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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I saw some pretty slick MTH cars today at a club meeting, and I'm thinking about getting them. However, I've never had MTH stuff before (I only run USA and Aristo) and I curious as to the difficulty in putting USA couplers on these cars. Can this be done? If anyone has experience with this modification, please let me know. (Before anyone recommends it, I don't want to use Kadee couplers on my rolling stock).;)


Discussion Starter · #2 ·
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That hard eh? /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/plain.gif

· Premium Member
21 Posts

Just keep the MTH couplers.

The little instruction book that comes with MTH rolling stock has a section that shows how to quickly reconfigure the MTH coupler to mate with other brands. The book names USA as one of compatible couplers.

Although Kadee is my choice, after reading your post I dug out one unconverted MTH car and one unconverted USA car to give it a try. Since the two couplers are almost identical in size, all that is needed is to unscrew the MTH coupler and remount it in a lower position to match the USA height. Then you trim the uncoupling tang slightly so it doesn't hang down too low (there is a cut line marked on the tang). My two cars coupled nicely on a couple pieces of sectional track used as a test.

It probably takes longer to get the cars out of the box than to make the conversion.


· Registered
331 Posts
I have several MTH cars running with other brands. I would have changed their couplers at first but I have a list of other cars in line first. Now after several years I'm glad I left the MTH cars intact. The couplers have worked perfectly. The stock trucks roll great and I was going to change the wheel sets at first, also. I would prefer the look of Kadees on everything, but the MTH are mechanically sound, and I can live with that, Joe

· Master of Disaster
892 Posts
Ed I have converted my MTM tank cars to Kay-Dee..as for USA I have no clue.

What you need to get is some various widths of Evergreen plastic..BUY a Kay-Dee coupler gauge, and just do it. Once you do 1 or 2 they start to get easy....

What you will need to do with the gauge is see where they align with the gauge and then use shims of plastic to get at the proper height so as not to have unalignment between the couplers....the Kay-Dee gauge is the standard for alignment for all brands of trains..at least it would seem to be so.

Maybe, we should get together and I can show you how to approach mounting ANY coupler brands!

BUT you have to come to my house to do so...it is easier to show you then to add pics and use verbage....maybe make a list of everything you have questions about then we can get together and you can take pics for later reference as I do...and I can answer all your questions...OR set multiple times to get together to do so...after all you are in a club with all this info redily at your hands for asking....this is what a club is for!;)

It seems that the coupler question keeps comming up here on MLS more so then other questions....and it is one of the easiest to remidy...with a little help.

First and foremost get a Kay-Dee gauge..it has 3 gauges that come in handy...1 for coupler height, track width and wheel width.....get multiple packs of various thicknesses of Evergreen plastic various size screws, super glue, and black paint to paint the shims after using them to blend in.

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