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Well folks, I feel like I'm on a slippery slope here. I've been operating a mostly switching pike using a Lionel PWC NW2 for motive power. Then I went and bought an MTH SW1500.....and I'm instantly hooked on DCS with speed control. The trouble is that with slow speed switching moves there isn't sufficient impact to cause the lobster-claws to latch, which brings me then to Kadees. The problem is that I have 2 hidden O36 curves and I don't know whether body-mounted Kadees will negotiate curves that tight? If not has anyone had success mounting Kadees on MTH trucks? If so do Kadees align OK using 3-rail fast-angle wheelsets or is there frequent failure to couple?

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Lew 

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Last edited by geysergazer
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 This was used on the front of a Lionel 0-8-0. I have used the same method to mount them to the trucks of both steamers and diesels temporarily. Remove the coil coupler. Get a piece of brass or aluminum stock that will fit tightly into where the coil coupler came out. Leave the tabs in place. Drill and tap a hole in the stock for I believe a 10 32 screw. This will mount right where you removed the T pin for the stock coupler and should provide a tight fit. Now you just need to get the length you need and tap two 2 56  holes to mount the Kadee. You will then need to shim the Kadee or the mount you made to the proper height. The coupler will pivot with the truck and should pose no problems on 036. You will need to do your switching on straight portions only. Body mounting the couplers on your rolling stock should pose no issues. You can fix the Kadee’s to the engines chassis or body. Unfortunately in most cases. There’s no going back. Most times you have to remove the coil couplers mount in order to gain clearance. 

 This is on an MTH DL 109.

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I might be able to answer a few of your questions..............

Fast angle wheel sets should have no bearing as to the operation of the Kadee couplers.

If you have easements on your O-36 curves, you should have no problems with your trains going through them.  If not, there could be problems.  But the closer the trucks are to the ends of the cars, the better off you will be.  The shorter your locos and freight cars are, the better off you will be.  Coupling and uncoupling will work their very best on straight stretches of track.  Start throwing curved track into the equation however, and coupling/uncoupling success starts going downhill in a big hurry.

My observations are based on a lot of experience with N-scale Micro-Trains couplers, and I have no doubt that my experiences would hold true for any of the scales.  That being said, I have not tried Kadee couplers on O-scale as of yet.  O-scalers with actual experience can chime in and add even more yet to this.

Hope this helps. 

O36 if I am correct, is 18 inch radius.    In 2 rail we use radius, so I ma not 100 %.     However, I have tested Kadee couplers body mounted on 40 ft (prototype lengths) on 24 inch radius curves.     They worked fine in the sense that they did not derail the cars.   they would not align for automatic coupling on curves that tight.      Body mount Kadees do not align well on any kind of curve.   The center spring keeps them centered on the car end, not the track center.

I agree that fast angle wheels should have not bearing.

On a separate note, body mount couplers tend to cause less derailments when pushing - assuming the curve is not so sharp as the coupler swing.

Coming up with some way to talgo mount the couplers would get them working on some curves.   

On the other hand, you could just use a "pick" to uncouple manually  anywhere.     My standard "pick" is a long screwdriver with a blade around an 1/8 inch wide or a little smaller.    Stick it in and twist.

Thanks, people. I realize coupling has to be on straight track. That's how I have my pike set up anyway as even lobster claws have alignment problems on curves unless the two trucks coupling have the same wheelbase and shank length.

My question wrt fast-angle wheelsets is because I have observed (especially) just coming off a curve onto a straight the wheelsets aren't usually centered on the track (by intention-that is why a tapered wheel tread). For this reason occasionally even the lobster claws are misaligned by enough for coupling to fail the first try even several inches onto the straight.

This is Fastrack so no curve easements so I suspect body mounting isn't going to work on the O36 (yes, it is 18" radius) curves and I am stuck with it because the doorway into the room is 29" from the corner the O36 curve traverses.

Lew

If you are not worried about coupling on that curve, try body mount on one car and a loco and see how it works.     The SW/NW switchers are short wheelbase, so with 40 ft cars, I think there is a good chance it might work.     You need to worry about the coupler having enough swing to NOT derail the car by pulling it sidways on the curve.  

In the old days we used to mount Kadee couplers without the box and use the little hole on the back of the shank to connect a centering spring.   We would fill in the slot in the coupler and then drill it out for a 2-56 screw clearance.   then body mount the coupler using a 2-56 screw.    The slot in the coupler shank is about 1/4 inch, so you can adjust how far out the coupler is from the body by quite a bit to compensate for tighter curves.    That is what we do in 2 rail if needed on long cars.

OK, reading all the threads on the 3RS forum back three years it seems to be consensus that a usable rule-of-thumb is that for body-mounted Kadees the minimum curve diameter in inches can equal the maximum car length in feet. Thus 40 [scale] ft cars need at least O42 curves....I do love those 50' Pullman grain hoppers and it looks like they might work with Kadees on O48 Fastrack curves. Make sense to folks here who have experience with Kadees?

Lew

You probably want to test the cars/couplers on the planned curve.

Generally the issue with body mount is not going around the curve it is coupling automatically on curves.    With body mount, you need really wide curves or just couple on straight sections.    

Even in HO guys with 30 inch radius canot often couple on curves this would be equal to 60 inch radius or so in O.    

So the way you plan to use the curves may very important to what radius you can handle.     A train will stay coupled on pretty sharp curves that will not accomodate unassisted coupling.

I just need for the train to negotiate the curve without derailing. The two curves are each under a mountain (to hide how sharp they are). All coupling/uncoupling is done on straight track on the Plywood Empire Route. I think I'm going to buy some O48 Fastrack curves and convert a couple cars and do some testing. I would lose my return-loop if I convert to 3RS because I only have room there for O31 but I can live with that. I may just stuff a small interchange yard in my 11.5'X12.5' room.

I find there is a secondary scenic benefit to corner mountains: the train moving in two directions I find esthetically pleasing to my brain.

Lew

Mixed Freight posted:

I might be able to answer a few of your questions..............

Fast angle wheel sets should have no bearing as to the operation of the Kadee couplers.

If you have easements on your O-36 curves, you should have no problems with your trains going through them.  If not, there could be problems.  But the closer the trucks are to the ends of the cars, the better off you will be.  The shorter your locos and freight cars are, the better off you will be.  Coupling and uncoupling will work their very best on straight stretches of track.  Start throwing curved track into the equation however, and coupling/uncoupling success starts going downhill in a big hurry.

My observations are based on a lot of experience with N-scale Micro-Trains couplers, and I have no doubt that my experiences would hold true for any of the scales.  That being said, I have not tried Kadee couplers on O-scale as of yet.  O-scalers with actual experience can chime in and add even more yet to this.

Hope this helps. 

I will echo this comment.

When I was operating 3 rail cars with Kadee couplers I body mounted all of mine and had no issues with the wheel sets.  Mounted to the truck you shouldn't either.  However my minimum diameter was 054 for operating 40' freight cars.  The best part was running longer trains for me.  Hearing the slack action being pulled out of the train with the Kadee couplers was awesome and it didn't require proto anything!  Even at 10 cars the effect is quite nice.

For switching layouts, Kadee couplers do make sense.  The beauty of them is being able to slowly bring cars together and have them latch flawlessly.  The couplers just need to kiss to latch.

As nice as kaydee's look and work let me propose a different angle here. this is comming from first hand exsperiance. first off yes truck mounted kd couplers work just fine on 036 curves and switches. the time and cost to convert all your rolling stock to kd couplers is really time consuming. not to mention all the DIY fabrication to get the kd couplers on the various manufacturers truck designs. this can somtimes be a real PITA let me tell you I know. also let me stress if you want to run on 036 or smaller radius track. truck mounting the kaydee couplers is the only way to be able use kaydee couplers body mounting is out of the question. now truck mounting the kaydees can be done and like I said works. I know because I tried this myself on various types of truck designs from different manufacturers. I was going to do just as you wish some time back. I also have 036 curves and switches. then I discovered this little $2.00 if that trick and I literally changed the way I operate my railroad. 

I took a walmart $1.00 small led flash light and a piece of thick coat hanger type wire and a small piece of shrink tube, some black tape and wala. the picture in the first attchment should be very plane as to how to build my uncoupling tool. the u shape bend in the end of the wire is for uncoupling the hidden tab uncouping style trucks. the little piece of shrink wrap has two purposes. one it makes the tool look a little more professional and most important it helps the wire not to short out to the track when using it. also as a side advantage it helps not scuff your pieces of rolling stock when recoupling cars together. 

Now the next two short videos show how to use the uncoupling device. you can use it with the flashlight on if you need to see between the cars when uncoupling them. when recoupling some cars together at slow switching speeds I place the uncoupling tool somewhere on the car I am coupling too and this holds the car or string of cars to help the stubborn lobster claws go together. this avoids the slamming effect as you mentioned. 

I run legacy and mth engines with the mth dcs remote. I like the mth remote because I can have one hand for the remote and the other for the uncoupling/flashlight tool. I have been using this for over 6 months now and just love it. I found out after using this tool for a while that now I can switch almost any car made any where I can reach them. this I believe this would be ideal for a shelf layout with 036 curves. plus a one time cost of $2.00 is a lot less than $10.00 for a pack of kaydee's wich by the way is only enough for two cars. not to mention the mounting bracket parts you would need to have to fabricate for each brand of wheel sets. give this a try and if you dont like it then you can go the kd couple route. I bet like me once you try it and get the knack of it you will be glad you never wasted your money on kaydees. just my two cents.  

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Last edited by Lionelzwl2012

I'm going to set up an O48 curve and see about body-mounted Kadees. My problem is this corner wrt the adjacent doorway:

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Any curve larger than O48 has the curve ending on the lift-out with the complication that would entail. Still, it might be worth it. I'd just daylight that tunnel I thin k. That O36 track switch will have to be replaced by an O72 version.

Lew

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Lionelzwl2012 posted:

As nice as kaydee's look and work let me propose a different angle here. this is comming from first hand exsperiance. first off yes truck mounted kd couplers work just fine on 036 curves and switches. the time and cost to convert all your rolling stock to kd couplers is really time consuming. not to mention all the DIY fabrication to get the kd couplers on the various manufacturers truck designs. all though it can be done I know because I tried this myself. I was going to do just as you wish some time back. then I discovered this little $2.00 if that trick. 

I took a walmart $1.00 small led flash light and a piece of thick wire and a small piece of shrink tube and wala. the picture in the first attchment should be very plane as to how to build my uncoupling tool. the u shape bend in the end of the wire is for uncoupling the hidden tab uncouping style trucks. the little piece of shrink wrap has two purposes. one it makes the tool look a little more professional and most important it helps the wire not to short out to the track when using it. also as a side advantage it helps not scuff your pieces of rolling stock when recoupling cars together. 

Now the next two short videos show how to use the uncoupling device. you can use it with the flashlight on if you need to see between the cars when uncoupling them. when recoupling some cars together at slow switching speeds I place the uncoupling tool somewhere on the car I am coupling too and this holds the car or string of cars to help the stubborn lobster claws go together. this avoids the slamming effect as you mentioned. 

I run legacy and mth engines with the mth dcs remote. I like the mth remote because I can have one hand for the remote and the other for the uncoupling/flashlight tool. I have been using this for over 6 months now and just love it. I found out after using this tool for a while that now I can switch almost any car made any where I can reach them. this I believe this would be ideal for a shelf layout with 036 curves. plus a one time cost of $2.00 is a lot less than $10.00 for a pack of kaydee's wich by the way is only enough for two cars. not to mention the mounting bracket parts you would need to have to fabricate for each brand of wheel sets. give this a try and if you dont like it then you can go the kd couple route. I bet like me once you try it and get the knack of it you will be glad you never wasted your money on kaydees. just my two cents.  

Roger, I discovered and watched your videos awhile back. Good technique! What really bugs me about OEM couplers is the crash speed necessary to have them latch.

I don't have the problem with lobster claws that many people do because I like to watch the knuckles open and close like the real thing. 

   IMG_1146

Lew

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