Close Coupling Intermountain F7's

Discussion in 'HO Scale' started by DocGeoff, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. DocGeoff

    DocGeoff TrainBoard Member

    What has anyone done to achieve close coupling between Intermountain F7's? I love the engines, but would like them coupled closer together. Any suggestions, successes? I run two "A" units back to back. I would like to get them close to look more prototypical.
     

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  2. wig-wag-trains.com

    wig-wag-trains.com TrainBoard Member Advertiser

    Unimate (n/k/a Red Caboose) makes a body mount replacement coupler that can accomplish this. They do however require the 5-digit skyhook to couple.

    We used to offer them free to customers who reserved IMRC F's in pairs. We dropped the program though due to lack interest (I guess most would rather have automatic coupling.).
     
  3. NikkiB

    NikkiB TrainBoard Member

    Yeah...the Red Caboose couplers need coupling from above....but...they hold superbly. I use them almost exclusively for converting Minitrix and Graham Farrish cars and engines. If you intend on only using these two engines in a consist, or rarely use them separate, this would be a good solution. You can use these couplers in conjunction with any other knuckle coupler, however, you still need to connect from above. They work especially well in conjunction with Kato couplers that are sometimes a little weak.
     
  4. atsf_arizona

    atsf_arizona TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Here's some thoughts from Verne Niner about this issue, and how he used Unimate couplers to make them couple a lot closer:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Note that Verne basically cut off the back part of that Unimate coupler (the rear 'hole') and left the front hole and plastic intact, so that he could install it.

    It's not as close as the prototype, but it's a lot better than the stock Intermountain couplers. If you want to get even closer - maybe you will have to go with drawbars?

    For reference, here is what close-coupling looks like on Kato F units equipped with short-shank Unimate 51000 couplers replacing the stock Kato couplers. The Kato F units from the factory also suffer from too-far spacing. The advantage of the Kato F units is that the couplers are truck-mounted, and therefore can use the 51000s to couple closer together than the Unimate 51060s on the body-mount Intermountains.

    [​IMG]

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2007
  5. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I tried using the Unimates--they droop so much, it is impossible to couple them! I fiddled with it, and got fed up with making them work, and they now sit in the box. What am I doing wrong?
    I removed the stockers, and screwed on the Unimate. Nothing will couple to it except an upside down IM F-unit.:mad:
     
  6. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman Staff Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Why would it droop if you are using a screw? Just tighten the screw up until it doesn't droop, it would seem. There is something I don't understand here, of course. Are you using that 00-90 screw? Did you enlarge the Unimate coupler hole? Normally, I just use an 00-90 tap on the hole so the screw sets into the threads and won't move up and down. The coupler needs to swivel only a little.

    Is the base of the unit the proper height for a coupler?
     
  7. Anthony

    Anthony TrainBoard Member

    Rail Line HOn3 couplers.

    First shot are Kato F7s. The second two are of an IM FT. They just about work for every F unit out there.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Credit to Jim Bence for this suggestion.
     
  8. Sizemore

    Sizemore TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Where can you get Rail Line products? I tried google and walthers and came up with nada....

    Thanks,
    T
     
  9. atsf_arizona

    atsf_arizona TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Great idea, Anthony. I would like to know where I might buy these Rail Line couplers too.
     
  10. Larry E Shankles

    Larry E Shankles TrainBoard Member

    I put an old coupler spring on the screw, allows the coupler to rotate freely, but no droop.
     
  11. Anthony

    Anthony TrainBoard Member

    I looked on the Walthers site and it looks like they're not in stock. My LHS has them in stock regularly.
     
  12. Westfalen

    Westfalen TrainBoard Member

    I've sucessfully used these couplers on all my Kato F units, the lack of automatic coupling is a price I'm willing to pay for not having a gap between units you could drive a car through.

    The question that should be asked is to Kato and Intermountain. Why can't you design F units that couple closer in the first place?
     
  13. atsf_arizona

    atsf_arizona TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I asked this question of Intermountain at the 2005 NMRA Convention's National Train Show. The knowledgeable person I talked to in the booth agreed with me that the N scale inter-unit spacing is more than he would like..... but it was a business-driven decision.

    Their comment was that customers in general on locomotives (any scale) wanted body-mounted couplers, along with automatic coupling.... and what is readily available on the market for them to use in N scale is either the Micro-Trains 1015 or the Accumates.

    The acknowledged problem is that an F unit (or an E unit) has *very little space* at the rear end - so in order to use the readily available *body-mount* coupler, the result is..... the large inter-unit spacing that you see today.

    Apparently, while many of us complain about the issue, the issue has not hindered sales of IM F units - they apparently sell out of everything they've done so far, and I would imagine that given lack of any competition in the N scale space for all those desirable F unit road names - in my opinion it's unlikely that IM will justify the business expense of changing this inter-unit coupling issue until such time that some other company and competition offers an alternative that causes a drop in the IM F unit sales revenue.

    By the way, the same inter-unit coupling issue (to a lesser extent) also exists for as-delivered Kato F units, as well.

    So it would seem that there are enough modelers that will buy the product despite this issue, for the time being.

    That will cause the manufacturers to allocate their precious and always limited capital and manpower to other things (like a N scale Intermountain SP Cab-Forward or a Kato GG1 / Pennsy Broadway Ltd or SP GS4/Daylight).

    So I guess it's a F unit business decision on the part of IM and Kato.

    For those of us who care enough, at least there are enough reasonable alternatives available for us to modify the factory spacing with a reasonably small amount of effort. Changing couplers or making drawbars is thankfully not that hard (admittedly, once you've been shown how thx to the info on our Forums). That's good, and in the end, everyone wins. It's a good time to be in N scale.

    Just my 2 cents worth. :)
     
  14. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I simply removed the MT coupler assemblies, and using the same screw, installed the Unimate. I should take pics of the result.
     
  15. DocGeoff

    DocGeoff TrainBoard Member

    Now the Follow Up Question

    It appears the majority agree to the use of Ultimate body mount couplers. I agree and have used Ultimates for years in various situations. However the big question is, where do I get body mount Ultimates. In talking to my usual dealers I get the same answer, Red Caboose stinks on ice when it comes to suppling Ultimate body mount couplers, translation, "we can't get them!" I have a few unopened packages of short shank 1005's from years gone by, but no body mounts.
    Anyone have a pair for sale???
     
  16. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman Staff Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Great idea! :thumbs_up: Simple, too.
     
  17. wig-wag-trains.com

    wig-wag-trains.com TrainBoard Member Advertiser

    With the exception of one period of about 4 months (about 18 mos ago, RC wanted to drop the line) in the last 5 years we have always been able to keep these in stock.
     
  18. Sizemore

    Sizemore TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Who is your regular LHS?
     
  19. Anthony

    Anthony TrainBoard Member

  20. Sizemore

    Sizemore TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

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