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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone have a source for coupler parts and some hints on repair? My current method is to carefully drill the bottom of the pin to remove the knuckle, that works, but I don't have replacement pins. I have some of the plastic ones that have lost their "spring", so I'd like to find a source of them and the little springs for the cast ones so I can repair some cars.
 

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I have both of those references, so I'll look there first. I need to get a bunch of couplers opening properly. I wonder if you can stick the cast knuckle with a real spring on the plastic couplers, anyone tried that? The "spring" in the plastic ones seems good for about 50 openings!
 

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I'd like to revive this thread ...

After all of my prior fiddling and restoration work, I found myself staring at my very first "coupler-ectomy" last night. Lionel postwar cast knuckle coupler from my 221T tender. The kind with the little coil spring. Except the spring on mine was broken, so the coupler wouldn't swing open by itself.

I didn't really know what the spring looked like, or how it fit. So, I bashed apart the coupler on a (separate) junker truck and "discovered" the little coil spring with its two "tails". Tiny little thing. And a bit tricky to position for the reinstall ... but I used a toothpick to line up the hole in the coupler with the coil spring "hole". Fortunately, I had some new (repro) coupler pins on hand. I used a pointy awl to improvise a "peen" on the bottom end to hold it in place.

I didn't have my camera on hand while I was working. That said, I'm curious if anyone here has discussed this topic in the past (other than G'john, above), and/or whether we might have some zoomed-in photos that show the process/assembly in some detail?

On a related note, after I got the cast coupler reassembled, I realized that I have some extra "modern" plastic knuckles that have the "whip" spring molded into them. I'm wondering (out of curiosity) if these modern plastic knuckles would fit and work in a more traditional postwar cast coupler ???

Cheers,

TJ

EDIT --

This link from JWTrains has some nice descriptions and detailed pics (albeit for an automated electromag-coil coupler). You can see the "knuckle spring" and how it fits...

http://jwtrains.com/Tech Tip_2.htm
 

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I fixed two broken knuckles recently. I reused the pin by mashing the flared end of it so it would go through the holes. When I re-installed the pin, I just mashed the end with a pair of pliers so it wouldn't come out. No fancy riveting tools required, no hammering, etc. :D The newer plastic knuckles should work well as the spring is molded into the knuckle and I have several that are years old and still work just fine. I have several more cars with broken knuckles, but don't have time to fix them right now, and I am out of junk cars.;)
 

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This link from JWTrains has some nice descriptions and detailed pics (albeit for an automated electromag-coil coupler). You can see the "knuckle spring" and how it fits...

http://jwtrains.com/Tech Tip_2.htm
Nice link--thanks for sharing! I have a boatload of postwar couplers that have lost their "springiness" that I'm going to have to fix one of these days...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
TJ, the plastic knuckles fit, but they suck! On any car that I like, I typically replace those with a cast knuckle and spring.

I've developed my technique for replacing the springs, once you do it a few times, it's pretty easy. I put the spring on the new rivet and get that situated. Then I press the knuckle onto the outside of the rivet in position with the spring next to it. I slowly pull up the rivet until the knuckle can slip in while still holding the spring on the rivet. I slip the rivet through the knuckle and it's ready to crimp.

I have a real rivet tool to do the job, so they come out nice, and it's easy. If you don't have the rivet tool, it's helpful to have three hands. One to hold the coupler rivet on top of the backing plate, and two to take a center punch and small hammer and lightly spread the rivet tail.

This is the rivet kit I have, though I don't have the two large specialty blocks.

Brakeman's Riveter

 

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I've developed my technique for replacing the springs, once you do it a few times, it's pretty easy. I put the spring on the new rivet and get that situated. Then I press the knuckle onto the outside of the rivet in position with the spring next to it. I slowly pull up the rivet until the knuckle can slip in while still holding the spring on the rivet. I slip the rivet through the knuckle and it's ready to crimp.
John,

Thanks. Lesson learned (the harder way) on my end. I was (unknowingly) placing the spring on the knuckle, and then trying to slip both of those, together, into the coupler jaw, and then pass the rivet through both. More cumbersome that way.

When I looked at the JW site pics, a "duhh moment" lightbulb went off in my head. His/your way seems much more logical.

I assume Kane and others would have these "springs with tails" readily available?

Nice rivet set!!!

Thanks!

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter #9
GAD! :D I can't imagine ever getting it together that way, and those springs fly a long ways when you lose them! They're also invisible once they hit the floor! :(

Yep, I buy the springs and the rivets from Jeff Kane. I have both the black and silver pins so I can match the existing rivets. He has the cast knuckles as well.

The rivet kit allows my to do a professional job on those and a bunch of other tasks. I can now rivet trucks on, sliding shoes, and I have repaired some previously "unrepairable" switch motors with these. :)
 

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I'm going to start replacing broken/missing knuckles and springs on some of my Lionel cars. I'm confused about what parts to order.

I'm starting with a typical postwar boxcar. I pulled out the broken remains of the old knuckle and it appears to be part 566-54. I can't find these on Train Tender. Is there a substitute part that's compatible?

GunrunnerJohn--what are the cast knuckles that you use? Also, which of the Brakeman's Riveter sets do you recommend? They have several that vary significantly in price.
 

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I have both of those references, so I'll look there first. I need to get a bunch of couplers opening properly. I wonder if you can stick the cast knuckle with a real spring on the plastic couplers, anyone tried that? The "spring" in the plastic ones seems good for about 50 openings!
Yes, I have installed cast knuckles and spring into the plastic coupler body; no problem.. (Well, there are probably 20 or so springs on my shop floor that I can't find)
 

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I'm going to start replacing broken/missing knuckles and springs on some of my Lionel cars. I'm confused about what parts to order.

I'm starting with a typical postwar boxcar. I pulled out the broken remains of the old knuckle and it appears to be part 566-54. I can't find these on Train Tender. Is there a substitute part that's compatible?

GunrunnerJohn--what are the cast knuckles that you use? Also, which of the Brakeman's Riveter sets do you recommend? They have several that vary significantly in price.
Now that Gunrunner is back from vacation, I'll bump this thread to see what insights he has. I want to repair some items that I plan to sell. What is the diecast knuckle that you use and where do you get it? Also, what is a good riveting tool? I'd like a set that can do knuckles and possibly trucks to frames.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I use the Lionel cast knuckles and springs from The Train Tender and doubtless many other sources. They're readily available.

The tools I use for riveting are the THE BRAKEMAN'S RIVETING TOOL SET, I've installed couplers, trucks, and repaired 022 switches with these, not to mention some riveted parts on locomotive chassis. I use it for non-train repairs as well, handy little kit.

I got both of the spring tools, and some of the common anvil and punch parts. I didn't get the specialty blocks for specific locomotive repairs, I figured the chance of needing those is probably pretty small. I picked the one kit and then added some stuff that I thought I'd use.
 

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Any idea what the part number is? All I can find are the plastic couplers.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Here you go, all the part numbers.

480-8 cast knuckle new LTI
480-16Q knuckle spring (TC-22) min(25)
9050-56Q plastic knuckles w/spring min(25)
TC-23NQ nickle knuckle rivet min(25)
TC-23BQ black knuckle rivet min(25)
 
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