How to get AMS cars to run through

LGB 1600 (4' radius) curves and switches

On our railroad we are forced to use 4' radius curves and switches. Our yard goes up at a about a 35 degree angle and cut and fill for curves requires moving large amounts of dirt and rock. We wanted to operate some 1:20.3 equipment because of the detail but found it derailed on every curve.
At first I was reluctant to modify the AMS cars because they are so nice. I was reminded by a friend that their cost is relatively low and the are produced in the thousands so they are not that collectable. I decided to make a few modifications.
I removed the screw that held the coupler on and removed the two springs that keep the coupler from swinging wildly, which it must do on a 4' radius.
I removed about half the pin that holds the spring in place to give the coupler plenty of swing in the pocket. On some I removed about half and on others I removed it completely. Of course they will not self center but that's what my finger is for.
I drilled out the coupler so it swung freely and counter sunk both sides of the hole to remove any burrs. The post it pivots on is about .200 at the top and .215 at the bottom. This causes the coupler to bind in any case, so I drilled it to .213 (a #13 drill) and put a big counter sink on the bottom to make sure there was enough clearance. Do this even if you are running on a 20' radius.
I put it back together and hit the rails. This is a box car.
This is a flat car.
The proof, 3 small videos showing the action. The close ups are going through a turnout without a transition into the reverse curve. I think the AMS cars stay on the track better than Bachmann or LGB because their trucks are so heavy. This keeps the center of gravity below the couplers.
While I was modifying the cars I wanted to make sure the couplers fit my Bachmann 2-8-0. I decided there was no better way than to change out the trucks and the coupler pocket. I bought a sacrificial flat car because it was cheaper than buying all the parts. At first I was going to cut out the coupler pocket and fit it to the tender. At some point I decided to unbolt the and bolt it on to the back of the tender.
Next I fit the Trucks from the flat car under the tender.
I took the other end off the flat car and attached it to the Shay. The black wire is for battery power from the gondola.
Here is a picture of my 2-8-0 converted to a C-21, showing the side rods.
Here is another picture of my 2-8-0 converted to a C-21
View Larger Pictures of those shown on the left
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