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Coupler height question

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Coupler height question
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, November 26, 2002 11:43 AM
Hello,

I've recently begun a project to convert all my HO cars to knuckle couplers. Using a Kaydee height gauge I thought Kaydee #5 couplers would be what I need, but I've found that virtually ALL of the cars and engines, old and new, require the offset couplers (#47 kaydee) that raise the coupler height. Am I doing something wrong? I have two height gauges and an NMRA gauge and they all seem to agree that all the equipment is too low as provided by the manufacturers. Please advise.

Thanks,

Eric Aleo
Boston, MA
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, November 26, 2002 12:04 PM
Hi-All my diesels and rolling stock are equipped with Kadee #5 knuckle couplers. I had no height problem with the locos but with my rolling stock I had to install shims (Kadee) between the trucks and the car body in order to raise the coupler height.
There was also an article in a past issue of Model Railroader that dealt with these issues and how to best correct them. The article appeared about 3 months ago. Hope this helps some. Good luck-Bob
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, November 26, 2002 12:24 PM
Eric- The article I referred to in my prior posting was in the May 2002 issue. If you click on Model Railroader under magazines and then back issues you can order it. Bob
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Posted by rogerhensley on Tuesday, November 26, 2002 12:31 PM
Interesting. I've converted everthing to Kadee and almost everything took a number 5. I had very few cars with a height problem, but then I have mostly Athearn and MDC/Roundhouse with a smattering of new stuff. I keep the Kadee spacer washers on hand in case I need to raise a car on its trucks, but hat is not necessary very often.

Now, I did find when I was converting some of the older Bachmann, Life Like and Tyco cars with new trucks and Kadee's for my kids, that I need to the spacers in almost every case. But for very little else.

Interesting.

Roger

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Posted by BR60103 on Tuesday, November 26, 2002 2:35 PM
Eric:
If your gauges are unanimous about the height, then believe them. I find that some cars will come out low or high; that's why Kadee started making the offsets. It's easier to raise the height than lower it. Unfortunately, the #5 are often available at bargain prices while the others aren't.
Putting washers between the truck and the bolster is one cure. The downsides are that the car often looks too high and the washer may make the truck bind a little when it turns. Too many washers and you run out of pivot.
I think that Athearn standard boxcars are usually on the button, but I've heard others say that they're all off.
--David

--David

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, November 26, 2002 5:47 PM
Eric,

I only use offset couplers on engines. Most of my cars have one or two Kaydee washers on the bolsters. Good Luck - Ed
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, November 26, 2002 9:10 PM
I've got about a 125 cars and most I was able to get the right height by using the Kadee red and/or gray washers. Never used more than 2 per truck, if it needed more, then I went to the offsets. To keep them pivoting smoothly "spill" a little graphite on your work surface and rub the washers on the spot. No graphite?, rub a pencil on a peice of paper like your coloring a picture and rub the washers on that (it's just compressed graphite). You don't need much, just enough to give the red ones a little shading. They'll pivot freely. (GENTLY rub a pencil on the tip of the axles they'll spin like mad)

Luck - Pat
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, November 26, 2002 9:23 PM
Eric,

Depending on the Manufacturer of your cars you may need the offset couplers, shim washers, etc. I might suggest you go to Kadee.com. There you will find a roster of Manufacturers and which coupler is reccomended for each car or engine. Hope this helps.

John Newton
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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, November 27, 2002 8:23 AM
Just be thankful the wonderful folks at Kadee have made such a nice variety of offset couplers available and reasonably priced. Back when I first converted to Kadees (perhaps the smartest thing I ever did in the hobby) there were fewer choices than there are now for offsets
Dave Nelson
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, November 30, 2002 5:44 AM
Almost every one of my Athearn cars (kit cars, not ready to run) need the couplers raised to NMRA specs. I first began using the truck washers but was unhappy about the appearance of the increased height of the cars. I didn't care for Athearn's coupler pockets either. My solution was rather simple and cheap but does require a bit of work if you have numerous cars.

I purchased some Evergreen .060" by .25" strip and some 2-56 screws as required. I then used a razor saw to remove the stock coupler pocket from the underframe of the car. Using some CA (cyanoacrylate) I bonded a strip of Evergreen to the underside of the floor on each end of the car. I then driled and tapped a 2-56 hole in the exact center of each strip for a Kadee coupler pocket. If you like you can use a small amount of glue to tack the pocket in place before you drill, which allows precise placement of the pocket for drilling/tapping. I then used double sided tape to mount the supplied weight inside the car, instead of underneath. Now, all of my car's couplers are at the perfect height without needing any of the bolster shims. The Kadee coupler pockets are much better than the stock ones and are easier to maintain.

I hope this helps,

Joe Maxey

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