Re: Coupler droop

Jim Betz


My admittedly laissez-faire opinion/practice is ...

"These are blue box kits and not worthy of lots of attention".

So what I do for couplers is to install #5s -with- the copper
centering spring. I love the improvement in the appearance
of the semi-scale coupler heads ... but you gotta admit that
they don't couple/uncouple as well as the "good ole #5s" ...
especially if there are two different coupler types such as
a #5 with a #58. And since, most of the time, my equipment
is running with other people's cars and locos ... there are
lots of times when that #5-to-#58 is in play. Here is what
I do for #5s in Athearn blue box cars.

1) I use a hobby file for a few passes from rear to front of the
centering spring to ensure there isn't any burr on the front
lip that would catch/impede the side to side action.

2) I take enough passes across the end of the #5 (both sides)
that they get "shiny" ... again to remove any burrs in the
area where they swivel. And also to remove any burrs
around the edges of that "5-sided" end.

3) I use the Kadee coupler pliers to put enough of a bend in
the end of the coupler pin that the end is "just higher
than the lowest point of the pin". This prevents the pin
from ever getting caught on the track.

4) I put ever so slight a bend -down- in the business end
of the Athearn metal coupler box cover ... to prevent
it from catching the coupler shank. I also often file this
same area to remove any burrs.

5) I install the couplers and use a Kadee gauge to adjust
the height of the coupler (fibre washers on the bolster
as required - which is "quite often").

6) I adjust the depth of the uncoupling pin to the correct
height using the Kadee gauge - while preserving that
bend up of the end I did in step #3.

7) It is rare that I don't do some level of weathering on
my couplers. I use acrylics (actually Delta Ceramcoat
Craft acrylics) in 'washes' that hit the faces, the
tops, the knuckle spring, and the pin ... and if you
flick the pin a couple of times they free up and
operate without any hesitation.

- end of story ... Jim Betz

P.S. I do not run my blue box cars much these days. Watch
eBay if you are interested in some very nicely weathered -
and running - rolling stock. They just don't meet my
standards of "believability/prototypical accuracy" these
days ... eBay seller id "OldRocky". They should start
showing up "in a few weeks". Or contact me directly -
OFF list ... on list attempts will be ignored.

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