Notes on the "Flying Shoe" coil coupler from 1946.

The Flying Shoe truck.

When Lionel restarted production after WWII, there were some freight cars made with what is now called, "Flying Shoe" trucks and coil coupler.   These appear to be a prototype designs that filled the gap for production.   This is what I found when I examined a x2758 Freight car that had not been modified since it left the factory.  Just normal run wear. This shows the "Flying Shoe" truck.   The knuckle and pin have been removed in this picture.

Some notable differences  

  1. How the shoe and coupler are attached is a much more complex assembly and punched together.  Not designed for repair. You can't just bend tabs to take it apart as you could do with the later NTC-1 trucks.  About 4-6 more pieces than the NTC-1 Pickup Shoe and coupler assembly.
  2. The Plunger and plunger spring do not come out when the coupler knuckle is removed.  You have to disassemble the truck almost completely to get to these items. 
  3. Wheel axles are stepped or machined down on the ends.  Newer versions are smaller diameter with a crimp to hold the wheels in place.  This axle is very strong and wont bend, but more costly to manufacture.
  4. One of the trucks had a thin steel washer. .01-.02" or .25-.5mm, between the truck and the freight car frame.   I think this was to tighten it up and reduce the side wobble of the car.   But only 1 of the 2 trucks had the washer.  The pin height for mounting to the frame was the same on both.
  5. The ends of the shoe seemed to be more square/blunt.  The back of one caught on the center of a UCS track.   I had to file an angle on the ends.  It was this or eventually have the shoe catch and break off.  It was a noticeable bump when it caught.  This is a fix that has to be done on even the newest shoe at times.

One coupler would open when pulling other cars.  I took out the knuckle pin to check the plunger and plunger spring.  Usually the plunger spring has collapsed when it is an NTC-1 coil coupler.  What I found was only an end of the plunger stuck out from the coil. The rest of the plunger and spring were walled off.  Luckily the spring was still good, the plunger was a little sticky.   A little cleaning of the pocket and working of the plunger had it going again.   The knuckle springs had totally collapsed after 77 years.   I used newer ones as replacements, but they were a tighter fit.  I think they had one more coil/wrap than the originals. 

This shows the tip of the plunger in the coupler head.   It doesn't come out this end as the later NTC-1 production versions do. 

I also had to re-press  the rivet for the coupler head attachment.  It had become loose after 77 years and unknown hours of use.

This truck and coupler has more parts and assembly steps vs. the production NTC-1.   Trying to do any major rework on these is a problem.   They are not designed to come apart. If you have major damage or need more than minor repairs, finding a replacement may be faster and cheaper.   I have noticed many of these early freight cars with one flying shoe coupler and the other a NTC-1 style.  If you must have the original repaired, find someone that has the tools and parts to repair these.   It will probably be expensive. 

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Last update Mar 25 2023