Articles - Bowser Cabin Car
01/10/2005

Coupler Conversion

The PRR N5 cabin car was their most popular steel-bodied cabin car. It was built starting in 1914.

Bowser has produced a large number of cabooses (PRR cabin cars) for many years now. I ran mine, but never did much to change their appearance.

This is a side-profile shot of the Bowser cabin car as it was out of the box. A keen eye will notice three different road numbers in the photos shown on this page. I had bought a number of these cars and they are all the same, so this article applies to any of the Bowser cabin cars.
Bowser Cabin Car
This is definitely one of the easiest coupler conversions. The Bowser models come with body-mounted N-scale Micro-Trains-style couplers. I am going to replace them with Micro-Trains MT-905 Z-scale couplers. These are the tools and parts needed. I use a small screwdriver to remove the old coupler screw and install the new one. The small rail nippers are optional. I don't use magnetic uncoupling, so I remove the metal hook from couplers. The rail nippers are for that purpose. The file is also optional. Sometimes, after cutting off the metal hook, I like to file the hook for a cleaner look. If you use magnetic uncoupling, then you must leave the hook as-is. The hook cannot be completely removed from the coupler otherwise the whole coupler falls apart.
Bowser Cabin Car
This is the bottom view of the caboose. As you can see, it is straight-forward. I removed the caboose's roof (falls right off) to help stabilize the unit (not shown in the photo).
Bowser Cabin Car
As you remove the screw, the coupler may fall apart as shown in this photo. I hang on to these old couplers, because you never know when you need the special plastic shapes in the future...
Bowser Cabin Car
The screw that comes with the Bowser model is too long and is visible above the caboose' decks (see the first photo above). The Z-scale coupler comes with a shorter screw, which doesn't break the decks' surface plane. Because the hole in the caboose is designed for an N-scale coupler, the Z-scale coupler's draft box is set back from the rear/front edge a bit. This makes for very close coupling. Personally, I like this because it is more prototypical. I had no operational issues with that, and was still able to use an uncoupler pick to uncouple them.
Bowser Cabin Car