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Discussion Starter #1
I have a sizeable AHM cars that I use a lot that had as a kid but I have been wanting to upgrade them from the hook horn style to Kadees. I was wondering what would be the easiest way to change them to Kadees, and if any other brand under side chassis would fit them. thanks
 

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What kind of AHM cars? I'd recommend Kadees for any type but the specific model will depend on car type.

If your talking about basic freight than I'd recommend #148. The choice you have to make is where to install them. Easiest is on the existing truck coupler mounts with #212 adaptors.

However for best reliability and height adjustability you'll want to body mount the couplers. This will require installing a coupler box on the underside of the end of the car.

I've done both with good results.

4 packs of KD Couplers come with the boxes for body mounting couplers but bulk packs do not.
 

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Kadee conversion chart!

Hey vektor12...go to the Kadee Website and look up the conversion chart for AHM products!! It takes a little work but going from those Talgo couplers to Body Mounted will clear up any derailing issues that can possible happen. Smoother cornering on 18 & 22 inch radius as well. Oh get a Coupler gauge as well to get the proper fit. I did this with some old Tyco Virginia Hoppers and really made a difference....but it does take some work so good luck and show us your progress!!:smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for the info, got a lot of work to do. Also should clarify they are freight cars
 

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Walthers used to make some decent knuckle couplers designed to fit in Life-Like talgo truck coupler pockets...

From my experience, they also work really well in the A.H.M. talgo truck pockets as well. Too bad they've been discontinued, because they're a decent quick-and-easy solution to upgrade not just older Life-Like rolling stock, but also A.H.M. and TYCO as well!
 

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Thank you for the info, got a lot of work to do. Also should clarify they are freight cars
If you decide to use the #148 couplers and #212 Tango adaptors it's a very quick process. I recommend doing that. Just snap the coupler in and snap/turn the #212 over the opening. Done.

If you get some that are way off height, you can body mount the couplers for those.

This picture shows a bent EZ Mate coupler (like the 148, but plastic. not recommended) but clearly shows the 212 adapter cover (black "I") holding the coupler in place nicely.

The frame and trucks are Tyco hopper parts that I sprayed black and then speckled with ruddy brown/red primer for a quick rusty look.

Lastly, KD sells a tool for installing the 212's but I've never bothered.
 

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McHenry Couplers working well too
If you're going to go to the trouble of upgrading couplers, I would use an all metal version, like Kadee or Walthers ProtoMax. Plastic couplers, like the McHenrys, will fail sooner or later, and you'll have to replace them again.
 

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In my entire HO roster, (both motive power & rolling stock) there are only two brands of couplers installed...
Kadee and Walthers ProtoMax.
They're both metal, and will both outlast and outperform any plastic coupler by far.

You can find ProtoMax couplers in packs of 20 for about $1 a pair.
You'll notice that ProtoMax knuckles are slightly larger in scale than Kadees, but it's not an issue.

ProtoMax couplers are standard equipment on all Walthers Proto and current Mainline models.

lg920-6002_520x400.jpg

proto_maxtm_magnetic_knuckle_couplers_920-6002_pkg_big (1)~2.jpg
 

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As far as Accumate, McHenry, etc are concerned, I consider them little more than 'junk'.
In fact, I've found that many Athearn RTR items right-out-of-the-box won't even couple with each other.
 

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I suppose, and am really only guessing, that manufacturers use the plastic couplers to keep the cost point down, but I go to the expense of replacing them with Kadee/Proto right of the box, because I want them to work for the life of the car, so how much am I really saving?

Not much....if anything at all.....
 

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I suppose, and am really only guessing, that manufacturers use the plastic couplers to keep the cost point down, but I go to the expense of replacing them with Kadee/Proto right of the box, because I want them to work for the life of the car, so how much am I really saving?

Not much....if anything at all.....
You Are saving hours of frustration as couplers fail while you are busy focusing on something else. Worth the effort.
 

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Yes I agree.....I wish they would put the good couplers on their new RTR cars....for the extra buck or two it would cost, it would be well worth it!
 

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The difference in price between a Walthers Trainline & Mainline boxcar is usually between $3 & $4.
I think ProtoMax couplers on a Mainline model is worth the extra few bucks.
 

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I recently changed couplers on an old ahm flat car and ended up going with body mount couplers. Keep it in mind that may effect the allowable turn radius for the car so if you have super tight 15” curves on a turnout or something they may come apart or derail. If it’s old 40’ box cars or something they’ll be fine but if you intend on doing longer cars like auto racks or passenger car length freight cars it may not be in your favor to go that route. The long cars look absolutely ridiculous on tight turns anyway though. If ya ask me body mount is the way to go and definitely go with metal couplers of some form
 

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According to my Kadee cheat sheet; all pre 1993 AHM freight cars with talgo trucks use the Kadee #37 TM. Body mount use no 5 or 148 kits.
 
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