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Kadee couplers not self centering

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Kadee couplers not self centering
Posted by bearman on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 6:41 AM

I have some whisker couplers, #'s 148 and 156 which are not centering.  Is the gear box cover too tight?

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 6:46 AM

I would recomment you only use Kadee's gear boxes if possible. I have been able to do this on everything except some tank cars and cabooses.

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Yes, making the cover too tight can make the coupler bind.

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What exactly is the situation? Is this on a certain car?

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 6:56 AM

bearman

I have some whisker couplers, #'s 148 and 156 which are not centering.  Is the gear box cover too tight?

 

Before you go to all the work Kevin goes to, what brand are the offending cars?

Covers may be too tight, springs may be binding on the box side, spring may be damaged.

There may be a burr on the box or the cover, the list goes on.

More info will help.

I have 800 freight cars and seldom have found it necessary to cut off factory coupler boxes and install Kadee boxes.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by bearman on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 7:15 AM

I have not noticed that it is on a particular car or from a particular manufacturer.  However, I will admit that I tossed the original packing material so I cannot adress the car manufacturer issue.  I can tell you that in the case, there is more than one, one coupler on one end of the car centers nicely, and the other coupler on the other end does not.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 8:09 AM

bearman

I have not noticed that it is on a particular car or from a particular manufacturer.  However, I will admit that I tossed the original packing material so I cannot adress the car manufacturer issue.  I can tell you that in the case, there is more than one, one coupler on one end of the car centers nicely, and the other coupler on the other end does not.

 

Then I would likely need pictures to offer much more help.

Maybe it's just me, and my working in the hobby shop background, but I would say I can look at most any piece of rolling stock and know who made it, at least to a 95% accuracy......

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Omaha53 on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 8:15 AM

There can be various problems besides tight covers. I just built several P2K kits and there were mold marks on the inside of the covers that needed to be filed off. That would probably help tight covers in general. On some Kadee couplers I have seen some little burrs on the shank that needed to be filed smooth. On the whisker couplers I have to be careful that one of the whiskers is not caught between the coupler box and lid. That will pull the couler off center.

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Posted by Water Level Route on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 8:42 AM

Omaha53
On the whisker couplers I have to be careful that one of the whiskers is not caught between the coupler box and lid.

This was my thought.  I've had whiskers snag on that joint between box and cover without having been actually pinched in it.  Shimming the bottom of the coupler with a small Kadee washer solved it.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 10:07 AM

SeeYou190

I would recommend you only use Kadee's gear boxes if possible. I have been able to do this on everything except some tank cars and cabooses.

-Kevin

That sounds like a hobby in and of it's own!  I know I don't have time to change out stock draft gear on hundreds of rolling stock for Kadee gear boxes.  Radical!

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

Silly Aspie's, I have NT syndrome

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Posted by SROC99 on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 10:11 AM

Bearman,  As mentioned there are a number of things that might keep the couplers from centering properly.  To check the whisker couplers, carefully look at the opening of the coupler box and check if the tips of both whiskers are visible and set about the same height and location on both sides of the coupler shank. If the coupler is set to one side and not centered check the location of the whisker on the short side. The most common issue is the whisker is cought in the seam between the box wall and lid.

On a properly installed whisker coupler, push the coupler to one side and the whisker tip will retract into the box on that side and the opposite side the whisker will protrued. Push the coupler to the other side and check the whiskers as before.  Also, make sure the whiskers are touching the side walls of the box when the coupler is centered. 

Contact me directly if you can't find or correct the problem.

Sam Clarke R&D Kadee Quality Products  mail@kadee.com

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Posted by G Paine on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 10:22 AM

Kadee makes Greas-em a powdered graphite dry lubricant. I use it on my couplers and coupler boxes. Sprinkle a bit of powder on the top and bottom of the coupler box and rub in with the handle of a needle file. If there are no burrs or flash on the coupler box, it may help the coupler to move better.

https://www.walthers.com/greas-em-dry-graphite-lubricant-3-16oz-5-5g?ref=1

 

George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 10:46 AM

As a short reply.

Check the coupler box lid it might be to tight.

Use a jewlers file and burnish the shaft. This should make the coupler work smoother.

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 10:56 AM

BRAKIE

As a short reply.

Check the coupler box lid it might be to tight.

Use a jewlers file and burnish the shaft. This should make the coupler work smoother.

^ this is the common sense things to check and modus operandi for kit building for me as well.

I've especially had the old KD#5 bind on my in Athearn and Walthers kit freight cars - usually too tight in those cases as well.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

Silly Aspie's, I have NT syndrome

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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 11:11 AM

From time to time I do hear that a car with the "whisker" Kadee couplers which has been more or less jammed into a box or other packaging with the coupler shoved hard to one side results in the whisker taking on what could be called plastic memory - a loss of flexibility.  I have not had this happen to me even though some of my cars do indeed fit tightly into their original boxes.  But some others report it has happened to them.

Try swapping the kadees on this particular car end to end.  That should tell you whether it is the coupler or the draft gear box at fault.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by nealknows on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 12:11 PM

One thing to make sure when using the whisker couplers is to make sure the coupler is sitting flat in the coupler box before you put the cover back on. Sometinmes that little whisker can get caught when you put the cover back on and will get caught in between the cover and frame of the coupler box.

Good luck!

Neal

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Posted by BN7150 on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 12:23 PM

I certainly have the experience that #148 was harder to center than #5. I guessed that the friction between the whiskers and the inner surface of the draft gear increased due to painting the draft gear. Painting also adversely affects friction on the rotating shaft, the bottom and top surface. I recommend that the inner surface of the draft gear be not painted.

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Posted by bearman on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 1:21 PM

My mind is spinning.  I never thought couplers could be so complicated.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 2:04 PM

It boils down to basicaly 2 things Bearman, either the coupler box is tightened to much, or one of the whisker springs is caught, or broke off, or they're both broke off.

Take the coupler box apart and see what gives.

I thought you did good!  One of the people from Kadee responded to your post!  Scroll up about half way, the poster named  SROC99.

Either that or who ever he is is fooling us! Surprise

Nothing like going right to the top Bearman!

Mike.

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Posted by bearman on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 5:24 PM

Mike, that is Sam, I assume, the Kadee Answer Man.  On occasion I have left a question on the Kadee site, and the site says, a response will be forthcoming in 48 hours. Sam usually does it in an hour or two.  Apparently it is true that some vendors monitor these forums.  

I took apart the coupler box apart and saw that there was a copper shim, for want of a better word, which was probably binding the whiskers.  I probably left it in when I changed out the couplers many moons ago because that is how the original couplers were installed.  I am thinking that the car is a Bachmann.  I reinstalled the couplers without the shim and the problem is solved for now, or at least on that car.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by robert sylvester on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 5:25 PM

Cowboy I am sure everyone knows this but I did not see it mentioned. With each bag of couplers Kadee gives rather a nice description on making sure the coupler is installed right and gives you ideas on how to make them work in a smooth and functioning fashion. By following the direction, they are on line as well, you should find that it will take a lot of the headache out of installing them properly.

You can't just take them out of the bag and put them in, it actually takes a little prep work and that is all explained in the installation directions. By doing so I have no problems with my my couplers and they spring back to center fine.

Hope that helps.

Robert Sylvester

Newberrt-Columbia Line, SC

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 5:29 PM

That copper (or brass?) shim is for the regular #5, a coupler with out whiskers.  The little tabs on each side of that shim gives the coupler it centering.

If you have the a coupler with the whiskers, you don't need that little "shim", unless the coupler sags.  

Mike.

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Posted by bearman on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 5:37 PM

Mike, yup I have found out that that shim is not needed with the whisker couplers.  As for the instructions, like I indicated above in another post, I never knew couplers could be so complicated.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by PC101 on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 8:21 PM

Only trouble i had with a wisker coupler was that the wisker came out or broke back at the crimp. I don't remember which anymore.

The worst that I have seen was the guy that came in to the LHS and said he had trouble with the couplers hooking together on some of his cars. At that moment I saw the trip pin/hose pointing up and away from the car. 

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