To clip or not to clip.......Coupler pins

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Chessie1973, May 17, 2004.

  1. Chessie1973

    Chessie1973 Member

    T have heard some mention of clipping the metal "hoses" on Kadee style couplers in a few threads.

    What I want to know is other than magnetic decoupling and simulating the air lines on the car, what good are these pins?

    I have gotten frustrated with a few of my cars and clipped the pins on the couplers because the pins sometimes will drag the track when using my little rerailer ramp I have here and I was wondering is there anything "wrong" with doing this to all my cars for a consistent look to them.

    I know the quick answer is , "It's Your Railroad, do whatever you want." But are there other uses for these pins thtat I am unaware of?

    Is there a detail part that could be used to better simutate these hoses?
  2. Ho Modeler

    Ho Modeler Member

    Well when you are backing an engine into a siding to pick up some cars the pins do help guide the couplers together so they are straight in front of eachother
    then as the two couplers move closer it pushes open the clasp on the coupler allowing them to meet then when the couplers are interlocked it connects and snaps into place

    I usually just take a pliers and bend them farther up so that i dont have that problem and hey a few clipped couplers always make it look a little less consistent and more of a natural railroad look
  3. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    There is a coupler heigth gauge for setting them up and part of it is setting the hose/uncoupler height. They even sell a tool to bend them. It also sounds like your couplers are loose and need shimmed too. There is a pdf on kadee's website telling you how to do these adjustments. FRED
  4. IAIS 604

    IAIS 604 Member

    I second Fred's use of the Kadee coupler gauge - I had a P2K E8A (Rock Island Rocket) flip off a turnout and onto a concrete floor (totally destroyed!) due to a coupler pin ! It was it's first (and last) spin around the track !!

    I have used the Kadee gauge (and bending tool) ever since !!!
  5. George D

    George D Member

    The function of the uncoupling arm ("hose") is to open the coupler by being attracted to the couplers right by a magnetic force from a magnet under the track. There are also uncoupling tools that use the uncoupling arm. One is a bent piece of wire that you use to grab the arm and pull it to the side to open the coupler; another holds a magnet on each side of the couplers and the magnetic force opens the couplers like the under track uncoupling magnet. In all cases, the couplers must have slack to uncouple. The Kadee site has a page called "Coupler Primer" that explains how the couplers work:

    If you snip the arms off, the cars can be only be uncoupled by lifting one car to separate the couplers or by inserting a pointed stick down between the couplers and forcing them apart. Again, the couplers need slack to do this.

    I leave mine on and bend the arm up to clear the Kadee gauge.

  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I bend mine up like a little hook with the last fraction of an inch of the trip pin bent up like the front of a ski. I've found that if the pin encounters a high spot between the rails it will just ride up and over.
  7. Chessie1973

    Chessie1973 Member

    Thanks for all the responses folks.

    I have the coupler guage from Kadee already and all my couplers are correct according to the guage. It just seems that some of my rolling stock are more prone to hitting high spots than others.

    I asked this question after a rather disturbing derailment caused by one of the cars apparently having its pin hit somewhere and causing the front wheels to ride over the rail yet not totally derail the car which allowed the car to track out of line enough to strike a bridge on my layout and cause a rather nasty cleanup to be needed.

    It slammed into the bridge and brought the train to a halt and the cars behind it piled up on it and also a few fell from the layout, thankfully onto a only slightly lower workbench in that corner which saved me from havign to do repairs to those cars.
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Chessie,

    My two cenbts -

    A friend of mine snips off all the coupler "glad-hands" becasue he 1) super-details anyway (yes there are lots of detail parts, including brake hoses, and uncoupling levers you can buy), and 2) says that the prototype uncouples by hand, so why shouldn't he?

    One of the local clubs is in the process of removing all the uncoupling magnets from their public display module because they cause no end of problem with accidental uncoupling.

    Based on these arguments, I don't intend to keep any glad-hands or magnets on my layout.

  9. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    With all due respect guys, if you are going to buy kadee couples and cut the uncoupler wires/levers/ off them, why not save some money and buy dummy knuckle couplers, like accurail's, and save you some coin? I use them on unit trains and they work great, are strong, and never uncouple. Last I purchased were 12 for $2.50. FRED
  10. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    A lot easier to adjust them now than replace all the couplers later, if you decide you need them.
  11. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    If Kadee's are slack in the box, the pin will catch going over a point (Turnout) causing a de-railment. all mine are set to 1/16" off the top of the rail and they still uncouple with the magnets okay. I use the height gauge to get all kadee's at the correct height then bend the pins afterwards.

  12. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    A while back I was having a bad day as my trains kept coming apart. I was pulling trains of 50 or more cars and they were coming apart in operation in what seemed like random seperations. So to make a long story short, I had recently replaced a bunch of wheels with the proto 2000 wheels. I don't know if it was the batch I purchased on sale, if they had been dropped, or if they are all this way, but about 2/3 of them were not concentric. I noticed it when I put them into a bobber caboose and it jiggled up and down going down the track. So I pulled and tested all the proto wheelsets I had, and put plastic wheels back into about 2/3 of my stock. Guess what, they stopped uncoupling. So I was blaming kadee for a problem that was really a lifelike problem. Don't take this as a trashing of lifelike wheelsets either. Just be patient and maybe you'll find the answer. FRED
  13. Chessie1973

    Chessie1973 Member

    Mar cars aren't decoupling, it is that I get an occasional derailment, even when the pins are set according to the coupler hieght Guage and all my couplers align properly. I am beginning to think It may actually be the el cheapo Bachmann EZ Track I am about to rip out and redo with proper roadbed and flextrack.

    Ir most often happens on my bridges ane at rerailers. Seem that even prperly set the pins hit the rerailers and portions of the bridge and snag ocasionally which causes the car to slam o a halt and sometimes derail the train.
  14. santafewillie

    santafewillie Member

    As Dash10 said, why buy Kadees? Like Russ and George, I bend mine up slightly like a ski tip after adjusting them according to the height gauge.
  15. neilmunck

    neilmunck Member

    I've kept the pins on my Kadees so I can use magnets to uncouple if I want to but I have never had much success with the magnets. One of hte main problems is cheaper cars (and some expensive ones) have steel weights that out the cars over teh magnet. This means when you pull the loco away the cars follows and you can't use delayed uncoupling.

    I need to replace the weights with non ferous ones but until I do I use a bamboo barbeque skewer that I sharpened with a pencil sharpener. With a bit of hard pencil rubbed on it as a lubricant this is inserted between the couplers when they are slack and given a twist that uncouples them. This can be done anywhere so I don't need delayed uncoupling and it is cheaper than magnets :) The only thing is that you need to be able to reach anywhere you want to uncouple and you need to reach into the scene instead of being able to do it by remote control.

  16. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    I use the coupler gauge too. Get it all nice a proper, and I find the pins are OK. (just), but get a bit of wear and tear, the coupler starts to sag a bit, and the first "grab" the pin gets, especially if its one of the last cars, and you are on a curve...... **KERKADEE** one WHOOLE train pulled down on it's side, and also pulls the other couplers a bit, (more HUGE wear and tear) and eventually, I find theyhave all been pulled out of wack (when put back on the coupler gauge), and the pins drag (requiring them to be bent, or cut off if I get :curse: enough), and the couplers won't quite meet up with newly mounted ones. I've started to mount them a little higher than the gauge height now (if I can), becuase I've found, as soon as you get the first "grab", it's downhill from there, and if I can prevent that first "grab" from happening, then :cool: But if I mount them too high, then what's the point of the pins, if they aren't close enough to the uncoupler magnets?

    Sheeeesh!! Couplers...... :mad:

    Having said that, Kadees are still better than some of the standard plethora of other junk that passes for couplers on some stock you get. Especially those "loop over hook" (Lima) style couplers, that won't auto couple, and once coupled, won't come apart!!
  17. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Thanks Woodie, Lima couplers was a name I had forgot. I purchased some Mantua cars the other day second hand that have them still on and couldn't remember their name. :( I'm only 46 and that upsets me. :( FRED
  18. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Funny how the noise it makes almost sounds like Kadee :D :D :D
  19. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    What a perfect time for this topic to come up. I was about to ask if clipping the "hoses" from the Kadees would stop magnetic uncoupling from working. Now I have my answer.

    What i'm wondering is this: how do you get a prototypical-looking coupler. Those Kadee "hoses" look so fake to me. And it's one of the dead giveaways that you're looking at a photo of a model.

    Any suggestions as to different brands, or replacement "hoses".

  20. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Hi Val, from my brain all's I can think of is using plastic wire insulation, but the cars would be almost permantly coupled with any method I can think of to possibly make them look real. Accurail make nice looking dummy knuckle couplers as does a couple other companies. They are used for unit trains and are like kadee only solid (manual coupling/uncoupling). #58 kadees are more size correct for HO but have the metal hose. So for realistic looking hoses, my best idea would be use #58 kaddes, cut the metals, and put on plastic wire insulation between the cars. Then add uncoupling levers made from .020 brass wire. If you do it I want to see it, OK? FRED

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