KD HO Coupler #5 Discontined

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RunningTrains

New Member
Replaced by their #148 Whisker type.

Stock up on the #5 while you can.

The Whisker type has a thinner shank and is made from hardened metal, they snap off real easy.

The only advantage I see is we dont have to add the spring box, since the Whisker is self centering.
 

NH Mike

CEO & Wheel Cleaner
Right, anyplace you can use a 5 you can use a 148. Another advantage I discovered is some models coupler pockets are just a hair too tight to use a 5 with its spring and not bind up. The 148 usually will work freely in the same pocket. I have also noticed that ther is a very slight burr where the whisker is staked onto the 148 shank. A light going over with a flat fine jewelers file smooths it out nicely. I still have a fair amount of 5's but since the 148 became available that is all I use unless I'm replacing a damaged 5 in an older model.
 

diburning

AlcoHaulic
Is there an announcement from Kadee somewhere? I thought they said that they will eventually upgrade all couplers to the whisker shank but the #5 will remain as it is their best-selling classic coupler?

I hope this isn't true because the bulk pack for Whiskers costs more (doing the math, #148s are $1.60 a pair compared to $1.29 a pair for #5s, #148s are $1.97 a pair if bought in the envelope of 2 pairs, #5s are $1.88 a pair for the envelope of 2 pairs)

If it is indeed true, I'm going to stock up on Walthers ProtoMAX couplers. They're less expensive, are all metal and are virtually identical to the Kadee #5 with the exception that the trip pin is made of a different (more rigid) metal. Walthers ProtoMax are $21.98 for 20 pair (currently on sale at Walthers for $16.98). At the original price, it's $1.10 per pair. At the sale price, it's $0.85 a pair.
 

RunningTrains

New Member
Is there an announcement from Kadee somewhere? I thought they said that they will eventually upgrade all couplers to the whisker shank but the #5 will remain as it is their best-selling classic coupler?

I hope this isn't true because the bulk pack for Whiskers costs more (doing the math, #148s are $1.60 a pair compared to $1.29 a pair for #5s, #148s are $1.97 a pair if bought in the envelope of 2 pairs, #5s are $1.88 a pair for the envelope of 2 pairs)

If it is indeed true, I'm going to stock up on Walthers ProtoMAX couplers. They're less expensive, are all metal and are virtually identical to the Kadee #5 with the exception that the trip pin is made of a different (more rigid) metal. Walthers ProtoMax are $21.98 for 20 pair (currently on sale at Walthers for $16.98). At the original price, it's $1.10 per pair. At the sale price, it's $0.85 a pair.
Yesterday I went to my LHS and ordered 50 pairs of Kadee #5's, they called in the order to their distributor - KD #5's are discontinued - I ordered a bulk pack of 50 #148's and bought a few packs of the #148 pairs they had.

I have seen no official announcement from Kadee - you can Google it - several has been discontinued and Kadee seems to be going all Whisker types.

I like the ProtoMax too and may buy more.

If the patent is expired on the #5's maybe someone else will start making them or maybe they will be installed on our favorite loco's & cars.

John - RunningTrains 24/7
 

tankist

Active Member
with the whisker coupler available i no longer see the need for #5. IMHO #148 is better in anyway you look at it. king is dead, long live the king.

148 can snap really easy? oh man what are you doing to these?
 

RunningTrains

New Member
with the whisker coupler available i no longer see the need for #5. IMHO #148 is better in anyway you look at it. king is dead, long live the king.

148 can snap really easy? oh man what are you doing to these?
tankist,

I typically run 40 car or more trains, and have six to eight running at one time on my two room layout and all are doubleheaded or more.

I had just finished putting the last of the #5's on my fleet.....

When I installed the #148's on my older set of Walther's Budd cars I had to use shims to get them to level up with the #5's and I use the Kadee coupler height gauge - but must have missed the height this time.

One of the #148's was bent slightly downward from a hard couple so I merely used needle nose pliers to bend it upward slightly - snapped right off.

I should have removed it from the car & replaced it - but didn't do it this time.

Next time I know better.

FYI,

John - RunningTrains 24/7
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
with the whisker coupler available i no longer see the need for #5. IMHO #148 is better in anyway you look at it. king is dead, long live the king.

148 can snap really easy? oh man what are you doing to these?
You are NOT supposed to use KD #5's to connect REAL railcars! :rolleyes: I believe the couplers are made of zamack. That metal has a tendency to age/crystalize over time, so one MIGHT expect older ones to possibly break. HOWEVER...I'v got some dating back to the late 1950's or early 1960's, and they are still working fine. In point of fact, some of the more modern HO rolling stock kits seem to have thinner coupler pockets than the older ones. In which case, the #148's fit fine, with no binding, and they also tend to stay centered a bit more easily than #5's with the sprung brass shims. Push comes to shove, you could always substitute a #148 for a #5 by simply cutting the whiskers off the #148, and use the #5 spring.

Maybe, if there is enough consumer pressure, they'll bring the #5's back. And if you believe that, then 23.9 cent gas will be back eventually!
 
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Lightstorm

Member
Looks like Walthers still has Kadee #5's in stock in pairs and bulk. You can also get them from Kadee still. Sounds like a rumor being started at the wholesalers end so they don't have to have redundant products on hand as they take up valuable shelf space that can be used for other products.

Kadee posted on their forums in September:

There have been rumors and worries about us fazing out the NO.5® coupler. Please rest assured that will not happen for a very long time. Even with the increasing use of our #148 Whisker® coupler the NO.5® coupler is still the backbone of our coupler line.

Kadee also posted a couple weeks ago this:

Unfortunately, we are still receiving comments from modelers that are being told by a few dealers that they can not get certain Kadee® products. Not knowing where these dealers are acquiring Kadee® products, either from a wholesale distributor or directly from us, our only comment is that we are fully stocked on all of the products we make ourselves and rarely have any back orders. So a message to modelers everywhere is that if you can not find the Kadee® product you need at your favorite dealer or there's just no dealer near you, then you are more than welcome to order directly from us at anytime. We do charge full retail prices and S&H and we ship all over the world.

Check out the kadee forums here and ask there if you have any questions about their products. www.kadee.com
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
I have been out to the KD website, and there is nothing on there to indicate that the #5's have been discontinued. No announcements, nada, nothing.

I did find this on the KD forums, yes they have a forum, from Sam their answer man at KD. This was from a July announcement. There is nothing else on the forum other than this.

"As we complete the 140 Whisker® series of couplers we will discontinue the 40 series couplers. There have been rumors and worries about us fazing out the NO.5® coupler. Please rest assured that will not happen for a very long time. Even with the increasing use of our #148 Whisker® coupler the NO.5® coupler is still the backbone of our coupler line."

I think the distributor is full of it.
 

diburning

AlcoHaulic
I think the distributor is simply running out of the 50-pair. Kadee no longer shows a 50-pair bulk pack on their website for the #5s so maybe the 50-pair pack has been discontinued (maybe due to lack of sales?)

I have broken the knuckles before from collisions, engines suddenly dying and getting dragged, etc. Sometimes the "fingers" of the knuckle break clean off, sometimes they twist a little before breaking, and sometimes they just twist but don't break (which is still not helpful).

The metal they use does corrode into brittle white powder, but only if it is exposed to extreme temperature and humidity swings.

I have a bunch of old Kadee couplers (from the 1950s?) that appear to be made of lead. They use torsion springs for the knuckles (which I can't figure out how to replace) and instead of having a screw hole, the coupler pockets have a nail hole (probably because they were meant to be mounted on wooden kit cars). The coupler head is the same dimensions as a #5 although it uses a coil spring for centering and the trip pin is on the "fingertips" of the knuckle.
 
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RunningTrains

New Member
THANKS GUY's for that info.....

My LHS uses Walther's, Horizon & Hobbytyme among others as his distrubutors.

Glad to know that #5's are a mainstay.....

I don't know who he was ordering from at the time.

I know the #148's cost more than I expected.

THANKS,

John - RunningTrains 24/7
 

Larry

Long Winded Old Fart
I've been having a few problems w/the #148's loseing springs, anyone else have this problem? I've also noticed that the #148 spring is straight & not curved like the #5's.
maybe this is causing them to jump out under hard coupling.
 

RunningTrains

New Member
YES, out of he 10 I just bought - four springs were out of the #148 already.

And now with a bulk pack of 50 on the way - these better not be full of loose springs - like I have seen before in bulk packs of #148's while my LHS still had bulk packs of #5's.

Since KD no longer carries or list the bulk packs #5's.

I'll have to use the #148's.....I have too many change overs to make, rather than to just buy 10 #5's at a time.

If KD is still making #5's they need to keep offering bulk packs.

How long do the fiber shims last?

On my older cars I have had to use quite a few for the #148's I just installed.

John - RunningTrains 24/7
 

diburning

AlcoHaulic
John, Kadee still has the 10 pair and 20 pair bulk packs of #5s. I generally buy a 20 pair bulk pack when I run low on couplers.
 

Larry

Long Winded Old Fart
I don't use Fibre shims. I use the real thin coupler pocket covers that came w/some couplers that I bought quite a few years ago. They work a lot better because they are slick & I have had problems w/the fibre washers grabbing the coupler, especially if you use graphite powder in your coupler pockets like I do. Everyone to his own way of doing things.
On the #148 coupler springs I was thinking about putting a smidgen of super glue on one side of the spring bumps on the coupler. I'm also thinking about using #5 springs because they are a lttle bit longer & stronger than the #148's. Just some idea's I'm throwing around if the rest start losing springs.
 

diburning

AlcoHaulic
The 148s may seem shorter, but they are actually the same length as the #5.

I haven't had the problem where the spring pops off on the 148s, but I don't use 148s except in cars that need them (too shallow for the bronze spring, too narrow for the bronze spring, center post too large for the bronze spring, etc). More than half of the Kadee #5s in my parts box are missing springs. I don't replace them until I run out of ones with springs and need to put the springs back on (why put them back on to have them pop off again from rattling around the parts box?)
 

Larry

Long Winded Old Fart
The 148s may seem shorter, but they are actually the same length as the #5.

More than half of the Kadee #5s in my parts box are missing springs. I don't replace them until I run out of ones with springs and need to put the springs back on (why put them back on to have them pop off again from rattling around the parts box?)
Same here about replacing springs. I counted couplers w/out springs the other day & I have a lot in my coupler box.
I looked at the #148 springs that came w/the couplers & they are light weight compared to the #5 springs. That's why I was thinking about trying some #5 springs in #148's to see if they stayed in better. I use a lot of
#148's on Athearn engines. I also use a lot of the whiskers on over & under shank. I've found that some engines take a #5 in the front & a raised head in the back & vice versa.
 

diburning

AlcoHaulic
Some engines and cars (Atlas Trainman NEW RUN 60' Bulkhead flats, MDC/Roundhouse cars, Athearn Blue Box cars, and some Athearn engines such as the P42DC and F59PHI, IHC Premier/Mehano GG1) have low coupler height and require an underset shank coupler.

With cars such as the Atlas Trainman NEW RUN (old run was correct) 60' Bulkhead Flats, the ride height is correct yet somehow the coupler height is too low. If I shimmed the trucks, it would ride too high. With the Athearn Blue Box and MDC/Roundhouse cars, the distance between the coupler pocket and the height of the car is scale or close to scale. Shimming the trucks would give the correct ride height. Also check the wheel size. If the car rides low, check to see whether it has the wrong size wheels. For example, the Bachmann Silver Series Cylindrical hoppers are tooled to be close to scale. The problem is that they put 33" NEM (European Standard - shorter) length axles in the cars and the trucks are not interchangeable with other brands due to the large bolster. The only way to fix it would be to replace the wheels with 36" wheels which is what the prototype car uses. You'll need to get Reboxx wheels as the bolsters do not allow you to shim the trucks.

However, some manufacturers deliberately put wrong sized wheels on the cars due to the fact that the cars may be tooled incorrectly or have odd height/sized bolsters (the Athearn RTR ACF Centerflow hopper with the etched metal roofwalk is an example. They used new tooling which was tooled incorrectly to have a bolster that's too high, so to compensate, they put 33" wheels in instead of 36s to have a correct ride and coupler height)

For Athearn RTR 50' FMC Box Cars the height is correct for the McHenry but is incorrect if you install a Kadee. To fix this, take the coupler pocket off (it's held in with a screw and a peg) take the McHenry coupler out, flip the coupler pocket upside down so that the peg is now facing down instead of up into the car. Install the Kadee coupler, and remount the box (upside down). This will give the correct coupler height for the car.
 

RunningTrains

New Member
DiBurning,

Some of my older Athearn RTR are the Genesis line that included the coupler pockets as part of the frame under the car.....those & my Walther's Budd cars are ones I am having to shim more.

I have a small bag of nylon washers I collected long ago, they are thicker and work better than these fibre shims.

Some cars, especially Intermountains I have changed out the wheelsets to the next larger wheel size mainly one axle will rub a screw head, especially where I have grades.

I've changed several couplers on those too (mostly ACF covered hoppers & Corn Syrup tanks), they have what looks to be a two part coupler or a small section of one used as a shim....Yes, most of my Intermountains did come with Kadee's but they are plastic.

I went & picked up my bulk #148's this morning - they were loaded with loose springs - I refused them and drove 80 miles to a different LHS that had two bulk packs 50 pairs of #5 which I bought - now I am set for a long time.

FYI,


John - RunningTrains 24/7
 

ICG/SOU

HO & O (3-rail) trainman
I end up replacing trucks on MDC and Athearn with new trucks from Athearn (as long as they have the metal axles) or from Accurail or Walthers and use Intermountain wheelsets.

I've found using #5 Kadees necessary for Athearn Blue Box kits because the whiskers of #14s will poke out around the sides of the metal coupler cover and the underframe and get stuck.

I have started looking at more prototypes and found that many bulkhead flats, some 100 ton boxcars, and others use a longer shank coupler than what the #5 and #14 are.
 



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