I recently bought an MTH flat car w/40ft trailer in British Columbia Railway livery (20-95119).  Both the MTH website and the dealer's site listed both 2-rail convertable and Kadee compatible mounting pads as features of this car.  It seems to take the 2-rail truck conversion as expected but the Kadee compatible mounting pads are completely missing as shown in the picture below.

The underside of the car - no mounting pads

The car does seem quite a lot lower on 2-rail trucks and I was wondering if anyone here had done this conversion before and could advise me on how best to get the coupler height right.  Should I build up a pad out of plastic sheet and attach it to the metal plate with CA glue or do I need to carve the sill away to make the coupler higher?

The car with 2-rail trucks

Any advice gratefully received.  Thanks.

Regards, Bevis.


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If you do a youtube search for Laidoffsick, you will see he has done many Kadee conversions. but Bob is right unless you have the Kadee coupler gauge you will be lost. I have done several of my cars as I try to convert them as I get them. I have everything setup for 3 rail, just put kadees on them cause I think it looks better.


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I don't have a Kadee coupler height gauge, but the UK distributors for Kadee are only about 9 miles away and do appear to have it in stock.  I was planning to go over there tomorrow and buy one.  I have watched a fair number of laidoffsick's videos on Kadee couplers in O-scale and learnt quite a lot from them, but I didn't find one where he discussed in detail making pads for cars that don't have them.  As far as I can see, I basically have the option to make the pad and glue it in place, or to drill through the metal base plate and use countersunk machine screws to attach a mounting pad constructed from plastic sheet.  I was interested in what approaches others had tried, if indeed anyone else has tackled 2-railing and adding Kadees to this particular MTH car.

Regards, Bevis.

For "pads" I just use styrene cut from sheet. Get sheet of .010", and maybe .025" and stack them as needed. 

I drill and tap the body for 2-56 screws. I believe that MTH flat has a metal base. Remove it before drilling and tapping. Mount the coupler box to the frame with spacers held in place then cut off the screw flush with the top of the metal base.

Not necessarily the only way, just my method.



after you pick up the Kadee height gauge, tape an assembled Kadee coupler & box to the underside and check the height with the gauge. without seeing a photo of the end sill, it looks like there's a bit of draft box molded into the end.

once you have a reference point with the gauge and temp-mounted coupler, you can adjust the body height up with washer(s) between the truck and bolster... or down with coupler pad shims.

either way you should drill mount holes in the underbody

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Well I've made an attempt!  I started off by determining that two sheets of Styrene were needed - one of 80thou and on of 60thou.  I cut them to size and glued them together.


Offered it up and it looks ok - also checked the dimensions - all looked good so I went ahead and mounted the Kadee #805.


The only issue seems to be that there is nothing pegging the base plate for the truck.  It seems quite inclined to ride up and the coupler end.  Maybe this won't be a problem when the weight of the freight car and load is on top of it.


Final step was to glue it with supaglue and clamp it for the night.  I guess I will find out tomorrow if this has created a serviceable 2-rail freight car with body mounted couplers.

Stay tuned....

Regards, Bevis.


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Mixed results - the mounting pads for the Kadees have stuck to the truck mounting plates at both ends and seem firm.  One end the mounting plate also stuck to the body and the height is very reasonable - maybe a millimetre low, but well within serviceable tolerances.  To get any closer would have required shaving some of the plastic body of the car itself.


At the other end, the truck mounting plate remainded free and was been leveraged away from the plastic body of the car by the clampling of it at the other end.  I've decided to glue the truck mounting plate to the car body to stop this happening.  Once that's dry I will test it all in a train.

Regards, Bevis.


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