Large Scale Central

USA Trains heavyweight coupler height

Hi guys,
I bought one of the observation cars for a future project. Have any of you modified these for body mounted couplers? I don’t want to re-invent the wheel if I don’t have to.

Matt Hutson
Nathrop, CO

I thought the USA Heavyweights already had body mounted couplers? I have body mounted the Aristo Heavyweights if that is what you meant.

Naw, they are truck mounted. Not quite as low as Bachmann’s! I had to drop the coupler on the back of my Hudson to match them.

Continuing the discussion from USA Trains heavyweight coupler height:

I think Rooster is correct!

Maybe there is some confusion for heavyweight cars made by USA Trains, and now out of business, Aristo-Craft.

The USA Trains heavyweight passenger cars I got came with factory mounted USA Trains knuckle couplers. There is no provision for coupler attachment on these cars trucks like Aristo-Craft heavyweight cars have.

The USA Trains coupler assembly is mounted on a metal lowering bracket to conform with USA Trains proprietary low to the railhead coupler height; however, the bracket can be removed to mount the coupler assembly at a more normal height from the railhead typical of other manufactures.

If desiring Kadee couplers, there is an available “CamPac” 3-D printed coupler box that accepts the Kadee centerset coupler, and other parts, from the Kadee 907 kit for use on the USA Trains heavyweight passenger cars.

To see how the USAT factory body coupler assembly and CamPac box fits, see:
USA Trains Heavyweight Passenger Car CamPac Box Install Guide

CamPac boxes are available on Colin Camarillo’s web site.


Matt, the USA cars are already body mounted, but they are set at “talgo” height. Good news is, you can just use the existing coupler mount bracket “inside out” and install a Kadee 907 with the draft box upside down inside the bracket using the factory hardware.

For these I drilled new holes in the Kadee draft boxes to make them really short set. I even flipped the USA mounting around too, to shorten them to couple even closer!! I had to trim a little rubber off the bottom of the diaphragm, but this allows them to touch without disrupting the coupler spring action. Easy enough to extend them further out if desired. Same setup on the USA aluminum cars too.

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Thank you for all the replies. I actually worded the question poorly in the first place. As Rooster noted, they are body mounted. What I was really after was how to relocate the couplers so their height matches that of the body mounted couplers on my other USAT rolling stock.
On Saturday I replaced the coupler on the diaphragm end with a Kadee as suggested. On the observation end I installed a Type E coupler from Burl Rice. All good!


The aluminum cars from the factory are said to be 8’ diameter curve compatible, will body mounts make that unworkable?
I would like to get a set of passenger cars and need them to negotiate just under 9’curves in one spot of my layout

They are already body mounted from the factory Pete!

Awesome , no need to worry about that issue then, now to get the $$$$$ for a decent consist