American Models Six Wheel Heavyweight Passenger Trucks

A while back I picked up a 5 car set of never-used PRR HW cars from a certain auction site. I'm finally getting around to trying them out but find some alarming issues with these trucks. When I open their boxes, wheelsets come spilling out, the sideframes do not seem to want to hold them and I wonder if I should just replace them. Also, I purchased the "extra coach" from AM and it has four wheel trucks which do not seem to have an issue. Has anyone any insight on this problem and what did you do about it? Thanks.

Original Post

I have 18 of the AM heavyweight cars. All the 6 wheel trucks worked fine after I snapped them together. I did not care for the appearance of the 4 wheel trucks and some of them had problems with drooping couplers that snagged on turnouts. I was never able to completely solve that issue. I converted all the cars to 6 wheel trucks and now everything runs perfectly.

Tom

My sincere gratitude to all of you who have answered my newcomer questions these past 2 years without ever labeling them as "dumb." As someone who knew none of the terminology, brands, equipment, mechanics, electronics, it was and still is refreshing and encouraging that help was given so freely by so many and at the right level to someone who didn't know what he didn't know.

Greekchief posted:

No question is ever dumb.

With the possible exception of "Where did you lose it?"  Because if you know that, it wouldn't be lost.  Also "Can everyone hear me?"  Because if you can't hear it, you can't answer.  Finally, as I always told my students, the only REALLY dumb question is the one you never asked because then you'd never find out the answer.  (Presented with tongue firmly in cheek...)

And that's why we're here, Chuck!

 

 

American Models sells dummy scale passenger car couplers. If you do not need operating couplers between the cars these should solve the issue. For the car that connects to the engine there is also a matching scale coupler for the engine. Or the actuating lever can be cut off or heated and bent upwards. It will not reliable uncouple remotely (with an uncoupler) but it will connect to the engine and no longer snag on the turnouts. You could just cut off the bottom of the actuating lever on all the couplers if you want. They will stay coupled but then will not uncouple.

Tom

Francine posted:

Does anyone have a solution for the drooping couplers on the 4 wheel trucks?

I am hoping that there is an alternative metal coupler do use.

I am not familiar with the couplers on the 4 wheel passenger trucks but if as Tom suggested heating and bending, might you be able to heat the coupler shaft and bend it up?

Ray

The couplers on the American Models cars are made from Delrin.

Coupler AM HWHR

Couplers, Operating Passenger [1 pair, AF)

As Francine has said, the problem is the talgo arm that connects to the trucks.  It seems hit-and-miss whether the arm is warped or not.  Even the scale cars (at least the early ones) had some warped talgo arms, I wound up replacing them with body-mounted Kadees on my scale heavyweights.

 I think if I were to try and correct the talgo arm, I would cut off the arm leaving about 3/8" on the coupler.  Replace the arm with a piece of brass stock or Evergreen channel and screw the coupler to the new arm.  It would be a trial and error project on the first ones.

Rusty

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Hi all,

Thanks for the suggestions.  I am hesitant to heat with a heat gun because I don't know how far to bend them and what the break/melting point is.

I may have to use Rustys' method of changing to scale couplers with one knuckle to attach the the engine.

I made a half hearted attempt to bend the delrin arms on the couplers using a heat gun with no success. Someone with more patience and skill than I have might be successful. Since I prefer the look of the 6 wheel trucks that was an easy solution for me. It sure is nice to be able to back these cars through the turnouts in the passenger yard throat without any derailments.

Tom

Francine,

I changed most of my Flyer style couplers to the scale sized ones.  Since I run passenger trains as a unit, I don't care if the couplers uncouple or not.  I've been able to bend the Delrin scale sized couplers quite a bit to correct any sag and align them better.   The Flyer ones can also be bent along the arm to raise them.  I've done it without breaking them.   But then I also have a small bag with all sorts of AM couplers.  American Models also has a few hints in their site(at least on their old site) that allows better performance.  

Dont be too afraid of breaking the arm.  The plastic is tough.   Just try a little at a time.  

 

 

poniaj posted:

Francine,

I changed most of my Flyer style couplers to the scale sized ones.  Since I run passenger trains as a unit, I don't care if the couplers uncouple or not.  I've been able to bend the Delrin scale sized couplers quite a bit to correct any sag and align them better.   The Flyer ones can also be bent along the arm to raise them.  I've done it without breaking them.  Dont be too afraid of breaking the arm.  The plastic is tough.   Just try a little at a time.  

I do the same. I have plenty of tight curves and curves on grade, and yet I have been able to get all of my AM Budd cars and heavyweights to stay coupled with their non operating scale couplers.

Bob Guckian posted:

Gentlemen , For coupler arm hanging down too low you need the tool that HO people use to bend to adjust their Kdee couplers . Squeeze & hold for a few seconds & the plastic will take the new bend or curvature.

 Bob Guckian

Bob ,

Can you give a little more info on this tool?

Thank you

Ray

Rayin"S" posted:

Can you give a little more info on this tool?

Thank you

Ray

Ray, I think he's talking about this pliers tool for HO trip pins:

I'm not too sure that they would work on bending the Delrin coupler shanks on AM couplers as they are flat and not round like the trip pins on HO couplers. This is what they are designed to do:

 however they could possibly work on Delrin if you didn't squeeze too hard. Seems like a plain old needle nose pliers would bend the Delrin shanks.

Mark

Mark's picture is correct . It will work very well on the AM shanks. You can also use very small needle nose as he suggested but you might need some heat with the needle nose .  The pliers are Micro Mark part # 80600 . They are 12.95. If several members of a club has the AM cars the tool comes in very handy if you have turnouts on the layout.

  Bob

I have found that, despite bending the shanks with needlenose pliers, the cars seem to spontaneously uncouple more in the warmer months of the year.

My very low tech approach is to wrap a small rubber band  around the coupler to augment the downward pressure of the spring that keeps the coupler coupled.  My American Flyer uncouplers will still uncouple the cars when activated but the cars do not randomly uncouple when running. 

Like Jerry, I don't uncouple passenger trains very often, usually only to add a "head end" car so this simple fix seem to be working fine for me. 

Little Tommy

 

When I was running the Flyer style couplers on my AM cars, I found that if they uncouple mysteriously, it was due to the "weight" snagging on a switch point, guard rail or cross over.  There has to be a bit of clearance from the rail head to allow for track irregularities.  Once adjusted, they worked fine, but I like the look of the scale sized ones a bit better.  I also drilled another hole in the shank to allow for closer coupling. 

 

 

Would it be possible to put a bracket (a piece of brass rod shaped like a u) install under the bottom of the car near the end to help support the coupler so that it doesn't sag?

The only problem that I see is that it might restrict the travel of the coupler in tight turns, but our club layout (and my future layout) does not contain tight curves.

I like Francine's idea of a support element for the long shank but instead of a piece of brass could you use a piece of steel super glued to the underside to give it that extra support it needs, steel maybe just that more supportive than brass and less intrusive being flat.

If you are going to give a negative responsive reply to a solution that seems feasible it does help Bob to support you reasons as to why it is a waste of time and effort. Have you actually done as mentioned and found it doesn't really work or is this just a response to what you feel is not feasible as a solution, just interested in your response.

Bob Guckian posted:

I've had AM cars since the beginning & experienced many flaws in design. I shared many modifications with Ron . There did not used to be any info on his web site about operational improvements but now there are many.

 Bob G.

I had a look Bob on the website and unless I missed something it doesn't address our problem. 

Are you able to explain why supporting the shank doesn't work?

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