On3-Scale Coupler Conversion Info

To get the most out of your On3-Scale railroad layout, you've got to have properly functioning couplers.

S-Scale is a custom coupler conversion scale.

We don't have specific coupler recommendations for specific locomotives or freight cars like we have on HO-scale or Large scale.

With that said On3-Scale coupler conversions are not that difficult if you follow some simple guidelines.

Use the #813 On3-scale coupler height gauge. The #814 coupler height gauge is the most important tool you have for coupler conversions.

Your car will need to have a platform on the end of the car for coupler mounting. If your car doesn't have a smooth, flat platform, you will have to build one. Don't worry, it sounds more intimidating than it is. You just need to cut and attach styrene shim stock to the bottom of the car to give yourself a smooth, flat coupler mounting surface.

We recommend mounting the coupler gearbox with screws so the coupler and gearbox are serviceable. We don't recommend glueing any gearbox to the car. If something needs to be adjusted, you would have to cut the gearbox off the car and that is just no fun.

It is important to remember that if you have to drill and tap holes, make sure you mount the coupler squarely on the centerline of the car and measure twice before drilling and taping your mounting holes. Remember, if the coupler is not mounted on the centerline of the car, the coupler trip pins will not align with the uncouplers properly and the coupler will not function the way it is intended to function.

So how do you determine the correct coupler height, you ask?

By using the #813 On3-Scale coupler height gauge of course.
Make sure you are using the height gauge and car on a straight piece of track.

If the #813 On3-Scale coupler height gauge wedge just slides under your coupler platform, the platform is the correct height for any of the On3-Scale centerset couplers (standard gearbox couplers #803 or 807) to be mounted to the platform with a screw.

If the #813 On3-Scale coupler height gauge wedge has a gap between the wedge and the coupler platform you would need to add shims between the car and gearbox to adjust the platform height to make the platform match the coupler height gauge wedge.

If the #813 On3-Scale coupler height gauge wedge hits the end of the car, not sliding under the car, then you will have to place shims between the trucks and the car body to raise the car and coupler to the correct height.

Once you have your couplers mounted on the car, you need to spin the coupler height gauge around and make sure the centerline of the coupler on the car and the coupler on the height gauge match. If they are off fine, tune the height as necessary. If you glued the gearbox on your car you will have to cut it off and start over.

Now your car is ready for operation on your layout.