Upgrading couplers

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by shelbys_dad, Nov 28, 2007.

  1. shelbys_dad

    shelbys_dad Member

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    I have an under-the-tree-only HO set - Bachmann McKinley Explorer. If you haven't guessed, the cars do not stay coupled very well and it's frustrating to step away for 3 minutes only to come back and find the Loco pushing a few cars. What are my options and where can I purchase upgrades?
  2. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander

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    I have had good luck with Kaydee (Kaydee Quality Products, Co) conversion/replacement couplers. I checked the list and they make a #37 for the EMD GP-40 engine and passenger cars in the set (or you can use #454 on the cars). Here is a link to their conversions list:

    http://www.kadee.com/conv/holist.pdf

    PS: Get a piece of soft foam or something to gently hold the engine or car upside down (or a second pair of hands) as the little coupler pieces like to dive onto the floor when you try and put the screw to them.
  3. shelbys_dad

    shelbys_dad Member

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    Thanks! :thumb:
  4. stuart_canada

    stuart_canada Member

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    Kadees or nothing...nothing seems to work better
    but be preapred for work installing them on bachmann cars if they a re the older models., take one car to the store with you to get the correct coupler
  5. shelbys_dad

    shelbys_dad Member

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    Uh, yea, about that. There are no hobby shops here in Fairbanks, Alaska that really support this hobby. There are like 2 that sell some things, but with a 300%-400% mark-up. It's waay cheaper for me to mail order or buy online even with shipping.:cry:
  6. wpyr

    wpyr Member

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    Alaska guy have you ever been on the wpyr?
  7. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

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    If you need help and cant get it at a hobby shop, im sure somebody here could post a short video clip to help if you need. There are very helpful people here.
  8. shelbys_dad

    shelbys_dad Member

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    No, not yet:oops:
  9. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    That'd be quite the drive!

    How about taking a picture of the couplers (and how they're attached to the cars/engine) and uploading it? It actually is easy to install kadees on older bachmann cars. The classic HO coupler is the Kadee #5 with draft gear boxes. Kadee also provides tips on how to convert stuff.
  10. shelbys_dad

    shelbys_dad Member

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    Ok, give me a few minutes.
  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    There is another source of uncoupling problems that you may have. If the track bumps up and down too much (if you run part of it on a rug and part on a floor, or run electrical cords under it) any couplings may come apart. The cure is to put it on a flat solid surface. (A sheet of extruded foam insulation may be the quickest and should be easy to get in Alaska.) You may try this as it's faster than sending out for couplers, and it's a good idea anyway. (If you already have a flat surface, sorry.)
  12. shelbys_dad

    shelbys_dad Member

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    First off please excuse the poor quality, I must have taken 40 pics and these are the "cough" best "cough" out of the bunch. Good grief.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    To 60103-- It is on a flat surface and that was one of the first things I thought of, but thanks for being thoughtful:thumb::thumb:
  13. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Well, those couplers are Kadee clones, which are an improvement on the ones that used to come with all train sets (and still come with a lot of them). Check them for height. There is a correct height, but more important is the same height. Put a length of track on a table and look at two cars coupled from the side. The couplers should be level -- none of one coupler showing above the other. The pin that comes down should be higher than the rails by a small amount -- you should see daylight between the end and the rails as you look across (I think .010" is the official clearance.)
    Check all your cars and the loco. Double check the ones that keep uncoupling. If you find any that are high or low we'll work on that.
    Do you have any switches or crossings? then you have to be fussy about the uncoupling pins. They often need to be bent a little more to be higher. (Also applies to the rerailer)
    Do you have uncoupling magnets? I don't know if the sets come with them. If the train jerks a little as it goes over the magnet, it will uncouple.
    While you're at it, check that the coupler springs back to center when you push it to the side.
    Sorry to go on, but we may get you running before the mail comes back from Seattle.
  14. shelbys_dad

    shelbys_dad Member

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    Thanks for the 411.
    Just a simple 63"X45" oval, no bells not even a whistle.
    I'll try those suggestions in the morning, right now I need him to do his homework before bed. All I'm hearing right now is......."No daddy, I'll do it in the morning.....here, let me turn the train on 40%!"
    AHHHH The joys of parenting.wall1
  15. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Those cars have an interesting pivoting mechanism that pivots the coupler as the trucks swings. At least mine does, but it has the old horn-hook couplers. Since you have some kind of kadee clone on yours, my bet is if you take the screw off the coupler box, you can remove the old coupler and drop a kadee #5 right in.

    Kevin
  16. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    Ditto. Those cars have Bachmann's ez-mate couplers. They are easy to mate...but their wimpy plastic springs don't like to keep the couplers coupled. Kaddee #5s are the way to go.
  17. shelbys_dad

    shelbys_dad Member

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    So it's #5's I need to order, not #37's?
  18. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander

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    Kaydee MCS vs 37

    I had recommended the #37 because the HO set - Bachmann McKinley Explorer should have come with a Bachmann EMD GP-40 engine and the Kaydee conversion list shows a #37 as the appropriate coupler. Here is a picture of the #37 installation document:

    Kaydee_37.jpg

    Does the current coupler look like the one in the picture or have you got yourself an engine that has been modified already?

    (link in case picture too small - http://www.kadee.com/conv/pdf/b10.pdf)
  19. shelbys_dad

    shelbys_dad Member

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    No it doesn't look like that, from what I can tell.
  20. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander

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    Couplers...

    If the rest of the cars look the same as the engine, I would order some #5 (called 'MCS' on the Kaydee list) as the height should match up as they are the 'most common' size replacement couplers. I have a couple cars that I used #5's on that called for something else on the list. I had to do a little height adjustment but they worked fine, including using a #5 on my Bachmann EMD F40 (list says #27).