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Thread: MTL Coupler wire hanging below track and causing derailments

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    Default MTL Coupler wire hanging below track and causing derailments

    I have a lot of MTL rolling stock with the MTL couplers. But I am just starting to run the rolling stock on my layout. Due to space, I am running on t-trak modules. When the rolling stock is going around corners (or over a rerailer), the metal wire on the coupler either catches on the rail and causes a derailment, or the wire lifts the wheel set just enough that the front axle come off the track.

    Do I need to adjust the metal wire on all of my MTL couplers? And if so how?
    Or is this an issue with the MTL couplers and this should not be happening?
    Or are my curves too tight and I should not be using rerailers?

    Thanks
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    Microtrains sells a coupler height gauge - Part # 988-00-031 (1055).

    I consider this a must-have tool if you are going to run MTL couplers.

    When adjusting, do not put any pressure on the coupler itself, you could easily snap it off.

    Kadee offers an uncoupler pin tool: https://www.amazon.com/Coupler-Kadee.../dp/B01M2DJJCR.

    This will work for N scale (I've had mine for nearly 30 years) and I strongly recommend having one on hand.
    - Gary R.

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    Pinnacle & Western Railroad

    Never under-do the over-kill.

    I don't always stop for trains, but when ... oh wait!, Yes I do.

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    You can adjust it, it is a friction fit. Just push it up with your fingers or with needle nosed pliers while holding on to the coupler. You might want one of these if you are going to use uncoupling magnets: https://www.micro-trains.com/z-amp-n...gauge-98800032

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Rowan View Post
    Microtrains sells a coupler height gauge - Part # 988-00-031 (1055).
    I read the instructions on the tool, and it just talks about the coupler height, not about adjusting the wire. If I am buying MTL rolling stock, I would hope they have set the coupler height correctly, but that might be asking too much.

    Thanks
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    Quote Originally Posted by NtheBasement View Post
    Just push it up with your fingers or with needle nosed pliers while holding on to the coupler.
    I will give this a shot tomorrow, thanks
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    That package contains two tools - the actual coupler height gauge and the trip pin height gauge, which is just a thin sheet. See Fig. 4 in the instructions. You can push the trip pin up through the coupler, if there is nothing above the coupler that might catch, or you can bend it further.

    Or - if you don't do magnetic uncoupling - just cut them off. They are pretty hard, though, so don't use your high precision electronics wire cutters...

    Don't pull them out entirely, the coupler will disintegrate.

    Hope this helps,
    Heiko

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    Micro-Trains specifically instructs you to make sure the trip pin is adjusted ten thousandths above the railhead. That's what the gauge is for.

    I always have them a bit higher than that to account for any drooping.

    You can't always just push them up through the coupler because, as Heiko mentioned, there may be interference with something above the coupler, the carbody, for instance.

    The best thing to do is bend the pin and you can do it with a needle nose pliers. Get one jaw on the bottom of the pin and the other jaw on the top of the pin and squeeze a bit. Be gentle. That way,you are not stressing any of the plastic parts

    Doug
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heath N Scale View Post
    I read the instructions on the tool, and it just talks about the coupler height, not about adjusting the wire. If I am buying MTL rolling stock, I would hope they have set the coupler height correctly, but that might be asking too much.

    Thanks
    The back of the instruction sheet shows how to use the 'Trip Pin Height Gauge'.

    I agree that the MTL couplers should be adjusted correctly from the factory.

    If I were in your shoes, I would use the gauge to verify the coupler pin height (and adjust if necessary). If the coupler pins are correctly adjusted, then the problem is not with the car, but with the track.
    - Gary R.

    President & CEO
    Pinnacle & Western Railroad

    Never under-do the over-kill.

    I don't always stop for trains, but when ... oh wait!, Yes I do.

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    Gary hinted to something and that's especially true with module layouts. Even if the trip pins are adjusted correctly, if your track work is sloppy or the modules are not level, you could have a higher "bump" which will snag the pins. This is often the problem at the interface between two modules where they are slightly at different heights forming a speed bump at the connection.

    /\ <- very exaggerated using ASCII art where / is one module and \ is the other module.

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    Hi HeathNscale,

    When adjusting the uncoupling wire, the tip should curve up slightly(See image below). This will help it glide over the rails instead of picking them.
    Coupler.jpg
    Happy Modeling

    Bruce

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    Heath, are you using magnetic uncoupling? If not, just cut the pin off right under the coupler. I do that before I ever put them on my layout.

    A small pair of side cutters are the perfect tool.
    Karl

    CEO of the WC White Pine Subdivision, an Upper Peninsula branch line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpwisc View Post
    A small pair of side cutters are the perfect tool.
    Check Micro-Mark for one with hardened shears appropriate for hard metal. Rail cutters will be damaged.

    https://www.micromark.com/Hard-Wire-...de-Jaw-Inserts

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    I don't think Micro-Trains can foresee all variables out in the field to be individually adjusting the trip pin height. Have we become THAT lazy as model railroaders?

    Doug
    Atlas First Generation Motive Power and Treble-O-Lectric. Click on the link:
    www.irwinsjournal.com/a1g/a1glocos/

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    If you don't have the trip pin pliers (which I keep meaning to get but never get around to) and are using the method with needle nose pliers that @Doug Gosha describes, it is much easier to bend the pin up than to bend it down.
    Tim Rumph
    Modeling the Southern Railway in N-Scale

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    Check Micro-Mark for one with hardened shears appropriate for hard metal. Rail cutters will be damaged.
    So true! The pair I use is a small (4-1/2” long) pair from Home Depot
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Karl

    CEO of the WC White Pine Subdivision, an Upper Peninsula branch line.

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    When you see the 'snagging', get down to eye level and pay attention to the vertical coupler alignment. Even if you have the pins set to the right distance above the rails, when you get into really long trains or coupler height misalignment, there is a tendency for one coupler to start vertically separating from another on the older MT couplers before they came up with the Reverse Draft Angle (RDA) modification. Until the fix came for that it was next to impossible to prevent snags.

    If you get the trip pins set properly (and this is sure no big deal, seriously, with about any pair of longnose pliers) and they are STILL snagging, pay attention to this and ask for help, I'll lead one more modeler through what you need to do.

    The other thing you need to know, seriously, is that magnetic uncoupling works just fine, but here's three basic rules beyond setting trip pins:

    1) If you have a small layout and are trying to couple/uncouple regularly on curves, stick to truck-mounts instead of body mounts. They align much better to the centerline of the track, although half the members here will instantly 'boo-hiss' me on this.
    2) You do NOT need a full-length uncoupling magnet on a 9" piece of track. I've scored and snapped mine down to as short as 1/4 inch, which requires extreme slow-speed control and taking the slack precisely to open the knuckle, but it completely removes the false uncoupling issues. I do full switching and don't own a sticker to uncouple cars. I really don't want people reaching into the layout beating up pole lines, trees, and details.
    3) Stick to MT couplers, no others need apply if you are actually using magnetic uncoupling/delay. I do have Katos and Accumates but not on any equipment that is actively switched.

    And because they really do work as well as they do, I wince every time I see people cutting off the trip pins because they don't do the basics here. Oh, and just paint the trip pins, too, it takes about 30 seconds per car, any grimy black acrylic works just fine instead of the awful brass color. And if you're really a sticker for appearance, you'd be amazed how well the Z couplers work with N if you just rebend the trip pins to pick up the difference.
    Randgust N scale kits web page at www.randgust.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by randgust View Post
    Oh, and just paint the trip pins, too, it takes about 30 seconds per car, any grimy black acrylic works just fine
    I've had success using a black Sharpie marker as an even quicker way to darken the trips, with the advantage that it won't be likely to chip off later the way paint might. But you do need a fresh marker so that you can get the tip up in there, in the concave bend.

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