How to convert LL F40 and GP38 to Microtrains ?

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by csxnscale, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

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    I have a LL F40 and two GP38's with truck mounted couplers.
    Any tips on changing them to Microtrains truck mounted ?:curse:
    Thanks,
    Paul
  2. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

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    I changed out my LL F40's with microtrains by cutting off the coupler from the truck then drilling a very small pilot hole and mounting the new microtrain coupler (pre-assembled coupler) right to the body with two shims to achieve the correct coupler height. I tried to use the suggested MT coupler for the GP38 and let's just say, it didn't go well. I would opt to cut off the truck mounted coupler and use the same technique on the GP units that I did on the F40. I like the body mounted couplers better than the truck mounted ones...seems like they stay coupled better.
  3. nscaler711

    nscaler711 Member

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    DUDE YOU ROCK!! ive been wondering how i could do that
  4. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

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    Thanks Herc Driver, it makes me scary to cut the coupler, but guess I have to try.
    Paul
  5. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

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    I used a very sharp pair of scissors and filed anything down that might catch the back of the MT coupler when the truck starts to turn. Using the smallest drill bit I had, I carefully centered the hole, used a small jewelers hand drill and drill out the hole, stopping just short of going completely through the bottom of the shell frame. It worked really well on the F40 and was a bit trickier on the GP units - but still better than the suggested MT method (IMHO). Be careful to cut only the coupler and not any of the plastic that joins the two sides of the truck together. Cutting small amounts away worked for me so I didn't take too much plastic away at one time and ruin the truck. The screw provided with the MT coupler works well and is just short enough to not penetrate the top-side of the shell (where the cat walk would be). Shim to the right height when you're ready to screw in the new coupler. I wouldn't install the screw too many times as it could ruin the hole and you'd be stuck trying to find a larger screw or gluing on the coupler (which probably would work just as well too...any CA glue would do I'd guess...just make sure you don't get any on the coupler's moving parts of course).
  6. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author Member

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    I use Walthers Goo as my fixative for body mounted couplers instead of CA. I just find it a bit easier to work with.

    Caveat: I don't run very long trains so I have not "stress tested" this method with, say, 50 car consists...
  7. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

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    Thanks for the tips guys, this will be my weekend project, keep your fingers crossed.
    Paul
  8. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

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    How did the coupler installation go csx??? I've had my fingers crossed...
  9. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

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    Herc Driver,
    Cutting the coupler away worked well.
    But drilling in the locomotive body, thats another thing.
    I think I'll glue the couplers like umtrr suggested, but unfortiunatly when I grabbed my "super glue" it looked to be dryed out, get another one friday.
    I'm not running long trains, so the glue method should do for me.

    Thanks,
    Paul
  10. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

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    I'll work...I did it that way myself on a few. (I'm sure you will...but for the record) be sure you don't allow that super glue to run into the coupler housing and affect the coupler performance. Also, make every effort to exactly align the coupler with the engine's centerline...I got one maybe 1 mm off center, and in Nscale, it really shows. Best of luck gluing them on. Don't give up on the drilling on those F40's...it worked for me four times...and the couplers work great. I used a drill where you turn the bit yourself slowly drilling the bit into the plastic...but right now can't remember what those drills are called.
  11. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

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    Herc,
    Did you drill the F40 by hand in a sort of grip to hold the drill, no drillmachine ?
    Paul
  12. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

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    Update:
    Did all of them this afternoon.

    Started with a GP38, followed drilling and screwing advice of Herc Driver, went like a piece of cake, no glue used.

    Then took the F40, started with the front coupler, that was a pain in the ass. The shims kept turning in all different ways during screwing the coupler. I had to release it tree times still no succes. Than I glued the shims on the coupler and screwed the combination to the body but couldn't fasten the screw anymore. I did some glue on screw and coupler and screwed it till it sticked ond the body.
    On the rear I first glued the shims on the coupler and screwed it in, worked fine.

    Second GP38, piece of cake like the first one.

    Paul
  13. Dave R.

    Dave R. Member

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    Hey Fellows, I'm in the same boat. I need to convert my Bachmann equipment to MT couplers. When should I use "medium" or "long" shanks? I'm not sure my rolling stock is worth the $'s and effort but I definitely need to convert my loco's: 4-8-4, 2-6-6-2, and an "old timie"
    4-4-0.
    Dave
  14. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

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    Sorry Dave, no idea about Bman, nor about steamers, but post your question as a new topic, I guess steam guys will not read a topic like this about LL diesels.
    When you post as a new topic everyone can see your question in the title.
    good luck,
    Paul
  15. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

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    Paul -
    I'm sorry for the problems that F40 gave you...(it's funny because the GP38's gave me fits but the F40 went smoothly - just the opposite of your experience!). Although it's too late now...just to answer your question...I held the shells and drilled the holes by hand (probably not a good technique - but I don't have a shell holder of any kind yet). I used my cheap Radio Shack hobby drill set's smallest bit and gently rotated the bit clockwise to drill into the body, with a few counter clockwise turns to open the hole up and clean it out a bit. I'm really glad you got them installed! Yep, I too had trouble getting those shims to line up just right - took some doing. Good job getting them all done...hope they work well!
  16. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

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    Herc, like nscaler711 said in the first reply's of this topic "DUDE YOU ROCK".
    Thank you very mutch for your help!!!!
    Paul
  17. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

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    No problem - very happy to help! With all the good tips and directions I've received from this forum...I'm glad to finally give something back.
  18. fieromike

    fieromike New Member

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    Dave,
    I used the M-T 1015/1016 on my Northern.
    M-T's conversion chart shows the 2-6-6-2 should use the 2004 coupler and the 4-4-0 takes a 1049, whatever that is. The 2004 is the same one used on the Spectrum 2-8-0's tender.

    YMMV,
    Mike