Coupler Quandry

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Ronzzr11

Member
I,ve recently made the change from modelling British railways in OO, to modelling American railroads in HO.
The problem I face, is that the rolling stock and locomotives I,ve bought from eBay, and model stores from my visits to Pennsylvania, have a mixture of horn and hook, or KD couplers.
Which of the two types of couplers would I be better opting for ? I know that the KD,s look more prototypical, so I,m leaning to going for those.
thanks

Ronzzr11
 

mtrpls

Ignorance is Patriotic
Yes, not only are Kadees more prototypical, but they are without a doubt the most reliable couplers available to model railroaders. The old-style horn hook couplers are prone to uncoupling, look toy-like, and should be thrown right into the garbage. Horn hooks have been widely discontinued in the hobby and are now considered inferior. Virtually all serious model railroaders will tell you this. There is no argument, really, about which coupler is better.

However, please bear in mind you have your choice of "knuckle style" couplers (the category Kadee belongs to), including Kadee, McHenry, Bachmann E-Z mate, and others. They will all work together, of course, but when retrofitting a car with new couplers you must make a choice about which brand of coupler to buy. Here, again, Kadee is usually considered the top performer by virtue of its being metal, and not plastic.

For me, all of my equipment must have Kadee couplers before seeing service. I will even remove the "plastic clones" such as EZ Mate and McHenry from new cars that I buy and replace them with Kadees. Kadees are THAT good!

Let us know what you decide, and share your progress and pictures with us!
 
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I am in the process of changing everything to Kadee. I am going with body mounted and screwed not glued to the body when possible. I am also changing to Proto Series 2000 Metal Wheel Trucks while I am doing it. I made what I call a MOW coupling car as well. This has kadee on one end and H&H on the other. Works well for the ones I havent done yet and ones fellow models bring over to run. I know there are many types of Kadees, however #5s fit most cars and you know what you have. I have found with H&H there are so many it takes many trips to LHS or searching online to find. Well thats my rable good luck. Tom
 
Oh and toss the old H&H if you want, however I listed a bag of 150 couplers and springs and junk and got over $30 for it. Not much effort in taking out the trash there. Tom
 

mtrpls

Ignorance is Patriotic
I would avoid Sergents, precisely because they can only be mated with each other, and their presence in the hobby, among modelers, is scant. Kadees are the "gold standard", are universally present, are the most popular and beloved brand, and can mate with every other brand of knuckle coupler. For all of these reasons I would very strongly recommend Kadee. A Kadee height gauge will ensure that the height of the coupler meets standards, and is the exact same height as your other couplers (provided they meet the standard too!)

Additionally, if any of your equipment has plastic wheels, be sure to replace them with metal wheels for much smoother rolling cars.
 
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Ronzzr11

Member
Thanks for all of your replies, they have helped a lot,I did,nt know that the McHenry, Bachmann E-Z mate couplers, were the same type as KD,s.I,m starting from scratch with US models, so there are a lot of details that keep catching me out !!!.
I,ve been buying Proto metal wheels,to change the original plastic wheels, as I,m buying new rolling stock as from experience with my previous railway models proved that metal on metal is much better than plastic on metal.
I,ve been looking on eBay, and found that KD,s are in plentiful supply, so I,ll be making the change to KD,s.

thanks again for your help
Ronzzr11
 

Smoke

Southern Railway lives on
I would avoid Sergents, precisely because they can only be mated with each other, and their presence in the hobby, among modelers, is scant.
I myself am considering using sergent couplers for my equipment, e.g. modern day Southern Railway, and using Kadee couplers for the equipment that I run at the club. It would probably be a hassle but I like the Sergent's looks better than the Kadee couplers. I wish that Sergent's were compatible with Kadee's.:(

-Smoke
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
I myself am considering using sergent couplers for my equipment, e.g. modern day Southern Railway, and using Kadee couplers for the equipment that I run at the club. It would probably be a hassle but I like the Sergent's looks better than the Kadee couplers. I wish that Sergent's were compatible with Kadee's.:(

-Smoke
The only option I've found is to make "transition" cars, with a Kadee #58 on the other end.
 

NYC_George

Well-Known Member
E-Z Mate couplers

For some reason the few Bachmann NYC coal cars that I own with E-Z Mate couplers come uncoupled on down hill grades. I tried changing to Kadees on these cars but they don't fit. The plastic pin is to large and the Kadee metal spring won't fit over it. I guess I'll have to buy some Kadee whisker type couplers. Has any one tried the Kadee wisker type yet.

NYC_George
 

UP2CSX

Fleeing from Al
Yes, the Kadee whisker type couplers work very well, are easier to get in tight places, and are much easier to assemble because you don't need that pesky brass centering spring. I'll bet that the traditional Kadee #5 will disappear over the years to be replaced exclusively with whisker couplers.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Yes, the Kadee whisker type couplers work very well, are easier to get in tight places, and are much easier to assemble because you don't need that pesky brass centering spring. I'll bet that the traditional Kadee #5 will disappear over the years to be replaced exclusively with whisker couplers.
Not if Kadee can make the standard #5 cheaper...

The Bachmann's might have an oversize mounting post, is it the post in the center thats too big? Sergent makes an EC87 with a slightly larger post, I'm sure Kadee does the same.
 

UP2CSX

Fleeing from Al
I can't imagine that injection molding a single piece of plastic is even now more expensive than the traditional Kadee setup. Just the price of brass alone has to be killing them. What they have going for them is fully paid off machining dies and engineering but the price advantage will eventually swing to the one piece plastic coupler...IMHO, of course. :)
 

lmackattack

old school
i have had poor luck with the plastic mc henry couplers. mainly that the plastic wire that holds the nuckel closed always seams to get weak after some use, Then I find that the cars will uncouple if there is slack on a curve or a down grade. Also the plastic shanks are week and will tend to bend under stress when pulling a hill on a curve with lots of cars. I have had better luck with the kadees.only thing I dont like about kaydee is those little nuckel return springs and the brass shank centering pins.

hook horns are fine if its a temp or basic childs starter set. I belive that the hook horns keep the cars connected better on uneven surfaces found on temp set ups.

trent
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
The only thing that's good about that plastic finger is to give it the finger. Go with the knuckle spring ones, if you have to us McHenrys. I use them only because I needed the whisker spring, but since Kadee has come out with pretty much what I need, I'm going away again from the McBotchmates.

Kennedy
 




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