my MTL heavyweights, to achieve closer coupling AND (coincidently) solve my derailing issue. This requires creating a flat space to drill a new hole to mount the factory coupler 1-2 mm back under the car body, and then mounting the coupler with a screw (you can get coupler mounting screws from MTL). See my last post in this link for an example [unfortunately, every style of car (baggage, diner, sleeper, coach, observation/parlor) was a little different]...

    Other possibilities: If the coupler issue is only between the first heavyweight and the loco, intersperse an "express freight" box car with truck mounted couplers between the first heavyweight and the loco (obviously, won't work if it's every car uncoupling). I found that converting to Z-scale MTL couplers also solved my derailment issue... but for me introduced a maddening random uncoupling (actually, not random: the Z-scale couplers uncoupled on just about any down hill curve to the right). That's when I re-installed the N scale MTLs, but further back.

    Good luck!
     
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  6. Taymar

    Taymar TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you both very much. Interesting that the loco I'm using with these cars is also an FEF-3, and I'm having the same tender derailing issue when backing these cars through turnouts and around curves.

    Think I'll try moving the couplers inboard first, and if that's not enough will attempt the kingpin modification on the first car. Good to know that car mounted is the preferred system.

    Thanks again for the advice!
     
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  7. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    I have a mix of old Rivarossi and new MT cars and had similar issues.

    I ended up leaving a truck-mount on the lead truck of the first car (baggage) and then converting every other car over to body-mount that wasn't already that way. That also let me add the steps (Shapeways) which was a nice improvement in appearance. That printed plug handles filling in the hole and providing a coupler box as well as doing the steps. So out of a 7-car train only one truck-mount remains.

    I''ve got a wicked 11" radius reverse loop and the entire train goes through it just fine. Body-mount to body-mount works just as well.

    I really didn't want to cut off those steps on the MT cars, either.
     
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  8. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Look's like your getting some solid advice here. I thought I'd share these thoughts from the school of hard knocks and lessons learned.

    There's one design I won't mess with and that's the MTL's offset bolster. Someone used their engineering cap to design these, with all of us in mind. Especially those guys that just insist on operating with tight, tighter and tightest radius curves. Honest!!

    There are plenty of machinist in the hobby who can re-engineer a product. Unless, you are one of those... I'd leave it up to them. If you know what I mean?

    Like others here I have a mix of Rivarossi and now (Finally) MTL's heavy weight passenger cars. No steps yet on my Rivarossi passenger equipment. Now, when operating with MTL's they look odd without them. I haven't found anything in the way of steps that satisfies me (I excuse myself). Grin! I will look into what Ranqust is using and by the way thanks for the tip. Randqust, is always good for giving out solid, well founded information and "How To's" He isn't the only one.

    If you must, can't resist, think you know better then anyone else. :oops::cautious: MTL does make a three axle passenger truck with an truck mounted, extension coupler. I've used these in less then desirable circumstances.

    For example a transition car. One that goes from body mount on on end to truck mounted on the other. Eventually these will be switched back to body mounts after my Rivarossi fleet is converted to...what else. You got it, body mounts. And that could happen with a knuckle coupler on one end while still dealing with Rapido coupler on the other end. I have few consists of Rivarossi passenger cars still operating with those dreaded Rapido couplers. They look odd as thy pass by my nose while railfanning my trains. Worse yet in my videos.

    Keep in mind most of our fleet of front end power (locomotive, diesels, prime movers) have body mounted couplers. You will need a car with body mounted couplers to go right behind the leading motor. You'll know you've done the right thing when you go to make a reverse move.:cool:

    Why do I use "Motor", it is more likely the correct description for what most of us call a diesel, prime mover or even a locomotive. The wheels aren't driven by direct drive as in a "Locomotive" with piston engines. A diesel is driven by an electric motor. Do you get it? "Motor!!" ;)

    That should stir the pot and I may have to duck and run for cover.:sick:o_O

    Be cool:cool:.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
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  9. James Fitch

    James Fitch TrainBoard Member

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    I did some IT work for Amtrak a few years ago at Union Station in Washington DC and it required me to walk down the station tracks past the trains (not that I minded ;) ) to the offices that dispatched the engines. I heard them, refer to them as "motors" so there is a prototypical precedent for Rick using the term.
     
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  10. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks Fitch. Yep, that's what my family of rails and close friends all part of the brotherhood of Rails called them.
     
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  11. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Rick....dont make me come up thare to have a discussion with you !
    I dont believe people "Insist" on running tight radii curves. I believe its born from necessity. Not everyone has an empty 3 car garage to build a massive layout in. Not even a 20x20 spare bedroom that would give room for some massive curves. Most are lucky to have space for a 32x80 HCD.

    Even my layout in THERR RV is limited on width space. 8 feet wide. thats a 32" wide layout on each side with a 32" asile.

    I dont think anyone "INSISTS" on making narrow curves...just the way it worksd out.

    And btw...they are called "TURNOUTS"...LMAO ! :p:p:LOL::LOL::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:(y)
     
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  12. James Fitch

    James Fitch TrainBoard Member

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    First I have to confess I come from a background of HO, and there too have been encouraging hobbyists to increase curve radii where possible. The mentality there is often tied to the 4x8 sheet of plywood and thus 18 and 22 inch curves.

    Back to N, where the analogous curves are approximately but not exactly 9 and 11 inches. But the 4x8 plywood format doesn't translate either - some use doors.

    Anyway, I realize space limitations force hobbyists to use sharper curves than would be desired. But I still encourage hobbyists to use as broad a radius curve as is possible as it does help, even if it is only a little bit broader.

    What drew me back into N was my wife wants a table layout with a glass top (coffee table). She has found an Ikea glass top table 36 5/8 x 36 5/8 that will hopefully allow 15 inch curves and allow long cars to operate.
     
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  13. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
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  14. James Fitch

    James Fitch TrainBoard Member

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    40" radius. You make it sound like a bad thing! :LOL:
     
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  15. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Just think....you can sit in an office chair in the middle of the room and spin in circles watching your trains go round and round...LOL:LOL::LOL::ROFLMAO:
     
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  16. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Back on topic...IMHO trucks with offset pins are a royal PITA. There...I said it
     
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  17. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    They are switches and have always been called switches, by the fraternity of the railroad brotherhood. Of which most model railroaders will never understand. To busy doing their own thing.:mad::confused::cautious: LOL back at you.

    See, I told you I'd have to run a duck for cover. Incoming!!!:rolleyes:o_O:whistle:

    George is one of those who insists on tighter radius curves. Heeheehee haw haw haw!!!

    My layout fits in a 9.5' foot space and has 24" radius curves on the main line with a minimum of 15" radius in the yards and industrial spurs. Who said it can't be done?:sneaky:(y);) I just can't get it back together right now. When I'm done it will be slightly stretched and sitting in the front room.

    My experience is a lot like Fitch's. I started out with HO and found the 15", 18". 22" and 24" radius curves just to tight, for the kinds of operations I wanted. Not even a close facsimile to the prototype.

    When N scale came along and cleaned up it's act, all I could think of is transferring my HO scale layout to N Scale and IT WORKED!

    Okay George, your on. I want you to come up here for a discussion. Gloves are off. Or mittens it will depend on the time of the year. Besides we might both get lunch out of it and hang-out around the Nampa UP Yard and either cook or freeze our butts off. :rolleyes:o_O:D

    I'll even take you up to the local model railroad club so you can see how real toy train enthusiast operate. What? What? What did I say?:censored::coffee::)

    On my layout they will always be called switches. (y):rolleyes:;)

    Unless I'm installing a turnout. :barefoot::ROFLMAO::sneaky:

    Some fine folk just don't know a good thing when they see it. :sick::p:ROFLMAO:
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
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  18. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm not just ducking for cover I'm running for cover.

    Where's my 12 gauge beebee gun when I need it?

    Your tooooo funny George, your tooooooo funny!!:rolleyes::sick:;):p:D:ROFLMAO:o_O
    But he means it!!! That's what scares me.

    Those 40" radius curves? Would be perfect. Seriously!!!

    :censored::coffee::LOL::ROFLMAO::sick::whistle::sneaky::);):(:mad:

    Be cool!:cool:
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
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  19. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. Grin!!!
     
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  20. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    You will have to forgive me but I can't help but say that is bad advice. In order to have body mounted couplers 'work properly' you need broad curves. We have trouble coupling the MT passenger cars on 24" radius curves on an Ntrak layout. Usually you have to couple them on a straight section of track. With truck mounted couplers there is no problem as the coupler is always aligned with the center line of the track. Some people have trouble in pushing a string of cars with truck mounts but then there are other factors involved. For the average modeler using 9 3/4 -11 1/2 inch curves with #4 or #6 switches the truck mounts are, by far, the better option. Now when you get into club size layouts with curves of 36+ inches and #8 or #10 switches then you may want to go to body mounts. But even with broad curves truck mounts only are only a minimal problem in backing a long string of cars.
     
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