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I am cleaning/fixing dozens of postwar rolling stock and more then half of them have busted or cracked bake-lite slider shoes and/or dry-rot wires that are gone or failing to connect the shoe to the coupler coil. Several of the shoes have cracked/busted and/or fallen out with little to no effort while cleaning them up.  Add as a addition to that, I always disliked the look of the RCS/UCS track rails. Anyhow - the result is that nine postwar heavyweights and four F-3's have no uncoupling ability including several other rolling stock cars. Frustrating starts with "F"!

Suggestions? Are there any replacements/retro-fits? (are they budget friendly?!) Clicking around and searching ideas is leaving me flat at the moment. Maybe I'll just have lots of choo-choos that don't uncouple.



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Last edited by woodsyT
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Conversion to TMCC - for the engines, The Electric RR's AC/DC Commander, which is $140 and out of stock . Another option is finding an LCRU kit for powered Lionel GP9s. For the passenger cars, either the MINI COMMANDER II (2 COUPLER CONTROL) KIT at an eye-watering $115, or try to find LCRX kits, install the electronics and sell the couplers on fleabay. Can sometimes be found as low as $30.

Note that that modern Lionel and MTH run both wires of the coil coupler back to the electronics, but Lionel used the frame for ground/outer rail/common, and you can improve things by soldering a wire directly to the frame of the coil coupler, or possibly rewire it it.

I converted a set of Lionel F3s to TMCC first with an LCRU, and later with an AC/DC Commander, but once I tried an engine with speed control it was all over.

I suppose some clever individual could make something using various Bluetooth Low Energy products and some add on circuit AND write an app that works on iPhone and/or Android.

Something I did in the past was hook the horn relay up to the coil couplers in some postwar switcher, but I would get too many accidental uncouplings; maybe it was caused by the crappy grounding.

Last edited by illinoiscentral

Yeah, all the options and ideas I was finding were pricey or going through the delightful dismantling and soldering the shoes back on - only to risk getting tripped up on switches.  I suppose I kind of knew this was a sorta' "fools errand" but I thought I would ask anyway. I appreciate ye

How often do I really need to uncouple a heavyweight passenger consist anyways

@CSXJOE posted:

Was there one troublesome switch that caused the problem?

Naw,  But many of the shoes had already been sanded/shaved to avoid clipping over switches by me and my grandfather many years ago.

So many of these long years wrapped in boxes and newsprint choo-choos had been stored with dirty build-up on their wheels and contacts and in the process of cleaning with warm soapy water and short bristled paint brushes they lost corners or the back lips of the shoe gave up - setting the shoe loose. many of the old wires were dry-rotted off too.

Sliding shoes work best with postwar Lionel tubular switches, crossings and accessories. Other brands can damage or snag the sliding shoes.

There is a flat bronze spring that sits on top of the rivet that provides the downward pressure on the sliding shoe. On those with the wire soldered into the the rivet there is a two contact spring. Make sure those springs are adjusted so the push the shoe straight down. If out of adjustment they can force one end of the shoe farther down that it is design for. This can cause the shoes to snag.

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