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Kadee Couplers

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Kadee Couplers
Posted by trainman1964 on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 7:01 AM

Hi,

I'm relatively new to the hobby and was wondering if anyone could tell me about Kadee Couplers.  I have mostly Athearn and Roundhouse cars.  I recently acquired a bunch of #5's.  Are these okay for changing out my horn hooks for? 

Thanks,

Jim

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 7:09 AM

The Kadee #5s are basically the universal replacement for a horn-hook and for most freight cars are a direct replacement. There are other Kadees for specific situations and there is a replacement chart around somewhere (used to be in the Walther's catalog, I do not know if it still it there) will give you more information.

But if you run into a situation where a #5 will not work, you will need some modeling skills in this area and would already know the answers. If you do not have the answers, you will get them by futzing around until things do work the way you want them to.

ROAR

The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 7:09 AM

Yes. The #5 is considered the 'universal' coupler and will fit the majority of your cars.

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
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Dr. Frankendiesel aka Scott Running Bear
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Posted by slammin on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 7:59 AM

Welcome to the hobby! You can find the reference chart the LION referred to on Kadee's website. Stick with genuine Kadee couplers, they can't be beat.

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 8:09 AM

Welcome to the hobby.

If you aren't changing all your couplers, you might want to do a couple of transition cars with Kadees at one end and horn hooks at the other.

Good luck

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by galaxy on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 8:30 AM

The KaDees are the best.

The conversion chart is here:

http://www.kadee.com/conv/holist.pdf

Geeked

-G .

Just my thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences. Others may vary.

 HO and N Scale.

After long and careful thought, they have convinced me. I have come to the conclusion that they are right. The aliens did it.

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Posted by UP 4-12-2 on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 8:38 AM

I recommend the whisker #148 Kadee over the number 5 because:

1.  All the basic dimensions are exactly the same as the number 5.

2.  It performs slightly better than the number 5 in day to day use.

3.  Without the bronze centering spring required for the number 5, the "whisker" coupler better fits into some of today's tighter (vertically thinner) coupler boxes.

If you want a slightly more "scale" appearance, the 158 provides that--but you must have good trackwork without vertical bumps at joints (that can make cars become uncoupled).

The 148 is much more forgiving of any trackwork irregularities.

Though I typically use the 158 coupler, I still use 148's on long cars like 86' boxcars and 89' flat cars that would be more affected by any rough track joint.

John

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Posted by NP2626 on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 9:18 AM

What UP 4-12-2 has left out is that the #148s are more expensive.  Purchased from Caboose Hobbies in bulk packs of 25 pair, the # 148 l costs $1.73 per pair whereas the #5s in 20 pair bulk packs cost $1.40 per pair. 

I can't talk myself into spending the extra money for the #148s, even for experimental purposes, as I doubt I would see any difference.  I've been using the #5s for 25 years now and unless Kadee drops the #5s from their line (a likely scenario, as anything I like, falls out of favor with the masses) the #5s will be my coupler of choice for the future.

I have also found the McHenry & Accumate couples to be second best compared to the good old Kadee # 5s.

NP 2626 "Northern Pacific, really terrific"

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Posted by Train Modeler on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 10:33 AM

Kadee really are the best, to me anyway.    Check out many pages on the Kadee website which someone posted above.   Lots of variety.   But I tend to modify or make coupler boxes so that the #5 or whisker coupler will work.  That way I don't have to inventory many different types for maintenance.

Richard

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Posted by emdmike on Saturday, April 20, 2013 5:22 PM

I have been using Kaydee #5's since I first joined the local train club and learned that that type of coupler exhisted.  Even if I get something that comes with a clone of the Kaydee, which didnt happen when I first started using them, I switch them to genuine Kaydee.  The newer version with the wisker spring is nice, but I still keep using the #5 unless I need a raised or drop knuckle.  They make variations that have a raised or lowered knuckle height to deal with cars that ride high or ride low when compared to the gauge.  Get yourself one of the Kaydee coupler gauges along with a NMRA gauge, you will get lots of use out of both of them.  If the trip pin on the Kaydee is to low, it can snag turnouts and road crossings causing a derailment.  If you decide to use the magnets between the rails to remote uncouple cars, excellent  for switching and operation based layouts, you will need to set the height of the trip pin/wand correctly.  I have found that the scale sized Kaydee's do not like to always couple/uncouple with the larger #5 style.  So if you want to go with the more scale size, stick with those if you can.  There are other brands out there now that Kaydee's patent ran out.  Back in my early days, it was Kaydee or the X2F junk.    Cheers  Mike 

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Posted by Medina1128 on Sunday, April 21, 2013 6:39 AM

The Kadee 148 has become my new de facto standard for all of my rolling stock.

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Sunday, April 21, 2013 7:14 AM

NP2626

the #148s are more expensive.  Purchased from Caboose Hobbies in bulk packs of 25 pair, the # 148 l costs $1.73 per pair whereas the #5s in 20 pair bulk packs cost $1.40 per pair. 

I can't talk myself into spending the extra money for the #148s, even for experimental purposes, as I doubt I would see any difference.

For me the cost difference is negligible and believe me, money is one thing that most have much more of than me. Even small change is extremely important. for me it's ease of assembly. I have no feeling in my hands and only a few of my fingers work well so not having to deal with a separate spring is well worth the extra cost.

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
          Joined June, 2004

Dr. Frankendiesel aka Scott Running Bear
Space Mouse for president!
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Running Bear Enterprises
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beatus homo qui invenit sapientiam


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Posted by Texas Zepher on Sunday, April 21, 2013 8:47 AM

trainman1964
if anyone could tell me about Kadee Couplers.  I have mostly Athearn and Roundhouse cars.  I recently acquired a bunch of #5's.  Are these okay for changing out my horn hooks for?

The #5's that you have aquired are perfect for Athearn & Roundhouse cars.   They have been the defacto upgrade standard for over 40 years

As the others have pointed out when you have exhausted your current supply of #5s there are many different models & new designs of couplers made by Kadee to consider for future conversions. 

For the Roundhouse conversions be careful with the little screw that holds the coupler cover in place.  They are very easy to overtighten and consequently strip.

Tags: Kadee
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Sunday, April 21, 2013 9:05 AM

NP2626
What UP 4-12-2 has left out is that the #148s are more expensive.  Purchased from Caboose Hobbies in bulk packs of 25 pair, the # 148 l costs $1.73 per pair whereas the #5s in 20 pair bulk packs cost $1.40 per pair. 

I can't talk myself into spending the extra money for the #148s, even for experimental purposes, as I doubt I would see any difference.  I've been using the #5s for 25 years now and unless Kadee drops the #5s from their line (a likely scenario, as anything I like, falls out of favor with the masses) the #5s will be my coupler of choice for the future.

I too have been using KD#5's, in my case since the early 80's when I was in college I switched from N to HO; guess that would be about 30 years now.  I've converted many kits from makers like Athearn, MDC, Accurail, Walthers, E&C and more, and found the bronze spring in the KD#5 kits to often be troublesome and if you get the coupler covers on snug the coupler often binds and doesn't center but gets jammed.  If you loosen up the pocket, the coupler sags.  Why not try the #148's.  Like green eggs and ham, you might find they are good!

 

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Posted by Medina1128 on Sunday, April 21, 2013 12:24 PM

riogrande5761

 Why not try the #148's.  Like green eggs and ham, you might find they are good!

 

I found some green ham in the fridge the other day.. I passed on it. Dead

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Sunday, April 21, 2013 12:54 PM

The Kadee #5 is a drop-in replacement for Athearn cars - in fact, Kadee used to sell a #10 coupler (without the draft gear box) specifically for that purpose.

For any styrene-bodied car, or any car that can be drilled for the Kadee-issue 2/56 screw, all that's required is to arrange a suitable flat spot at the right height from the railhead.  A Kadee coupler gauge, which checks coupler head height and uncoupler arm clearance, is a good investment.

Always the contrarian, my rolling stock requires Kadee #6 couplers as a straight-swap replacement for their original Baker couplers.  The screw hole is too far back for the #5 to swing properly.  Of course, I've been using Kadees for a LONG time - I still have some of the original K couplers in service.

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

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Posted by ndbprr on Sunday, April 21, 2013 12:56 PM
Athearn blue box cars need some easy tuning when installing Kadees. First remove the weight and check it for flatness. It is soft steel so pressing on it on a flat surface with your thumbs will correct the problem of a bent weight pushing the coupler pockets low. When you reinstall the metal clip for the bottom of the pocket gently squeeze it with a pair of pliars until you hear the ears snap in. then adjust the coupler height by adding Kadee washers between the truck and frame if low.
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Posted by mobilman44 on Sunday, April 21, 2013 5:10 PM

While there are ifs ands and buts, the answer is yes.   Get rid of the horn hooks, go with the KDs, and never look back.  Do make sure you bend (carefully) the "air hose" up a bit so it clears your turnouts.

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by alexstan on Sunday, April 21, 2013 5:43 PM

I use KD158's pretty much exclusively. Even replacing the McHenrys.

-Alexander-

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