San Juan Coupler Help

dmidkiff Apr 29, 2013

  1. dmidkiff

    dmidkiff TrainBoard Member

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    Hi folks,

    I am an N scale modeler building a few San Juan Car Co. kits for a friend of mine. The kits come with a three piece coupler; top, bottom and knuckle, plus a fourth lift pin? The lift pin is in an "h" shape. I believe I know how these go together mechanically, but the operation is not as smooth as I would expect it. Is there anywhere in particular that should be cleaned up or have graphite in it to help?

    Thanks, Doug
     
  2. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    Sorry Doug,

    As nice as they look, I always stuck with the O scale Kadee couplers. Other than cleaning casting flash off and squirting graphite in it I have no experiance with them in the building phase. The few I have seen were pretty good operation wise but the gentleman who assembled them used them exclusively and had the knack of assembly.

    Greg
     
  3. dmidkiff

    dmidkiff TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, Greg.

    I believe I have one extra pair of Kadee couplers from a different car.

    Doug
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    For those of us unfamiliar, would it be possible to see a photo of the San Juan coupler?
     
  5. dmidkiff

    dmidkiff TrainBoard Member

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    Boxcab,

    Here is a poor photo from my phone, also a couple of photos of the kit they are from. Let me know if you think any other close ups would help.
    [​IMG][​IMG]


    Doug
     
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    OK. I can see how it assembles, no problem. Your photo is plenty good. But how does it work?
     
  7. dmidkiff

    dmidkiff TrainBoard Member

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    That is the magic question. I believe that the "h" shaped pin moves vertically within the assembled coupler to lock and unlock the knuckle. If I flip the locked coupler upside down, then that pin falls with gravity and the knuckle will unlock. Unfortunately, I cannot pull the pin up when the coupler is the right side up.

    Since the coupler is put together, I cannot see whether it is catching or binding on something internally when it is put together. When it is apart, it is difficult to see how the piece interact because I do not have enough hands to hold things and move them at the same time.

    I also do not know what they mean by 'split' on the little instruction sheet.

    Thanks for the help.

    Doug
     
  8. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    Doug,

    I think that is one you need to put a real uncoupling lever on the car. It will attach to the loop that you split to go on the "h" shape. Then you will use the lever like a real lever, pulling up on the uncoupling lever and it will pivot up pulling the coupler knuckle open. I see the uncoupling lever on one of your pictures of the end of the car. It is the wire the is on the left side of the car when you face the car at the bottom of the ladder. Then when you push the coupler knuckle back the "h" piece should fall back down and hold the knuckle shut.

    Greg
     
  9. dmidkiff

    dmidkiff TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the help guys. I talked with John who owns San Juan and he said that the tolerances on the coupler are very tight. I cleaned the flash and paint up some more and they work well now. Greg is correct that the couplers would benefit from using the cut lever, but this particular car is for a static display.

    Doug
     

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