How To Remove Atlas O Couplers

I now have a Kadee coupler height gauge. Many of my Atlas cars need couplers to be readjusted. How do I remove the couplers without destroying the train car?

Atlas put these couplers on their O scale cars to remain in place for all eternity. What should I do?

Original Post

Look at the under side of the car/coupler.   The rear of the coupler box has a slotted tab that holds the bottom of the box in place.    I use 2 small sharp screw drivers to slip between this tab and bend it backwards away from the coupler until the bottom of the box snaps out.    Then I remove the coupler and centering spring.   There are 2 small screws holding the box to the body.   Remove the 2 small screws and install what you want.

Alternately if you don't care whether the Atlas coupler survives,  simply cut the tab away with a hobby knife or break it off with needle nose pliers.

Now the negative here is that the holes for the Atlas box are just a little short for the Kadee box.    I use a drill (#43 I think) to elongate the hole in the REAR of the Kadee box until the holes will match with the Atlas underbody.

Atlas uses Metric screws - most times fine thread, but sometimes coarse.      A 2x8mm screw will fit to install the Kadee Box.   The 2 fits Atlas holes, and the 8 MM is long enough to mount the Kadee box.

Most times with 2 rail trucks, the couplers measure at the right height according to the gauge.   However, on a few cars I have had to lower the couplers with shims.

Like Jim says. I tire of trying to remove the Atlas box without damage. So I just cut off the tab keeper and remove the box lid.

I've found that even with the short spacing of the screw holes. If I start the screws with the Kadee box raised up, instead of down on the frame, I can get the box screwed down without modification.

I am John Galt !

Chris

PRR Man posted:

Like Jim says. I tire of trying to remove the Atlas box without damage. So I just cut off the tab keeper and remove the box lid.

I've found that even with the short spacing of the screw holes. If I start the screws with the Kadee box raised up, instead of down on the frame, I can get the box screwed down without modification.

A pair of diagonal cutters...I'm with you, Chris...

MF

I find that judicious application of a 24 oz hammer to the coupler box backed by a moderate sized anvil solves most problems associated with Atlas couplers.


A good deal of strategic planning is like a ritual rain dance.

It has no effect on the weather that follows, but those who engage in it think it does. 

Furthermore, much of the advice related to strategic planning is directed at improving the

dancing, not the weather.

 

 

 Anyone need a whole bag full of Atlas gearboxes?

Stack them up into a pile on your layout and call it scenery.


A good deal of strategic planning is like a ritual rain dance.

It has no effect on the weather that follows, but those who engage in it think it does. 

Furthermore, much of the advice related to strategic planning is directed at improving the

dancing, not the weather.

 

 

IMO the optimum fix would be if Kadee offered a retrofit coupler specially designed for bolt on mounting to AtlasO cars.    A retrofit pocket would mount to AtlasO under frames using the existing hole locations and screws, and be in a location that does not extend beyond the end will.    The new design lid would be attached to the plastic pocket by a self tapping screw driven into the pocket's centering post.  Such and approach would entail Kadee investing in new tooling for the pocket and coupler shank.  Since the 1970's Atlas has imported tens of thousands of nicely detailed O scale rolling stock.  Unfortunately despite at least 5 redesigns of their scale couplers they still do not couple and uncouple as smoothly as  Kadees.  Call or email Kadee and encourage them to consider producing an easy to install coupler for Atlas rolling stock.  

Ed Rappe           PRRT&HS 421

Keystoned Ed posted:

IMO the optimum fix would be if Kadee offered a retrofit coupler specially designed for bolt on mounting to AtlasO cars.    A retrofit pocket would mount to AtlasO under frames using the existing hole locations and screws, and be in a location that does not extend beyond the end will.    The new design lid would be attached to the plastic pocket by a self tapping screw driven into the pocket's centering post.  Such and approach would entail Kadee investing in new tooling for the pocket and coupler shank.  Since the 1970's Atlas has imported tens of thousands of nicely detailed O scale rolling stock.  Unfortunately despite at least 5 redesigns of their scale couplers they still do not couple and uncouple as smoothly as  Kadees.  Call or email Kadee and encourage them to consider producing an easy to install coupler for Atlas rolling stock.  

I prefer to simply remove and discard the complete Atlas coupler & box assembly, drill & tap new CORRECT mounting holes, and mount the Kadee gearbox & coupler assembly where I think they should be.

Ed Kelly posted:

HW,

What do you do if the new holes overlap with the original holes?

Ed

I have yet to have that happen on ANY of the many Atlas O cars I have purchased and up-graded to Kadee couplers. However, if that really was/is an issue, I would then use the center mounting holes of the Kadee gearbox.

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