New Problem - Couplers

I went through most of my trains last fall and put on Kadee couplers but I still have some problems with cars that just won't stay
coupled. It is so frustrating! A train can run and run and run one day and the next day it won't. Any hints or suggestions about what to do?
If you helped me with my ballast question I want to say thanks again for that. However, I have put off laying down any ballast until I get this coupler problem resolved.
Wayne
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wayne wrote:

Wayne, Have you used the Kadee #205 (or the new #206) coupler height adjusting fixture to check that all your couplers are at the correct height, and that the trip pins are also properly adjusted?
You also need to check your track for dips/rises and correct any that you find.
The most common cause of random uncoupling is the combination of one high and one low coupler going over uneven track.
A rise will cause the high coupler to lift out of the low one, and a dip will cause the low one to drop out from the high one.
HTH, Stevert
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I think this is one of my problems, too. I plan to look at this issue tonight. Any suggestions about how to even out the track?
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wayne wrote:
[...]

I'll assume you have a smooth roadbed (of wood or plywood, etc), and have glued cork or similar down as the ballast former. Then the usual reason for dipsy doodles in the track is track pins or nails driven in with a hammer and squishing down on the ties. _Tap_ the nails in, and stop just as the nail head touches the ties. If anything, let the track float a bit. The nails are just there to hold it from sliding sideways (until you've ballasted, after which you should pull out all the nails.)
So, if necessary, pull out pins or nails, drill holes in adjacent ties, and insert new pins.
If there are dipsy doodles caused by evennesses in the road bed, you insert shims under the ties. Use varying thicknesses of card and heavy paper. Sight along the track to detect dipsy doodles and waviness. A 9" level is a good tool to check level across the track.
Cheers,
wolf k.
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Evening out the track can be a real ratselfrass problem! First you need to start iwth smooth subroadbed. Joints at the ends of plywood pieces need to be smooth with no angle between the pieces. This is the usual start of any problems with trackwork as the track will make a vertiical bend at the joint that will be difficult to get rid of as all you do is pread out but the problem is still there. Next is that the track can't be mailed down so hard that it dips at the nails. Basically you have to go through all of the track checking for little dips and peaks and figure out how to adjust the roadbed to make the track nice and smooth. Look at pictures of any of hte large layouts for what your track should loook like for level and curves. The smoother you get the trackwork the less problems you will have with it. I lay my track by the old handlaid method and do that on spline roadbed wo that there are no sudden changes in the track. This is the superior method still when done right as the roadbed sets the grades and curves of the track in one continous length.
-- Bob May
rmay at nethere.com http: slash /nav.to slash bobmay http: slash /bobmay dot astronomy.net
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On 3/3/2009 7:44 PM Bob May spake thus:

While your advice is good regarding good tracklaying methods, it does nothing to address the poor O.P.'s question of how to even out already-laid track.
--
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Stevert wrote:

Another thing to look for is a missing knuckle spring. It remains closed under tension but sometimes opens when there is slack in the couplings.
Peter
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On 3/3/2009 8:35 AM wayne spake thus:

The easy answer for first things to do is to check the coupler height carefully on all cars, making sure it's identical. Check that no couplers are hanging at odd angles or are loose.
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I think this is one of my problems. Not all the couplers are exactly the same height. But I don't know how to adjust that. Some of the couplers are attached to the cars themselves and others are on the trucks.
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wayne wrote:

Do not mix "body mount" and "truck mounted" couplers. Ever!
A) To adjust coupler height:
First, buy a Kadee coupler height gauge, and make a test track. Mount a length of track on a 1x3" board, and fasten the coupler height gauge to one end.
Second, buy a coupler pin pliers - this is a pliers with one jaw machined like a U, and the other machine to fit into the U. You adjust the trip pin by squeezing it _gently_. To raise the pin, put the pin so it fits inside the U, to lower it put the U inside the pin (easier to do than describe.)
Third, inspect and test all cars. Couplers must not droop, must be at the correct height (within 1mm or 1/32nd inch or _less_).
Fourth, prepare a number of couplers for mounting, as described on the Kadee package.
A1) To lower coupler height: one or both of the following --- glue a cut-to-size plastic pad onto the car frame where the coupler will be mounted. Those plastic closures on bread bags etc are just right for this - they come in two or three thicknesses. Then glue the coupler to the pad. Make sure the coupler is centred left to right at the car end. --- File down the bolster. Caution: the trucks and wheels must not rub against the bottom of the car.
A2) To raise coupler height: add one or more washers between truck and bolster. Kadee makes two thicknesses - but a pack or two of each. --- It's sometimes possible to cut away the molded in coupler mounting box, file a flat area on the frame, and mount the coupler at the correct height 9with pa plastic pad if nececsaary).
A3) To body mount couplers: --- cut couplers off trucks, or replace trucks. --- prepare a flat area for coupler mounting. --- test car against coupler gauge. If the car passes over the knuckle but stops at the pin projecting above the coupler, then the body is at the correct height. If necessary, adjust hieght up or down as decsribed above. --- glue coupler onto car. --- If desired, drill through the screw hole into the car body, and snug down a screw. Beware of over tightening.
Final tip: replace those plastic wheels with metal ones.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

As David says, check couplers.
Kadee has a 'coupler height gauge' which is very handy. It can be used as a 'Track Gauge', set it on he track, roll a car up to it and you can see it the coupler is high/low, there is a 'shelf' to check that the coupler operating pin [masquerading as the 'air hose'] is not too low. The 'coupler height' does NOT need to be exact, but things work better if there is little or no variation.
Chuck D.
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Once again, I thank you all for your time and patience with this novice. I appreciate the help.
Wayne
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