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Discussion Starter #1
I'm totally unfamiliar with the vast majority of Kadee couplers having most of my locomotives and rolling stock equipped with standard NMRA couplers.

Just got this B&O "B" unit with no couplers and would like to know which Kadee coupler would mate up with the locomotive.

Looks like a #5 but I'm not sure.

Thanks, and anyone know how made the B unit? The A is Bachmann.
 

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The B unit looks like it's an Athearn.....
Yes it does. Kadee 148s will go right in there. I can’t tell if you have the snap on coupler retainers Athearn uses.
If not, they are readily available from hobby shops or eBay. A good item to have around.
The locos use plastic covers, cars use metal. They are different.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys. Think I will order a few of each #5's and 148's. I have many locos and cars to equip.

Are all Kadees compatible with one another?
 

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Thanks guys. Think I will order a few of each #5's and 148's. I have many locos and cars to equip.

Are all Kadees compatible with one another?
Do you mean will they couple together? Yes. Not all will convert as easily as a 148 in an Athearn, however. You may have to use draft boxes on some cars and locos. Probably also should order a Kadee height gauge. Making sure they are all the same height is very important in installing them.
 

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Are all Kadees compatible with one another?
For the most part, yes. Kadee's #58 Scale Knuckle coupler does not always want to play nice with their standard couplers, which have a larger knuckle. The #58 has a smaller knuckle to appear more prototypical than their standard couplers, which have a knuckle that is much larger than scale, for more reliable coupling I suppose. Some people have reported that mixing the #58 and the standard coupler has not resulted in any problems, while others have said it's just a disaster in the making. I would stick with the standard couplers and not use the #58's, unless there is a compelling reason to do so.
Basically, the only real difference between the #5 and #148 couplers is the spring. The #5 uses Kadee's original design, while the #148 uses the more modern whisker spring arrangement. The #5 is a bit more fiddly to install (IMHO) but it tends to have less of a problem with the coupler drooping in the coupler box. Kadee does make fiber washer to help with drooping, or to make small adjustments in coupler height, so which one you use is pretty much a matter of personal preference.
 

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Are all Kadees compatible with one another?
For the most part, yes. Kadee's #58 Scale Knuckle coupler does not always want to play nice with their standard couplers, which have a larger knuckle. The #58 has a smaller knuckle to appear more prototypical than their standard couplers, which have a knuckle that is much larger than scale, for more reliable coupling I suppose. Some people have reported that mixing the #58 and the standard coupler has not resulted in any problems, while others have said it's just a disaster in the making. I would stick with the standard couplers and not use the #58's, unless there is a compelling reason to do so.
Basically, the only real difference between the #5 and #148 couplers is the spring. The #5 uses Kadee's original design, while the #148 uses the more modern whisker spring arrangement. The #5 is a bit more fiddly to install (IMHO) but it tends to have less of a problem with the coupler drooping in the coupler box. Kadee does make fiber washer to help with drooping, or to make small adjustments in coupler height, so which one you use is pretty much a matter of personal preference.
The last time I bought a bulk box of Kadees, I mistakenly ordered 158s instead of 148s. This is the whisker model of the 58.
I was concerned about mismatching at first, but encountered no problems at all in coupling with the other types of Kadees, or any of the other knuckle brands.
I suspect any problems encountered will be because of height differences or sagging, which will be compounded by the
smaller head of the 58/158.
The size difference is really negligible. I have a hard time telling the difference and height issues need to be corrected anyway.
 

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Thanks guys. Think I will order a few of each #5's and 148's. I have many locos and cars to equip.

Are all Kadees compatible with one another?
There's a very small cost savings with the #5, but really I wouldn't bother with #5's. #148's are alot less fiddly and easier to install.

As others have said the B unit looks like an Athearn. Two impotant things I'd point out about your situation specifically:

1) The #148 (or the #5) tends to stick out pretty far from the engine when put on the standard Athearn. I use them anyway on my Athearns, but I believe there is a version with a shorter shank that will couple them a bit closer if that's an issue for you. Your local Train shop, or Kadee themselves would have more info.

2) More importantly, do you have the plastic clip that goes over the coupler to hold it in place? You will need one for each end of the B unit. The item number is 90606 and it works for almost all old Athearn locos, including F units like yours. The other option is to glue or tap-and-screw-in the KD coupler box. Coupler boxes are included with the 4 pack of #148's but not the bulk kits. I've had good luck with the Athearn clips and they all work great, but some folks prefer the coupler boxes which have tighter tolerances and are less prone to sag.

You can see the installation of the coupler cover (sometimes called plate) here:
https://hoseeker.net/assemblyexplosionAthearn/athearnf7ab1984.jpg
They provide the same diagram for A and B units.
 

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Re: Close coupling A&B F units.
There is a kit for this that includes special couplers and diaphragms. I’m not sure if it’s still made or who makes it. (Big help, I know!)
I will tell you what does NOT work, on Athearns anyway. The short shank #143.
I did this a couple months ago. No appreciable difference. The couplers almost have to be no shank, or just a stub.
They may be on the Kadee list.
Hope someone knows.
 

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Re: More on close coupling A/B F units.....

I used these for my 2 Athearn units, and they are great! Don't know if Walthers still makes this, or a similar set (package dated 2007).

image.jpeg
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks again guys.

I was playing around with a couple of my old Kadee couplers that came off a derelict and discovered that the B units coupler base is not drilled through or tapped so I guess a snap-on pin cover is intended for these.

But my old Athearn S/Fe is drilled. It's an engine that I have had for years and was put away and forgotten about. Not sure if I did it or if I received it that way.

The new Bachmann "Hawthorne Village" engine is heaver again by half than the old Athearn. Not sure if either or both have flywheels. Both run really nice.

Thanks, Looked them up. Shouldn't there be a pin in there?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Walthers-9...023948&hash=item547375346c:g:0X4AAOSwWq9dkaaG
 

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Very interesting that the Bachman is a Hawthorne Village. I've never seen a Hawthorne in a realistic livery
I bet the Hawthorne is fairly recent production with flywheels.

Usually you can see Athearn flywheels through the bottom of the frame but it's an easy task to pop off the body.

If the Athearn is light it probably lacks the additional weights that some came with.

Lastly, if your other Athearn is tapped for a KD box it probably didn't come from the factory that way.
 

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If I recall correctly, the Athearn F units that came with the extra big weight inside were labelled "Super", or something along those lines....otherwise, the same loco as the regular.....
 

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Re: More on close coupling A/B F units.....

I used these for my 2 Athearn units, and they are great! Don't know if Walthers still makes this, or a similar set (package dated 2007).

View attachment 520340
It comes up out of stock/discontinued in Walthers as well as a few other sources. Not on eBay as of this time but might show up eventually.
This is what I saw previously, along with diaphragms. The web site is still up, so one would assume they’re available.

http://www.americanlimitedmodels.com/ho-athearn-f-unit-connection-kit-black/
 
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