F7 coupler clips

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by oldtanker, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    I don't know if thats what they are really called but I'm in great need of the plastic clips that hold the couplers on Athearn F7s or a means of converting them that will withstand kids. Anyone know of a source or fix?

    Thanks

    Rick
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    If it is just a little plastic cover, you can make them out of styrene or any other fairly rigid plastic. You may need to drill/tap the centre post to secure the cover.

    If they are the little metal covers that snap over, you can file the plastic part a little so that the metal cover snaps on more relably. (see the diagram - you want to file down the "top" of the little triangle that sticks out).

    If you are sure that they are operating reliably, you can glue the plastic covers on. This does make maintenance (if required) more difficult, but not impossible. I have glued a few problematic ones on. You only need a sharp Xacto knife to get them open again if needed.

    Andrew

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  3. HOseeker

    HOseeker New Member

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  4. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    Thanks Andrew, that looks kinda labor intensive....may try it though.

    Thanks Larry I sent em an email.

    Rick
  5. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    I find the plastic clip on the SuperWeight F7 is rather flimsy (wierd considering that the rest of the locomotive is built like a tank!). :D

    I just said the hell with it and drilled and tapped 2-56 screw holes, and installed Kadee #47 underset couplers. It's a lot more solid and works A LOT better. :thumb:

    Added bonus: The stock couplers seemed too low and tend to catch on turnouts. The #47s raised the couplers to the proper height. PLUS, I drilled the holes a bit more inboard so the coupling is closer-- Using the stock couplers, there seems to be a scale 5 feet between the rear end of the loco and the car behind it. The fix decreased the gap to around 3 feet or so and looks lot better. (Photos below.)

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  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I drill and tap all of the center posts on all of my Athearn cars and install a #2-56 screw to hold the coupler clips in place. Originally Irv made the clips out of spring steel. Then after his passing they were changed to mild steel and didn't hold their "spring". Putting in screws eliminated all problems with the clip falling off and the coupler falling out of the pocket.
  7. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    Ok thanks guys.

    Rick
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    One more thing, Rick, the reason Athearn made the distance between the units so long was to facilitate operation on tight radius tracks. Realistic close coupling would put the distance between units at 2-3 feet instead of a scale 5 feet, but it only works if you have a wide radius to work with. In 18-22 nch radius curves, the stock Athearn distance will work better. If they are coupled too close together, the bodies will hit before the locomotive makes a tight enough turn to get around 18-22 inch radius.
  9. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    Can I use the box couplers that can with the Kadee couplers?

    Rick
  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Yes, just drill the metal tab on the frame with a #50 bit and tap for #2-56 screw. I put in the "tips & tricks" forum a while back a method I use to build my Kaddees so that I don't feel like I'm all thumbs trying to install them. I put the box & couplers together with a screw & nut. Then I use a little Testors liquid glue around the edges at the joint between the coupler box & lid. After the glue has set up, I remove the screw & nut, and it is ready to install as a coupler/draft gear box assembly. When you install the Kaddee couplers, you may find that they are too low. If you use a file to remove material from the bottom of the coupler mounting tab on the Athearn frame, you can raise the couplers up. The other alternative is to use the Kaddee couplers with the offset head where the coupler head is up in relation to the draw bar.
  11. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    Ok Russ I'll check the local hardware store in the morning for a bit and tap.

    Rick
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Good luck, Rick. Those small sizes are almost hobby only items. Hardware stores seldom carry anything that small.
  13. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    Gee thanks Russ, closest hobby shop is 90 miles....guess the wife will just have to live with me going back...LOL....now where is that trench coat???

    Rick
  14. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    Oldtanker:

    Well, if you are going to go all the way to the hobby shop for the drill bit, tap, and 2-56 screws, you might as well pick up some Kadee #47 underset couplers too to get the right coupler height. :D

    For the record, on that F7 I modified with the Kadee #47s in the above photos to get the closer coupling, it did not bump into the corners on the cars behind it on 18" curves. And that included 40-foot box cars and 85-foot Amtubes. :thumb:

    As a matter of fact, the medium-length shank #47 still looks too long. I suspect I can swap in the short-shank #44 underset couplers and it might still work on 18"r curves.

    Hope this helps!
  15. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    And maybe a couple of more decoders....and a few more cars....and some flex track and switches and roadbed and.....

    Rick
  16. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    ....locomotives.

    "do I REALLLY need another engine?" sign1sign1sign1
  17. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    Tom yup, I need 5 more F units to finish the grand kid project (i have 3), I have only 2 SWs, 2 GP38s and a GP7.....I figure I need an engine for each day of the year!


    Rick