Coupler Issues

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by green_elite_cab, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!


    I have recently purchased 4 SEPTA Horizon coaches (made by Walthers), as well as a few Watlhers tank cars and Athearn engines. They have been plagued by all sorts of problems

    first off, the Horizon cars in general seem to have a problem with their couplers. I can install the exact same coupler (Kadee#5s with the seperate copper centering springs) in my cars, yet they all continue to hang at different heights, and constantly uncouple. Additionaly the bothe th coupler and the singing coupler pockets in these cars seem to get hung up alot, and the couplers don't return to center.

    Next, i have just bought a bunch of Gold line 23,000 tank cars, that have these new kuckle couplers that are supposed to look more to scale or something, and they have all the weird problems as well. they seem hesitant to couple together, and they are a pain to couple with most of my road switchers.

    finally, the Kadee #5s on my Athearn locomotives ( Blue Box SW1500, GP38, RTR GP38-2 & GP40-2) always get stuck. they don't like to center themselves, and i think those copper centering springs are useless. I have a couple Mch Henry and Easy Mates, but lately i've been moving away from them becaus of the plastic leaf springs on the knuckle.

    1. how do I get these passenger cars working again?
    2. Should i replace these couplers, or should i convert the rest of my fleet to these?
    3. is there an alternative that works that doesn't need these unreliable centering springs?
    thanks for your help
  2. stuart_canada

    stuart_canada Member

    iwould suggest you pick one style of coupler and stick with it first off.
    buy the kaydee coupler gauge, and some shims to correct the couplers to all the same height and most of your troubles will be solved.

    the guage is the best piece of equipment you can buy for your layout, saves a pile of time and headaches
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    One problem you frequently get with Kadee centering springs is a ragged edge atthe front. Check for this and either file it down or flatten it out. Also check for movement in the box -- this may also need smoothing or lube (kadee grease'em).
  4. myltlpny

    myltlpny Member

    I have also found a little puff of graphite or light weight oil into the Kadee coupler pocket goes a long way to helping them center better. In some cases I have also found I had secured the mounting screw too tight, binding the coupler. Backing off a quarter turn usually helped.
    I agree with your assesment of the McHenry couplers. The little plastic leaf spring just doesn't seem to hold up. I prefer the metal Kadee couplers. They're the type of items I pick up when browsing through a new hobby shop. I always like to have several different varieties on hand.

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