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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've got some Santa FE cars, one which needs it's couplers changed because it doesn't couple. I've been searching the Kadee site and see I need #22, 32 or 142 which are medium overset shanks. I'm leaning towards the #142 which is a whisker shank.
I couldn't find info on there site, so I'm hoping someone here can help. What's the difference between these series 20, 30, 140? Is it design, materials or what?

Thanks.
 

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In addition to your coupler purchase be sure
to order a Kadee coupler alignment tool...get the
plastic version that you can use on a 'live' track.
I prefer the Kadee 'whisker' centering spring versions. Much
easier to install.

Don
 

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"Fluctuating coupler height"

I've got some Santa FE cars, one which needs it's couplers changed because it doesn't couple. I've been searching the Kadee site and see I need #22, 32 or 142 which are medium overset shanks. I'm leaning towards the #142 which is a whisker shank.
I couldn't find info on there site, so I'm hoping someone here can help. What's the difference between these series 20, 30, 140? Is it design, materials or what?

Thanks.
MikeB;

Others can advise you on the best Kadee coupler for your situation, but there is another potential problem that I see in your photos. Those long arms, sticking out from the trucks, that hold the couplers. They are free to move enough vertically to get the two mating couplers out of vertical alignment with each other. No matter how well matched the couplers are to the Kadee gage Don recommended, if they can bounce up and down, they may uncouple. Have you ever had this happen? Maybe on turnouts? Of course if you have perfectly flat track, maybe you have never had any unwanted uncouplings.

If you have had them, there are two remedies I can think of. Which one will work best depends on how sharp the curves on your layout are. If you have broad curves say, 24" radius or larger, then you could body-mount the couplers on your passenger cars. If you are using 18" or 22" radius curves, you may be better off keeping the couplers mounted on the trucks, as they are now. You can limit the vertical play of the "talgo truck's coupler mounting arm by adding a piece of stiff music wire bent into the shape of a large staple. One slightly above the swing area of the arm and another just above. These wires will prevent the arm from moving as much vertically but will still allow it to swing horizontally.

Traction Fan
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Right from the website. Very bottom 5,9,58 series all metal.
https://www.kadee.com/images/large/chart_LRG.jpg
Thanks, I must have missed that.

In addition to your coupler purchase be sure
to order a Kadee coupler alignment tool...get the
plastic version that you can use on a 'live' track.
I prefer the Kadee 'whisker' centering spring versions. Much
easier to install.

Don
I will order one, has I have a few other cars that will eventually get changed.

MikeB;

Others can advise you on the best Kadee coupler for your situation, but there is another potential problem that I see in your photos. Those long arms, sticking out from the trucks, that hold the couplers. They are free to move enough vertically to get the two mating couplers out of vertical alignment with each other. No matter how well matched the couplers are to the Kadee gage Don recommended, if they can bounce up and down, they may uncouple. Have you ever had this happen? Maybe on turnouts? Of course if you have perfectly flat track, maybe you have never had any unwanted uncouplings.

If you have had them, there are two remedies I can think of. Which one will work best depends on how sharp the curves on your layout are. If you have broad curves say, 24" radius or larger, then you could body-mount the couplers on your passenger cars. If you are using 18" or 22" radius curves, you may be better off keeping the couplers mounted on the trucks, as they are now. You can limit the vertical play of the "talgo truck's coupler mounting arm by adding a piece of stiff music wire bent into the shape of a large staple. One slightly above the swing area of the arm and another just above. These wires will prevent the arm from moving as much vertically but will still allow it to swing horizontally.

Traction Fan
I see what you mean about the vertical movement. This car always uncouples when going up an incline. All my curves are either 18" or 22", so I'll keep the truck mounted couplers. That is another reason I'm going to get a little longer coupler, than the short ones on the car now. The long passenger cars look unnatural going around them, but they were given to me as a gift.

Thanks a ton for the advice.
 

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Kadee's plastic couplers are a little larger than metal. Less accurate but more forgiving. The shelf coupler may be a better solution; I bought a pair by accident and they are a pain to separate!
 

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All or none

Thanks, I must have missed that.



I will order one, has I have a few other cars that will eventually get changed.



I see what you mean about the vertical movement. This car always uncouples when going up an incline. All my curves are either 18" or 22", so I'll keep the truck mounted couplers. That is another reason I'm going to get a little longer coupler, than the short ones on the car now. The long passenger cars look unnatural going around them, but they were given to me as a gift.

Thanks a ton for the advice.

MikeB;

Another thing about truck-mounted vs. body-mounted couplers. It's far better to have all the couplers on your railroad either truck-mounts, or body-mounts. A mixture of the two different mounting systems is all but certain to cause some derailments. I like that shelf coupler Dennis461 recommended. once you get all your couplers at the same height, that shelf coupler should help prevent those unplanned uncouplings on the grade. Using all shelf couplers on these passenger cars, you could probably skip the vertical movement limiters I suggested.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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I've always had a great deal of disdain for Talgo trucks, particularly for this very reason.
It's mostly why I like the Rivarossi & Con-Cor Branchline heavyweight passenger cars... their abbreviated length makes 18" radius curves a non-issue, while looking very realistic, even in the longest trains.
BTW, the Con-Cor Branchline cars (they have Kadee couplers) are too expensive. The Rivarossi's though are quite affordable.
 

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Truck mount verses Body mount. So you guys are saying it is better to have truck mounted couplers on shorter (old vintage) passenger cars when running on radius smaller than 20-22"?

I have some old vintage cars that are all truck mounted and occasionally they will uncouple going up and incline and sometimes they appear to be pulled off the track when rounding an 18" radius elevated section?
 

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In my experience, a body mounted location is always superior, because it removes most of the vertical play from the couplers, which is one of the major causes of unplanned separations.

There are, however, some situations where you have no choice but to use a truck mounted coupler because of the amount of side to side motion allowed by the body mounted units. A longer shank on a body mounted coupler will sometimes be enough to overcome this. Basically, if the corners of the car bodies push against each other while cornering, one of them will probably come off the rails.
 

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Truck-mounted couplers

Truck mount verses Body mount. So you guys are saying it is better to have truck mounted couplers on shorter (old vintage) passenger cars when running on radius smaller than 20-22"?

I have some old vintage cars that are all truck mounted and occasionally they will uncouple going up and incline and sometimes they appear to be pulled off the track when rounding an 18" radius elevated section?
flyerrich;

To be clear, I'm advising the use of truck-mounted couplers on every piece of rolling stock, locomotives, freight cars, and passenger cars, of any vintage, if you have sharp curves (18"-22" radius for HO) (9-3/4"-12" radius for N)

The reason for truck-mounts on tight curves is that the couplers tend to stay over the center of the track when they go through a curve. Body-mounted couplers are more realistic, since that's where prototype cars have their couplers mounted. Body-mounts also have an advantage when backing a train into a siding or yard track. The pushing action from the locomotive, is transmitted back through the train by the car frames, not the trucks. This helps keep the cars in line with one another, and decreases the chance of pushing a car up and off the rails.

Truck-mounted couplers, during an identical backing move, pass all the pushing motion through the trucks. Trucks are designed to swivel around the kingpin that holds the truck to the car frame. Pushing on something that swivels is somewhat like trying to push a chain up a hill. The things you're pushing are flexible, and don't want to stay straight when pushed.

So why not just use body mounts on every layout, no matter what the curves are? Because, if you look down between two cars equipped with body-mounted couplers as they go through a tight curve, you'll see that the couplers are not in the center of the track, but way off to the outside of the curve. The longer the car, the more overhang. The greater overhang just pushes the couplers further out toward the outside of the curve. That's bad when pulling the cars, and far worse when pushing the same string of cars. When pulling a train, most of the locomotive's pulling force is pulling the train forward. However, some of that same pulling force is also trying to drag the outside wheels up and off the outside rail. When the train is being pushed backward, a lot of the pushing force is trying to do the same thing, but remember the earlier chain analogy. Pull hard on a chain and what do you get? A straight chain, every link in line with all the others. Push on the same chain and what do you get? An instantly, very crooked, chain, with the links every which way.
Think of an aerial view of a train wreck. The cars are pushed right, left, & all over the place. A moving train packs a whole lot of pushing force!

Finally we come to the worst case scenario for coupler mounting. If you have body-mounted couplers on a locomotive, and truck-mounted couplers on the car directly behind the locomotive, derailments are very likely, as your train passes through a tight curve. That body-mount on the loco is pushing sideways toward the outside of the curve. It easily pushes the truck-mounted coupler on the following car sideways too. Meanwhile the truck-mounted coupler is responding to this outward push by doing it's own thing, swiveling the truck it's mounted to, right into the outside rail, and often the wheel will climb right up and over the rail! :eek:Oops! derailment. :(
This is why I emphasized pick ONE mounting system for all the couplers on all your rolling stock. If you have tight curves, use truck-mounts. If you have broad curves, use body mounts.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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I have had zero problems with body mounted couplers on my 18" curves.....zero.....whereas trucks mounted coupler cars will invariably de-rail when being pushed onto a siding, etc.....
 

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My "cheapie" coupler height gauge:
A credit card.
Place it on the rails, the coupler's curleycue (actuator) should just clear it.

You may need to experiment with medium or long shanks.
You may need to experiment with an "offset" coupler head.

I'd suggest the Kadee's with the "whiskers" -- no need for the bronze "spring".
 

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My "cheapie" coupler height gauge:
A credit card.
Place it on the rails, the coupler's curleycue (actuator) should just clear it.

You may need to experiment with medium or long shanks.
You may need to experiment with an "offset" coupler head.

I'd suggest the Kadee's with the "whiskers" -- no need for the bronze "spring".
For this to work, the trip pins would always have to be correctly bent. In my experience, there isn't a lot of precision in the way coupler manufacturers (even Kadee) assemble them.

A new one costs between $7 and $11... not a huge expense by any means.
 

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Greetings,

This entire thread, chock full of experience and shared knowledge, is a fine example as to why I enjoy this sight. For all that I 'thought' I knew about truck mount vs body body mount, I gained a plethora of knowledge reading through the posts. As an example; I now know what and why I should consider shelf type couplers on some of my stock. Thank you! Only wish I could've had this thread to read 6+ months ago when I began converting over 100+ cars and more than a dozen locomotives. Already had a few dozen knuckle style, and realized just how important to function they are. Hence the giant step of converting. Boy oh boy did I hit a few learning curves. Still not done btw.
So I say to you all; Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I am ever greatful.

Sincerely
Scott
 

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Question....wouldn't using shelf style couplers only exasperate the problem? You'd have couplers being supported by the other coupler mounted on a car with alignment/tracking problems, which would likely transfer to the other cars.....possiblely even lifting wheels off the track on various cars.....IMHO.....

Has anybody actually tried shelf couplers for this?

I would think gently bending/forming the angle of the plastic talgo arms with the coupler at the end to be at the same heights as the rest of the cars would be a better solution....I have done so in the past with decent results.....

Again, IMHO.......
 
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