G Scale Model Train Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
389 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Back before Shad got the new forum back up (while he temporarily had the old one up, I did a "Product Review" on my new USA Trains streamlined New Haven "Merchant's Limited" ( archive.mylargescale.com/forum/topic.asp ) ; since I ran into some issues with the couplers slipping by vertically/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/plain.gif (causing unwanted uncoupling & down-grade runaways!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif), I decided to do a bit of experimenting.  Last night I installed a Kadee 830 on the nose of the "trailing unit" PA.  I had a few errands to run this afternoon & the forcast locally wasn't great (on-&-off light snow, just barely dusting the grass & the railroad), so I didn't do any real extensive attempt at operation, but I did have a chance to experiment a bit with how a Kadee conversion might still work out just before dark.  This time I ran just the trailing PA (running backwards/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif, of course!), & two coaches with the "stock" USAT couplers; I also tried running the train around the railroad in the opposite direction from my first attempt.  Operation was a bit more encouraging this time/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/satisfied.gif; if I ran upgrade on the section of the main closest to the chain link fence (- which both partially supports the HDPE roadbed & is a STRAIGHT, LONG run), the PA & the cars ran upgrade without any problem; downgrade, I still had derailing issues with the PA:mad: (this time the "trailing" truck), & vertical coupler separation at the same point in the grade./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/pinch.gif

BUT, what I saw today convinced me that the problem is more the grade transistions in my railroad itself/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sick.gif than the fault of the USA trains equipment; the stretch that is giving me the most problems was one of the more difficult portions to construct, due to 3 reasons.  First, that section of the grade that curves behind our barrel shed was tough to build because I had VERY little space to work in /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/ermm.gif when building the roadbed back there.  Second, I was just recovering from my SECOND major knee injury /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crying.gif & surgery when I built it (I was out of work on medical leave at the time, couldn't drive - but it didn't stop me from using power tools or swinging a sledgehammer!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif), & couldn't move around as easily as I can presently.  Third, my system of supporting the roadbed on U-channel stakes has been VERY succesful - except for 1 spot behind the barrel shed!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/cry.gif  (I hit a "soft spot" in a particularly difficult-to-reach area/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/angry.gif; the roadbed has had a tendency to "sag" slightly at that spot, particularly since I've had to climb on top of the roadbed to keep the hedges trimmed back there).  I've convinced myself that I'm just going to have to level that stretch a bit better than it is currently if I want to run those LONG, BEAUTIFUL /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif USA streamliners! (Which may also require waiting until the ground thaws for the spring)./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif

At this point, however, I still think I want to convert ALL the cars & the PA's to Kadees:), most likely # 830's, but I noticed something interesting with the first experimental Kadee install on that PA.  Height-wise, it came out perfectly in line with the stock USAT couplers; but below what the Kadee height gauge recommended./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/shocked.gif  The trip pin in particular was low enough that it was snagging on EVERY turnout; it would have been IMPOSSIBLE to run the PA "forward", for example, & may have been a partial cause of the derailments I was seeing today./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/unsure.gif  Since I will most likely be running this equipment as a "dedicated" train set (whose function will be pretty much to "parade" :cool: around the railroad!), I could live with that, including cutting off the Kadee trip pins if need be - but I'm wondering about is what if I want to run with something other than the PA's on the head end (Aristo's upcoming NH RS-3's, for example?), or an Aristo live-steam Mike detailed as a NH  J-1 on a "fan trip"!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue.gif  Since this is the first time I've really dealt with 1:29 "standard gauge" prototypes (I've normally run 1:20.3 "narrow gauge" models up until now), I'd like to find out what coupler height standard most people using 1:29 scale equipment (USA Trains, Aristo, or Accucraft's "American Mainline" models such as the PRR K4s) are using if I want to consider interchangablity with other 1:29 equipment?:rolleyes:                                                                                                                                   Tom
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,043 Posts
I have both Kadee G and #1 guages to adjuct my couplers.  plus i marked these for the hook and loops for a standard.

Outdoors all year round running I have never had an uncou[pling accident nor did I have a hang-up.

Of course, my yard was fairly level, my grades are small and you can hardly tell there are grades.

Biggest problem I have is 3 axle trucks needing side to side track leveling for running my SD-45's.
 

·
TDY to Earth
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
Tom

Kadee has two long established standard for their large scale couplers. "G" is 1.125" [1 1/8]; #1 is 1.0625" [1 1/16]; from top of railhead to centerline of the coupler knuckle. All their conversion products designed for specific manufacturers will result in those heights if mounted following the Kadee instructions.

The issue with the USA Trains Hudson, PAs, F-3s, and passenger cars is that they were all designed with a different coupler height than the entire rest of the product line, ie, all the "freight cars and engines". As delivered, you cannot couple freight cars to the tender of the Hudson, or the F3 diesels. If you look at the mechanism for the vestibule doors under the long passenger cars, you will see that coupler drawbar swing would have been very limited if it was a the standard height of the freight cars. A Kadee 789 with the large vertical offset will allow the engine to couple to cars with the standard height. A Kadee 831 with the straight shank is an easier install on nthe USAT drawbars. I only used it on the locomotives. You MUST cut off the trip pins on the 831s when mounted this low. I did not try it, but I think the top of a 789 will foul the bottom of the diaphrams on the passenger cars.

The body mount Kadee 830s fit on the mounting pads of most USAT modern freight cars and match the Kadee height gauge standard. You are correct that these will be higher than the USAT knuckles that are on the cars as delivered. A 789 on your engine will match the Kadde 1.125" hwight, NOT the height odf the USAT as delivered couplers.

I set my F-3 ABA sets so that one end has 789s for pulling freight and an 831 on the other end for pulling the passenger cars.

I would recommentd you spend the time to fix the vertical curvature transitions on the track instead of replacing all the couplers on the cars.

And just remember the battle cry of the Large Scaler ===> "WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING STANDARDS"

Cheers

Dr Rivet
 

·
Super Modulator
Joined
·
21,224 Posts
Tom, I'm not sure you looked at the Kadee conversion document for the USAT streamliners:

http://www.kadee.com/conv/pdf/usapc.pdf

I'm a Kadee body mount guy, and wanted to change mine. I have converted one. 

The bottom line in my opinion:

1. It's a pain in the butt, it is a lot of work to pull the cars apart to do the conversion
2. After the conversion, the Kadees are no better than the stock couplers to handle side side excursions, the stock ones have more "give"
3. The stock couplers are taller from top to bottom, so they have less tendency to ride out of each other as compared to a Kadee.
4. The stock couplers are metal, and are very strong.
5. I can live without the ability to remotely uncouple the cars.
6. The stock couplers look better than Kadees.

So, my suggestions are to smooth out the vertical transitions in your trackwork.

Now, I know that is easier said than done, so I'm looking at adding a "shelf" like the Aristo coupler has to the couplers. Shelf couplers were prototype, and since the couplers are metal, perhaps I can drill and tap the couplers to make a solid assembly.

I really feel that if you convert to Kadees you will not be happy, and I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Kadee guy.

Try converting your first car to Kadee, the one that will couple to the loco. That's the only Kadee conversion I am doing.

Regards, Greg


 
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,862 Posts
Jim,
There really are no standards in large scale  couplers between manufacturers or even within a product line.  If you want to go with Kadees as many of us have then decide if you want G or #1,  get the Kadee gauge and set every coupler with the gauge. You won't regret it.  I have Kadee #1 scale body mounted 820's on my  USA  passenger cars and have not had any problems at all.  In fact,since the train is basically a unit train I back it up a steady 135' of 2% grade for inside storage so it will be facing the correct way for its next run.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
348 Posts
I'm with Paul. I run Kadee's on everything and a new car doesn't make it to the layout until it's been converted. I do have a couple of coupler converter cars for use when company shows up with non Kadee equiped equipment. The only thing is I use Kadee #835's on tank cars and hopper cars. These couplers are visably smaller and look better on those cars. The one thing you need to do is take into consideration your minimun radius of your curves. If you have sharp curves the 830's may not work. I'm sure someone out there can tell you what to use on sharp curved layouts.
 

·
TDY to Earth
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
ALL - CORRECTION TO MY ORIGINAL POST

As usual, I got the 831 and 789 descriptrions backwards. The 831/1831 has a large vertical offset to raise the coupler centerline above the mounting box, the 789 /1789 has a straight shank that keeps the coupler height centerline essentially even with the mounting box. So 789s mounted on the locomotive will match the passenger cars, 831s will match the freight cars with Kadees. These packages include a short box with an extension that is typically used for talgo mounting to trucks.

Regarding the post refering to the Kadee 835 coupler

A Kadee 835 is the same coupler as an 789 with a short body mount box. A 789 has a mounting box for talgo mounting on trucks, same box as the 831; the 837 is the same coupler as the 831 with a short body mount box. ALL the G couplers are the same size, the shank length on the 789/835 is much shorter than the 830 with its body mount draft gear box.

BTW, IF you are using the body mount couplers [830/820] and need to deal with sharp radius curves, Kadee makes a "flex bracket" to mount the box ,PN 883/882 , the 838 is an 830 box with flex bracket,the 819 is an 820 package that includes the flex brackets. I have never sold any or used them myself, so I have no idea how well they work [or don't work].

I looked at the instructions from Kadee for the USAT passenger car conversion. What a pain.

Kadees are not a perfect solution, and could look better, but they solve the problem of "interoperability" between manufacturers.

Cheers

Dr Rivet
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
394 Posts
I'm among those who refuse to put a car or loco on the tracks until it has body-mounted Kadee couplers on it.  I have adopted the #789 as my standard; but, sometimes use #830.  Doing this has required that I modify some of my models to intstall the couplers (sometimes quite extensively).  But, I seldom use anything just as it came out of the box and don't mind the extra effort since the result is consistant first rate operation and gauranteed interoperability among all of my rolling stock.

Llyn
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
389 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the input, guys!:D  Dr. Rivet's comments that the PA's & passenger car coupler heights don't even match those of some of USA Trains' other equipment/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif somehow doesn't surprise me too much!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/doze.gif

I know at this point that I have to tackle & repair the vertical transisition issues /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif with my mainline.  Curve radius is (happily!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif) NOT an issue; although I was intially running small-radius capable 1:20.3 narrow-gauge protoype locomotives, the outdoor railroad was designed from "day 1" to accomodate at least medium-sized 1:29 or 1:32 scale standard gauge prototypes such as the PA's, or Pacific or Mikado -sized steam locos.  This just happens to be the first time I've actually tried running any of this stuff/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blush.gif, and the passenger cars in particular are towards the upper end of my considered size range./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue.gif

I have looked at Kadees' recommended conversion instructions for the passenger cars, & it does look like a "royal pain"/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/ermm.gif to do the conversion in the manner that Kadee suggests.  If I have a chance this weekend, I'm going to disassemble one of the USAT passenger car stock draft-gear boxes (which I do like the appearance of!;)), & see if I can alter the shank of a Kadee 830 (by filing or grinding it a bit thinner) to fit.  This in particular would avoid some of the issues with the trap step springs that Kadee mentions in their own conversion instructions, & make the conversion "reversible":rolleyes: in the event that I finally decide that Kadee's won't work out; I still think them superior to the stock USAT couplers in ease of coupling, even if I have to lift the car ends to hand-uncouple./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/satisfied.gif  (In desperation at one point, I even considered installing hook-&-loop couplers/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sick.gif between the cars & PA's!)./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/laugh.gif   Once I acquire some 1:29 scale freight cars (probably when I get some Aristo NH RS-3's), I'll worry a bit more then about equipment interchangability.  Another idea that occured to me was making 1 or 2 coupler-height conversion cars in the form of typical "head-end" (mail handling, baggage, or express) cars that could be coupled between the PA's & first coach; anyone produce any protoypes along those lines in 1:29 scale?

Tom
 

·
Super Modulator
Joined
·
21,224 Posts
Tom, you have not visited the USAT site lately, they have 3 new streamliner cars, baggage, RPO/mail, and combine, if I remember correctly. 

RPO:


Baggage:


Combine:


A neat thing is that the shorter cars at the head end will be more forgiving coupler-swing-wise.

Another 1:29 head end I have (body mount of course)



Lots of possibilities!

Regards, Greg
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
389 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Actually, Greg, when I bought the set (from Charles Ro's huge display at the Amhearst Railway Society show), I saw the RPO & a combine on display; what I had hoped to get in the 5-car set was a combine, coach, diner, sleeper, & the observation; BUT the combine was not available /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sad.gif in New Haven colors, so I had to settle for a second (different road-numbered, at least) coach. 

A few other ideas have occured to me - although unavailable in NH, I noticed the combine, RPO, & straight baggage car are ALL available in Pennsy colors!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif - & PRR head-end cars were commonly seen in new Haven passenger trains!  /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif - so to quote Mr. Spock from "Star Trek", "There are always possibilities!"/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/laugh.gif  (Of course, now that I've finally opened the door on running standard-gauge prototypes, there's always that GORGEOUS Accucraft 1:29 PRR K4s Pacific/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif!).

I like your idea of the head-end refrigerator car as well - I'm assuming the one you pictured is USAT's 50-ft. mechanical reefer?

Also, after a little experimentation, I think I've come up with a much simplified installation method for Kadee's on the USAT aluminum passenger cars.  :)  I've done one end of the coach, want to actually try it out 'for real" on the railroad, perhaps this coming weekend.  (Weather here in MA has been absolutely nasty /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif the past several days - bitter cold, followed by snow, sleet, & freezing rain /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crying.gif last night - my normal 45-minute commute turned into an hour-&-20 minute white-knuckled ordeal!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/pinch.gif ).   Today I just had to deal with heavy rain (the temp shot up over 50 degrees & melted virtually all the snow!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/laugh.gif); hopefully I'll be able to do some track-testing of my conversion over the long holiday weekend./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif                                                                            Tom
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,626 Posts
In my file I have photos of how I adapted the 789 to the pass cars, learned it from someone else.
 

·
Super Modulator
Joined
·
21,224 Posts
Will be looking for your info Tom. Also Marty, I'd like to see what you came up with.

Tom, I have one of those K4's and converted it to DCC with a QSI last weekend. The modification procedure is on my site... go to TRAINS.... MOTIVE POWER....AML...K4

Regards, Greg
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
389 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Marty, I think you read my mind!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif  My "experiment" involved replacing the stock USAT coupler box with an inverted #789 box /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif (but installing the coupler itself right-side up, obviously!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue.gif).  It looks to be a PERFECT /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif height match for the #830 I already installed on one of the PA's, as well as the "stock" USAT couplers.:cool:  As I said, been waiting for somewhat better weather to actually track test it outside - although the forecast is talking a return to colder weather on Saturday, it's at least supposed to be clear - (& the rain washed ALL the snow off the railroad!:D).   If we're thinking alike on this, I'm assuming it's been a successful conversion for you?  (I'm still expecting to have to ease the vertical curve transistions in my mainline)./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/ermm.gif                                                 Tom
 

·
Super Modulator
Joined
·
21,224 Posts
Very nice Llyn. What radii of curves can the cars handle with this setup? Your install sure beats Kadee's recommendation in terms of the amount of work!

Regards, Greg
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
394 Posts
Hi Greg,

My layout is entirely 20 foot diameter curves.  I really don't know how much smaller a diameter they could tolerate.

Llyn
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top