McHenry Couplers- A Modelers Plea.

Inkaneer Sep 1, 2008

  1. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Tony and of course all tuned in,

    On straight and level track the train rocks back and forth or oscillates while in motion...right? Tony, I will conceed you have a point. Exaggerated movement can be a problem.

    Physics 101: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Looking at what you indicated and adding a few Ie., 1. Track isn't truly level. 2. If you inadvertently slowed or increased the speed of the train and returned it back to original setting. 3. Dirty track momentarily stalling the locomotive. 4. Track out of gauge causing a restriction. Each of these could contribute to the rocking, floating back and forth, or an oscillating action described as "Slinky". This is still within the realm of "Slack". Remove all of those issues and if you find the train still slinks around the track then "I would agree...with you".

    The action and reaction of the MTL's may indeed be over exaggerated. I will conceed that much. You may actually see an accordion effect as a train gets under way due to a fast start and it may take a while for the train to level out.

    I was just thinking about the protoypical loads that would normally cause drag. Most of our train cars are weighted equally so the drag that is normally there with the big boys isn't with ours.

    I've watched ATSF and SP trains traveling up and down the San Joaquin Valley or state highway 99. I've stopped under a eucalyptus tree to catch a lunch and watch the trains go by. Many a time I've noted slack movement within the train. Unable to detect any real cause Ie. Train speed reduction, hot box, wheels a wobbling and etc.. Until I looked down the track and found it wasn't level.

    Regarding most modular layouts...with one exception, I've yet to find level track on any modular groups layout.

    Thanks for the comeback and I will be watching for the action you have described the next time I catch a club layout in action.

    I really must install a spur line into a new grainery. Shippers are tired of hauling grain in by truck...grin!

    Tony, Thanks for the comeback.



    Edited add on:

    Rather then start another thread I decided to add these comments here.

    I realize this may seem somewhat diluted to some and just because a bunch of guys are jumping up and down and yelling about a slinky doesn't make them right. As far as I'm concerned it's a bunch of nonsense! I realize to that in some circles this makes me the apparent idiot and I'm seen as the dummy. I have some suggestions for you.

    May I suggest we go back and revisit a prototype coupler pocket. In the past as well as today there have been springs built into the couplers to cushion the "Slack". Santa Fe's shock control added a strut shock to help reduce the slack. Train cars, couplers and slack have been together ... from the start. The Brit's used two bumper pads on each side of the cars to reduce the slack. Conductors pulling duty and riding in the cabooses of American trains complained about the slack and said "It never stopped". I shared here in an earlier thread about a incident involving my great uncle a conductor for the Santa Fe railroad. You can look it up by searching my handle and posts.

    Slack isn't something that happens inside the knuckle coupler it actually occurs in side the coupler pocket. The springs will stretch as the train gets underway and crimp up as it comes to a stop. Rollover a gentle hill and the "Slack" will stretch the train and then pull it back in. Get acquainted with the real thing and I promise you...you will understand the action you see. This is an age old problem. One the real rails have tried to solve.

    I vote we leave the slack alone.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2008
  2. NikkiB

    NikkiB TrainBoard Member

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    Does this thread seem to be getting overworked on a minor issue? It does to me. All this does is dilute the general discussion.
     
  3. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    By Jove you are correct. And from the photos the McHenry actully looks better. I got some MTL trucks with busted couplers that I can change out and those who rail against the dreaded "slinky" can now do something about it without going the Accumate route.
     
  4. Mad Yank

    Mad Yank TrainBoard Member

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    McHenry's in an MTL box on the back of a Bachmann Spectrum Mountain

    Well, if I can pull THAT one off, I'll be a happy camper! And, with these 10 thumbs, it'll be a double miracle.
    But I'm determined to do it if possible; my only complaint about MT couplers is chasing 14,253 pieces (most of them LITTLE-BITTY SPRINGS!) around on a carpeted floor!
    A one- or two-piece coupler sounds like MY IDEA of Heaven to these 56-year-old eyes!

    As far as 'stinky/slinky' is concerned, either I have the world's dirtiest wheels - not likely with less than five hours total running time on them - or I'm a LOT BETTER than I would think I am as an engineer; the only time I've ever dropped one on the ground is crossing a particularly rough turnout. Of course, I'm running on Kato Unitrack, so that might be cheating!

    Keep an eye/ear out for me, as I'm getting back into N-scale after a long absence, and Mrs. Mad Yank has been doing an HO Christmas setup for EONS. You never know when I'm liable to pop up and pop off!:tb-biggrin:
     
  5. oldrk

    oldrk TrainBoard Supporter

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    Welcome to Trainboard. And Im glad you are an N scale guy. A obvious sign of high IQ. *G*
     
  6. johnh

    johnh TrainBoard Member

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    Bottom line: Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. If the McHenry couplers are better, then so be it. Use them or not, that is your choice. If you are afraid that MT will be driven out of the N scale market, I seriously doubt that since their line of freight cars is extensive and represent a sizeable investment/profit for the company. Competition fosters improvements, both in innovation and price. Without it we would all be at the mercy of complacency.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2008
  7. Joe D'Amato

    Joe D'Amato TrainBoard Member

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    I think folks must remember that we are a small company that does 99% of it's manufacturing here in Oregon. I only have limited resources and between the demands for new body styles, new wheels (something I'm working on) growing Z Scale and all the other stuff we work in and around, making changes takes time. If I were Athearn or Atlas and had all of my manufacturing done in China where all it takes is another check, sure, things could move faster. New coupler systems have come and gone and we understand we need to be innovative and move forward. Just because we didn't counter with a new coupler when the McHenery was announced doesn't mean we are asleep at the switch. For every one person who complains about the slinky effect we get 10 that say leave it alone. So, you have to be careful about who you listen to. In Z we were beaten up about not having any Undecs available. We set aside a lot of resources to get stocked up and there they sat. Was it a bad decision to make those? no, not at all. But a valuable and costly lesson learned. This doesn't mean we shouldn't deal with the slinky effect and we are...but be patient. There's plenty of room both types.

    Cheers

    Joe
    MTL
     
  8. NikkiB

    NikkiB TrainBoard Member

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    Competition in the marketplace is always a good thing. I like the MTL couplers. I've never really had any problems and I do really like the opportunity to make my own from a parts set. I haven't worked with the McHenry yet. As long as the market forces drive improvement I'm all for it.
     
  9. Mad Yank

    Mad Yank TrainBoard Member

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    To Joe @ MTL, With Regards

    Joe,

    Please don't take my comments as an attack! You guys make great stuff, at least Mrs. Mad Yank and I think so! it's just that my tired eyes can't chase 'itty-bitty' springs around the floor, so I tend to buy my cars and locos with decent couplers already installed. I had that Bachmann engine upgraded with an MT set on the tender, and unfortunately, it seems to be loose. I'm wondering if the McHenry install would be better or not- I REFUSE to go back to a Rapido! As it is, I have an engine with the POWER to pull a nice, l-o-n-g drag up a 4% grade, but not the coupler - it keeps disconnecting as soon as it hits the uphill!
    Frustrating, and I can't blame the coupler, really; it's the installation, and I can't deal with the replacement of another MTL. So, I'm going to look at a McHenry - assuming McHenry's are one-piece in N like they are in HO. If they aren't, I'm in serious trouble.
    Fingers crossed, guys.
    And I STILL love MT rolling stock - especially the Battleship Row and Presidential Series.

    Jim:tb-biggrin:
     
  10. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    At the risk of being tarred and feathered or even worse, I disagree. The plea for time falls on deaf ears in the market place. And how much time do you need? Case in point, MTL was producing Lo Pro wheelsets long before Atlas came out with their code 55 track. MTL knew their regular wheelsets were not compliant with NMRA. Yet today MTL is still sending out product with the pizza cutters on them. The time to change was long ago but MTL hasn't done it. I know you experimented with the lo pros change but people complained so you went back to your regular flanged wheels. You gave the people a choice which only tells me MTL management wasn't sold on the Lo pros. If they were sold on thme thye would have made a corporate decision that said from now on only Lo Pros would be made and included in cars and in the bulk truck/coupler packs. Maybe those die hard people who wanted the regular flanges would go out and buy all they could. They would clear out your old inventory. Remember, your competition is in the Lo pro market . No one is competing with you for the Pizza cutter market. Same thing with the couplers. The dreaded slinky effect is not a new complaint. It has been around long before the Atlas Accumate came out. The axle spring thing was only a stop gap measure. It was fine when you could equip every caboose with them. Made it easy to determine which car had the axle spring but times change and today no more cabooses. MTL had a coupler that would correct the slinky but it had to be body mounted and MTL did nothing to mount it on a truck. Why not? As I see it MTL was very fortunate that Atlas screwed up twice, once in the design of their trucks that widened the coupling distance between cars and the second with the design factors of exploding coupler boxes and trip pins that fell out. The question remains if MTL can withstand an onslaught from the McHenry people. And isn't it ironic that this newest challenger encorporates the basic design of the KayDee coupler? So here it is in a nutshell, The competition has NMRA compliant flanges with both 33 and 36 inch wheelsets, with proper sideframes and no slinky effect. MTL has NMRA compliant flanged wheelsets only by separate purchase and no 36 inch wheels sets or proper side frames for them and a slinky effect. The competition is working on the coupling gap issue and that should be a rather easy fix. Maybe that little company in Oregon better get hopping or it might be a lot smaller, at least in N gauge. Seems to me that outside of new paint schemes on existing designs most of the MTL emphasis has been in Z scale.

    One more thing what is the deal about undecs. Seems to me if you have an inventory of undecs that is not moving then paint the dang things so they will sell. Maybe a second number or [how about this gem] a runner pack? I would think an inventory of undecs is far better than an inventiory of painted and numbered units.

    I yield the floor. Is the tar hot enough yet?
     
  11. N&W

    N&W TrainBoard Member

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    To play devil's advocate (is MTL the devil? ;)), MTL just released a triple dome tank car and as far as I can tell has been steadily adding new "N" body styles in recent years. They also have the not so secret N scale heavyweight passenger cars under development.

    That said I have beefs with MTL too (the screw up on the recent N&W hopper runner pack, ride height stubborness, and I still don't like slinky).

    I hope the McHenry's are good. Competition spurs improvements.

    Mark
     
  12. NikkiB

    NikkiB TrainBoard Member

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    This is due to an axle having one wheel out of allignment. I have seen this multiple times with the rather large collection of East German cars that I own. If you have a car that rocks laterally inspect the wheels and you will find that one is out of specifications....usually this is due to one of the rims partially slipping off a plastic centering piece. Replace the axle and your lateral rocking will disappear. This is an easy fix.

    I can make a video shopwing how to inspect for this & fix this if members would find this helpful.

    This is not a coupler issue.
     
  13. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    I know you experimented with the lo pros change but people complained so you went back to your regular flanged wheels.

    Maybe those die hard people who wanted the regular flanges would go out and buy all they could.


    Remember, your competition is in the Lo pro market .

    Isn't that a contradiction? If people complained about them switching to lo-pros...and they went back to the regular flanges....and the die hards would buy them all up...how could the majority of consumer be into lo-pros? Just curious...thnxs
     
  14. N&W

    N&W TrainBoard Member

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    I HATE the MT pizza cutters. I hated them when it was Kadee and I began to hand lay code 40 track in the mid 1970s.

    But ... I don't really care about MT keeping the monster flanges (although if they are tooling some lower cars the flanges could limit what they can do going forward). Let the market decide - some day they may be the odd man out (they pretty much already are on this) and they may be faced with an "adapt or die" scenario.

    Again though, I just replace the monster flanges with someone else's wheelsets.

    Mark
     
  15. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    No contradiction. The competition has adopted a lo profile flange. By staying with the regular flanges MTL is trying to avoid the competition instead of meeting it head on. There appears no incentive to build the better mousetrap. The one they have is good enough.
     
  16. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    I think you misunderstand. He is not speaking of a rocking back and forth from side to side perpendicular to the line of track. He is speaking of a forward and back motion parallel to the line of track. So while the locomotive is going forward the cars, especially at the rear of the train are going forward then backwards. Think of the child's toy of a yoyo it goes down then reverses and goes up, down then up, etc. Now instead of down and up, down and up think forward and back, forward and back.
     
  17. NikkiB

    NikkiB TrainBoard Member

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    Oh no....I know exactly what he was talking about. I addressed what he said....not what reading between the lines of the statement entailed.

    Think of it as an ironic juxtaposition of statement and intent. Similar to the majority of the discussion concerning "slinky". Perhaps a little high-brow, but certainly poignant.
     
  18. Westfalen

    Westfalen TrainBoard Member

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    I body mount MTL 2004 assembled couplers on the tenders of my Bachmann steamers. No muss and fuss or bits flying off into the carpet.

    Now if MTL would make conversion kits for them like they used to for a lot of steam locos with a replacement pilot with coupler fitted, that would be something.
     
  19. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Call me slow but...

    You stated that MTL tried lo-pros and the consumers complained so they went back to regular flanges. How is that avoiding the competition that is doing lo-pros ? They have been there and done that. If the competition tries to improve on something that MTL already has...and that something new proves ( over the years ) to be better...then I can see MTL jumping in and trying to improve what the competition now has. Which it seems is now the case...the competition trying to improve what MTL has. If history proves MTL's product is superior...then there is no need to go a step further. If you already have a better mousetrap that works and the customer is happy with it, I dont see the problem. At some point that 'better mousetrap' can NOT be improved on...JMHO...ty
     
  20. Robbman

    Robbman TrainBoard Member

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    Or, more likely, rather than prviding them free they decided that the consumer should have to buy them separately. Why give something away for free when you can charge for it?
     

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