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I just wanted to make sure I have this right. Is the real advantage of body mounting looks, or is it operational?

truck mounted couplers are better for tight curves, and worse for backing up--is that right?

body mounted couplers allow for longer trains and help prevent "stringlining"--is that right?


I have all truck mounted cars, and they work fine, and I can back them all into my storage barn,which has some r1 curves in the yard.

But they look terrible! I've been thinking about going to body mount. I'd probably try to use the aristo couplers I already have rather than buying kaydees, but I was just wondering what the operational advantages of body mount would be
 

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Iam not an expert but i have changed all of our cars and engines to kadee truck mount couplers. The main reason is that all of our curves are r1 curves. I did the change this past winter and have run the trains a few times this spring and the kadees worked great. I do agree that the body mount couplers do look better but with r1 curves we had to go with the truck mounts. As far as backing up i did a little of that with only three cars and everything worked ok
 

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Body mounted couplers allow for backing movements through the diverging route of switches to be done with confidence. Truck mounted couplers place a lateral force on the wheelset in a backing movement that often leads to derailments. For those of us who do switching, it is essential to have excellent operation pushing a car as well as pulling it.

As you mentioned, body mounted couplers do look better, way better in fact. But if your primary reason for changing is for a more prototypical appearance, you will not be satisfied with those immense oversized clunky Aristos.

Body mounts do require wider curves than truck mounts. However, long equipment on tight curves looks awful regardless of coupler choice which takes us back to your point of wanting better appearance. I can appreciate that some folks have limited space but the solution to that is to choose a smaller prototype or to choose a smaller scale. The guy who wants 2 foot radius curves but also wants large steam power and insists on 1:29 scale or larger cannot also have nice appearance - it is as simple as that.

Regards ... Doug
 

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I tried body mounted couplers on two of my lesser used rolling stock to see what would happen. I had already widened many of my curves so I thought it would work. It didn't. Body mounted couplers are not very forgiving on my layout. It cost a few bucks to run a test, but it was worth it. You might want to give it a trial run using 1 or 2 cars. Not all layouts are the same. It is worth giving it a try. Regards, Dennis.
 

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I have five foot radius curves, 1:20 Shays, Kadee couplers, and medium size cars (27 feet and shorter). If the cars are already coupled, they mostly run fine in either direction. However, it is almost impossible to couple cars on a curve: the couplers are pointing in different directions.

I had a problem with reverse curves, where the track changed from clockwise to counter clockwise too abruptly. I had to add a length of straight track in between to fix it.

A problem that hasn't been mentioned is grades, or more precisely, the transitions between different grades. I have one spot that changes, rather too abruptly, from up to down. Some cars come uncoupled when I run in one direction. None come apart in the other direction. This problem is most apparent at whatever car is coupled to the Shay. This might not be a problem with a locomotive with a tender, as the tender would tend to stay in line with the track better.
 

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Well, this is a timely topic!
The last two days I spent a fair amount of time converting some cars that had truck mounts to body mounts.
I have about 60 cars, all Kadee. There were eight that had truck mounts. While trying to run a long trains of 45 cars, I had problems with the truck mounted cars. The large offset Kadees would tilt down under heavy load and come undone. Not a huge problem, as I don't normally pull long enough trains to cause the tilting. The bigger problem, backing up. Every derailment I had while backing up was due to the truck mounted couplers, ESPECIALLY WHEN TWO CARS IN A ROW had truck mounts.
As mentioned above. Backing through turnouts is a problem for truck mounts. However, sometimes even backing a long train or up a grade causes problem for the truck mounts.

Now a word about body mounted Kadees.
Above, it was mentioned that the offsets when one car is on a curve and another is on a straight prevents them from coupling.
THIS IS NOT TRUE! .... IF YOU HAVE EASEMENTS!

By easement I mean, "gradually decreasing radius.
No easement would be this: Straight, R1, R1, R1, R1, R1, R1, Straight
WITH easement would be this: Straight, R2, R1, R1, R1, R1, R2, Straight.
A better easement would be: Straight R3, R2, R1, R1, R2, R3 Straight
An even better one would be and bent flex rail where the track gradually changes from straight to the tightest curve and back again to straight. In such a curve the couplers of identical length cars will always be almost perfectly aligned so you can couple anywhere on the curve. The train will look better too, because the car ends have very little offset relative to the next car, the train loose almost as goo as if you really had the largest radius through the entire curve.

Of course, easements won't solve all the problems with tight radius, you still have to worry about clearance of the wheels closest to the end of the car. You can't put large draft-gear box couplers on every car. But if you choose the right Kadee draft-gear box you can make nearly all cars work on R1, certainly on R2.
 

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The only advantage that truck mounted couplers have is with lateral swing. This is because not only do the couplers move sideways but the trucks themselves move laterally.

I have a hard and fast rule that all locomotives must have working front couplers installed without butchering their pilots with huge ugly holes to accomodate lateral swing. This allows for way switching without giving the lokies a case of the double uglies. Unfortunately this requirement severely limits the lateral swing of the front couplers resulting in a high likelihood of derailments when double heading with another engine that has a body mounted coupler on its tender or switching some cars with body mounts. Because of this I have compromised and stuck with truck mounted Kadees on lokie tenders and most of my rolling stock. You may not have this problem with diesels.

Truck mounted couplers work fine as long as you don't push long strings of cars. I can push up to about 14 cars through the reverse curve of LGB cross over switches (wide ones). Beyond that it's problematic. I use 100% metal wheels and full size no.831 "G" Kadee couplers.

You might think from this that I recommend truck mounted couplers, I do not! I'm using them only because they work better for my particular situation with a minimum amount of hassle. You must assess your requirements and possibilities for yourself.

Fact: Body mounted couplers look better because that's the way the prototype does it.
Fact: In general you will get better operation with body mounts barring unusual situations or requirements like mine.
Fact: Body mounts are almost a requirement if you are running long trains, especially pushing.

Opinion: I don't mean this in an insulting way....if you are going to continue to use those large ugly blobs of plastic that Aristo and Bachmann and others call couplers then I wouldn't bother changing over to body mounts just for looks as it won't make much difference in that department. They are grossly oversize. On the other hand if you like them and they operate satisfactorily for you and you feel a need to improve trackability then perhaps it's worth the trouble.

I used Aristo, Bachmann and Delton couplers for the first couple of years I was in largescale simply because I didn't want to spend the money for Kadees even though I knew from past experience in other scales that they would be better so I'm not criticizing your choice.

It's all about compromise to accomodate your own needs and desires. Besides looks, type of operation there is also cost each of which only you can determine the importance of. Try and keep an open mind.
 

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Just for comparison:
Posted By Richard Smith on 05/13/2008 3:30 PM

... I can push up to about 14 cars through the reverse curve of LGB cross over switches (wide ones). Beyond that it's problematic. I use 100% metal wheels and full size no.831 "G" Kadee couplers.
...





I can push up to about 42 cars through the reverse curve of LGB cross over switches (wide ones). Beyond that I DON'T KNOW. I use 90% PLASTIC wheels and full size "G" Kadee BODY MOUNT couplers.

Last week I was trying to see how many cars I could pull with my LFB F unit. I could pull 45, but I could not back them up. There were three cars with truck mounted Kadees. They derailed every time. Once I removed those three, I was able to back all the way arround the ALLY without incident.

I might add that aside from backing, there is the same problem with truck mounts causing derailment when you make a sudden stop.
 

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I'm indoors so perhaps my track is better that some of the systems outside but I still set myself a project to convert all my cars - about 40 - to body mounted couplers. I used Kadee 930's for everything except the engines. For those I use the recommended type.

It took about two weeks of evenings and I've never regretted it. I can back up a 15 car freight with various 50 and 40 foot cars around the whole layout - up and down the grades. I don't do that as a rule but....:D

Anyway. I highly recommend it.

Dave
 

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I can push 45 cars with body mounts. Also a 45 car train can free roll down a 2% incline through a crossover to 10' diameter curves at very high speed without derailing (don't ask me how I know!).

Since my min diameter is 10', body mounts work fine, although uncoupling and coupling Kadees on curves is not nice, put the uncouplers on straights. But you have delayed uncoupling, so it works anyway.

I'm sold, I can run longer trains in both directions. Almost all Kadee 830's. I will be doubleheading steamers so Richard's comments about front couplers on steamers are well taken.

Regards, Greg
 
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