MTH S guage coupler issues.

I recently purchased some mth beer cars. The issue in having is there seems to be to much vertical play.  All the screws seem tight.  When it uncouples from the other cars both are still in  the closed position. Of course I can not get it to do this in front of me. And it happens at random on the track.

I'm guessing the is some kind of modification I can do. Any ideas.
Original Post

I have purchased two of the MTH S gauge reefers and I had a problem with them not staying coupled.  What I noticed is that the coupler drops down so that it is not parallel to the track.  The coupler would become uncoupled even though the coupler didn’t actually open.  When I took off the truck I noticed that the hole in the coupler shaft is larger than the hole in the truck.  I solved the problem by using super glue to attach the coupler shaft to the truck so that it is now parallel to the track.  It concerns me that if I want to convert to scale couplers that I may not be able to get the coupler off the truck.  I’m hoping someone has a suggestion for a less permanent solution. 

On the old SHS coupler, the hole on the coupler shaft was also larger than the hole in the truck.  The larger hole fit over a slightly raised boss on the car's bolster:

shs hr coupler


Here it is after fitting it to a Lionel/Flyer Hopper using American Models trucks.  No glue, super or otherwise was used.  The only thing holding everything together is the truck screw:

LNL HRC 032314 07

LNL HRC CH 032314 03


I don't have an MTH hirail car to compare against, so I can't study how the coupler might have cause to flop around.  But, there are super glue debonders available that will enable you to remove the coupler from the truck at a later date if so desired.




Photos (3)

I encountered this problem quite awhile ago when MTH started releasing their versions of the Billboard reefers.

The entire post can be found here.

Here's what I posted and my solution to the problem from back in August of 2014:



OGR Forum Member
August 21, 2014 3:32 PM

Hey all, I just received another new wood side billboard reefer made by MTH for Dave Blum at Pikesville Models.

It's the Manhattan Beer reefer and it is a good looking car:


The story is Manhattan brewing was owned by Al Capone, Frank Nitti, etc. etc.

Anyway back to the fix.

This is the second MTH reefer I've received that has what I would call "Coupler arm wobble" for lack of a better term. New out of the box the couplers appear to hang down towards the track at the coupler and are very loose.

The truck mounting screw is very short and tightening it does nothing but strip out the plastic screw mount boss.

The first time this happened on another car I substituted a longer screw with more threads to grab inside the boss and it worked that time to fix the wobble.

This time however, that did not work. I decided to look at the setup with a magnifying glass and found the problem.

The screw mount is slightly too long. When the shouldered  truck mounting screw is tight there is still a gap between the shoulder on the screw and the truck bolster. I guess you could add another washer if you had one tiny enough but I elected to cut off about 1/32 of the plastic screw mount. this allowed the truck screw to engage the truck before bottoming out.

Result? No more coupler wobble.

Since this has happened twice I think maybe MTH's overseas manufacturer needs to look at the floor molds for these cars and adjust them accordingly.

Only one of the couplers on this car wobbled.

I have received other new MTH reefers like this that haven't had this problem so I'm not sure what's going on here.

File this away for future use.




"...the track was apparently so bad that when a crew went dead the wind moved the cars side to side backing the spikes out of worn ties and the wheels would drop between the rails derailing the train while standing still!"




Hope this fix works for you also.





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Alan Mancus

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