Athearn Genesis Coupler Replacement Difficulties

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I consider myself an experienced modeler, but I always have a devil of a time installing replacement [Kadee] couplers on Athearn Genesis Engines. Specifically SD70 [M-2 ACe] models. The stupid cut lever detail always gets in the way and haven't come up with a fool proof way to keep that from getting in my way when I put the box and coupler back into the slot. I've tried using a pair of pliers to hold the box assembly and try to keep the cut lever out of the way with a small screw driver, but I need 3 hands it seems. I've tried leaving the top of the box in the slot and try to put the bottom back on behind the pilot while holding the coupler with my fingers. Nothing seems to work well and it takes me WAY longer than it should to perform this operation. Anyone have any tips and/or ideas of how to make this go easier? Thanks!
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Active Member
Sounds like you're doing it just as I would.

Maybe one day, athearn will realize two things: modelers prefer Kadees over their crappy mchenry plastic couplers and second, modern LEDs can accurately model real world bulbs that have a long life.
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I've been installing Kadee Kadee #156's in the SD70's because the #158's are just a bit short - the engines touch when they go around a tight radius. I just tried [a few minutes ago] the coupler boxes that come with the #156's. They snap together and the profile on the knuckle end of the box is less than the originals with the big bevel they have. It went a whole lot smoother and you can't really tell much difference. I agree kick the McHenry couplers to the curb. I don't care if you charge me $5.00 more per unit if you put some Kadee's on it. You'd think they pull their heads out on that one. Same for the LED's - probably made in the same factory as the engines. How hard could it be?
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Well-Known Member
Staff member
I use the pointed end of an Exacto #11 blade to lift the cut lever over the coupler box when I slide it in. It works pretty good. Just lift and shove. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.