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I am a rather new enthusiast of garden railroading, G-scale and was hoping to get some insight from the My Large Scale community. Currently I have a small G-scale train layout set-up in the basement of my home. In the future, hopefully near future, I plan to expand my hobby to the outdoors. I have been raised by my Dad in the HO and O (Lionel) scale of model railroading. I have grown fond of the idea of an operational railroad traversing in the yard/garden of my residence after seeing the numerous pics posted on the internet. I have ideas about integrating a G-scale layout in a phased process in the flowerbeds behind my home. I have started to accumulate some locomotives and stock from various manufactures to run on my simple layout in our basement and around the X-mas tree around the holidays. I want to share my model railroading interest with my children and figured that the basement layout is a good start for them.

At this point I am looking for some assistance, recommendations, experiences regarding couplers and metal wheels for my G-Scale stock. I operate various manufactures rolling stock; Aristo-craft, USA Trains and LGB. I want to upgrade/change from the “hook and loop” style couplers to a knuckle style couplers. I am looking for recommendations from those in the hobby that could provide some insight regarding this. I’ve heard from a few that both Kadee couplers and Aristo-craft AAR couplers were a good choice. I want to change my stock so that they are integrateable with one another, using the same coupler. Any suggestions, experiences or ideas of other coupler manufactures would certainly be appreciated.

As with the metal wheels, I want to upgrade my rolling stock from the plastic wheels to metal wheels. I looked a metal wheels with ball-bearings but due to financial constraints and non-operational necessities I will probably stick with metal wheels without the bearings at this time. I realize that there are a handful of metal wheel manufacturers that offer good product but I was interested in polling the community to obtain insight regarding the different products offered in the G-scale. The names that I keep hearing about in reference to metal wheels is Gary Raymond, San-Val (Roll-ez), USA Trains, and Aristo-craft wheels. Again, any ideas of other metal wheel manufactures would certainly be appreciated. I am open to all suggestions or ideas in reference to metal wheels and couplers.

Thanks much,

CC RR
 

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The only universal G gauge coupler is the twist tie



Pretty much, you need to pick one coupler and convert everything to it. The Aristo coupler is well liked. Since you're familiar with HO, you know what KayDee's are like. The Aristo couplers don't couple as easily as the KayDee, but hold very securely.


KayDees come in 2 sizes, G and #1. The G size looks like a coupler in 1:20, and the #1 size looks more like 1:32 or 1:29. Many prefer the bigger ones as they hold better on uneven track you often find in the garden.


The Aristo couplers will couple to the KayDee #1 by hand, but not automatically.


Since I have almost all Aristo equipment, I change everything to Aristo couplers, but I'm thinking of changing to body mounted KD.


I usually put Aristo metal wheels in my cars, but I have a couple sets of Bachmann 31mm metal wheels (I think that's the size). The Bachmann wheels are less expensive, and seem to be just fine in my Aristo cars.
 

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Kadee couplers are the most realistic looking and if you want to operate a freight yard, they can be uncoupled with magnets in the track. I'm using aristos. They are too big but for me they have been reliable and affordable. They are very easy for kids to manage, which is one reason I went with them. Kadees are, to my mind, both expensive and unduly "fiddly." But they certainly look better and body mounted they allow for much closer, more realistic coupling.

Aristo is about to come out with a new coupler which will be kadee compatible. It's supposed to be out in the Spring. I'm interested in seeing how it works.



Metla wheels--I use mostly aristo wheels, but more and more I'm thinking Bachmann's are a good choice. They are lighter than aristos or LGB or sanval and they seem a little cheaply made, but they work perfectly well and the lightness can be an advantage if you are trying to pull long trains or have steep grades. I'm gradually changing the heavy cars to Bachmann wheels and the light cars to aristos.
 

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If you have a mix of brands, the short answer is Kadee.... they have a way to fit everything, and body and truck mounts. They are super simple on USAT rolling stock.

The Aristo coupler is ok, but lacks remote uncoupling and has had some quality control issues, and even "good" ones have some limitation, though mostly in very long trains. They are also difficult to adapt to body mounts on USAT.

They take accurate mounting to operate properly, but when done right are capable of 100 car trains and remote uncoupling with a magnet, no mechanical hoopla.

Metal wheels, price wise, Bachmann, quality wise, USAT. Don't get wrapped up in ball bearings unless you really have to pull the longest possible trains on impossible grades with only one loco. Save you money and lube the axles.

For longer, more detailed answers and comparisons, visit my web site, search for coupler, kadee, wheel, etc. or just browse.

Regard, Greg
 

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Most USA trains rolling stock comes with metal wheels, if you prefer aristo cars you will need to replace plastic wheels with metal ones for best operation. ive used aristo wheels on alot of there cars but they do get quite exspensive to do. i recently was told by Robbie at RLD hobbies about accucraft AML 1/29th wheels he had just gotten in, so i bought a couple of cases of them and they are great looking wheels and fit my new 2 bay aristo hoppers great and were 7.00 a set cheaper than aristos. they worked out to be 11.00 a set of 4 whitch was a great deal. As far as couplers go i prefer g scale kadees, in my opionion they are the best and have work out to be cheaper than aristos. i sell all my extra aristo couplers on ebay to recupe the cost of the kadees. i recently sold 5 pr for 31.00 on ebay and that paid for 5 pr of kadees, a no brainer if you ask me. i prefer body mounting couplers as i like to run long trains, and i also like backing long trains as well and with kadees theres never a derailment ....
 

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I went through the same two questions a few years ago.


For couplers we went with Kadee "G" scale truck mounted.


We chose "G" scale because they look like standard gauge couplers in 1:22.5 scale. We chose truck mounted couplers as a precaution just in case we ever run equipment on a friends or club layout that may have tight curves. Good plan since we ran some cars on a club layout that had relatively tight curves during the La Plata county fair in Durango, CO. It's nice to have no derailments what so ever when running for the public


The standard truck mounted Kadee "G" scale coupler is the #831. Here are some links that may be helpful if you choose to go with Kadee couplers:

Kadee G scale couplers
Kadee #1 scale couplers
Kadee Coupler Large Scale Conversions



For metal wheels we chose Bachmann.


The wheels were partly a cost thing. Bachmann metal wheels are generally the cheapest. But they perform well, and actually look nice since they are somewhat plated.

Bachmann offers two types of metal wheels. Large and Small. The large are pretty much the standard for all models and makes. The small work for mining equipment and some other cars with very low trucks. But for the equipment you described (LGB Aristo, USA) the large is the one you'd want to get.


Here are two links for two types of Bachmann metal wheel sets. The price listed is MSRP, and they can typically go as low as $10 or so per set.


Bachmann Large Wheels

Bachmann Small Wheels
 

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If your looking to save some bucks and are not going with extremely long trains stick with the Aristo Couplers. Why pay extra for couplers when they provide a good one to begin with. Yep I did this years ago in HO but now that I'm into G scale why do I want to spend the extra money for couplers when I can spend it elsewhere for other G stuff that I need. To me it's an expense that is not needed. Again it depends on what you operations will entail. Later RJD
 

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You can alsways go my route. I run a low budget backwoods RR. I use Bachmann Couplers and Bachmann wheels. The couplers might be too big to scale but to me it still looks good and to most people looking at your layout they dont know the difference. I have not had any problems. Kadee might look great and easy to work with but for the price of them vs. Bachmann you cant go wrong with the Bach. I forget the difference but it is a big difference in price plus you get more with Bachmann. You got great advise and it all depends on what kind of money you want to spend.
 

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Since my railroad is "operation oriented" and the majority of my rolling stock is Aristocraft I put Aristo knuckle couplers on all my equipment. However, I have found that they fail to function properly after a couple of years so I have changed everything over to Kadee's.
Although 90& of my railroad is now RCS battery I had installed metal wheels on all equipment to minimize plastic residue of the track resulting from the plastic wheels. Even though I don't have to worry about "electric pickup" anymore i still change all new cars over to metal wheels because I found the cars with metal wheels track better than the plastic and of course, the metal wheels sound a lot better banging over a diamond or frog. I've used Raymond and San Val wheels in the past but now use Bachman's based on cost.
 
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