Removal of the Lobster Claw Couplers on MTH rolling Stock Trucks.

This topic was probably addressed before, but it is straight forward so I will risk asking again.  I'm wanting to mount Kadees on some of my MTH hopper fleet.  After trying to figure out how to get the truck off, I removed all screws and one of the slope sheets fell out. Voila!, the truck mounting screw was accessible.  OK, truck is off, now how do I get the lobster claw off?  I tried removing the two bolster screws but nothing came apart.  What's the trick?  And while we're at it, what is the trick for separating the box from the under frame on box cars, no visible screws?  Thanks in advance for the help. 

Regards, Dick M.

Original Post
LNCNo8Brkr posted:

This topic was probably addressed before, but it is straight forward so I will risk asking again.  I'm wanting to mount Kadees on some of my MTH hopper fleet.  After trying to figure out how to get the truck off, I removed all screws and one of the slope sheets fell out. Voila!, the truck mounting screw was accessible.  OK, truck is off, now how do I get the lobster claw off?  I tried removing the two bolster screws but nothing came apart.  What's the trick?

I NEVER remove those "bolster screws", as if you do get it apart, all the springs will fly out! I simply remove the one single screw that holds the lobster claw to the truck bolster. Then I use a VERY large side cutter (from Snap-On) to cut off all that excess diecast stuff from the truck assembly.

 And while we're at it, what is the trick for separating the box from the under frame on box cars, no visible screws?

There are four screws, one at each corner, counter-sunk into the underframe floor. Remove those four screws, and the body of the box come right off.

 Thanks in advance for the help. 

 

I have found MTH cars the most difficult to Kadee. 

I have tried complete disassembly. As Hot Water mentioned, this leads to the unhappy "springs flying all over the room" syndrome. (Wear eye protection! )

I came to prefer using a Dremel to cut away the claw over the "Great Spring Hunt."

Now, I just prefer to buy Lionel's new cars with the trucks that are so hated by the non-Kadee crowd. 

Terry Danks posted:

I have found MTH cars the most difficult to Kadee. 

You must be kidding! I find the MTH freight cars, boxcars especially, the easiest and fastest to up-grade to Kadee couplers.

I have tried complete disassembly. As Hot Water mentioned, this leads to the unhappy "springs flying all over the room" syndrome. (Wear eye protection! )

I have NEVER even attempted to "take a truck apart" just to remove all the claw mounting stuff. Since it is all diecast, I simply break/cut off the unwanted stuff.

I came to prefer using a Dremel to cut away the claw over the "Great Spring Hunt."

I tried the Dremel once! It threw dust and powder everywhere. Never again.

Now, I just prefer to buy Lionel's new cars with the trucks that are so hated by the non-Kadee crowd. 

I have found the Lionel freight cars the MOST DIFFICULT to up-grade to Kadees (the cars prior to the included Kadee mounting holes/pad). Plus, they have become way too expensive, same as Atlas cars.

 

 If  your determined to completely disassemble the truck as shown in Eric's Trains video. Get a large enough clear bag to place the truck in. For disassembly you don't need to try and remove each spring. Just let them fly and they should stay in the bag. Assembly is best done out in the open. I've had good luck using a flat blade screwdriver to insert the springs. You need a good eye and surgeon like hands not to lose one. It can be done but expect to lose a few. The next one I do. I'm going to try inserting some dental floss in the spring till they are all seated in place. Then remove it. Either that I'll try Hot Waters method. I pretty much did it that way to remove the couplers on a 64ft. Woodsided Combine. Grabbed some heavy duty tools and just bent and pried them off. Cleaned everything up with a dremel and files.

Dave_C posted:

 If  your determined to completely disassemble the truck as shown in Eric's Trains video. Get a large enough clear bag to place the truck in. For disassembly you don't need to try and remove each spring. Just let them fly and they should stay in the bag. Assembly is best done out in the open. I've had good luck using a flat blade screwdriver to insert the springs. You need a good eye and surgeon like hands not to lose one. It can be done but expect to lose a few. The next one I do. I'm going to try inserting some dental floss in the spring till they are all seated in place. Then remove it. Either that I'll try Hot Waters method. I pretty much did it that way to remove the couplers on a 64ft. Woodsided Combine. Grabbed some heavy duty tools and just bent and pried them off. Cleaned everything up with a dremel and files.

Last time I did it (new trucks without the thumbtack) I used the Dave_C's technique, but inserted a length of waxed dental floss in the springs before installing them just in case they decided to fly out while inserting them. Once the spring is in place, you can pull the dental floss out easily. The old trucks were so easy, you could wear boxing gloves and still remove the coupler from the truck (I started trading newer trucks for older ones).

Matt Jackson
"The best service you can provide for the hobby is to pass on what you have learned."

 Angels Gate Hi-Railers San Pedro, California

"Celebrating 20 years of moving freight and passengers from Point A to Point A!"
E-mail

YouTube Channel

I guess I was tainted by my first experience with MTH trucks. They were not freight trucks but passenger cars and I did NOT find it easy! 

Next up were GGD 21" HW cars. Also not easy!

But I've also chased the springs on MTH freight trucks.  It happened before I learned about the thread/dental floss trick. I know Eric made it look easy . . . but I did not find it so. I also had a very hard time with an older Lionel truck before I had a Dremel. I doubt I would find one too difficult now.

I've learned to be as ruthless as the job requires. "Going back" to claws is not a thing I consider (some do . . . resale value and such)  and the claws are totally unacceptable to my ascetic. I also was not especially pleased at putting Kadees on the recent Lionel freight sound cars. 

The new Lionel  freight trucks are an absolute  joy to put Kadees on! AFAIAC, this is how it should be! But don't tell the claw enthusiasts I said so or they'll send out a lynch mob.  

Thanks for the follow up advice.  I'm just going to dive in with the dremel and cut out what is not needed. I am not planning on taking the truck apart.  I did get the pivot screw out and cut of the mount, removing the rest of the mounting casting is a pain, but it can be done.  Tried sawing and breaking away but didn't work very well.  I don't want to destroy the truck.  It was very considerate of MTH to provide a mounting pad, but it seems like they could have given a little more consideration to easy removal of the claw coupler.

Regards, Dick M.

The Mth TRUCKS are attached from insde the car.   So you have to remove the upper body from the sub-floor or under body to get at the screws.    

As for springs, I do something similar to the dental floss only I use a woven thread (actually old fishing line).   For disassembly I lay it crossways on the springs and push into the coils with a small tweezer.    I then remove the springs - one side all is necessary.    You do have to take the top bolster piece off too.     For re-assembly I lay the thread across the spring between 2 coils, perpendicular to the spring.    Then I hold the thread with the spring between my fingers and put one end of the spring in place, and use my finger nail to push the other end down and it place.    Then I pull the thread out.    Works pretty well most times.    I do this with all sprung trucks.  

As for Lionel, I drill out the 4 rivets to remove the couplers from the new cars after disassembly of the trucks.

I feel like MTH is a bit schizophrenic when it comes to kadees. They do great stuff like mounting holes on most of their rolling stock (and spacers even with some), tapped mounting holes on engine pilots, and even removable coupler bosses on some engine trucks. But....

Their standard freight trucks are an abomination. Completely full of junk that needs to be removed and/or cut away to make them clear a kadee gearbox and look even halfway decent. And doing so requires a complete disassembly of the truck. Adding insult to injury, they are fastened from inside the car (wtf?), which means risking all manner of detail parts while disassembling the car to remove them.

So close, and yet so far... 

Anyway, I guess I am in the minority - despite the pita, I completely disassemble them and remove every bit of extraneous hardware and material. I've done it enough that I have the process down to about 5 minutes per truck (not counting disassembly of the car, that varies all over the map). I'll take some photos or a video and post some details next time I do a pair.

Mike deberg, are  the mth trucks you remove stock with lobster claw attached. I would like to take them from you if they are resonably priced. I am just removing the lobster claw with the one screw. Removing the coupler tab parts and using a short piece of 1/2 wide brass stock screwed and CA glued to the truck where the lobster claw attached to mount the kds on. I am truck mounting my kds so as to navigate my 036 fastrack curves and switches. It is working out quite well. Shoot me an offer that is if  I can use your mth trucks for my appication.I could use some spares.  My email is in my profile. Thanks 

Roger glasgo

Add Reply

Likes (0)


OGR Publishing, Inc. PO Box 218, Hilliard, OH 43026 330-757-3020
www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
×