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Brown Box Era HO-Scale Trains
Parts and Repair 

TYCO Dealer Repair Service Sign
1950's TYCO-Mantua Authorized Dealer Repair Service Sign

Can It Be Fixed???
 

I receive numerous inquiries regarding the repair of TYCO trains. Most go along the lines of, "We're trying to get my Spirit of '76 train set up and running again and it doesn't seem to work. Who repairs these or where do you buy replacement parts?"

TYCO trains basically did not operate well when new, from my experience. Most serious hobbyists consider TYCO trains to be "toys" and would not bother to attempt to get them to operate. My only advice regarding repair, if you're set on trying to get a TYCO piece to work, is to search swap meets or eBay for a similar item that appears to be in working order and purchase it and use it to maybe make your current non-working item function.

Regarding replacement parts, I know of no place that has or has had parts for TYCO trains. TYCO has now been out of the model train business since 1993.  I would suggest purchasing a similar item that appears to have the needed part(s) and putting the two pieces together to hopefully create one complete item that may then perform as desired.

Replacing X2F's with Knuckle Couplers...
 

Most model railroaders use the prototypical appearing Knuckle Couplers in regular layout operations.  TYCO supplied X2F-style Couplers with its locos and rolling stock with very few exceptions.  The Transformers train set of the mid-'80s is an example of a TYCO item that did not come equipped with X2F's.  Again, the vast majority of TYCO pieces may not be easily compatible with today's operations due to this coupler issue.
 
One very simple suggest is to take a piece of rolling stock and put a Knuckle Coupler at one end and install an X2F Coupler on the other end.  This single piece of rolling stock suddenly allows you to operate both Knuckle and X2F Couplers together on your pike.
 
Another suggestion is to purchase a pack of IHC-Hobby's Magic Mate Couplers.  These couplers, stock number 19001, are a unique item that is a cross between an X2F and Knuckle in appearance and can mate with either type in operation.  IHC offers them in sets of 4-Pair that may be simply constructed and sell for about $5.
 
For the more determined operator, Kadee has done most of the research and trial-and-error work for you and offers a listing of replacement Knuckle Couplers for TYCO items.  The following information is taken from Kadee and is provided for your information.
 
TYCO HO-Scale Kadee Coupler Converstion Listing
 
0-4-0 Steam Booster -#37 on the Pilot and #5 on Tender
0-6-0 Little Six -#37 on the Pilot and #5 on Tender
0-6-0 Big Six -#37
0-8-0 Chattanooga -#5 on the Pilot and #27 on Tender
2-6-2 Prairie -#37
2-8-2 Mikado -#38
4-4-0 General -#5 on Tender
4-6-2 Pacific -#39 on Pilot and #37 on Tender
 
Century 430 -#27 fits truck mounted coupler pockets
F-9A -#33 on front pilot and on rear truck mounted coupler pocket
F-9B -#33 on both truck mounted coupler pockets
GP-20 -#9 on both truck mounted coupler pockets
GG-1 -#26 on both truck mounted coupler pockets
Diesel Switcher -#5 fits both ends
 
Most Brown Box Era TYCO Rolling Stock accepts a #28 into the talgo truck coupler pockets
 
Older TYCO Rolling Stock may require a #9 to fit properly
 
Steamline Passenger Cars take either #5 or #58 couplers
 
Old-Time Passenger Cars use the #9 couplers
 
Those wishing to replace broken or missing TYCO's talgo truck coupler on Rolling Stock selections, may try Life-Like's Bettendorf Trucks.  These trucks include a coupler mounted to the truck and should fit many TYCO items.  The Life-Like Bettendorf Truck Couplers come equipped with an X2F and are part number 1413 in the company's product line and sell for around $5 a pair.
 
Kadee does offer a very nice running Bettendorf Truck with talgo-style coupler mounted to the truck.  One problem with trying to use them on TYCO Rolling Stock is the lack of prongs on the truck.  TYCO trucks snapped into the underframe and Kadee has designed these trucks to accept a screw or possibly a plug.  These Kadee trucks, stock number 502 selling for under $10 a pair, could be used but would take about as much work and simply mounting your own coupler pocket to a TYCO underframe.
 
One my best suggestions for operating yesterday's toy trains on today's layouts is to switch out underframes.  It may take some minor work to the underframe, but you'll find that the current Bachmann HO-Scale Rolling Stock comes very nicely equipped with body-mounted knuckle couplers and great running metal wheels in nice trucks.  When you consider the cost, you can pick up a Bachmann Box Car for around $10 and take its underframe and put it under a TYCO Box Car for about what you might spend to get new metal wheels and replacement knuckle couplers. 
 
I recently acquired a set of Lionel-HO 50' Beer Reefers that I wanted to run and I simply swapped out the underframes from the old Lionel-HO with plastic wheels and talgo X2F's and put in a new Bachmann 50' Box Car's underframe and off and running great my Coors Box Car went!