ADD A FRONT COUPLER TO THE LGB MOGUL
It is a very simple project even for inexperienced modelers
BY DEAN LOWE
IF YOU OWN more than one of LGB's wonderful Moguls you probably have acquired enough rolling stock to make up an impressive double headed train. Since LGB has made no provision to couple the front of one engine to the rear of another we have to work that out on our own.
I would advise against the novice modeler attempting to build the necessary coupler pocket either for the early red or blue Moguls. That requires a fair bit of cutting and scratch building. A far easier and, actually, more prototypical way is to replace the early long pilot with the shorter 2019 style. The 2019 pilot is available from your hobby shop through LGB and easily goes on by removing two small screws on the pilot beam, removing the old pilot, and screwing on the new one. The 2019 pilot already has a pocket for a dummy coupler. All we have to do is modify it to accept a working coupler. I like to use Ro/USA Trains couplers because they are excellent working knuckle couplers and it are the best scale size mechanical couplers currently on the market. [In case you were about to say something, Kadee makes magnetic couplers as opposed to mechanical ones. And, while other mechanical couplers may work very well, Dean considers them too large to look real. Ed.]
GETTING DOWN TO WORK
We will begin our modification by cutting the bottom out of the coupler pocket as Photo X shows. Also remove part of the pocket side, up to the lower side rib. A Dremel tool with a small rotary file works well here but a small square hand file will produce just as nice a finished job. It just takes a little longer.
The coupler will be mounted with a Number 4 sheet metal screw 1/2-inch long (the kind LGB uses to mount their loop couplers). From the bottom, drill a hole in the pilot beam.
Now we need to do a little file work on the coupler. First snip off the centering tab. Next, shorten the bottom side of the uncoupling pin to clear the pilot. File it off. Now notice the larger stepped area on the coupler shank next to the coupler body. File that step down so the shank is the same thickness throughout its length. Finally, referring to the photo again, file both sides of the shank so that it tapers nearly down to the mounting hole. This will allow the side to side swing we need.
Now to align the coupler at the correct height we need to space the shank 3/8-inch below the bottom of the pilot beam. I use six Number 4 washers for that job. You may use washers for a spacer, a piece of tubing, or anything else that fits in the pocket.
ONE-TWO-THREE...AND YOU'RE DONE
After mounting the coupler to the pilot and re-attaching the pilot to the locomotive, just replace the hook and loop coupler on the tender truck of your second locomotive with the second knuckle coupler and you will have no trouble pulling a nice, long train. When I operate my two 2019S Moguls with the Del Oro Pacific modular club, we have no trouble hauling thirty or more cars.
The best part of this simple modification is, if you want to return your engine to its original condition, you have only to replace the modified pilot with an unmodified one.
ADDING WORKING COUPLERS TO SNOW PLOWS
If you are using a Grant, Rara Avis, or Lowe's Loco Works snow plow on your Mogul you may also modify it to accept a coupler. Some of Grant's snow plows came with Kadee couplers but they work primarily with rolling stock using Kadee body mount couplers.
To mount a USA Trains or other mechanical coupler to a plow you need to cut a rectangular opening in the front. Then drill a 9/64-inch diameter mounting hole through the top of the triangular "platform" 7/16-inch from the point of the plow.
Make a spacer 1/2-inch long to fit over a 6-32 screw. You may make it from anything handy; I used K&S tubing. The spacer is to set the coupler to the proper height in the opening.
Assemble the unit using a 6-32 screw approximately one inch long. Place the screw down from the top, slide on the spacer followed by the coupler, and snug up the assembly using two nuts to prevent the whole thing from working loose. Leave the first nut just loose enough to allow the coupler to pivot from side to side.
Re-mount the plow on your Mogul and you are ready to double head in any weather.