N scale McHenry couplers work ?

micheleslot Oct 24, 2009

  1. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    I have taken to buying bulk packs of 1015s, assembling them on a jig while watching videos. That way I have a supply when I need them. I use these for most things.

    Lately, I had some woodchip cars with buggy wheelsets and couplers. I simply removed the whole assemblies, replacing the wheels with MTL wheelsets, and then swapping the wheels out for metal wheels, and then body-mounting 1015s. I don't know what I would do without body-mount couplers. I am not an anti-truck mount coupler separatist, but if I am going to go to the trouble to replace the couplers anymore I just go the body-mount route 9 times out 10. The exception being when I cannot figure out how to install a coupler and still get any turning radius out of the wheels.

  2. pachyderm217

    pachyderm217 TrainBoard Member

    Mark me down as another who fixes coupler issues with MTL replacements. Like others here, I aim to go total MTL as time and budget allow. Recently upgraded all locos from Accumates to MTL. A new era has dawned.

    I had McHenrys on a few Athearn cars too. Couplers operated OK, but the trucks were poor quality. Swapped them out for MTL truck/coupler sets and all is good now.
  3. Nick Lorusso

    Nick Lorusso TrainBoard Member

    Adam 1023s work much better or even 905s.
  4. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    I have some 1023s. I can never figure out what I am supposed to do with that lip on the edge. File it off? Maybe you have a good idea. I would love to learn more about applications for these.

    I like 905s. Those are on a lot of my switchers.
  5. jagged ben

    jagged ben TrainBoard Member

    I think the lip is there to help keep you from putting it on backwards when assembling kits (the 1025). (The little hole that interfaces with the nib on the coupler shank has to be in the right place.) You can also use it to help hold the coupler box in proper position; if you set the lip against the end of the car, it will keep the coupler from rotating on the screw. I have usually left the lip on when it doesn't bump into something. Lately I have been cutting the lip off with a hobby knife (before assembly) for appearances sake, since it doesn't look prototypical.

    The 1023/25 is supposed to be the default N scale body-mount coupler. It's much better for pushing operations because it doesn't collapse to the side the way 1015s readily do. It also has a narrower profile that allows more truck rotation. I don't know why the 1015s got so popular instead - they were designed for locomotives not other rolling stock - except that obviously the snap together assembly is a plus. If you're buying assembled couplers I can't think of a reason to put 1015s instead of 1023s on your rolling stock, as they are cheaper as well. That is aside from the odd case where one works and the other doesn't.
  6. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    I will try that the next time I put a coupler on a piece of rolling stock.

    I wish there was, somewhere, a comprehensive run-down of what some of these "universal" couplers are intended to do. I bought a mess of 1023s for these passenger car kits and then decided that I didn't like the truck-mounted drawbar arrangement, so I took them off and put them away. Now I see that there is a use for them perhaps as body-mounts on the same cars. I will try it.
  7. Westfalen

    Westfalen TrainBoard Member

    I can never understand why MTL don't develop a wider range of their Z scale coupler (which ironically is still oversize for N, let alone Z!) for N scale use, like a 1015 style box to easily replace couplers on diesels for a start. I'd buy a few bulk packs.

    Where the McHenry with all the moving parts in the coupler head should be going is applications where there is no room for MTL's or Accumate's coupler box, like close coupling IM F units. They could be doing them with the same style shanks as Unimates. I'd buy bulk packs of them too.
  8. micheleslot

    micheleslot New Member

    Some other dissatisfied on N McHenrys

    I received a private post I think is interesting to share without reveal the sender:

    Mc henrys
    “After I saw your post I went and tried two new athearn N scale cars with the Mc henrys. Yes, they uncouple going over one of my uncoupler magnets every time. I reversed cars and it does it every time.
    but only with the mc henrys. not Mchenry/MT. I didn’t want to post on the forum cause some Genus that never used a McHenry will tell me how it must be my layout. I guess I will just have to run a Mchenry/MT/McHenry/MT combo.
    let me know if you find a solution to this problem."

    My reply:
    I don't think I'll find a solution to this problem because I had too much troubles that reminds me to thirty years ago when I suffered a lot of derailments until I decided to ban Fleischmann turnouts from my layout. Now I decided to ban McHenry and so Athearn cars.
    I will survive even without McHenry couplers.
    The only reason I wrote to Trainboard is that nobody seems to notice of this problem (anything any Genus could tell about) and contribute to push a product that should be strongly criticized: every good Company may make a mistake without to lose respect.
    Good luck.
  9. Westfalen

    Westfalen TrainBoard Member

    I know this is what the private poster feared would happen, but if the McHenrys only uncouple over one of his magnets the problem would seem to be with the magnet, perhaps where/how its placed, track configuration at that point. I've had MTL's uncouple over magnets which is why I don't use magnets any more.

    No need to ban Athearn cars, just swap the trucks for MTL's.
  10. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

    For the same reason we use 9-3/4" curves:tb-biggrin:(I'm sorry, but I just couldn't resist).
    Seriously, though, there are at least a couple of reasons why we get couplers other than Micro-Trains. First, of course, is the fact that Atlas cars and engines come with Accumates and Athearn cars and engines come with McHenrys. I almost hate to mention the other reason, because I don't want this thread to turn into another "slinky effect" thread, but to many people that is a big reason for using other couplers. Micro-Trains has never truly addressed the slinky effect(putting springs on some axles can sometimes overcome it, but that is not truly addressing the problem), and I find it very annoying. Again, I don't want to derail this thread. I know that some people don't seem to get this effect, and some people do get it but consider it prototypical, but regardless, I, as well as many others, do get this effect, we see it as too large an effect to be prototypical, we and find it quite annoying.

    I do not use magnetic uncoupling, so that may affect my results, but I have used both Accumates and McHenrys, and have been very satisfied with both. I have never had an Accumate "explode,"(I realize that many people have, but from what I can deduce this was more of a problem with early ones) and I don't have McHenrys, Accumates or Micro-Trains come uncoupled unexpectedly, no matter what combination I have coupled together. My only complaint with McHenrys and Accumates is they do take a little more force to couple(McHenrys just a little more than Micro-Trains and Accumates a little more than McHenrys). Some people prefer the look of the Micro-Trains coupler, but personally I prefer the look of Accumates over Micro-Trains and McHenrys over Micro-Trains and Accumates(even though the McHenrys are slightly bigger, they just look more like a real knuckle coupler to me, and why doesn't Micro-Trains use darkened trip pins like the Accumates and McHenrys? Yes, I know you can paint them, but why don't they come that way?). The wheels on Micro-trains trucks are definitely much(very much) better than the wheels on Mchenrys or Accumates, but I switch them all over to metal wheels anyway, so that is really a non-issue for me.

    I understand that many people are perfectly happy with Micro-Trains couplers and don't see any reason to switch, but that is not everyone's experience. My only real complaint with Micro-Trains is the slinky effect. Accumates got rid of this, but like I said, they do take more force to couple. That leaves the McHenry as my favorite coupler right now(no slinky effect and just a tad bit more but not significantly more force to couple).
  11. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

    I have only a few Athearn cars, and have had no problems with them. I did switch my entire fleet to the early Accumates in about 2002 and have regretted it ever since. When they explode, I swap them out or, if I can find the parts on the layout, put them back together with a small "weld"--melting the parts together with a small soldering iron.

    Uncouplings or derailments can occur for many reasons. Perhaps the trucks are not mounted correctly on the body. I've experienced that more often than I'd like. Perhaps the cars are warped, another manufacturing defect I've seen too often from nearly every manufacturer except Atlas. I once had mysterious derailments that, after hours of searching, I traced back to a building that was just brushing the cars enough to cause the derailment about two feet further on. That is, the wheel flanges would literally ride on top of the rails for about two feet before falling over.

    So, we often have mysteries--that's part of the "fun." If a problem occurs repeatedly, and no one else (or only a few others) has it, then there must be a reason that's specific--a manufacturing defect in a car, for example. Or, heaven forbid, a flaw in the track. I spent hours cursing my Kato PAs for derailing at one spot on my railroad. Now Kato PAs are the best finders of bad track ever produced. It took hours to realize I had a dip--in one rail but not the other--at that spot. How the dip happened is subject to guesswork: perhaps I dropped a heavy tool on the rail while working above it?

    It sometimes takes me hours to solve my layout's mysterious behaviors. Or some engine or car behaviors. I have three expensive passenger cars that had both warped trucks and warped floors (Des Plaines). Once I figured out that the multi-piece trucks were warped, I thought substituting MT trucks would solve the problem. Not at all! I haven't figured out a solution for the warped floors. So these $28 beauties (in 2005 or so) are yard queens.

    I'm certainly not a genius when it comes to uncouplings and derailments--I'm more the dunce. But discussing these issues is what the forum is all about.
  12. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    So would I!

    Let's hope the guys and gals at MTL are tuned in here.:prolleyes:
  13. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

    I like the 905s! Except between my IM F-3s--that didn't work well, so I went with drawbars, and learned that drawbars are as tricky to install as couplers! You can't make them too tight or they won't swivel, or ride up and down.
  14. stewarttrains98

    stewarttrains98 TrainBoard Member

    2nd time with this question:
    can you buy replacement springs for them yet?? could not find anything on their web site about it.
  15. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    I'm not intentionally being mean, ugly or unapologizing here but I don't think we know yet... as to what parts are available... or not.

    The best place to take this is right back to McHenry. Until we all get some history with them it will be difficult at best to answer this question.

    You might find that the Micro-Trains springs, will do the trick. Wouldn't that be ironic. You know that try it yourself thing.

    Still thanks for bringing it up as it gave us a chance to talk about what's happening in the hobby and what it means to each of us.

    I noted Stewart Trains is mentioned in your name and signature. You must be a fan of their train equipment?:psmile:
  16. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    As far as I know, McHenry will soon be releasing couplers for sale as replacements. I have no idea whether they intend to also release the springs. Sometimes I don't answer a question because I don't know, not because I am ignoring the person asking.

    EDIT: I just looked at one particular vendor's website and I see that they are listing couplers AND 24 packs of replacement springs as upcoming releases. I will send a PM with the link.
  17. Phil Olmsted

    Phil Olmsted TrainBoard Member

    Just my 2 cents,

    but when I first saw the photos of the new McHenry couplers I had two thoughts:

    (1) Cool. Closer coupling.

    (2) An external spring? Just one other thing to to sproing onto the floor, or into a shrub or, if I'm lucky, between the tracks.

    Sorry, but no thanks.
  18. maxairedale

    maxairedale TrainBoard Member

    Reminds me of the past


    Since I have only one car with McHenry couplers I cannot say from experience what the problem is. I can say from experience I and others had a similar problem with Micro-Train couplers and that somewhere in the late 1980”s I read something (I think it was in the “NTrak” newsletter) about how to fix the problem. If I recall correctly the problem was that the edge of the knuckle that makes contact was rounded up and down as well as the inside of the coupler. With the two surfaces being rounded and as the cars went over bumps the couplers would move up and down and would slip out of each other. The suggested fix was to file the edge (If you will take your right hand and curl your fingers so that it resembles a knuckle, the tips of your fingers would be the part that I’m talking about.) with a fine file or emery board just enough to create a flat spot in the middle of that surface (the coupler not the finger tips[​IMG]). Just 1 or 2 passes seemed to work. Cars that always uncoupled every time they went over a bump now stayed coupled. With the MT couplers that I have purchased (separately or on cars) in the past 5 years I have not had that problem (there was a period that the tracks were abandoned).

    Okay what is the point of all this?

    I’m suggesting, and I stated upfront that I am not speaking from experience with McHenry couplers, that maybe there is a similar problem with the McHenry couplers and they are acting in the same way. It is just a thought.

  19. christoph

    christoph TrainBoard Member

    I have seen the springs on Wig-Wag's homepage:
    N Knuckle Springs (24 ea)

    and I ordered a set just in case. I will also try some McHenry replacement couplers
    , "just to stay up-to-date" :tb-cool:
  20. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    I have a question....

    Can you pull that trip pin out or is it part of the whole mech? I dont do auto-uncoupling and run my stuff 'trip pin free'...TIA.


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