Hello everyone,


I’m again assembling a 30 car freight train using Atlas cars.  I am planning on (Again) installing Kadee couplers simply because I’ve had fewer problems with separations running on a layout with gradients.  I’d rather use the OEM couplers as they actually look better than the Kadee but don’t know how or if it’s possible to make the Atlas couples perform up to Kadee standards.  The knuckle spring seems to be too weak and disassembling the Atlas coupler box usually results in irreparable damage.  
Anyone have any tips on how to make the Atlas coupler perform better or should I just go ahead and replace them?

Thanks.

Original Post
PRR 5841 posted:

Hello everyone,


I’m again assembling a 30 car freight train using Atlas cars.  I’d rather use the OEM couplers as they actually look better than the Kadee

Are you saying that the OEM Atlas couplers look better than the Kadee 740 et al Scale couplers?

Atlas and the original Kadee couplers are the most toylike of the "O scale" couplers.  The latest generation of the Kadee, the 740-747 have somewhat the shape and dimension of an AAR type E coupler.

The only better choices are Protocraft or San Juan, etc., if you want better accuracy.  

Rob M. ARHS # 3846 PRRT&HS # 8141 EPTC "Life Is Like A Mountain Railway, With An Engineer That's Brave..."

I've had some Atlas couplers fail -- a couple from zinc pest and a couple with knuckle failure. I find that a Kadee 745 (plastic box) can be jockeyed onto an Atlas car using 2mmx8 screws and a single MicroMark shim. The coupler box will stick out from the end sill slightly, but will be at the right height. Kadee 700-series couplers are superior to the Atlas. If you want something better looking. you you have to go with ProtoCraft which work, but aren't really suitable for switching as they lock in pretty tight from what I've observed. I don't even bother trying to couple to hi-rail couplers -- I use transition cars

Matt Jackson
"The best service you can provide for the hobby is to pass on what you have learned."

 Angels Gate Hi-Railers San Pedro, California

"Celebrating over 20 years of moving freight and passengers from Point A to Point A!"
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I like Kadees and I like the 805s the best.   they are not quite as prototypical, but I have lots of cars with them and they work well with each other.   I have never had one break either.     I found that trying to mix Atlas, Weaver, and Kadees did not work well for switching.    They  coupled OK most of the time, but uncoupling was nearly impossible.    So I standardized on the Kadees for better operation.   

Now in typical toy maker tradition, Atlas made the mounting holes on their bodies slight incompatible with Kadee in order to try to force you to use their product exclusively.    I found that better than forcing, I put a #50 bit in a power drill motor and grind the rear hole in the kadee box into more of a slot toward the open end.    Then the screws do not have to be forced.    A 2x8mm screw is good for mounting Kadees to most Atlas cars.   

the 700 series Kadees are very nice too and I think would be good if the whole fleet had them.   since I have so many old Kadees, I don't want to change.

A local club tested all the various couplers available about 5 years ago and found the Kadees would handle about 5 times as much load as the other brands before breaking.

I use Atlas,the older style and also the newer ones. The older ones are a REAL MESS as they have to be "slammed" together to couple. I have a few Kadees,the 740s. I'm trying to convert to Protocraft for the ultimate in realism and the single and double shelf couplers from Jimmy Booth which is the Protocraft coupler only with safety shelves on,which were used from 1978 onwards.  I've found all couple with each other and seem to work ok on larger curves. To couple requires opening the Protocraft knuckle for best results and then push the knuckle of the Atlas or Kadee ,whichever your coupling up to,so the knuckle of the Kadee or Atlas coupler is firmly closed grasping the Protocraft knuckle,otherwise the cars don't couple. Sometimes a Kadee will couple to the Protocraft without the Protocraft's knuckle being opened,but find this to be the exception and not the rule.

I'm using everything I can until,in the year 3535,(LOL),I can afford to fit all my  rolling stock and diesels with the Protocraft type couplers. I like to do all my coupling and switching,including groundthrows on my turnouts,as close to prototype practices as possible. 

Hope this helps.

As Always,

Al Hummel

I have found the newest style Atlas couplers (with knuckle springs) are OK if you replace the Atlas centering spring with softer Kadee centering springs.  They then operate fairly reliably and can intermix with Kadee couplers.  That being said using Kadee's is still the best answer.

J2M

  

prrjim posted:

I like Kadees and I like the 805s the best.   they are not quite as prototypical, but I have lots of cars with them and they work well with each other.   I have never had one break either.     I found that trying to mix Atlas, Weaver, and Kadees did not work well for switching.    They  coupled OK most of the time, but uncoupling was nearly impossible.    So I standardized on the Kadees for better operation.   

Now in typical toy maker tradition, Atlas made the mounting holes on their bodies slight incompatible with Kadee in order to try to force you to use their product exclusively.    I found that better than forcing, I put a #50 bit in a power drill motor and grind the rear hole in the kadee box into more of a slot toward the open end.    Then the screws do not have to be forced.    A 2x8mm screw is good for mounting Kadees to most Atlas cars.   

the 700 series Kadees are very nice too and I think would be good if the whole fleet had them.   since I have so many old Kadees, I don't want to change.

A local club tested all the various couplers available about 5 years ago and found the Kadees would handle about 5 times as much load as the other brands before breaking.

I like your description on elongating the rear box hole towards the front opening.  Haven’t measured it yet but am guessing .010”- .015” is all it takes.  👍🏻

Alan Hummel posted:

Simon,

Thank you for the info. Do you know which issues they are as I subscribed and think I have gotten 3-4 issues to date.

Thank you.

Al

Al,

The issue you want is #77 Jan/Feb 2015. It is a 9 page article by a fellow named Dan Pence titled "Coupler Compatibility"

Back issues used to be available on the old OST website. You might want to contact White River Publications (New Owner) to check on availability.

Simon

 

 

 

 

Jeff78rr posted:

I also use the 740's over anything else. I like the metal gearboxes on the 740 over the 745's plastic boxes. The couplers are the exact same...

Jeff,   One problem I’ve experienced using the plastic boxes (Kadee 80?) was the propensity for the couplers on the cars up front (30 cars) to move vertically under high stress (Going uphill) sometimes resulting in separation.  While strict attention to proper height has eliminated the separation problem, some couplers still move vertically under stress resulting in some cars having only half the knuckle engaged.  Is there better vertical control using metal boxes?

Thanks

The issue you want is #77 Jan/Feb 2015. It is a 9 page article by a fellow named Dan Pence titled "Coupler Compatibility"

Back issues used to be available on the old OST website. You might want to contact White River Publications (New Owner) to check on availability.

#77 Jan/Feb 2015 is available from White River Publications on the OST back issues page


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PRR 5841 posted:
Jeff78rr posted:

I also use the 740's over anything else. I like the metal gearboxes on the 740 over the 745's plastic boxes. The couplers are the exact same...

Jeff,   One problem I’ve experienced using the plastic boxes (Kadee 80?) was the propensity for the couplers on the cars up front (30 cars) to move vertically under high stress (Going uphill) sometimes resulting in separation.  While strict attention to proper height has eliminated the separation problem, some couplers still move vertically under stress resulting in some cars having only half the knuckle engaged.  Is there better vertical control using metal boxes?

Thanks

The answer to this is yes-- the metal boxes help eliminate the potential up/down movement of the coupler inside the gearbox. Plus you can tighten the screws to secure it to the car as tight as you want. The plastic boxes tend to lock up the coupler if too tight. Just my opinion..

Jeff Sohn

MR-150 posted:

Can the couplers from the 800 series be used in the 700 series with the metal boxes

Do you mean will the 800 series couple OK with the 700 series? The answer is yes.

If you mean can the 800 series couplers be used in the metal gear boxes from the 700 series? The answer is yes, as ALL the metal gear boxes are the same, no matter whether from the 800 series or the 700 series.

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