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Hello

Some my freight cars and locos broken knuckle couplers. Those are HO models of Attlas, Athern Genesiss, BLI ... Can I buy knuckle couplers of any model like Atllas, Athern, Wallther ... for replace ? In your opinion, which type of knuckle couplers is best ?

Thanks
 

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Well, here's a video of my good friend who is always jiving me about still using old fashioned horn hooks. Heck, I'd use loop and hook if they still made them. Anyways, these broken couplers are the cheezy plastic ones made by various manufacturers and sold on RTR stuff because they are cheap.In fact, I've never heard anyone say, "oh, those cheezy plastic knuckle couplers, they are so wonderful, I wish I had more." Those who are big on couplers suggest the old made in the USA standard of Kadee, which are metal. However, there is about fifty different kinds for different types of mounts, and the little biddy brass springs have a way of taking flight. But, they are the gold standard. In recent years they have come up with a new prototypically sized coupler, which is really tiny, and magnetic air hoses. Have fun with that. Me, I won't be satisfied until they come up with DCC electrically operated windshield wipers.
 

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Kadee #148 work pretty good if you can find them. #5 work good as well but prefer using them for freight cars and use the #148 for locomotives. Kadee is certainly the best brand but most expensive as well.

Bachmann ezmate actually work alright if you're not planning on pulling more than 40 cars. I've found Atlas couplers to be the worst, they seem to have issues mating with other brands.

Either way I would stick with one brand.
 

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I've found Atlas couplers to be the worst, they seem to have issues mating with other brands.
FYI....the couplers that Atlas uses on their rolling stock are in fact Accumates, made by Accurail.....they are indeed inferior to Kadee......when I get an Atlas car, the couplers get changed over immediately to Kadees.....
 

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It is not necessary to try to replace knuckle couplers by the
same brand as original. You can replace any brand with
Kadee the 'standard' for model train couplers. I prefer their #148
because it uses the 'whisker' centering spring and is easier
to assemble.

Don
 

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Kadee #148 work pretty good if you can find them. #5 work good as well but prefer using them for freight cars and use the #148 for locomotives. Kadee is certainly the best brand but most expensive as well.

Bachmann ezmate actually work alright if you're not planning on pulling more than 40 cars. I've found Atlas couplers to be the worst, they seem to have issues mating with other brands.

Either way I would stick with one brand.
All brands work just fine. It's the durability that's in question. Kadee and Walthers Protomax are the only brands I know of that make their couplers out of metal. They last virtually forever. Not so with the others, as the OP has discovered.

Unlike some, I don't automatically replace the couplers on a new car or loco (unless they are hook / horn); I want until the OEM ones fail... which they inevitably do. Then I replace it with a Kadee or Walthers.
 

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Rapido uses a metal coupler they call Macdonald-Cartier Knuckle Coupler.....after investigating, they seem to be a pretty exact version of a Kadee metal coupler, although they are a brown/rust colour.....
 

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I have a generous quantity of Kadee #5's and #148's, plus a scant mixture of others.
I also acquired a fair amount of Walthers ProtoMax, which are basically clones of Kadee #5's.
Generally I'll use the #5's only on kits, as they're a bit more 'fidgety' on RTR stuff, in which the 148's are more of a 'drop-in' proposition.
Lately, many manufacturers are making their products more and more "Kadee friendly".
 

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Rapido uses a metal coupler they call Macdonald-Cartier Knuckle Coupler.....after investigating, they seem to be a pretty exact version of a Kadee metal coupler, although they are a brown/rust colour.....
Ah. Good to know. I was not aware that there was a 3rd all-metal brand out there.
 

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I've got Kadee #5's that were installed in the 1970's (and in storage for decades), that still work fine without any adjustments at all. Was just using them 30 minutes ago...
 

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All brands work just fine. It's the durability that's in question. Kadee and Walthers Protomax are the only brands I know of that make their couplers out of metal. They last virtually forever. Not so with the others, as the OP has discovered.

Unlike some, I don't automatically replace the couplers on a new car or loco (unless they are hook / horn); I want until the OEM ones fail... which they inevitably do. Then I replace it with a Kadee or Walthers.
It's definitely a get what you pay for. When I started getting back into the hobby I bought a handful of the ezmat couplers, wasn't looking to spend much money at the time. While I haven't had terrible luck with them I am only buying kadee now.
I've found if the coupler heights are the same Bachmann's can hold up pretty good, have pulled over 60 cars up a 2% grade with their coupler bearing all the weight and it held up. But the ezmates definitely don't hold up as well when you have couplers that aren't equal height.
If you're running a small layout I don't see ezmates being a problem but definitely can't speak for their longevity. I've bought stuff with kadee couplers that are a good 30 yrs old and most work like new and don't expect plastic couplers to hold up like that.
What I liked about ezmates was they work good for replacing couplers on lower end equipment, they fit better than kadee imo.
I also don't replace couplers until they give me problems, which accumates are the worst imo. Also they seem to be problematic with other brands. It's kinda odd a brand like Atlas would use such a terrible coupler, only assuming they are basically the same company. Also found kadees scale couplers don't work to well if your track has some dips in it.
So basically I don't buy cheap couplers anymore since my track is far from perfect and like see how how many cars I can pull, 60 sum is the limit without a dpu. Should be able to up that when I increase the radius.
I also don't think cheaper couplers hold up to sbuse as well. Mainly shipping, but that could be people sell stuff with broken couplers and just say it worked when I had it.
 

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kadee are still the 'standard' .. plastic copies hold as well on short trains, not so much on long trains, sorry ..
and plastic isn't as good with changes in grade, they just seem to stretch a little .. if you track is good and fairly level you can even go with the smaller semi scale versions of the kadee, i know that i have some on mine, and no problems in six or seven years now ..
 

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FYI.....Atlas and Accurail are NOT the same company......I get the feeling that Atlas uses the Accurail Accumate couplers because they can get them for almost nothing, thus keeping their costs down.....
 

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FYI.....Atlas and Accurail are NOT the same company......I get the feeling that Atlas uses the Accurail Accumate couplers because they can get them for almost nothing, thus keeping their costs down.....
I didn't think they were. It's just so common for one company to own several but keep the trademark names of each. That was the only reason I could think of why Atlas would use such a horrible coupler. It just seems dumb to have high end rolling stock and put the worst coupler on it. It's like buying a Cadillac with cloth seats. But thank tou for clarifying they aren't the same company.
 

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Kinda like how Athearn uses those second rate McHenry plastic couplers on their nice rolling stock....they own McHenry, so they can cut costs by using the couplers, and thereby cut their cost.....I wonder what the cars would cost if they used Kadees.....
 

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Kd #148.
Just change across another reason to love them.

I had some older #5s lying around so I was going to use them on some used gondolas I'd picked up. Unfortunately the coupler boxes were too shallow to allow proper movement. Grabbed a pair of #148s and a file and took off just a bit material and it works like a charm. Couldn't do that with the #5 spring.

My hierarchy of Couplers.
1) #148s or similar KD whisker coupler are my standard.

2) #5 or other metal couplers are used if I've already got them they're already installed or I can't get #148

3)Plastic knuckle couplers with spring will be left in place or used if included with a kit and run til failure.

4) Other Plastic knuckle couplers with pressure arms or plastic spring action are not used and generally get removed.
 
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