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I've already mentioned the de railing issues with my new Legacy SW8  Switcher hooked up to some of my lighter freight cars, rolling over 022 switches, and received many helpful solutions, mainly weighing down some of those problem cars. A friend gave me various washers which I can try to hot glue to the bottoms of some of the cars, or more easily install inside the box cars. Preliminary results already prove that just placing 4 washers (about 6 oz total)  inside an all plastic gondola car does work. But, we put our two heads together and offer these observations:

Our guess is that the major problem is the SHORT stubby electro coupler arm on this particular engine, Lionel Conrail SW8 #2133590, and probably the rest of these newer SW8 Legacy switchers. The problem is that because of the short arm, when pulling or pushing a freight car over the 022 Lionel switches, the arm eventually moves to its EXTREME position either left or right in the turn, and that force is pushing the freight car coupler laterally, combining with the other problem of the freight car wheel being momentarily "grabbed" by the "divot" on that track section of the 022 switch.  My two other Lionel ET44AC  LionChief Plus 2.0 Plus diesels, hooked up to the VERY SAME lightweight car do NOT cause the wheels to ride up and consequently de rail. Neither does my Legacy Cotton Belt 304 Diesel. Also, even the tiny but much admired Granite A5-0-T switcher hooked up to the SAME lightweight car pushes or pulls the freight car through these switches with NO PROBLEM.   The reason? The electro coupler arms are LONGER than the SW8, and as a result, even in the middle of the curve, the arms are NEVER moved fully to the left or right position, thus diminishing that lateral force on the freight car truck! It's really ironic that the SMALLEST switcher has the LONGEST electro coupler arm!  Oh, and by the way, I carefully inspected the SW8 arms, and they are definitely not binding or rubbing or held back by the wires.  That was the FIRST thing I looked at. The front and rear arms pivot left and right SMOOTHLY.



I'm wondering if anyone knows if there is another longer armed Lionel electro coupler that could be substituted in this SW8?  Until then, I guess weights are the only solution. Or, just forget about switching those light weight cars, and just run them around and around my 031 curves.

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Jpepe3591,

     https://www.lionel.com/product...y-sw900-8657-2133590

Lionel lists 031as the minimum curves. It is a scale switcher so if I were you and have 031 curves on a portion of your layout that’s where I would run it. Also ditch those lightweight cars and get some scale freight cars to move arround. Your train will look much better IMHO. Also pay attention to the minimum curves on scale freight cars too. Good luck

JohnB

@jpepe3691 posted:

I'm wondering if anyone knows if there is another longer armed Lionel electro coupler that could be substituted in this SW8?  Until then, I guess weights are the only solution. Or, just forget about switching those light weight cars, and just run them around and around my 031 curves.

I'd honestly love to help you. One thing I try to be good at is knowing and looking up parts.

But here is the problem: Lionel does not provide lists or parts breakdowns for almost any new products since 2019. In fact, they even told dealers and authorized service centers anything new has to go back to Lionel for repairs. Caveat, they don't do non-warranty repairs. Let that sink in- you buy a new engine, either because the repair is out of warranty scope, or because the 1 year warranty expired (again, this goes back to roughly 2019).

Your engine support page, a big nothingburger https://www.lionelsupport.com/...-LEGACY-SW900-8657_2

Lionel sorts the couplers by the mounting type and length, so we have to identify the type and exact mount you have, and then order a longer length. Search on Lionel parts for coil couplers https://www.lionelsupport.com/...words=coil%20coupler

https://www.lionelsupport.com/Support%20Part%20Images/28503CoilCouplerMnt-01.jpg

You may also have to end up splicing your existing wiring to the new couplers depending on the new one coming with the exact connector style for the LCP2 board in your engine

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I understand the frustration of any derailing when running our new purchases, which are somewhat pricy. My suggestion, is to buy a scale car that accepts 031 curves with a longer coupler on the car. I would not change couplers on the engine. I would add a longer arm coupler to a car and use this car to pull your freight consist. Good luck and hopefully you will enjoy your new switcher. Happy Railroading Everyone B55936EC-A919-43B8-A0BB-4C36F43AA8E3CC64AE4D-FC90-46D1-8E01-3CBFFD446A10

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Not a bad idea- to change the arm of a car, and place that directly in back of the engine. Never thought of that. BUT, wouldn't it be nice to send this switcher into the inner track, and push or pull ANY car and move it to the outer loop without having to keep a "designated" car attached. Not too bad of a scenario, but what about the FRONT coupler on this switcher? I would have to attach another "designated" long arm car to it?  Somewhere somehow  I know eventually there will be a compromise solution to this. Lots of great advice I've received along the way on this forum though. Thank You!

@jpepe3691 posted:

Not a bad idea- to change the arm of a car, and place that directly in back of the engine. Never thought of that. BUT, wouldn't it be nice to send this switcher into the inner track, and push or pull ANY car and move it to the outer loop without having to keep a "designated" car attached. Not too bad of a scenario, but what about the FRONT coupler on this switcher? I would have to attach another "designated" long arm car to it?  Somewhere somehow  I know eventually there will be a compromise solution to this. Lots of great advice I've received along the way on this forum though. Thank You!

Unfortunately Legacy engines are built and designed as scale size engines. Even switchers that can go through smaller curves such as 031 cannot operate on 027 curves of 022 switches. You would be better off purchasing a LionChief 2.0+ switchers as featured in their 2022 V2 catalog. You can put your Legacy switcher on the Buy/Sell forum so if I were you I would not change anything that may effect the resell price. I am not sure if a LionChief switcher was offered in earlier releases as I am a scale guy and I do not normally pay attention to the LionChief stuff.

JohnB

JohnB is completely “on point” here.  Asking a product (model train, car, toaster) to do something it wasn’t designed for, will lead to frustration.  I have multiple Legacy locomotives and many freight cars with virtually no derailments—-and is a waybill operation with as many as 8-10 friends operating.  I do weight most cars ~12+ oz.  

The advice to stay with LionChief for small non- scale layouts is perfect.  While not full scale, they are terrific locos and operate very well.  If the road name you want isn’t available, buy spray paint and some decals, watch a YouTube video, and have fun!

I can feel your frustration but here’s a question, do you have room to move up to wider curves, 042?, 054?, if so, this would make available to you a lot more operating options. 027, 031, are tight circles which make your selection of rolling stock snd engines more or less small. LionChief is a great suggestion, and there’s a lot of that category to choose from, but if you are setting your sights on more scale type operation, get wider curves. Lionel is trying to make all folks happy, it’s a tough job. Good luck, and Happy Railroading Everyone

I'd honestly love to help you. One thing I try to be good at is knowing and looking up parts.

But here is the problem: Lionel does not provide lists or parts breakdowns for almost any new products since 2019. In fact, they even told dealers and authorized service centers anything new has to go back to Lionel for repairs. Caveat, they don't do non-warranty repairs. Let that sink in- you buy a new engine, either because the repair is out of warranty scope, or because the 1 year warranty expired (again, this goes back to roughly 2019).

Your engine support page, a big nothingburger https://www.lionelsupport.com/...-LEGACY-SW900-8657_2

Lionel sorts the couplers by the mounting type and length, so we have to identify the type and exact mount you have, and then order a longer length. Search on Lionel parts for coil couplers https://www.lionelsupport.com/...words=coil%20coupler

https://www.lionelsupport.com/Support%20Part%20Images/28503CoilCouplerMnt-01.jpg

You may also have to end up splicing your existing wiring to the new couplers depending on the new one coming with the exact connector style for the LCP2 board in your engine

Well, thanks to you, I managed to identify which coil coupler I have. I called Lionel, figuring that step ONE is to determine WHICH TYPE I ALREADY HAD. Naturally I HAD to call them because there is NO PARTS DIAGRAMS for it! They e-mailed me an answer- The part# is cs-6802274550-p, which is a MNT C/ LENGTH 1.44".  Not that it matters- but it is, of course OUT OF STOCK, but I don't NEED the stock one because I'm convinced it is TOO SHORT.

I measured all my coil couplers on my other Legacy or LionChief Plus 2.0 engines that almost NEVER de rail, and I'm seeing a trend- they are all at least 2 inches long!  (2.19", 2.3", 2.0" )

I can see other longer MNT C couplers but was wondering if you knew what some of the abbreviations mean in the description, such as:

2-POS LD, or 3-POS LD, or 4-POS LD?????  If not, I think I'll take my chances with the one below, because there's nothing "cryptic" in its description......

COIL COUPLER / MNT C / LENGTH: 2.02" - 6801301550

By the way, I have a Legacy Cotton Belt #304 whose coupler measures exactly 2 inches, and it can push or pull my lightest freight cars in and out of my old 022 switches ALL DAY LONG, so DUH!  I THINK and HOPE I'm on the right track (pun intended) in replacing my coupler with a longer coil coupler????

My experience and a pet peeve of mine is that most times, when a manufacturer such as Lionel, advertises an engine as being able to run on a specific track - like O-31 - they are talking about negotiating an O-31 curve - not an O-31 switch.

In addition, when they advertise an engine as being able to run on a specific track - like O-31 - they are talking about a single engine, not necessarily an engine with rolling stock attached.

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