Full Version: tompm's 2021 Do Something Challenge part 3
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Fate or frustration has determined my third "Do Something Challenge". For this part I am going to fix/tune up my fleet of PRR passenger cars so that at the very least they don't uncouple. One part of this will be replacing any EZ-Mate and McHenry couplers. If any Proto Max couplers fail when I check it against the Kadee coupler gauge.

There is a Bachmann Spectrum Diner that I changed the original EZ-Mate couplers to Kadee #27 couplers. However now one of the coupler boxes is loose and now the coupler moves lower at times.

I began working on the Diner. The coupler moves as the trucks turns. I removed the roof/windows. I found the trucks and the level that is connected to the coupler box loose. I removed the screw holding the lever and truck to the body. The truck bolster is misshapped and the screw hole appears to be stripped. I cannot tightened the screw. The screw just spins and is difficult to remove. I need to evaluate what my options are to repair or replace the truck.
(05-18-2021, 05:50 PM)tompm Wrote: [ -> ]...The truck bolster is misshapped and the screw hole appears to be stripped. I cannot tightened the screw....

A quick cure for that is to cut a length of strip styrene (.010"x.020" or somewhere around that size) roughly the same length of the threaded portion of the screw.  Insert it into the screwhole, then add the screw, and screw it into place.  If you later need to remove the screw, remove the now-mangled strip of styrene, and insert a new strip before re-installing the screw.

(05-18-2021, 05:50 PM)tompm Wrote: [ -> ]...The screw just spins and is difficult to remove. I need to evaluate what my options are to repair or replace the truck.

Slip the blade of your X-Acto knife under the screw head, then give it a little twist to help lift the screw as you remove it.  The strip-of-styrene trick may restore that screwhole enough to be useable.

Another option for stripped screw-holes is to use a pin vise to drill-out the hole to a diameter wider than the hole, then take a piece of styrene rod that's about .004" bigger than the drilled-out hole.
Use a suitably-sized brush to apply solvent-type cement into the hole and over the portion of the styrene rod, which will be inserted into the hole.  If the rod won't fit yet into the hole, re-apply more solvent to both hole and rod, to further soften the mating surfaces, then force the rod into place.  Snip or slice-off the portion of the rod that's protruding, then set the assembly aside for at least a couple of hours to allow the bond to fully harden.

You can then drill into the rod with a suitably-sized bit, and either tap the hole or simply insert the screw and let it cut its own thread.

I always keep a good supply of Evergreen rods and tubes on-hand, as they make it easy to do such repairs.  I've used various combinations to create new mounting points for trucks on both freight and passenger cars, too.

Wayne thanks for the suggestions.

I should have thought of the strip styrene. I had to something similar with a bunch of toothpicks and a stripped hole for a door hinge.

At the moment I have neither the correct size strip styrene, tube, or rod. The tubes and rods I can find are too big. I am going to try to get to the hobby shop and see what I can find.

Another possibly quicker option is a swap out. I have a Bachmann Spectrum Observation car that is damaged beyond repair. It has the same trucks as the Diner so I might exchange them.
Here are a few photos of the diner and the coupler box issue.

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In that second photo, at the end of the car, it looks like the draught gear box has partially slipped off the black piece that's likely part of the black portion which shows, near the end-door, in the third photo.

I'll hazard a guess that if you can re-position it in a positive connection, it may work as it should.

It's likely that the black material is engineering plastic, which normally is impervious to most glues.  However, LePage offers a ca meant for engineering plastics.  It comes as a two part offering in a blister-type pack on a cardboard backing.

The way it works is to apply the "prep", which looks similar to a marker pen, to the item to be re-joined.
Let it dry for 60 seconds, then apply the supplied ca (in truth, any ca will work with the prep material, and the prep stuff seems to have a much longer lifespan than the included ca, so you should be able to get quite a few repairs out of the material) and then press the parts together and hold until the ca sets.

Make sure to not get the prep stuff on the underside of the floor or anywhere else that's close to the part being repaired , as you want it to pivot in the manner it was originally built.

If my observations are incorrect, then I'm at a loss for a fix....body-mounting the coupler may work, but it may not work well if your curve radii are fairly tight.


there is a stud moulded onto the upper half of the coupler box. This stud is pushed into a bore in the floor of the car, the sheet metal lever is put onto an then the overlaying part of the stud is "riveted" by melting it down with an hot iron.
You can try to re-rivet ist by the means of an soldering iron. Before you will do so, push the coupler box up onto the underside of the floor and take care that it will stay there when you are riveting.
This will solve the problem with the low hanging coupler box.

my 2 €ents

Thanks Wayne and Lutz for the suggestions. Now I need to go and find my soldering iron. I know I out it in a safe place.
Taking a break from the Bachmann Diner, the first car to be converted is my PRR (pre-War) Walthers RTR B60B Baggage car. Photos show the current couplers. They appear to be either Bachmann EZ-mate or McHenry. Doesn't matter as they will be replaced with Kadee #5 couplers.

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This guy is the most troublesome. It uncouples at the slightst bump. It did not make one complete circuit of the layout.
This trucks are highly radioactive and even glowing in daylight?

No kidding, shim these trucks by washers betwwen truck and car floor, so that the couplers will be have the correct height.

(05-25-2021, 01:28 AM)Schraddel Wrote: [ -> ]This trucks are highly radioactive and even glowing in daylight?


I have been trying to find out why the PRR painted the trucks and underbody of passenger cars olive green for some time now. I know they stopped in 1943.
I replaced the couplers on the baggage car with Kadee #5 couplers. The couplers sat better in the boxes and now pass the coupler gauge check.

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I have run the car numerous times now coupled in various locations within a train with no issues.
Next up is the Walters RTR Heavyweight PRR Pullman Heavyweight 8-1-2. This car came with what appear to be McHenry couplers. As seen in the photos one side is worse than the other. If bad end is running forward the car uncouples on curves and if it does not uncouple it derails. Turn the car around and it runs fairly well. However it will occassionally uncouple. I will use either Kadee #5 or Kadee #27 couplers. I used the #27 on several other Walthers RTR Heavyweight cars.

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This is the bad end.

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The other not as bad end

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forget the other stuff, Kadee's are simply the best  Icon_cool

(06-01-2021, 02:05 AM)Schraddel Wrote: [ -> ]Tom,

forget the other stuff, Kadee's are simply the best  Icon_cool


My thoughts exactly.
I replaced the McHenry or EZ-Mate couplers with Kadee #5 couplers. Changing the couplers is a bit of work on these cars. You have to remove the trucks. Next remove the screw that is holding the floor to the body of the car. Remove the coupler box cover screws. Loosen the floor from the body slightly. Wiggle, finagle the coupler box cover off without popping off one of the steps. Once the coupler is in place you have to reverse the sequence.

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Reading through the instructions I came across a note recommending removing a portion of the center sill so the trucks operate better on 24 inch radius. Now 24 is the minimum curve the box says the car will operate on. I experimented with moving the car through a 24 inch curve and sure enough at a certain point I could feel the truck bind.

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Brought the car back to the workbench and got out the tools and shortened the sill. Tested the car and there is a huge difference in it running around the curve.

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After doing this I seem to remember doing it on other cars perhaps my B&O Walters Heavyweights. For curiosity's sake I am going to have to check them.

One last thing I need to do to this car is give it a name. I realized that the ACF Baggage car needs numbers. After I am finished tuning up the cars I will have some decaling to do.
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