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Peter's Model Railroading | The Layout | Equipment | PRR GLd
Coupler Conversion


This page describes how I converted this car from the toy-train couplers and wheels to the scale ones. The S-Helper Service box comes complete with the scale wheels, but you will have to buy the scale couplers separately. I decided to purchase a set of S-Helper Service couplers (part number 01295 - provides four couplers). The only tools required for this project are a set of small, jewelers screwdrivers, tweezers, and perhaps a magnifying visor. This photo is of the car straight from the box.

This is a close-up photo of the original wheels, truck, and coupler. The coupler is effectively truck-mounted.

The car comes with a lot of extra parts. There are four wheels, two truck shims, two coupler shims, eight extra long coupler screws, and four spare stirrups (just in case the originals are broken off). S-Helper Service is very thoughtful of us scale modelers.

I replaced the AF wheels with the scale wheels first. To do that, it is just a matter of removing the screw that holds the truck in place. It took me quite a bit of effort to remove the first wheel of each truck. I also noticed that the springs of the trucks didn't move. I believe the painting process caused them to stick. I exercised the truck a bit and got the springs to break free of the paint. Installing the new wheels is easy for the first one, but a bit of a challenge for the second wheel. Be careful of the metal washer in the truck. I had to search for mine. This photo shows the AF wheels outside of the truck. Quite a difference.

The underside of the model has full support for both the S-Helper Service or Kadee couplers. There are four screw holes under the frame. These are needed for the shim and the coupler.

I used the long screws that came with the car rather than the ones that come with the coupler. I first installed one of the screws into the back hole to hold the shim in place. I verified with my Coupler Gauge jig that the shim was indeed needed.

Next, I installed the remaining long screws to install the coupler. The screws are just the right length to not be visible on the upper side of the frame. The one long screw holding the shim in place in the back is hidden on the B side of the car, but fully visible on the A side. I will need to trim that off later. I then placed the truck spacer shim on the bolster.

And with that, the conversion was complete. Very easy.