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Dave,

I have yet to see or hear of any comments from Lionel - very disappointing to say the least!  As for fixes:

1: Return the cars to Lionel

2: Purchase new trucks at a cost of upwards of $30!

3. Take a file or Dremel tool and modify the coupler so that it works with existing Lionel cars, however that does not fix the truck issue.

Good Luck

Dave,

I have yet to see or hear of any comments from Lionel - very disappointing to say the least!  As for fixes:

1: Return the cars to Lionel

2: Purchase new trucks at a cost of upwards of $30!

3. Take a file or Dremel tool and modify the coupler so that it works with existing Lionel cars, however that does not fix the truck issue.

Good Luck

You can install Kadee which I did but doesn't address the trucks which I'll leave as is.  No more cars until this is addressed.

This morning, on another forum, someone reported receiving an email from METCA in which, besides dealing mainly with deco errors on the METCA custom milk cars that necessitates them being re-run (the factory failed to incorporate corrections made to samples), it was stated that Lionel will be offering an improved coupler to purchasers of Lionel’s new milk cars. No details provided.

I saw a youtube video were the poster said harry henning had talked to ryan and dave about the mike car coupler issue. dave was looking into this and going to find a fix. so was harry when he got his new milk cars. maybe they are working on a fix.

I happen to like the new trucks with the thumtack coupler as stated befor. I have some on my new ps1 sounds cars. I ordered some of the new trucks minus the center roller to put on some of my older ps1 cars witch have truck issues.

I figured if the new ps1 cars have these new trucks they should fit and work on my old ps1 cars. I found some on the parts websight that I thought were a match with no center rollers as stated above.

when I recived them they are a different model. they have a different bolster in the middle of the truck and these appear to be for the weaver/ lionscale car bodies. so I am now not sure what trucks to buy. I do not mind the old style with swiveling knuckles, but on lionels website it says they are out of stock and discontinued.

now I am puzzled as to what to do. why does lionel seems to make this so hard to find replacement trucks for these cars.

@Keith L posted:

This morning, on another forum, someone reported receiving an email from METCA in which, besides dealing mainly with deco errors on the METCA custom milk cars that necessitates them being re-run (the factory failed to incorporate corrections made to samples), it was stated that Lionel will be offering an improved coupler to purchasers of Lionel’s new milk cars. No details provided.

I would be interested in more information about this. I received my PRR milk car from them yesterday and was curious about some of the details not matching the artwork or samples. I knew from seeing images of the cars that the frame was not painted black and just thought it was changed before production but the sample shows it black as well. I guess that is what the message above is referring to but I would also be interested in the improved coupler although I will likely swap on the previous trucks.

@Keith L posted:

This morning, on another forum, someone reported receiving an email from METCA in which, besides dealing mainly with deco errors on the METCA custom milk cars that necessitates them being re-run (the factory failed to incorporate corrections made to samples), it was stated that Lionel will be offering an improved coupler to purchasers of Lionel’s new milk cars. No details provided.

Good news if it comes to be. I hope it isn’t limited to the milk cars.

Guys,

Being new to this O gauge world, I am very very surprised at the apparent reluctance of folks to send cars with defective couplers directly back to Lionel, demanding repair, replacement or refund.  You paid alot of money for these cars and they should work right out of the box.

In my prior hobby of 50 years (firearms), if anybody buys any type of new firearm that does not work due to a manufacturing or design defect, they have no hesitation in boxing it up and sending it straight back to the manufacturer for repair, replacement or refund.  They don't stand around discussing it.  In most of the cases, the manufacturer promptly takes care of the problem and sends it back.

Why the reluctance to send these back?  If Lionel comes up with replacement trucks or couplers, why should YOU have to replace and install them.  Make Lionel do it.

Mannyrock

You have arrived just in time to participate in a great test. How much will a group of loyal people take before they stop purchasing. If you have ever cooked crabs and slowly boiled the water, you found that they took a great deal before they tried to abandon ship.


When they finally did, they were so far underwater that they couldn’t get out.

Same thing here. People, me included,  have slowly been subjected to an experiment that appears to be studying actions based on a gradual loss of competence... like milk cars that took four years to get made and, wonder of wonders, when they finally came in looking great, the couplers had been redesigned after years of perfection into something that is an absolute joke.

Now the test appears to be measuring how far those same purchasers, loyal customers, etc, are willing to go in accepting an obviously failed product. Some university must be monitoring this and maybe it will result in a Nobel prize.

Note how the manufacturer remains silent, usually for a long time. It is a really remarkable marketing strategy that is being tested here. These items cost about $100 each. Sometimes they cost $1,500 or more. I wonder how the cost affects behavior.

Other similar tests are ongoing or have been concluded. This has been an amazing process to watch. I have friends who are participating, some of whom are on their third or fourth course. Imagine how they are being studied. There are basically similar choices as you follow the process. One thing stands out, seldom do we  stop buying.

Sometimes things are finally repaired or replaced but that can take years.

Not sure how many, but a significant number of Lionel items are never removed from the package, and kept as "collectibles", and those buyers will never care if they couple or not.  If I was the big L- I might just react to people's complaints rather than having to fix 100% of the cars.  I am guessing that (unlike in the case of an engine) the cost of a return and retrofit exceeds to new cost of the car.

Mike Wyatt:

    Good point. But how many people will want buy ANY Lionel freight cars in the future for fear that they may have these faulty trucks and couplers?

    It remains to be seen exactly how much that fear will affect this recently released catalog. Who would want take a chance paying $75- $80 on a freight car only to find that in order to include it on a train, the buyer must spend another $30- $35 for a decent pair of trucks/couplers?

    The ball is now in Lionel's court as to how to rectify this situation.

   1) What will Lionel do for people who bought the milk cars and who are stuck with a lemon.

   2) Lionel must remove the reluctance any potential buyer may have by explaining that the faulty coupler was used on only the milk car series and not any other Lionel freight cars (if that is true). Otherwise I can see people avoiding any and all recently made Lionel freight cars.

      John

@Randy_B posted:

We basically need to go back to 2016 and stop this from happening. The departure from that truck and coupler design is where they went wrong. At least the early stuff AD 'after departure' (2017-2018) worked.

Bingo. Lionel should never have changed the design of the trucks and couplers that they had used for many, many years for their scale line. Lionel unilaterally made the change without conducting any market research with its dealers or customers. I know that as a fact. Marketing lesson 101. The reasons provided at the time for the change, while well intended, were nonetheless very weak. Things have never been the same thereafter. That's when I stopped buying Lionel's scale freight cars and instead commenced to load up on old new stock. Hopefully, Lionel will figure this out and finally get it right.

Pat

Regarding the METCA PRR and LIRR Milk Reefers, replacement couplers with improved performance will be available for no charge to our customers.  It will take some time until replacement couplers are available as a few sample couplers have to be made, the samples thoroughly tested (and tweaked if necessary), and then final couplers produced.  Once replacement couplers are at Lionel Customer Service, we will inform our METCA Milk Reefer customers of the process to request replacement couplers.

Lionel will be announcing their plan for handling their regularly cataloged milk reefers when they're ready to announce it.

Stu

Thanks for the up-date Stu:

Just one question......why does Lionel have to "re-invent the wheel" so to speak, and go through this whole process of having new couplers made, and then tested, before anything can be released????

From what I have been reading here, they had it "right" back in 2016. Seems obvious to me they just drag out the old pro-type coupler/truck, and re-make them again.

Am I missing something????

Peter.....Buco Australia (down under)

Fortunately I don't have any Lionel cars with this problem,..   Unfortunately there are a number of Lionel cars I intended on purchasing,.. but now will pass.     I'll skip and pursue MTH and Atlas cars.    And since Lionel has not been very forthcoming with information on this truck/coupler issue I wrote a snail mail letter to the president/CEO explaining why from now on I won't be purchasing ANY Lionel cars until the issue is resolved.



Lionel LLC
Attn: Howard Hitchcock
6301 Performance Drive
Concord, NC 28027

@Mike Wyatt posted:

It might make sense for them to send a pair of new/ better designed trucks w/ couplers to customers who request them- maybe a customer sends in a phone pic.  Better than enriching FedEx for shipping both ways, plus the labor.

There's nothing wrong with the Milk Reefer trucks.  The trucks are perfectly fine.  It's the couplers, and just the couplers, which don't consistently work as well as they could.

Please just give Lionel time to announce their plan.  I think most people will be pleased at how simple their plan will be.

Stu

Last edited by NOT LionelLLC

When they made new tooling to replace what was lost they still had the opportunity to make the previous design or similar. I wasn't really referring to the milk cars specifically but all of the other cars that changed since 2016.

I'm not pleased with the quality of the paint on the latest milk cars and 8k tank cars and will not be buying anything new going forward until I'm satisfied things are better. I didn't dare open the side door on my PRR milk car but it didn't matter anyways because a chunk of paint is already missing from one of the hinges.

I purchased two of the plug door reefers, and they have the same coupler issues described in this thread. I thought the defective couplers on the two reefers I received were an isolated problem so I got an RMA and sent them back for repair (I included a detailed letter outlining all of the problems I was experiencing). Lionel replaced the trucks and after testing them said they "worked good." The replacement trucks/couplers still do not work with existing Lionel products, so I am confused about them saying they "work good."

I am hopeful Lionel will offer a replacement coupler solution because these are good looking cars and I'd like to run them.

Like others I'm holding off buying any new Lionel equipment until the issue is satisfactorily resolved.

I don't know how many of you have noticed, but the latest set of cars were made in Vietnam, not China. I'm not certain when the switch occurred, but my guess is that is when and why the new tooling was created and when the problems started. Getting tooling OUT of China is impossible, as they claim everything belongs to them, regardless of who creates or uses it.  Regardless of that, Lionel should have tested the product of the new tooling with previous products. They would have found the issue immediately, just like I did. All they had to do was test against their own product, not even other brands.

Chris

LVHR

Well, wherever they were made could be irrelevant. It is difficult to determine if it really has any weight on that because as Lionel had pointed out on the Challengers, "it didn't say that in the catalog, but we understand that we didn't indicate what it would have, so we're offering to fix that to those who want that", or at least something relatively close to that statement. That was in regards to the chuffing sounds.

Someone pointed out somewhere over the past few years or so that there is wiggle room on their end when it comes to what is shown in the catalog and what the end result is. I have noted that in the most recent catalog "diecast sprung trucks with operating couplers" is absent from all or nearly all of the high-end cars(with maybe a few exceptions). The only place that appears is in the O-Gauge end of the catalog on certain types of rolling stock.

The other thing that it could be is they went over to different types of trucks to save money here and there, much like I pointed out that some of the passenger cars don't show or list passengers in them with few exceptions. Passengers can be placed in cars, that's not that big of a deal, and to quote Eric of Eric's trains, "I'm okay with them not putting passengers in the cars because you can always add them later, you can't add quality after the fact." I'm sort of butchering that a bit, but you all get the point if you haven't seen it.

I take pride in my well working rolling stock, and those that are very great quality. Stuff that rolls well and doesn't derail is essential to mostly all of us if not all as some have extremely large layouts where derailments become big issues. When I was into HO, I used to have a Burlington Northern hopper that would always uncouple and derail unless I had a certain boxcar coupled with it. I always ran that BN car directly behind my 2-10-4 PRR Texas and never had issues with that set up. Whenever I switched out cars and the locomotive for another, it would uncouple and sometimes derail. Granted that is HO, and at the time $5-$15 per car depending on what it was. These cars are not those naturally so we expect more out of them.

I sincerely hope that they come up with something that is easy for us on are end. We have to wait unfortunately until they figure out what they are going to do. In any case, sit and wait we have to do, unless we modify what we got.

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