Finally broke down and decided to replace all the Aristo joiners
with SplitJaw clamps. What a difference. When removing all the old
joiners, was surprised how much dirt and grit get in them. Not
really surprising when you consider that the screws only hold one
side of the joiner to the rail.
The inner loop is now all 100% split jaws.
I've also converted all 7 existing turnouts to air power and DCC
control. So nice to be able to throw a turnout from across the yard.
I've also figured out how to mount the Kadee uncoupling magnets
easily. I use a router set to a specific depth (determined by using
the Kadee gauge) and in about 45 seconds, I mill 3 ties down, and
then glue the magnet from the backside.
I've also found that the uncoupling pin height is important. I have
found that truck mount couplers allow the couplers to lift and drop.
this is due to the coupler tang acting as a lever on the truck
So, I changed to body mount couplers, now the couplers are fixed in
height perfectly and cannot vary. The added bonus is that the trip
pin can now be set exactly, whereas before, I had to have more
clearance due to the variation in coupler position.
So now, I can run 20 car trains through my triple S curve, and back
the train through switches, and the couplers work fine, and uncouple
All in all, progress.
I've documented most of this on my web site www.elmassian.com