Sergent coupler report!

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by KCS, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. KCS

    KCS Member

    OK, here it is for those of you who are or want to start using Sergent coupler's. I'm sure who has and hasn't but some have stated thing's about using Sergent's on a modular layout. Well, I ran a full train today with three locomotives on the head and something like 40 cars on our club layout for the first time and I am happy to report that they work much better than you would think.
    With some major problems in the track in between modules some being to high, to low or just twisted these coupler's did better than my Kadee's ever did. I ran all day sense 7am this morning and didn't have a single break in the train the entire day. I'm also happy to say that backing up is a lot easier too without dumping car's off in curves because of Kadee's side slop. Now I'm saying this because I've never seen a modular layout with worse track than ours.:oops: sign1

    The guy's saw my equipment when I brought it in and was wondering "now what's he up to?" No more Kadee's for me ever. Absolutely flawless. Another thing, I had a couple of car's that were either high or low so the couplers weren't center and I didn't have a single problem there either. This is the first run with them sense I bought them during the summer. Next test I will check is how good the strength is to see how long of a train they can really pull before one breaks. Not sure when this will be though so don't hold your breath.tooth1 :thumb:
  2. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    The one issue becomes the scale drawbar that, sometimes has to be filed down. Most noteably on Walthers cars. However, I love them too, and so does my Dad.
  3. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    The big gripe that I've heard about them is that they are not compatible with Kadee's, won't even work with them. Is this true?
  4. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    I think it's true that they are not compatible, but they are (I think) a true scale coupler
    and as such, a totally different concept. Like with any mismatched couplers, a "transition car"
    will solve compatibility problems to some degree.
  5. stripes

    stripes Member

    Thanks for the review Charles, I have been planning on getting rid of all my old couplers and going with one standard. This seems like a good solution!
  6. hminky

    hminky Member

    Use the Sergent model with the Accumate Draft gear box. It will look much better than the putting them in the grossly out of scale "Kadee" gear box on the cars. It only takes a little more work and they function better.

    I use the Accumate Draft gear box with the Accumate Proto:HO couplers. I really like the Accumates.


    I tell how I put them on HO Roundhouse cars at:

    Thank you if you visit
  7. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    Very true Harold, but there's cases where installing it might be way to much effort.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Harold, I've found when using the original Accumates on the modular railroad club layout, that when trying to back long cuts of properly weighted cars, the Accumates would be forced into the open position and then lock in the open position. The only way to close them was to push them closed with a pick of some sort. With the era you are modeling you may not have long enough trains to cause a problem like this, but I'm wondering, did Accumate change the design of the scale size couplers besides making them smaller?
  9. hminky

    hminky Member

    The "scale" ones sometimes have a small piece on flash on the face of the pivot lug, if that is not scraped off they will not spring back well. It is very hard to see but is the only problem I have had.

    I tried pushing two cars together manually and the scale couplers always spring back no matter how hard they are pushed together. Even on a 15" radius turn.

  10. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    I've witnessed the phenomenon Russ is talking about, and I had always thought it had more to do with the plastic getting bent out of shape...but I never looked into it that closely as I try to use strictly Kadees, but still mix and match until I can convert them over.

    I too have looked into Sergent couplers and am interested in hearing more.

  11. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    Galen, they're great! The biggest "issues" I've found are:
    -Price vs. compatablity, as they're only useable with themselves, and the Gatzl dummy couplers.
    -Adapatbility to some stock coupler boxes, being scale sized, they're sometimes to big for undersized boxes, although they're easily filed down...
    -Manual uncoupling ONLY, there's no way to automate a top operated coupler!

    Plus sides, to me:
    -STRONG! You will have a hard time getting them to accidently uncouple, the design makes it all but impossible, unless the train completely flips over. They even hold when they're not all the exact wamse height. Infact my GP7u has a minor angle to the couplers, and they still hold
    -Prototypical, in size, and design, you need at least one coupler to be open to couple something!
    -Coupling on curves, works out easy as they have no centering spring, just a friction spring to keep it from drifting, when its pushed sideways.
    -New scale boxed coupler, have not tried, but it's looking up to being even better then the drop in ones, comes with an Accumate scale draft gear box.

    Here's a pic installed on a BNSF SD60M:
  12. KCS

    KCS Member

    I had the same problem with all of my Walthers car's. I found that It's easier to not file but sand the coupler lid down and not the coupler it self. The Walther's draft gear box's are "shallow" compaired to other makers and even made a Kadee a tad bit stiff with the centering spring in place. The lid it self has a "high point"(?) in the lid which keep's the lid centered to the pocket so I filed them all down ALMOST flush within "half a hair" thick. This allows the coupler to move freely inside but not enough to damage the center on the lid to be removed.

    I did damage one when I first did it and learned from then on not to sand to much other wise it will bore the screw hole wide open and the screw won't even hold it to the car. Another issue was with Athearn "BB" kit's with the metal snap on clip. I just had to file the inside of the coupler pockets until I got free movement. Other than that it was a walk in the park really and worked out great. The guy's at the club were very surprised the train didn't constantly break in two in which case it didn't at all. If I had Kadee's still on all my equipment I know for a fact I would have had many breaks in my train because I have before.
  13. KCS

    KCS Member

    As Cid stated to Jeffery's question. No they are not compatible. However, as the Sergent website FAQ page states to someone else question. " Are Sergent coupler's compatible with other brands"? Answer: No. How ever it is also stated that some user's have reported success of mating a Sergent with a Kadee #58. I have heard the same from a couple other people myself. But being the huge difference in knuckle size and shape I don't think it would work out to good trying to back up because like any other coupler that won't mate with a Kadee but are forced to (I.E Kadee and a horn hook) will cause the coupler to be coupled at a crooked angle the whole time they are coupled. It's not recommended. As I posted on another site about Sergent's.

    This guy has come up with a great product that work's as good if not better than it looks and the more people who start turning to them then one day they just might make all other coupler's obsolete and possibly even make a new "standard" in HO railroading. I look at this as the best thing to hit the coupler market sense Kadee MANY years ago.
  14. KCS

    KCS Member

    As stated the biggest issue is manual uncoupling. It's the only way they can be used. Price...... ehhhh well, considering what it takes for one guy to produce by his self, with molds, packaging, plastic container box's and other part's like magnets. It's about right. Kadee makes them fast and cheap pretty much after they come out of the mold as a 1-2-3 and their ready to go. Sergent's involve a little time if buying in kit form. I bought the building jig and I was able to assemble around 25 pairs in a couple hours. (with a steady hand of course) Another thing to mention.

    As valued customers to him and great customer service, if he find's anything wrong such as the old MS uncoupling tool that he first came out with. He sent everybody a brand new redesigned uncoupler for free. Mine just showed up in the mail. I didn't know a thing about it. He took care of the packaging, and S&H. Now, my question is. Would you see Kadee or other maker's doing such a thing? I highly doubt it.

    Oh and on a last note. I didn't take into consideration when I left to go play trains was a transition car. Now if you run with Sergents on a layout ith others who run Kadee's etc. You need to have a transition car. One if you are going to run your Sergent equipted cars on the rear or two if you want to run Sergents in mid train.

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