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Does the Metal Kadee Centering Spring have to go above the coupler?

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Does the Metal Kadee Centering Spring have to go above the coupler?
Posted by Harrison on Friday, November 1, 2019 6:52 PM

I just realized that in all the kit instructions, the metal spring goes in above the coupler. Does this effect the operation, or could I reverse it?

Harrison

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, November 1, 2019 6:57 PM

I have done so, when I didn't know any better.  It works fine.  Glueing the coupler box does not work, when that spring eventually wears out.  DAMHIK Tongue Tied

Henry

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, November 1, 2019 7:15 PM

Hi Harrison,

If you look at the spring you will see that the two sides are different. My understanding is that the spring is designed to allow the coupler to move more easily in one direction to facilitate uncoupling. As was said, the spring does seem to work when reversed but I would question why you would do that when Kadee has specified that the spring should only be installed on top of the coupler. I know it may make the couplers easier to assemble, but if you are having trouble putting them together Kadee has a jig that holds the coupler while you assemble it.

https://www.kadee.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=424

The easier solution is to buy Kadee #148 couplers. They have the centering spring built right in. They are much easier to work with. I don't use the #5s anymore, just #148s. There are versions with underset and overset shanks if you need them.

https://www.kadee.com/advanced_search_result.htm?main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=0&keyword=%23148

Dave

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Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, November 1, 2019 9:37 PM

hon30critter
As was said, the spring does seem to work when reversed but I would question why you would do that when Kadee has specified that the spring should only be installed on top of the coupler.

Dave, Before I converted to KDs in 66/67 we had a highly respected local "Master Modeler"( not NMRA type)  come to the Columbus HO club to teach us how to "correctly" install KD #5s.

I never notice all of my centering springs was installed upside down until 1977 when my wife made a observation while watching me assemble BB car kits..

She ask me in innocent voice: "Honey, why are you putting that brass thingy in upside down?" 

I foolessly stated it wasn't upside down..

Some where modelers was happy and cheerful  but,there was no joy at my work bench that daySigh -----she showed me the instructions.DunceBlack EyeEmbarrassed

Larry

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, November 1, 2019 10:25 PM

I installed them all upside down for years, until I found out I was doing it wrong.

.

They all worked just fine with the spring installed incorrectly. I would not sweat it if you have some that are wrong.

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, November 1, 2019 10:51 PM

BRAKIE
Some where modelers was happy and cheerful  but,there was no joy at my work bench that day -----she showed me the instructions.

LaughLaughLaughLaugh

Basic survival rule for a long life: listen to your wife!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh

Dave

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Posted by peahrens on Saturday, November 2, 2019 8:07 AM

hon30critter
If you look at the spring you will see that the two sides are different. My understanding is that the spring is designed to allow the coupler to move more easily in one direction to facilitate uncoupling. As was said, the spring does seem to work when reversed but I would question why you would do that when Kadee has specified that the spring should only be installed on top of the coupler. I know it may make the couplers easier to assemble, but if you are having trouble putting them together Kadee has a jig that holds the coupler while you assemble it.

The easier solution is to buy Kadee #148 couplers. They have the centering spring built right in. They are much easier to work with. I don't use the #5s anymore, just #148s. There are versions with underset and overset shanks if you need them.

 

I was not aware of the design feature of the large brass spring.  I, too, have gone to the easier to install #148 for most installations.

But it raises an interesting technical point.  If the original (separate) centering device was designed weaker on the uncoupling side, did Kadee design this behavior into the #148, which has a whisker on each side? 

EDIT: A different angle on the whisker edge on each side would accomplish that but not center the spring.   What might work would be a slightly weaker whisker on the uncoupling side.  That would require that the springs each just barely touch the sides of the coupler box when centered, so that the stronger spring did not push the couple off center.  I suspect that sophistication was not included.  The springs on each side seem the same, 0.12mm diameter and appear the same length.  And the effective length is the same, as each spring touches its side of the box, the same distance from the pivot point.

Just a matter of interest.  

Paul

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Saturday, November 2, 2019 9:49 AM

I noticed a bit back that there is a right and wrong way to put a #5 in, but I don’t think it would seriously effect operations if the springs were in wrong.

I don’t think I have actually ever put the springs in on the wrong side, but I have on numerous occasions put the entire coupler upside down so the trip pin was pointing up! I can confirm they will not work properly if you put them in that way!

Regards, Isaac

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Saturday, November 2, 2019 10:01 AM

My understanding is the KD bronze spring is designed to allow the delayed coupling action (if you use that feature).  If it isn't installed per KD instructions, that feature may not work properly.

Here is a link to the instructions:

https://www.kadee.com/instruc

If you click on the HO No. 5 instuctions, a PDF opens which include diagrams which show the bronze spring above the coupler in the box.

In some cases I have installed the spring under the coupler to give it a bit more height and the coupler worked fine, although the delay action may not work as well as it is supposed to.

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Posted by Harrison on Saturday, November 2, 2019 6:55 PM

 

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

SPSOT fan

I noticed a bit back that there is a right and wrong way to put a #5 in, but I don’t think it would seriously effect operations if the springs were in wrong.

I don’t think I have actually ever put the springs in on the wrong side, but I have on numerous occasions put the entire coupler upside down so the trip pin was pointing up! I can confirm they will not work properly if you put them in that way!

 

I have done that to. Bang Head

Harrison

Homeschooler living In upstate NY a.k.a Northern NY.

Modeling the D&H in 1978.

Route of the famous "Montreal Limited"

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Posted by wvg_ca on Sunday, November 3, 2019 1:21 AM

yes, the spring goes above .. this is because the brass wears quicker than the plastic will, and adversely affect the operation over time ..

however, unless you operate a great deal, you can safely put the spring underneath ... it does fit there as well ..

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, November 3, 2019 1:34 AM

SPSOT fan
I have on numerous occasions put the entire coupler upside down so the trip pin was pointing up! I can confirm they will not work properly if you put them in that way!

Hi Isaac,

Been there, done that! Why does it always happen with the coupler that was giving you the most difficulty in the first place?!?LaughLaughDunceLaugh

Dave

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Sunday, November 3, 2019 9:16 AM

I try to put the springs on top, but there have been some cases where it fit better below the coupler (like on some of my Athearn BB kits where the center pin faces up instead of down).  I don't use the extra features of the couplers, so for me, it's never caused a problem.

_________________________________________________________________

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, November 4, 2019 7:19 AM

hon30critter

 

 
SPSOT fan
I have on numerous occasions put the entire coupler upside down so the trip pin was pointing up! I can confirm they will not work properly if you put them in that way!

 

Hi Isaac,

Been there, done that! Why does it always happen with the coupler that was giving you the most difficulty in the first place?!?LaughLaughDunceLaugh

Dave

 

Or it happens in front of other people. First club show I was at (and not the first club I was a member of, and FAR from my first time using Kadee couplers), someone backed in to a cut of Athearn hoppers too had and popped a coupler. I was standign right there so I gradded it to fix it, but I was also talking to a spectator, along with another club member who had been there significantly longer than me. And promptly put the coupler in upside-down. Doh! How come when I'm sitting by myself at my workbench, assembling kits, i NEVER put one in upside down? 

                                       --Randy

 


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Posted by John-NYBW on Monday, November 4, 2019 8:30 AM

I never gave it much thought as to which is the right way. Almost always I am installing the couplers with the car turned upside down so naturally the first thing I do is put the brass centering spring in first which puts it on the top. I guess if you are using the KD coupler pockets and installing them on the car you could do it either way but I can't remember the last time I did that. 

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who occasionally puts the coupler on upside down with the pin pointing up. 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, November 4, 2019 8:54 AM

One great feature of most Kadee coupler boxes is that the cover is thinner than the box.

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If you assemble the whole thing upside down in the box, you can use this feature to correct some slight coupler height issues.

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This is mentioned in the 30 series intruction, but it works with other coupler boxes as well.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, November 4, 2019 10:08 PM

rrinker
someone backed in to a cut of Athearn hoppers too had and popped a coupler. I was standign right there so I gradded it to fix it, but I was also talking to a spectator, along with another club member who had been there significantly longer than me. And promptly put the coupler in upside-down. Doh! How come when I'm sitting by myself at my workbench, assembling kits, i NEVER put one in upside down? 

That's because there is nobody there to be embarrased in front of! Why would Murphy waste his time when he can't embarrass you?!?Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh

Dave

 

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Posted by SROC99 on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 10:15 AM

Harrison, the box spring is designed to "only" to be installed "on top of the coupler". If you look closely at at the spring you will see a big difference in the spring arms. As mentioned, there's a strong and weak side to help with uncoupling and delayed action. Also, note the end of the shank on the #5 type of couplers have different angles that are not symmetrical and these match the different spring arm angles. This is why it's important to always have the spring on top. If the spring is installed on the bottom it may work OK but eventually there will be problems. Note that when the couplers are coupled and in operation this takes the centering spring out of the performance issue so the spring on the bottom has no affect. It's when the coupler has to be uncoupled and centered properley that problems will arise and the spring may wear out faster. Remember that this is all late 1950s technology which is still the most popular in our coupler line, presently even more than our whisker couplers.

 Sam Clarke R&D Kadee Quality Products

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Posted by Harrison on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 10:34 AM

Thanks for the offical verdict Sam!

Harrison

Homeschooler living In upstate NY a.k.a Northern NY.

Modeling the D&H in 1978.

Route of the famous "Montreal Limited"

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 5:40 PM

I am so happy that someone from Kadee takes the time to respond and clear things up.

.

Thank you Sam.

.

-Kevin

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 12:31 AM

SROC99
Harrison, the box spring is designed to "only" to be installed "on top of the coupler". If you look closely at at the spring you will see a big difference in the spring arms. As mentioned, there's a strong and weak side to help with uncoupling and delayed action. Also, note the end of the shank on the #5 type of couplers have different angles that are not symmetrical and these match the different spring arm angles. This is why it's important to always have the spring on top. If the spring is installed on the bottom it may work OK but eventually there will be problems. Note that when the couplers are coupled and in operation this takes the centering spring out of the performance issue so the spring on the bottom has no affect. It's when the coupler has to be uncoupled and centered properley that problems will arise and the spring may wear out faster. Remember that this is all late 1950s technology which is still the most popular in our coupler line, presently even more than our whisker couplers.  Sam Clarke R&D Kadee Quality Products

Sam,

Thank you for taking the time to respond!

Dave

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 5:47 AM

SROC99
Remember that this is all late 1950s technology which is still the most popular in our coupler line, presently even more than our whisker couplers.

.

I do not use #5 couplers much anymore, but I use a lot of the 20 series couplers, and they use the same centering springs as the #5s do.

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The #5 is a rock-solid design. It does not surprise me that it still remains very popular.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 8:18 AM

SROC99

 Also, note the end of the shank on the #5 type of couplers have different angles that are not symmetrical and these match the different spring arm angles.

 Sam Clarke R&D Kadee Quality Products

 

Sam
 
I’ve been using the #5 since the 50s and now I know why they are the best coupler out there.
 
I have always installed the brass spring on the top, not because I read the instructions but because it was easier.
 
Thank you for providing the bit about the different angle on the shank, never noticed that but in looking closely it isn’t noticeable.  With my new eyes and X3 glasses I can see the difference.
 
Great engineering!!!!BowBowBow
 
 
Mel
 
 
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 11:47 AM

SROC99

Harrison, the box spring is designed to "only" to be installed "on top of the coupler". If you look closely at at the spring you will see a big difference in the spring arms. As mentioned, there's a strong and weak side to help with uncoupling and delayed action. Also, note the end of the shank on the #5 type of couplers have different angles that are not symmetrical and these match the different spring arm angles. This is why it's important to always have the spring on top. If the spring is installed on the bottom it may work OK but eventually there will be problems. Note that when the couplers are coupled and in operation this takes the centering spring out of the performance issue so the spring on the bottom has no affect. It's when the coupler has to be uncoupled and centered properley that problems will arise and the spring may wear out faster. Remember that this is all late 1950s technology which is still the most popular in our coupler line, presently even more than our whisker couplers.

 Sam Clarke R&D Kadee Quality Products 

There you have it from the horses mouth, as they say.  The link I posted earlier takes you to Kadee's own instructions, but Sam added some explanation.

It does appear that the whisker couplers are more symmetrical in nature and may not offer the same delay action as the older #5's do with the bronze spring mounted above the coupler.  So if the delay action is important to you, stick with the versions that come with the bronze spring.

In a few cases I have mounted the spring below the coupler and it worked fine but most are mounted per Kadee instructions.  I suppose worst case scenario according to Sam is I would evenually need to replace the bronze spring in a couple of my freight cars.

With the whisker couplers, that appear to be more popular these days, the bronze spring is removed from the equation.  I use both whisker and traditional bronze spring type Kadee's, and use what works best depending on the kit. 

The one change I have been making is I've stopped buying larger #5 style head Kadee's and am sticking with only the "scale head" 156 type couplers as I like the looks of them more. 

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 12:21 PM

 I always noticed the difference in the spring, and also that if you push the couplers, there is less force to once side than the other. But I guess I never put two and two together to realize it was the different cut of the spring that did this. Extremely clever bit of engineering. Remember, the first magna-matic couplers didn't have the delayed action, that came later. It's often explained as they didn't know how to make the magnet polarized down the middle to force the two couplers to opposite sides, but I think it had more to do with designing that little spring just right.

 I've always put the spring on top, because that's how it said to do it, and it tends to be easier when there is a coupler pocket on the car - drop in spring, which stays there by itself, then hold the coupler in place and put the lid on (which often needs 3 hands, unless it's the type that screws on). 

I suspect some of that clever engineering is there in the newer whisker couplers as well, though it doesn't much matter to me, I don't uses magnets or electromagnets, I use skewers so I can drop a car any where I need to.

                                       --Randy

 


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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 12:25 PM

I almost always assemble Kadee couplers in their own boxes and install the assembly onto the freight car.

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Assembling them this way, it was easier to put the spring on the bottom, which I will never do again.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 12:39 PM

I'm sure I have at least a few installed upside down, but I have no coupler problems with any of them.  But, I am meticulous about my track and uncouplings are rare.

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Posted by Autonerd on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 10:52 PM

Works both ways, but I recommend using the whisker-style couplers where possible. Those brass spring plates will eventually wear out, or the sides will get bent during assembly, or something will happen and the couplers will stop centering. That never seems to happen with the whisker couplers, unless the little metal whisker spring somehow gets pulled out.

I'm a car inspector at our club, and I see this failure mode (bent, broken or otherwise bad spring plate) on a regular basis.

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 11:16 PM

Autonerd
I recommend using the whisker-style couplers where possible. Those brass spring plates will eventually wear out, or the sides will get bent during assembly, or something will happen and the couplers will stop centering. That never seems to happen with the whisker couplers, unless the little metal whisker spring somehow gets pulled out.

I have had a couple of situations where the whisker spring got caught between the couple box and the cover when I was installing them. You just have to inspect your work to avoid the problem.

Dave

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, November 7, 2019 5:52 AM

I prefer to mount whisker couplers in the #262 "narrow" coupler box. This box is just a bit longer also, and the whiskers do not stick out as far.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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