Tip for making Kaddee couplers easier to mount.

Discussion in 'Tips & Tricks' started by Russ Bellinis, Feb 1, 2006.

  1. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I posted this tip in one of the other sections of the forum, but thought I'd put it here in case anyone is interrested. When installing Kaddee #5 couplers on a car, I have found that keeping the box together with the spring and coupler in place, and then putting a #2-56 screw through the whole thing can be a bit unwieldy. If I have to take the box back off to add a shim for coupler height adjustment, it gets worse. what I do is assemble the coupler in the box with the spring and cover, put a long #2-56 screw through the box with a flat washer on each side and put a nut on the other side to hold it all together. Once it is assembled and held together, I glue the cover to the box carefullly and sparingly around the edges with liquid plastic cement of choice. I use Testors, but any liquid cement will work. Once the glue has set up, I cut off the "ears" from the box, and remove the nut and screw. Now I have a one piece assembly that is easy to screw to the bottom of a freight or passenger car, and easily removed if shims are needed.
  2. spookman

    spookman Member

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    Could you show us some pictures? I am all new to this and having problems.
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I've never succeeded in uploading pictures anywhere on the net. My kodak easy share software seems to default more toward printing pics than posting them. I've emailed some pics to people for posting on car sites that I visit, and the pictures arrive huge! They are usually about 4 times the size of the screen, and need to be reduced to fit. Someday, I may figure out how to do it, but so far I haven't been successful. Have you been able to assemble a Kaddee coupler into it's coupler pocket with the spring? I use the #5 Kaddees and other Kaddees using the same centering spring as the #5. I've never succeeded in assembling one of the hairpin centering spring Kaddees, EVER!
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Russ,

    You can send pictures to me (or any of the other moderators, I'm sure) for assistance. Take a look at the link in my signature for how to upload to The Gauge. If all else fails, you can contact any of us by clicking the user name and sending a PM or email.

    Andrew
  5. spookman

    spookman Member

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    I have been installing kadees with the spring on Athern kit models with the metal cover plate. The plate is hard to get on right. You have to bend it in slightly to get it to stay on. Then it still comes off sometimes. I wish there was a way to tap a screw hole in the plastic pin and add a screw to hold it all together. Putting it together this way is worse than having your teeth pulled. Not fun.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I know what you mean. When Irv Athearn first started making those cars like that, the metal coupler holder was spring steel. Since he passed away, they started using mild steel. What I do is mount the Kaddee couplers with the Athearn piece, then I drill a hole through the center of the center post with a #50 drill using the steel plate as a guide. I thread it for a #2-56 screw. On box cars and reefers, I drill and tap right through the floor of the car, then install a #2-56 flat head screw through the center to hold everything together. On hoppers, flats, or gons, where a screw coming through the floor would be noticeable, I still drill all the way through and tap it, but I use the Kaddee plastic screws that come with the insulated shank couplers (20, 30, & 40 series). I screw the plastic screw all the way in, and cut it off on the other side with flush cutting rail nippers. I then paint the end of the screw to match the part it comes through. On locomotives, Athearn in particular, I dispense entirely with the metal plate for two reasons. First the frame of the Athearn locomotive is part of the electrical circuit. I like the strength of the all metal #5 coupler for locomotives, but if the #5 coupler makes contact with the frame electrically and I hook up two or more diesels back to back, I will have short circuit. The second reason is that the coupler will be mounted too low. What I do with Athearn locomotives is make up my coupler and coupler box assembly as I mentioned in the first post. Then I file off the bottom of the coupler mount from the Athearn frame until the coupler is at the right height. I drill and tap the frame, and mount the coupler with a Kaddee plastic screw, and cut the end of the screw off where it comes through the frame flush with the top of the frame. I check coupler height with a Kaddee coupler height gauge and then take off more of the frame or add shims if needed until the coupler is at the right height before I cut the screw off. By the way, if you need shims to get coupler height correct, Kaddee offers small shim washers in two sizes. I don't remember the measurements but they have red ones and grey ones, I think they come 100 to a package andthey work great for getting the heights adjusted correctly on freight or passenger cars. If the coupler is too high, you eed to shave some material off the moount, but usually the coupler is to low. A shim between the truck and car body brings the height upto the correct position.
  7. spookman

    spookman Member

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    How do you drill and tap? Do you use a pin drill and do it by hand?
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Yes, a number 50 drill is larger than the wire drills in the #60-#80 sets, but it is still mighty small. Most hobby shops stock Hobbits brand hardware. They offer a selection of screws with flat heads, round heads, filister heads, and hex heads in 2-56, 1-72, & 0-92 sizes. Hobbits also offers the appropriate drills and taps as well as small nut driver's for this small hardware. I have one pin vice in my modeling tool box for a #50 drill, a second one with a #45 installed permenantly in case I want to make a clearance hole for the #2-56 screw, a third pinvise has a #2-56 tap installed permanently. I have another pin vice that I use for all other small drills for making holes for grab irons, ladders, etc., but I keep those three pin vices set up permanently for doing Kaddee couplers and mounting trucks. By the way, in case anyone isn't familier with the small hardware numbering system, the larger the number on a drill the smaller they are, judst like wire sizes.
  9. spookman

    spookman Member

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    Russ I was able to locate all the supplies I needed at the Kadee website. They have tap and drill sets with the #50 drill, 2-56 tap and the #43 clearance drill for 5.50. They also have the double ended pen vises for 5.50 each. I found 2-56 pan head screws at the hardware store in 1/4 inch and 3/16 inch long.
    I tried it today and it was very easy to do and worked real well. I figured with my bad eyesight it would be hard but if you just mount the coupler then use the cover for a drilling templet it works great just like you said. Thanks for the info.
  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Glad to hear it worked for you.