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  • Topic: Bachmann/aristocraft coupler height

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    • July 11, 2017 12:17 AM EDT
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      Bachmann/aristocraft coupler height

      Eventually I want to convert everything to kadee body mounted couplers. But in the meantime‚Äč I am looking for a way to raise the stock bachmann and aristo couplers to kadee height.

      I believe Steve Featherkyle has done it and I emailed him about it but he must be ignoring my emails so I am basically asking him here how he did it. But I am sure others have too.

      I have too many cars to convert to kadee and want to have my fleet at least somewhat working for an August ops session.
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    • July 11, 2017 2:28 AM EDT

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      Sorry: why?

       

      How many cars are we talking here? All the wasted effort?

       

      I can't see it.

       

      Greg

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    • July 11, 2017 5:38 AM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      But, I thought they were close. I mean, I pull my streamline passenger cars with an Aristo E unit that still has the stock Arsto coupler, but the cars all have KaDees

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    • July 11, 2017 10:18 AM EDT
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      Greg Elmassian said:

      Sorry: why?

       

      How many cars are we talking here? All the wasted effort?

       

      I can't see it.

       

      Greg

      Greg,

      Fair question no apology necessary. The why is very simple, I have about 15 cars that I want to have ready in a month and a half. I am still messing around with the layout and that is taking my money mostly and it is taking my time. I say time assuming that adjusting the height of the stock couplers won't be a big deal. But that is an assumption, hence the question. At this point my rolling stock selection is rather limited and most are aristo or b-mann. But my club uses almost exclusively Kadee. I want for the August meeting for people to be able to operate with their locos, using my cars.

       

      David,

       

      I will mess around with them some more because I tried pulling two cars, one with Kadee and one with Bachmann and they were misaligned enough that they uncoupled immediately. I know the height on my Kadee car was correct because it lines up with my Forney which I have used multiple times on cars I know were set with a Kadee height gauge. The B-mann were really low. Tonight I can certainly play with that more. If I don't have to mess with them I won't. I know Steve interchanges them and they line up pretty well I assumed he raised them. If he didn't and I just have to tweak here and there then this is a dead issue and I will convert to Kadee over time.

       

      I have enough Kadee couplers to due I think six cars already and will. I am just trying to make it "work" as an interim measure.

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    • July 11, 2017 10:37 AM EDT
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      Build a transition car.................Kadee on one end, B'mann/Aristo on the other. I did that for several years till I could get my stuff changed around.  I could use my locos up at Fred's. Mine were all B'mann couplers and his were all Kadees. 

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    • July 11, 2017 10:37 AM EDT
      • Port Orchard, Washington
         
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      I would suggest you use the 12 couplers to make 6 transition cars. Kadee on one end, Bachmann on the other. You don't have to convert your whole fleet at once, but if you use transition cars the fleet can be slowly brought to one standard.

      With 6 transition cars you should have plenty of cars available for people to use.

      That's my 2 cents worth... As I'm doing the same thing, but tempted to convert to Burls new couplers from Bachmann height.
    • July 11, 2017 10:40 AM EDT
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      GMTA!...........

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    • July 11, 2017 10:47 AM EDT
      • Easton , Massachusetts
         
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      Devon

      Take your cars to your meeting , and hold a clinic on how to mount Ka-dees , and give them out so they can follow  along and learn by doing.

      Then take them home finished..

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    • July 11, 2017 10:50 AM EDT
      • Deer Park, Washington
         
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      Sorry, Devon, my email is so full of junk that I only check it once a day, if that.

       

      What I did with the Aristo and Bachmann couplers, as an interim measure, is to remove them from the tang on the truck, keeping the plastic attached to the knuckle, and then attach them directly to the body, adjusting for height, as necessary, using styrene.  It's not perfect, but it gets me by.  A shot of paint from a spray can helps with inadvertent opening, as well as a bit of weathering.

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    • July 11, 2017 10:53 AM EDT
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      Ken Brunt said:

      Build a transition car.................Kadee on one end, B'mann/Aristo on the other. I did that for several years till I could get my stuff changed around.  I could use my locos up at Fred's. Mine were all B'mann couplers and his were all Kadees. 

      I have one for my use. But to do it at an operations level on my road which is so small and will be really limited to how many cars can be pulled  and maneuvered at one time, a transition car would be a very inconvenient thing. I am figuring that in order to do and ops session I am really going to be limited to 4 car strings is all. If one of those is a permanently attached transition car it will make maneuverability tight.

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    • July 11, 2017 10:56 AM EDT
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      Steve Featherkile said:

      Sorry, Devon, my email is so full of junk that I only check it once a day, if that.

       

      What I did with the Aristo and Bachmann couplers, as an interim measure, is to remove them from the tang on the truck, keeping the plastic attached to the knuckle, and then attach them directly to the body, adjusting for height, as necessary, using styrene.  It's not perfect, but it gets me by.  A shot of paint from a spray can helps with inadvertent opening, as well as a bit of weathering.

      That makes sense. Now that I think about it they were body mounted. Good call.

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    • July 11, 2017 11:25 AM EDT
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      Devon Sinsley said:
       I am figuring that in order to do and ops session I am really going to be limited to 4 car strings is all. If one of those is a permanently attached transition car it will make maneuverability tight.

      Just adds to the challenge.................and the fun...............

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    • July 11, 2017 11:50 AM EDT

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      I second what Ken, Craig and Steve said.

       

      Messing with couplers is never quick if you want them to be solidly mounted and at the right height (unless you buy cars already set up like USAT Ultimate series and the AML cars).

       

      Make the transition cars, body mount the couplers, and then you are part way to complete nirvana in an all Kadee world.

       

      Greg

      This post was edited by Greg Greg Elmassian at July 11, 2017 11:57 AM EDT
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    • July 11, 2017 12:06 PM EDT
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      Temporarily body mounting the original couplers is the plan. I have seen it work at Steve's and eliminates the need for a transition car. Then I can seek Nirvana. This really is just a stop gap. My intention is to be all Kadee.
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    • July 11, 2017 12:35 PM EDT

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      I see I misunderstood, Steve was advocating body mounting the original couplers,  moving the Aristo and Bachmann couplers to the right height.

       

      One thing I don't get is that in my experience, Aristo couplers on Aristo cars seemed to be at the right height already.

       

      The Bachmann were out of kilter, to be sure, and different Bachmann seemed to have different heights.

       

      But to the crux of my opinion, seems to me removing a truck mounted Bachmann coupler WITH NO DRAFT GEARBOX and then bolting it to a block of styrene will not work as well as a Kadee coupler IN A DRAFT GEARBOX. How do you make the coupler work side to side, and return to center?

       

      It also seems to me that the effort to do either method is about the same, but body mounting the Kadee will guarantee better operation.

       

      Now, if cost and procurement of the Kadees is an issue, sure, don't spend money and get out the wood screws and go to it. But again I think it's wasted effort for a poor result.

       

      I'd still get the Kadees and make transition cars shimming the draft gearbox to the right height. How many cars do you need? 1 car for Bachmann and 1 car for Aristo? All you want to do is to allow running different cars. Or do you want multiple transition cars because you have multiple locos?

       

      Greg

       

      This post was edited by Greg Greg Elmassian at July 11, 2017 12:48 PM EDT
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    • July 11, 2017 12:55 PM EDT
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      Greg,

      You're overthinking or being to OCD whichever may be the case. Think very, very temporary and on the fly for one or two ops session before being fully converted to Kadee. No one is imply an either/or situation. We are all in agreement that Kadee body mount in draft gear boxes is best and the target. If I had the money to buy all Kadee I would do it in a heartbeat. Time is the least of my concerns.

       

      I am at this point not sure exactly what will already have Kadees on them. I haven't gotten that deep into my inventory yet. I received a big box of cars/parts from a friend. A few are converted to Kadee already most are not. I think there will be 6 or so that will need conversion. Of the cars I already have most are either B-mann or Aristo. I do have a few converted already. I have some Kadees and those will get used first. Then the rest will need to very very very (did I get enough verys in there) temporarily makeshift the stock couplers ride at the right height to match the Kadee. I will do this individually. If the stock truck mounted coupler is at the right height then I wont mess with it. If its close and will work I wont mess with it. Only if it wont work will I consider the body mount option.

      As to how it works side to side I have to defer to Steve and will need that answer before I start. But as for reliability his system works well. I have played on his layout twice running ops with lots of coupling and uncoupling. Works like a charm with no issues that I had. I had Kadee mounted loco and ran his cars with all sorts of different couplers working this way with zero failures.

      This post was edited by Devon Sinsley at July 11, 2017 12:59 PM EDT
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    • July 11, 2017 2:52 PM EDT
      • Deer Park, Washington
         
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      Greg, think Kadee 835.  No draft gear.  It works.  It ain't perfect, but then what shoestring operation is?

       

      As to the problem of recentering the knuckle, isn't that what the brakie is for?     

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    • July 11, 2017 3:40 PM EDT

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      Steve: Kadee 835 has a draft gear box:

       

      Like I said, how do you take the coupler off a Bachmann or Aristo truck and mount it to the body without a draft gear box? I guess you just use a screw (like I said), and there is no centering (like I said).

      Not saying you can't do it, but pretty poor results in operation.

       

      And Devon, YOU are accusing ME of OVERTHINKING??  Thanks, I needed a huge laugh today! That is indeed funny. I remember when you showed up on the forum, and agonized over everything. Not a put down, but this is indeed the pot calling the kettle black.

       

      I suggested several ways to either save time or have all the energy expended towards a goal, nothing wasted, time or materials. All in good faith, not to be contrary. You DID ask for input. This IS a forum.

       

      Expending your energy to a "dead end" is your choice, but I cannot see the logic... you want to convert 15 cars by making 30 custom thickness shims and mounting the couplers with wood screws and then undo all that later?  The shims won't be right for the permanent body mount.

       

      Just cannot see the logic. I'm not going to bug you any more.

       

      Greg

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    • July 11, 2017 4:49 PM EDT
      • Deer Park, Washington
         
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      Greg, yer right. I was thinking of the box with the spring cushion.  

       

      When you have more time than money...

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      Some people try to turn back their odometers.  Not me.  I want people to know why I look this way.  I've traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren't paved.  Will Rogers.

    • July 11, 2017 5:10 PM EDT

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      Personally, I like the draft gear with the "prototypical slack action" to use Kadee's words, but I have a lot of friends that don't like it.

       

      I find it gives me extra challenge in driving the train smoothly, not making abrupt transitions in speed, and clearly starting and stopping takes more finesse.

       

      I like it, everything that takes more time makes my layout "bigger", and to me it's fun to learn to be more skilled. I know a lot of people though that want to just turn on a switch and stuff goes round and round. Instantaneous speed changes are the norm.

       

      Greg

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