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Thread: HO Coupler Compatibility

  1. Default HO Coupler Compatibility

    I'm just getting back into model railroading after an absence of many years. Are Kadee couplers compatible with other brands of couplers? I will be purchasing rolling stock from a number of different mfrs. like Accurail, Athearn, Bachmann & want to make sure there won't be any issues with mixing different brands of couplers.

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    With over 450 freight cars and engines, I have a variety if couplers. As far as I can tell, all couplers except Sergents are compatible with one another. That being said, some work better than others with Kadees. I have some problems with automatic coupling with Accurails although they work once coupled. I use the factory couplers until the first sign of trouble then I exchange them for Kadees. Any car with the original plastic McHenrys gets changed out as soon as I notice them. Those turned out to be absolute junk. I use the # 5's (and equivalents) and # 146's, as the scale # 58's sometimes give me trouble. I am retrofitting all my old tankers with # 119's. I say use what you get but keep a supply of Kadees on hand because you'll need them some day. Note that #119's are too large for Walthers tankers...the coupler box is too narrow.
    willie

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    Kadee couplers are the defacto standard among HO modelers today and are compatible with most all knuckle couplers with the notable exception of Sergent couplers which are compatible with only Sergents. In my opinion Kadee's are the best.
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  4. Default

    The will intermix to an extent. But Kadees really are the best. I've noticed that coupling is sub-par when coupling dissimilar couplers, especially on a curve.

    And buy real Kadees too. I bought a pack of the Proto2K knockoffs and a few of them were rough on the face of the knuckle so that the cars literally had to be rammed together to couple.

    If Sergents gain more widespread popularity, and they make an under-track magnet that works with them, I'll definitely consider them.

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    I belong to the Kadee genuine school also. I use only kadee finescale couplers.

    Regardless of choice, you'll need to do some adjustment work on any brand of couplers for best preformance. I'd recommend the following tools for couplers and the NMRA gauge for wheel and track assessment. I use pencil lead to lubricate the couplers inside the draft box and on knuckle joints and on the coupling face surface. Follow the kadee instructions for burnishing the couplers as per their instructons in the packet. Make sure the trip pin is adjusted to clear trackwork and that coupler screws are not overly tight. A switchong puzzle layout, like the Tymesaver, is good for testing couplers and wheels.


    http://www.yankeedabbler.com/.sc/ms/...9/Kadee-205%20

    http://www.yankeedabbler.com/.sc/ms/...20PIN%20PLIERS

    http://www.nmra.org/standards/sandrp/rp2.html


    Some issues with accidental uncoupling can be avoided if cars are weighed to NRMA standards and some friction on the wheels is present. This keeps couplers taunt when travelling ovr uncouplers. Light, free rolling cars will oscilate a bit allowing loose couplers to accidentially uncouple.
    Last edited by PaulB; 09-16-2012 at 10:18 PM.

  6. #6

    Default

    It seems that every manufacturer has their own brand of couplers.

    To name a few:

    Kadee
    Walthers ProtoMAX (all metal)
    Walthers Proto 2000 (plastic, discontinued)
    McHenry (now owned by Athearn, plastic)
    Bachmann EZ Mate (plastic)
    Accurail AccuMate (plastic)
    Sergent Engineering (all metal)
    and the old standard, the horn hook or X2F coupler.

    All couplers will work with each other with the exception of the Sergents and the horn hooks. The Sergents will work with Kadee scale couplers or McHenry scale couplers, but you'd have to slip one knuckle over another to get them to hook up. The horn hooks can be hooked up to Kadees if you jam the knuckle into the hook part (not pretty, but will work in a pinch)

    Kadee is the de facto standard. There's the good old #5, or for those who want a scale (sized, not appearance) coupler, there's the #58. Kadee makes a variety of shank lengths and offsets as well as coupler heads. The Walthers ProtoMAX is a clone of the Kadee #5 with a slightly bigger knuckle. Rapido Trains (no relation to the N scale Rapido coupler) McDonald-Cartier couplers are an all-metal clone of the Kadee #5. Broadway Limited also uses a metal clone of the Kadee #5, but uses an interesting shank length.

    If you think that the trackwork can use a bit of work or has dips or abrupt vertical changes, go with the Kadee standard head couplers. If you think that the track work is flawless and transitions smoothly between grades, then you can go with the scale head couplers.

    When mounting couplers, it is a very good idea to body mount them as opposed to truck mounting them as truck mounted couplers can cause derailments if they hit anything or if the train is backed up too fast over a switch or if the curve is tight.
    Eric from Boston, MA. Modeling Norfolk Southern and Pan Am Railways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tjdean View Post
    I'm just getting back into model railroading after an absence of many years. Are Kadee couplers compatible with other brands of couplers? I will be purchasing rolling stock from a number of different mfrs. like Accurail, Athearn, Bachmann & want to make sure there won't be any issues with mixing different brands of couplers.
    Kadee's are #1. Especially if pulling long trains. Clones are changed out at the first hint of trouble. All engines are changed to Kadees before hitting the rails. The clones just are not strong enough or reliable enough to mess with. My opinion. Phil

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    Also Kaddes are still made in the USA. I only allow Kadee couplers and also their freight car trucks are my standard.

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