Really hard to find coupler....

GFisher2001 Apr 6, 2014

  1. GFisher2001

    GFisher2001 TrainBoard Member

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    Hello,

    I have an Athearn Diesel Locomotive, that seems to have a very odd coupler configuration.

    The coupler itself seems to be a typical horn-hook design, but it appears that it requires a very unique piece that isn't carried many places. I've been to a hobby shop, train show and these seem to be in sparse supply and pretty darn expense if ordering online 6.95 plus 6.00 shipping, for twelve pieces.

    http://www.athearn.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=ATH90606

    Does anyone know if there is a suitable alternative to these?

    I am including a photo of the locomotive and attachment point on chassis. IMG_2725.jpg IMG_2724.jpg IMG_2721.jpg
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I would believe there are a few in junk boxes, on work benches out there. But perhaps a lot of folks just tossed them out, when converting to Kadee couplers. :(
     
  3. Mike VE2TRV

    Mike VE2TRV TrainBoard Member

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    I've had that same problem. When I do have the cover, I slip a #148 Kadee inside and toss the horn-hook. When I don't have the cover, or if the #148 doesn't move freely inside the cover, I drill out that hole and use a screw to hold a #5 Kadee box and coupler there. One way or the other, a Kadee ends up there and something gets tossed.

    If memory serves me correctly, some Proto locos have something very similar.
     
  4. GFisher2001

    GFisher2001 TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you for the quick replies.

    The gentlemen at the hobby shop suggested that I stay away from kadee couplers since they are more easily broken then the horn/hook, considering my son likes to try and couple things himself. Any validity to that.

    I wonder what size bit you use to drill them out. Do you need to tap the hole to accept the screw?

    Thanks again.
     
  5. Mike VE2TRV

    Mike VE2TRV TrainBoard Member

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    Take 3 - My ISP bailed on me while I was typing my reply... Then TB kicked me out because my ISP made me lose the connection... GRRRRR!!!!:angry:

    As far as couplers breaking are concerned, any determined kid will break anything, even if it's considered resistant. I know, because I was there myself long ago...;)

    I drill for #2-56 or 2x5mm, both are commonly available at the LHS and are about the right size for the job. I don't bother tapping because the metal is generally soft enough for the screw to bite into it on its own if done carefully. If there's a foul up, and the pilot-coupler arrangement permits, I glue the coupler box to the support.
     
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    If the lad breaks things, it may not matter either way. The old horn/hooks might be cheaper to replace.

    Most good hobby shops would stock the drill bits, taps and screws. Even some craft and hardware stores. They might even have a self-tapping screw.
     
  7. JNXT 7707

    JNXT 7707 TrainBoard Member

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    GF - Drilling/tapping for a Kadee install is definitely the way to go, but if you want a short-term fix I recently picked an Athearn with the clips you're looking for. If you're interested PM me your address and I'll throw them in the mail. I'd say you could use a Bachmann/McHenry coupler if you can find an underset pair.
     
  8. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    You think those are hard to find. At least they are listed.
    Old BB geared locos has s similarly shaped piece that clipped into the top of the gear tower to retain the truck in the chassis.
    Have not been available for YEARS and YEARS.
    I had to do a work-around...successfully so.

    Drill, tap, coupler boxes works...AND you can put a (nmra) X2F Horn-Hook in a Kadee box. At least, I have done so on Athearn HiF F units.

    Dave
     
  9. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA Permanently dispatched

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    Hi. If you are referring to that metal plate with the little shapes which make it pop into place without a screw or glue, I have an old Rivarossi heavy weight ob ( observation ) car which uses these. If you can get to an older train store they should have some laying around. That's how I found mine. Also, may be searchable on line. Search : 'Old HO couplers' Or maybe 'rare model train parts' ......Some such search might find these. Finally, if you are going to want to have automatic uncoupling in future , I too would advise you to put Kadee or McHenry type knuckle couplers in this loco. Then do same with rest of cars. Kadee has a 'whisker' type which is as easy to install as a tea bag into water. OR mothball all existing cars with the horn hook couplers an start buying cars/locos already fit with Knuckle couplers which closely resemble the real thing ...Good hunting ! Mark
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2014
  10. packnrat

    packnrat TrainBoard Member

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    those parts always went in the trash right along with the hornhooks.
    drill and tap the mounting and install a K-D box and have no problems.
     
  11. euromut

    euromut TrainBoard Member

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    A little late to the party. But I have always drilled and tapped the hole to accept a 2-56 screw and mounted Kadee coupler boxes. You can just use the screw to hold the box in place. But it will sometimes rotate on the single screw. I usually glue the box onto the locos frame (after drilling and tapping), and then use the screw to give it support and keep the box cover from ever popping off.

    I've done the same on those god awful Proto swinging couple boxes. I have had almost every one of the clips break. In that case you keep the whole box, Remove the pin on the cover, drill a hole where the pin was. drill and tap the plastic boxes hollow post, insert Kadee 148 (or 158 Scale head) and use the screw to hold on the original couple box cover in place.

    The 2-56 bit and tap are essential tools. I also use them to make convenient "ground" locations on non DCC friendly frames.
     
  12. GFisher2001

    GFisher2001 TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you for the replies. I did get some of the Athearn couplers mounted up. My father-in-law just gave me a Mantua diesel locomotive which has......you guessed it, Kadee couplers. The K-D couplers make the horn-hook ones look like toys.

    Assuming I were to dive into the kadee couplers, I'd have a lot of them to buy for all of the rolling stock (I have about 5 locomotives mostly all cheap Tyco, Mantua, Bachman x2, Athearn). I guess what would be tricky for me is retrofitting so many different manufacturers of the random locomotives I have and rolling stock. I couldn't just get all Kadee 148 with a certain cover.
     
  13. JNXT 7707

    JNXT 7707 TrainBoard Member

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    GF, all I can tell you was that 5 years ago I was in your shoes - and that the Kadee conversions and their webpage showing all the conversions was quite intimidating. In actuality, it is the very fact that they make so many different styles of coupler that makes converting to them so easy. BUT, the only way to really see that is to dive into it and do a few.
    Before you do anything, get a coupler height gauge so you have a reliable standard to go by. Then, have at it. Some conversions are simpler than others, amounting to little more than a "drop-in" install. Others require modeling skill, where you need to modify or fabricate a few things. So far I have yet to see anything that can't be converted.
     
  14. packnrat

    packnrat TrainBoard Member

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    go to Kadee's web site and you can down load the catalog (free).
    and "SAM the answer man" on the phone is great and can help you with any problems you can come across. seeing as they have been making couplers for a very very long time they just might have come across most if not all the "fun" problems.

    just last week i must have spent the better part of a hr talking to him. and not even all about couplers, or trains.

    http://kadee.com


    .
     
  15. superheater

    superheater TrainBoard Supporter

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    The ones that brake on me are mc-henrys
     

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