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Is anyone having trouble with cars coming uncoupled in the Standard 0-gauge line of Lionel products? Right now about 50 percent, or more, of my cars come uncoupled, and with trying to keep 4 trains or more running at a time is a nightmare because if have to constantly monitor them with my finger on the main stop button when I have cars coming uncoupled. I have watched some of the bigger You Tube track owners talk about their Lionel train car coming uncoupled and that they will take care of that by gluing the couplers shut. There has to be a better fix than this. I like to play trains, with bi-directional running and train meets and passing sidings. This makes train running more realistic and fun but I cannot do it with cars coming uncoupled. Right now this has seriously demoralized my fun in running my trains. I also have 7-1/2 inch live steam trains and you are not allowed to keep your cars on the track if you couples act like these Lionel train couplers.

I have studied the cars and I think the problem is the coupler armature under the coupler, more specifically, the pin that reaches up to hold the knuckle closed. I am not about to start driving out the pins on the knuckles on these cars to check that the knuckle has a deep enough pocket for the pin to hold the coupler knuckle shut until the electromagnet pulls the armature down to pull the pin out of the knuckle pocket.

Please help!

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I have had this problem with The President series cars,  military heritage cars, ATT cars, passenger cars (Polar Express and North Pole Central).  I seems to be present throughout the standard O-gauge cars. I tried using a technique I saw on YouTube, bending the armature under the knuckle and the armature broke before I  could even bend it as suggested and I have not been able to get a replacement armature from Lionel or through TrainZ. This happened on the Rosie the Riveter box car, if you want specifics.

Ruptured Duck, on the cars with plastic trucks, I remove one wheel set, then pop out (a small flat head screw driver helps to pry it loose) the plastic coupler armature. I heat it up using a hair blow drier... or I've also gotten real good at using a cigarette lighter (without melting anything either!) AND then give the armature a bend upward, blowing on it immediately to cool it down. Reinstall everything and I've never encountered accidental uncoupling again.

The fly in the ointment is with those sprung die-cast trucks that have plastic coupler armatures, the wheel set is very difficult to remove without potentially breaking the truck. And there isn't enough room above the axle of the wheelset to remove the coupler armature. The early version of the K-Line Classic die-cast truck with a plastic coupler armature (instead of the later used metal armature) is the same situation.

In this case I use a small black rubber band. You can find them in the girl's hair accessory aisle at even a dollar store. You used to be able to get a bag of several hundred for a buck. The rubber bands also make a nice open gondola load.

You might need some sort of dental hook tool to get the small rubber band wrapped twice around the coupler armature. Once I do this, the uncoupling problem is solved. And visually, you don't even notice the black rubber bands on the coupler. The disclaimer here is over time (my experience is over a year or two), these small cheap rubber bands eventually start stiffening and breaking. So you just put another fresh one on there.

PS: Rolling stock with metal coupler armatures are not immune from the unwanted uncoupling problem either. But the fix for those is the same: To give the coupler armature a slight bend upward so that the pin at the end of the armature stays engaged with the coupler knuckle.

Last edited by brianel_k-lineguy

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OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

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