kaydee couplers

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by viperman, Mar 19, 2006.

  1. viperman

    viperman Active Member

    Was looking at replacing the black couplers on some cars today with kaydee 5's. I have kaydee couplers 4-9, and one other coupler with a really high number on it. Would these all be compatible, or should I just get more 5s?
  2. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    go to the KaDee web site they have a conversion list there that will tell you what car/loco needs.
  3. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    Probably your best bet is to stick with 5's. The others are either for special applications or have different offsets for higher or lower draft boxes on cars.
  4. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member

    KD Couplers

    If you are simply replacing old NMRA couplers with KD couplers, then I would guess that No. 5 Couplers would work 90% of the time. However, you should know that the different number couplers that you quoted as having already used might not be compatible with the No. 5s. The situation is that there are variances in the length of the coupler shank and also variances in coupler height with the coupler numbers that you have already bought. You can ignore the first variation, length of shank, however coupler height is most critical. No. 5 couplers have the coupler knuckle on centerline with the shank. Other coupler numbers have the knuckle above or below the shank in consideration for the height of the coupler box from the railhead. A mismatch would be a high centered knuckle engaging a low centered knuckle such that the cars would uncouple upon hitting an irregular section of track. You must strive towards having coupler knuckles engage on the same centerline to prevent inadvertant uncoupling.

    KD does provide a coupler gauge by which you can determine if your coupler height is on target or whether you should either change to a high or low centered coupler; or simply add or drop spacers between the truck and bolster.

    Good luck with your installations!
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    By "compatible" you mean?
    All Kadee HO couplers will couple together, including the ones with smaller heads.
    What is different is the mounting. Kadee makes mountings to fit most of the possible mountings that you'll encounter.
    Most plastic freight cars and a lot of coaches and some locos will take a #5. If the coupler box looks different than the Kadee box, you may need a different one.
    Kadee makes a starter set that has a collection of different couplers plus some tools -- including the height gauge.
  6. viperman

    viperman Active Member

    The couplers I have on all my cars are all the nmra. The kd couplers I have came with my railroad, along with a lot of other stuff. I do plan to replace the couplers on a lot of the cars I have (minus the older stuff I have, I want to leave those as-is for keepsake). I also plan on replacing the trucks on the same cars to better units (possibly bearings) at the same time. This way I can mount all the couplers on the cars, reducing the chances of de-railment or uncoupling between cars. When I can, I will also be adding weights to the cars too
  7. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    There are two or three articles on the NMRA 'Introduction to Model Railroading' pages that may help you change couplers and trucks. Check out http://www.nmra.org/beginner/
  8. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    The KaDee #148, is basicly a #5, with the whisker spring, that replaces the bronze spring. It is a more "drop-in" than the #5. KaDee is still about the only metal coupler of that style, available.
  9. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member

    Compatible KD Couplers

    Thanks for the reminder! I forgot that KD actually has a 'scale' coupler where the head is smaller than that of the previous line, including the popular No. 5. What I previously meant is that the coupler heads are designed to be either in line with the coupler shank, or above or below the shank. You mentioned that you already have other KD couplers with styles different than No. 5s. The problem is that if you intermix cars with high, low, or centered coupler heads you might only half-engage a car if the coupler heads are not in line. That always means an accidental uncoupling on uneven track. So, use the No. 5s for all of the installations you can and save the high or low centered couplers for the rare instances that the coupler box sits either too high or too low.
  10. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

    The following is from Kadee tech support asking about Kadee's on Life Like cars. I got a fast prompt reply and they were very helpful!


    If you wish to use the original trucks then you can use our #28 coupler.
    Our 20 series coupler packages contain a special adapter made just for this
    type of coupler pocket. Be sure to acquire one of our #205 coupler height
    gauges, it is most important to get all of you couplers mounted at the same
    Before you insert the "Talgo" adapter check the coupler height because
    once the adapter is in place it's very difficult to remove without breaking
    To get these Life Like cars to run really good you should add metal
    wheels and a bit more weight to each car. A 40 foot car should weigh a bit
    less than 4 oz. The NMRA Standards is to start with 1 oz. then add 1/2 oz.
    for every actual inch of the cars length. Metal wheels will add weight and
    add to the performance. You really do not need to change the trucks until
    you learn more about fine tuning each car. Also body mounting couplers
    rather than having truck mounted coupler is usually recommended, but again
    this should be a later project.
  11. viperman

    viperman Active Member

    Just last night and today, I bought the following, all but one have KD style couplers :

    40' flat car with stakes
    50' gondola
    bw caboose
    acf centerflow

    E+C shops:
    52' acf single door boxcar

    non KD couplers:
    54' flatcar with pulpwood load

    I want to convert this one to have kd's. It came with body mount couplers, just the bulky black plastic ones, so dropping in a pair of kaydee 5's would be very easy. Other than this one car, I decided to just buy new rolling stock, and keep the cars I have as they are
  12. viperman

    viperman Active Member

    Discovered today that the 40' flat car also has the other style couplers, and a bad truck, so I do need to perform some surgery on this one.

    Assembled the caboose today, and noticed that the couplers are actually plastic. If I have the plastic couplers coupling with the metal kaydee's, would that cause problems? Maybe break the plastic?
  13. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    viperman: are you talking about plastic couplers that look like Kadees? (or are Kadees?) These shouldn't be a problem in normal use. There might be a concern if you have a long train hung behind it. Some modellers have had problems with the Kadee clones. I would use them until you get a problems, then replace them. (Unless the coupler box can't be re-opened.)
  14. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    I have never met a coupler box that couldn't be removed, and replaced.......where's my chainsaw ?!!!:D :D :D
  15. viperman

    viperman Active Member

    I guess you'd call them kadee clones. They are the same style (knuckle), but are plastic rather than metal. Think the instructions in the kits say they are made by bachman. I'll just run the combo until I see some problems, then I'll switch over to strictly kadee's
  16. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Hi sumpter. I have a few boxes (from the early days of plastic kits) that had to be glued shut. I think one was a Hobbyline and the other was Varney. I also put Athearn's clip on cover in this category.
    Viper: lower quality couplers shouldn't be a problem on a caboose unless the springs fail. There usually isn't that much load behind it.
  17. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Athearn uses the Bachmann EZ-Mate. Walthers uses the Accumate.
    I still replace them with number 5's. I have a parts draw filled with these two mentioned above.
  18. viperman

    viperman Active Member

    Have a few of these cars assembled now. The E+C box car, the gondola, and the caboose. I did replace the couplers on the box car with kadee #5s (picked some up at a lhs yesterday) because the ones it came with weren't very detailed at all, it looks great now. The gondola and the caboose still have the Athearn/Bachman couplers and still look ok to me. I'll try to get some pics up here in the next few days of my progress
  19. allan

    allan New Member

    Try a pack of #58 couplers: if they work on your layout, add some more. They look a whole lot better than #5s, but do demand good trackwork.

    And do not neglect the 30 series coupler boxes, they fit where other coupler boxes will not. The first one will be a little difficult to assemble, but by the time you get to the tenth you'll wonder why the first was a problem...

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