Since I don't have the funds to convert couplers right now,nor are shelf couplers available,so I'm stuck with the Atlas 2 rail couplers. My problem is they won't couple unless slammed together unprototypically unless they are coupling to a cut of 6-10 cars. I used pencil graphite on some knuckles to no avail,so does anyone have solutions for this problem? "Slip plate," used on older farm hay bailers is used to make hay bales slide well is the only other idea I have,but this is sold in gallons & is expensive so this would be a last resort. Why Atlas ever made such stubborn couplers is beyond me.

Where's our Atlas "ears"? I've tried contacting R&D at Atlas leaving voicemails a couple of times weeks before the Chicago show,with no response-what gives?

Thanks to all for your replies.

Al Hummel

Original Post

The man from Purdue beat me to the punch. Atlas couplers have to issues -- the centering springs and the knuckle springs. Both are way stiffer than they need to be. To add to the mix, some of the older couplers also had zinc rot/zinc pest. I'm examining some Kadee 700 series to see what I'd have to do to get them into an Atlas box, which is actually nicer than the Kadee box in my opinion.

Down the road, if you want to replace the Atlas couplers with Kadees, the Kadee boxes will mount on the standard Atlas mount if you use 2mmx8mm metric screws in the holes, but you'll have to shim the boxes down a bit as they'll be abut 1/16" too high.


Matt Jackson
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Starting with the 1970's era O gauge product line (made in Austria by Roco)  over the years Atlas revised the design of their O scale coupler at least 5 times.  The one common denominator was a coupler box with snap on lid and hidden mounting screws that do not match  Kadee's spacing or setback from the end sill.  The latest AtlasO design has a Kadee 805 clone head with an external spring.  As you've discovered they still have issues but as others have pointed out the cane operate better if you substitute softer Kadee springs.  If you do eventually replace them with Kadees, I recommend drilling and tapping new mounting holes properly inset from the end sill so the couplers sit like the prototype the car is modelling.  In the past week I completed mounting Kadees on a large roster of AtlasO H21 hoppers.  They now look and work better.  If anyone wants/needs any earlier style (internal spring)  AtlasO couplers, email me and I'll send them to you for the cost of shipping.  

Ed Rappe           PRRT&HS 421

Having trouble with my early 2000s Atlas 40-reefers coming uncoupled. Not one bit of problems however with more recent reefers, or tankers or hoppers for that matter. Is it a suitable fix to upgrade to more recent Atlas couplers? I really don't want to drill all these reefers.


I'll go along with Kadee shank springs and if you want to try one more thing before you do the full Kadee replacement, take your side cutters to the fixed side of the Atlas coupler, take a 1/16" or so off it and file it to a smooth edge again.  Because the Kadee head is angled (non-prototypical ... but good!) it doesn't fit in the Atlas knuckle (the Weaver was better wasn't it), but taking that little bit off opens the knuckle up slightly.


After trouble-shooting my string of 40-foot Atlas reefers, and replacing some broken Atlas couplers with new Atlas couplers, I had one car that kept giving me problems, uncoupled every trip around the track. Turned out it was an Atlas reefer that was only offered in 3-rail, and a previous owner had converted to 2-rail USING KADEE COUPLERS. I immediately removed the Kadees and replaced with new Atlas, problem solved. 


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