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The new milk cars are beautiful!  But, I will not plunk down $70 a car just to have issues.  Is this issue going to infect, and it appears so, the rest of Lionel's line of rolling stock?  I can't justify spending an additional $24+ for new trucks on top of a $70 car.

Has it been determined if it's just the coupler or the whole truck?

Would like to see an acceptance and resolution from Lionel.

Hello, new guy to the forum here.  After reading about this topic and checking my own recently received milk car for the same issue, i contacted Lionel directly and was assured a redesign is in the works and will be made available to those who purchased cars with the faulty trucks...here is the exact reply.

"We are currently in the process of having new trucks designed and developed for these milk cars and will inform dealers, service stations, and customers when these become available. Once available we will gladly ship them to customers for free as a replacement for these trucks. Have a great day, Aaron Call Center Agent"

It seems they are on top of it.

Hopefully, it’s not just the milk cars, but rather everything with the new trucks including the PS-1 boxcars.

Probably not going to happen, but it would be great if “we are currently in the process of having new trucks designed and developed” was code speak for “we are dusting off the prints and tooling and are going back to our trucks from five years ago.”

code speak for “we are dusting off the prints and tooling and are going back to our trucks from five years ago.

While this would be the best answer, it's not going to happen. The problem is the molds are in China, and the CCP is NOT going to let them out of the country. New molds will have to be designed from the ground up, or the existing molds will have to be modified to alleviate the problem.  That's expensive, either way.

Chris

LVHR

I think we are beating a dead horse, but I have to get this off my chest anyway. But first know that I am I die hard Lionel fan. Their quality of products and support has been top notch, IMO. Yes, they have had issues with some products in the past, but so has EVERYONE else. That said:

I wonder why these were allowed to pass "Quality Control", or was it that there was no quality inspection of the "NEW" design.

If the molds were not released in China, then new molds would have had to be produced in Vietnam, right? If so, then it appears that no one at Lionel verified the design before casting the new molds.

Perhaps, these new couplers/trucks are so much cheaper to produce, that Lionel felt the cost saving to THEM was worth the newer design. And they can keep the prices the same as in the past.

Perhaps Lionel knew about this issue from the beginning but elected to keep the "new" design anyway. If so, why didn't they announce this in the new catalog stating that the "new" couplers will not work with existing couplers unless the buy makes modifications to the knuckle.

If they are serious about maintaining customer loyalty, then they must address and replace the trucks that have been purchased by us, the CUSTOMER.

In an earlier posting, I stated that Walthers produced an HO version of the CB&Q F3. They stated something to the effect that it was prototypically accurate. When it was delivered, the nose grab irons were installed on right side of the engine. They should have been installed on the left side. Walthers stepped up to the plate and shipped corrected shells to everyone that bought these at no cost. AND they did not want the old shells back. I understand it was several hundred shells.

RAY

Yes it’s great that they will fix this but there will be many many current new items with the bad truck that won’t even be sold for several years. Then what will people do. Too much confusion for me. I guess I have enough stuff now. Sales will most certainly plummet with Lionel’s current management staff coming off with these blunders.

Just received my Lionel New York Central PS-1 "Flat Spot" FreightSounds Boxcar. The couplers are not articulated. Will place it in a consist between two Lionel PS-1s that have Lionel's original diecast metal sprung trucks and articulated couplers and hope that this will prevent derailments. We shall see. Hopefully, Lionel will recognize the error of its ways and return to its original trucks and couplers that were scrapped for no good reason in or around 2016.

Pat

Last edited by irish rifle
@superwarp1 posted:

Great that Lionel is going to fix this, so now come out and announce it.

If they announce it, then they have to fix all of them. Otherwise its just those who know better. The last "real announcement" I recall Lionel CS making to fix an issue, was back when MR worked there.

I'm sure most of those hudsons still have 5 chuffs, and there are more than a few folks with a lurching mogul etc....

Then theres the diffrence between saying and doing. We were just reminded that there are 25 people that have been waiting  a year and a half for optional boiler fronts they were promised.

Certainly, there are likely way more than 25 pieces of rolling stock with problematic couplers.

I feel sorry for any hobbyist that isn't a member of this forum.

Last edited by RickO

The answer I received for my Friendship PS-1, NYC Freightsounds PS-1 and Lionel Lines Cupolacam caboose which all have the cheap couplers was “Thank you for taking the time to write into us. I would recommend using some graphite to help lubricate the joints of the knuckle couplers. This has worked for many of my customers and has proven to be a very simply fix for this.”

1.) Graphite did nothing, I tried it on all 3 cars. The coupler pockets are smaller than any other Lionel coupler pocket and therefore DO NOT FIT.

2.) Filing them in key areas fixes the problem of fit, but not the derailing problem.  I tried it on the Cupolacam caboose.

i am on another discussion where I may learn of part numbers for older trucks/couplers to use as replacement.  That’s the only way to get it right since it appears Lionel is not doing anything about it.  My email response was that if that’s their solution, I will not be buying any cars with the catalog description:

”Die cast metal trucks with operating couplers”

If it doesn’t have the word. “sprung” in the description, I’m not purchasing it.  If anyone knows what the Lionel equivalent part number would be to replace these crappy couplers, please let me know.

The NYC Freightsounds PS-1 needs one with a middle pickup for power, the Friendship does not.

Thanks,

Mike

Mike, a couple things:

The catalog is full of editing mistakes. Don’t assume “sprung” in the features listing really means the car will have the old trucks. I believe it’s far more likely to be a mistake. At this point, I’m assuming all the scale freight cars have the new design.

As far as replacement trucks, unless you can find NOS at a dealer, I wouldn’t order them from the catalog. They may just be replacement versions of the new design. I could be wrong, but I can’t imagine them producing the old design solely for sale as a spare parts item. The best way to get the old trucks for your new cars (sounds crazy doesn’t it?) is to find an inexpensive donor car in the secondary market. The trucks you want were produced on lots of different cars over an extended period of time.

Just my $0.02 worth (and maybe not even worth that).

@irish rifle posted:

Just received my Lionel New York Central PS-1 "Flat Spot" FreightSounds Boxcar. The couplers are not articulated. Will place it in a consist between two Lionel PS-1s that have Lionel's original diecast metal sprung trucks and articulated couplers and hope that this will prevent derailments. We shall see. Hopefully, Lionel will recognize the error of its ways and return to its original trucks and couplers that were scrapped for no good reason in or around 2016.

Pat

I placed my new Lionel NYC PS-1 FreightSounds Boxcar in a consist with older Lionel PS-1 boxcars that have Lionel's former world-class diecast metal sprung trucks and articulated couplers with hidden uncoupling tabs and there were no issues, as the articulated couplers on the older cars mated well with the new inferior couplers and their articulation compensated for them. Please note, however, that my curves are O-72 or larger.

Pat

Last edited by irish rifle

Pat,

I actually asked Lionel to give me the part numbers for trucks/couplers as replacements.  I made it very clear that I did not want the current production couplers.  I have read many catalog descriptions of the couplers and the current ones very specifically do not include the word sprung.  My only point is that that description is an almost a sure bet you are getting current production couplers.

I doubt Lionel will get back to me, the tech said he needed to do some research for my specific 3 cars as 2 of them use track power for lighting and freight sounds.  I did consider the idea of a donor car for the Friendship PS-1, but then decided to try one of the only 2 truck sku’s, finished goods, not parts, that Lionel sells out of the catalog.  If they do not work on the box car, or even if they do, I will report back.

Mike

Regarding the scale milk car trucks:

After the first run many years ago, Lionel chose to move production out of China for these.  Originally to Eastern Europe.  China will only produce a completed product.  They will not allow a company to produce a car body in one country, and get the trucks from China.  And they won't allow the trucks tooling out.  China is a Totalitarian Fascist economy under a Totalitarian Communist rule.  You can't expect any American company doing business with them to not be dictated to.

I'm sure that wherever these cars and trucks were made, they were given the design and samples and then proceeded to copy them very badly.  Probably a "lowest bidder" kind of deal in another third world country.

Jon

Well, I take back my earlier defense of the new coupler design.

I recently did a mod to my new sound boxcar for remote control described in the thread Remote Control for Lionel Sound Boxcars.  In order to tow it around the layout for testing, I connected it to a TMCC upgraded RMT BEEP.  Or, at least initially I tried to connect it!  The couplers wouldn't close!  After some grinding and filing, I was able to continue with my testing.

OK...OK... you guys were right all along!

just got a new two pack of bnsf rotary dump cars. the couplers are dummy and thats the way the old ones were. this couplers how ever would not work one my other cars. they fit together ok, but would not allow the other car to close and lock the nuckle all the way.

grinding the front of the nuckle a little flatter solved my problem. now they work fine with any car coupled up to them. dissapointed that this had to be done on a brand new car though.

I bought a new I12 caboose that continues to throw herself off the rails, and quite dramatically.  It happens on O48 curves, and also on O60 & O72 FT switches into a curve.  It's gotta be these new trucks.  I'm still searching for possible replacements.  Maybe some trucks off of a scale bay window caboose may work.  Anyone else had this problem with the I12s?

just got a new two pack of bnsf rotary dump cars. the couplers are dummy and thats the way the old ones were.

All runs of the rotary dump cars before the latest one with the new tooling had a fixed rotary coupler on one end and an operating coupler on the other.  The newest run has non-operating couplers on both ends despite the box label saying otherwise.

CAPPilot - If you close the coupler (bad one), and you look at the inside lower left corner of the pocket from the underside, you will notice that the base of the coupler is not completely flush with the base of the coupler housing when closed.  It's easy to compare the 2, old and new.  I did the inside of the hinge as opposed to the outside and I dremmeled the non recessed piece and now my Cupolacam caboose works perfectly.  No more forcing the coupler to the left with eventual derailment and they mate with barely a push of the caboose to any of my tenders or older cars.

For the PS-1 Friendship, I ordered 6-14078 to try and also 6-12843.  I am pretty sure 6-14078 will work on the PS-1 box car, but the Cupolacam caboose and the Flat tire NYC Box car both need the track power circuit and for that I am waiting on Lionel to get back to me.

Mike

Lionel has to realize that now, especially with the advent of TMCC, theres alot of people who now like to run their trains like the "scale" guys and actually do switching, etc. vs just running around in circles (which there is nothing wrong with).  If you cannot couple the cars together with out using the old 0-5-0, their function is pretty much relegated to the display shelf.

@Farmall-Joe posted:

Lionel has to realize that now, especially with the advent of TMCC, theres alot of people who now like to run their trains like the "scale" guys and actually do switching, etc. vs just running around in circles (which there is nothing wrong with).  If you cannot couple the cars together with out using the old 0-5-0, their function is pretty much relegated to the display shelf.

The plan must be to use a TMCC/Legacy command crane car to lift the new cars back on the track after all the derailments from the non-articulated couplers.

Adding Photos for good donor couplers to new Friendship PS-1 boxcar with crappy couplers.

Photo #1 - Sorry for the focus issue, but it gets the point across - Photo of crappy coupler, you can see the base of the hinge does in the pocket does not recess completely as it does in photo #2, the older version on the bottom, this is why the coupler doesn't close as it should what I filed so that it was flush.

Photo #2 - The crappy coupler on top, the older better coupler from the donor boxcar on the bottom.  This is a good comparison as you can see the defect in engineering in the crappy coupler.

Photo #3 - The UP donor boxcar

Photo #4 - shows the crappy coupler still installed on the Friendship PS-1

Photo #5 - shows the donor coupler protrudes out about a mm or 2 more from the car than the crappy coupler as in photo #4

In summary, the transplant resulted in the PS-1 getting the couplers from the older UP boxcar and as expected, it works 1000x better, but, the donor coupler arms are a tab bit longer.  The older better couplers also pivot where the crappy ones do not.  This make tight curves easy to navigate.

Mike

Attachments

Images (5)
  • New (crappy) Coupler: New (crappy) Coupler
  • Crappy coupler on top, old better coupler on bottom: Crappy coupler on top, old better coupler on bottom
  • Donor UP box car: Donor UP box car
  • New (crappy) coupler installed on one end of Friendship PS-1: New (crappy) coupler installed on one end of Friendship PS-1
  • New (old) better coupler installed on the other end of the Friendship PS-1: New (old) better coupler installed on the other end of the Friendship PS-1

Seems the coupler nuckle shape is different in all truck designs just slightly. Maybe the moldes or just the design of them. I to had trouble with a sound box car. I luckly had some new style  trucks a forum member sold me. I unscrewed just the knuckle piece off each truck and swaped them. Now the car works with anycar I have. So not sure how slight the difference in the knuckles themselves, but ones worked fine and the others did not.

The reason I had to remove the knuckle only is the coupler shank piece was to long on the ones bought here off the forum as apposed to the ones on my box car. Different lengths probably for different cars such as hoopers and tankers.

I liked these couplers at first. The first cars I got with them worked great. After buying several ps1 box cars used with the old design swivel coupers with hidden tabs. I see what everyone is saying. I now have changed my mind about these new couplers. Especially having to file and grind on them right out of the box to get them to play well with all my other cars.

Maybe the old post war design with the hidden tab and tab on the side for manual uncoupling could be brought back. This design always worked. Just my 2 cents here.

Did couplers on 5 Vietnam cars yesterday. Started out using files until used too much force and broke a coupler. Got out the Dremel tool works much better. More control and faster. First couple cars took a little while to figure where and how much to grind off. After that they went fairly quick. Now the cars couple and track OK even on 031 curves. I know should not have to do this stuff but gave up looking at the cars for a month waiting to hear what Lionel was going to do if anything.  Took about a hour or so to fix them.



Photo #2 - The crappy coupler on top, the older better coupler from the donor boxcar on the bottom.  This is a good comparison as you can see the defect in engineering in the crappy coupler.



Wow, that definitely shows the issue perfectly. The top one goes down to a tiny point where the fingers of the other coupler should fit.  No wonder it doesn’t work!

Even the uncoupling tap on the shank looks flimsier.

@KOOLjock1 posted:

Regarding the scale milk car trucks:

After the first run many years ago, Lionel chose to move production out of China for these.  Originally to Eastern Europe.  China will only produce a completed product.  They will not allow a company to produce a car body in one country, and get the trucks from China.  And they won't allow the trucks tooling out.  China is a Totalitarian Fascist economy under a Totalitarian Communist rule.  You can't expect any American company doing business with them to not be dictated to.

I'm sure that wherever these cars and trucks were made, they were given the design and samples and then proceeded to copy them very badly.  Probably a "lowest bidder" kind of deal in another third world country.

Jon



The latest scale milk cars come in boxes that say Made in China.

Stu

I'm confused. Lionel made those great Milk cars with the outstanding metal sprung trucks in China. Lionel moved production to Eastern Europe where nothing actually was produced. Now they are being produced back in China? With an inferior truck design.

Did the Chinese tooling actually head to Europe? Or was that brand new tooling in Europe because as they say "you can't take it with you?" If it is the old Chinese tooling being used for production now, then why not use it to make those great trucks again?

Last edited by BobbyD
@romiller49 posted:

Why in the world did Lionel change a great design. If that’s cutting cost then shame on them. Something as simple as a box car should be their shining star. They are making many of us realize we have enough engines and rolling stock. If I get the urge I’ll simply buy new old stock.

Rod:

You asked the right question and Lionel has never officially answered it. The change made no sense from the outset and disenfranchised the vast majority of Lionel's customer base. It was made without conducting any market research ( a violation of marketing rule #1) and caught everyone by surprise, including Lionel's top dealers. I wrote a letter to Lionel President Howard Hitchcock back in 2016 asking the same question, which incorporated terrific input from numerous Forum members, and presented compelling arguments against the change. Incredibly, Lionel never answered my letter, even after I followed up several times, which was a clear indication that they had no good answer.

Various reasons have been given by current and former Lionel employees I have spoken to at various train meets and shows in the years that followed, such as cost cutting, and attempting to accommodate the 3-rail scale and 2-rail individuals by providing new couplers that were easier to sub out for Kadees. BTW, both MTH and ATLAS O were able to navigate the accommodation issue with their trucks and couplers, but not Lionel. A former high ranking Lionel official (who will remain nameless, in fairness to him) was also blamed for making the change.

Lionel initially replaced its trucks and couplers with non-sprung trucks and horrific thumb-tack couplers, but at least the couplers were articulated. Very recently, Lionel made more changes. They kept the non-sprung trucks, pivoted back to hidden uncoupling tabs, and commenced to use non-articulated couplers. While pivoting back to hidden uncoupling tabs was a positive, the addition of non-articulated couplers was another huge mistake, and made the latest set of changes a net negative, by a wide margin.

Bottom line is that Lionel needs to immediately stop producing any cars with non-articulated couplers and offer replacement couplers to anyone who has purchased such cars. That's called coming right with your customers.

Pat

Last edited by irish rifle

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