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Changing tension lock couplers - Layout Design, Trackwork & Operation. - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sun Mar 10th, 2019 09:55 pm
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Headmaster
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So, I have read the various threads about converting to Kadee couplers.  I figured I knew what I needed to do. Changed the coupling on a loco no problem.  NEM socket, simple swap.  Easy.

I turned to a Hornby wagon I have.  Pulled out the coupling..... it doesn't look like a NEM version, although I thought the model claimed to be so....

Instead, it looks like this...





This is the underside of the wagon, with the original coupling in place




Is there a kadee equivalent sort of connector I can use?  Or do I have to replace the coupling and the socket and make it all compliant.  And if so, does anyone have a suggestion for which kadee items I should use?  There just seem to be so many options, I cannot see the wood for the trees!

Maybe the forum needs a separate section on couplings and their problems (and solutions, of course) - or have I come to the party a bit late?

Thanks folks

Michael



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 Posted: Sun Mar 10th, 2019 10:07 pm
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Hi Michael,

The Kadee system has been developed over time to try to be compatible with many manufacturers and as such, can be very complicated to the modeller with a variety of manufacturers' stock to convert.

Having said that, I'm not a fan for Kadees on British outline, but accept that it's horses for courses and it has a good following.

There are several experts here who can give you some good advice to get you going. Expert advice is always best and will save much wasted time. You will need a height gauge.

Bon courage and be patient,

Best,

Bill
 



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 Posted: Sun Mar 10th, 2019 10:15 pm
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Thanks Bill.

That's why I am asking the experts here!  I have a height gauge.  I took advice on the sort of couplers to have for British stock, and I thought I had an easily converted wagon.... but it seems not.  I really want magnetic uncoupling, and the delayed uncoupling of kadees is a real draw. I don't have loads of old stock to convert, so I thought I had a simple process with newer rolling stock, but it doesn't seem so on this occasion.

Thanks for the advice, though
Regards
Michael



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 Posted: Sun Mar 10th, 2019 10:15 pm
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Michal, look on Home page under Forum Contents Index - K for Kadee
and
http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=8591&forum_id=156



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 Posted: Sun Mar 10th, 2019 10:35 pm
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Thanks Sol.  I have read all of the threads here on Kadees, which is why I decided to convert to them.  I have not yet got to the point of fixing magnets, although, again, the advice here I hope to put into practice.

I am relatively new to the hobby- after a gap of some 40 years anyway, so I do not hold a lot of old stock.  I thought this would be an advantage when it came to replacing couplings, and purchased a Hornby wagon which I thought was NEM compliant, thus making the conversion easy.

It seems it is not NEM compliant - and that is what I am asking - is there a kadee equivalent, or do I have to replace everything on this wagon?  And if the latter, any suggestions for which kadee products to go with?  Every time I look, it seems there is another coupling device available!

in fact, you are one of those responsible for my desire to convert, along with Perry and John!!

Warm regards

Michael



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 Posted: Mon Mar 11th, 2019 06:43 am
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Michael, there is nothing that Kadee make that plugs straight into Hornby sockets like you show. I changed 250 plus wagons with a mix of kits, Dapol, Hornby & Bachmann of many versions.



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 Posted: Mon Mar 11th, 2019 10:09 am
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That tension lock looks the same as the type that you get with the Dapol plastic kits, definitely not a Nem type.



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 Posted: Mon Mar 11th, 2019 11:54 am
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From my (limited) experience with both Hornby and Dapol couplings Michael, I think you need to replace the whole coupling.  As Sol says, a Kadee won't plug straight in.

I remove the existing mounting and glue an assembled draft box in it's place.

A bit of a fiddle but not too difficult. :thumbs

It's also worth bearing in mind that, even when an NEM pocket is provided on the model, the height may well still be incorrect - hence the need for the Kadee height gauge !!



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 Posted: Mon Mar 11th, 2019 05:47 pm
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Petermac wrote: From my (limited) experience with both Hornby and Dapol couplings Michael, I think you need to replace the whole coupling.  As Sol says, a Kadee won't plug straight in.

I remove the existing mounting and glue an assembled draft box in it's place.

A bit of a fiddle but not too difficult. :thumbs

It's also worth bearing in mind that, even when an NEM pocket is provided on the model, the height may well still be incorrect - hence the need for the Kadee height gauge !!

Hi Michael

You have to replace the whole coupling. I initially used kadees in draft boxes.  Over the last few years I prefer to buy packs of tension locks and NEM pockets from both Bachmann and Dapol....I prefer the former but they are not always available. I have drawers full of tension locks now but you can rarely buy pockets on their own......fortunately the packs are relatively inexpensive.

I cut to size the little plastic clips that come with some food items and create mounting blocks to get the correct height.....which as everyone has said is critical.

The advantage of only having pockets fitted means I can standarize on just the 4 NEM sizes.....mostly #18 and #19. 

Hope this helps

Cheers

John



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 Posted: Mon Mar 11th, 2019 06:42 pm
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Not for the first time, I thank you all for your speedy replies and knowledge.  It was as I first feared - replace the lot.
However, on closer inspection I noticed that I could unclip the top of the draft box (I think that is half way to being the correct term!) and could then fit a No 5 kadee in.  I checked it for height and it is correct (I included the  centre spring, a very thin shim might make it perfect - I have some washers that came with the height gauge I can use).

However, the No 5 is too short.  The buffers on the coach and loco interfere with each other on a curve.  I wonder if there is a longer one than a 5????  Although the close coupling looks great.  I will explore a little more

Many thanks again

Michael



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 Posted: Mon Mar 11th, 2019 06:53 pm
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Hi John

Thinking about it, having NEM sockets on all wagons might be a good way to go.  I am intrigued about the little plastic clips you modify....

Michael



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 Posted: Mon Mar 11th, 2019 06:55 pm
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You might want to try a No. 6, those have a longer shank.
Alternatively, rather than Kadee couplers you could try McHenry knuckle couplers - they make some with a rather similar dovetail.



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 Posted: Mon Mar 11th, 2019 07:16 pm
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Headmaster wrote: Hi John

Thinking about it, having NEM sockets on all wagons might be a good way to go.  I am intrigued about the little plastic clips you modify....

Michael

The other plus with NEM pockets ......its not always desirable to have an entire rake fitted with Kadees....un planned uncoupling can happen......this can be solved by leaving the kadee in place and snipping off the hook......but that is rather wasteful....I hold my nose and put in a slim line tension locks.:shock:

In North America most food that comes pre bagged....bread for instance....has the bag secured by a plastic clip that is about 1/2” x 3/4” and between 1/16” and 3/16” thick. 

I snip bits off into uniform rectangles that are just a tad larger than the NEM pocket

The varying thicknesses enable one to build up a mounting pad of the correct depth for the NEM pocket

I think there are similar clips in the UK.?



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 Posted: Mon Mar 11th, 2019 07:56 pm
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Aha!  I thought that might be it..... although more and more seem to be moving to sticky tape.  But I'm sure I can find an alternative!

Thanks

Michael



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 Posted: Mon Mar 11th, 2019 07:58 pm
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Thanks Zelda - just what I was hoping for - someone who knew the answer!

Michael



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 Posted: Mon Mar 11th, 2019 08:51 pm
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Sol
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Michael, have a read
https://www.kadee.com/htmbord/coupler.htm
one of many pages of the site

regarding McHenry/Bachmann Ezy-mate .. only use Mk 2
https://shop.bachmanntrains.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=258_273



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 Posted: Mon Mar 11th, 2019 09:19 pm
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Thanks Sol.... I have clearly got better at this, that page used to bamboozle me, but I understand it now!

Michael



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 Posted: Mon Mar 11th, 2019 09:49 pm
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I'm sorry to be a pain, but John, or any other people who have gone down this route, do you glue the NEM pocket to wagon/coach? And what glue do use?  Does it need to be two part epoxy (I have read different views on all of this).  Or do you use a screw? (And you will need to give some details because I don't know how that will work)

Thanks, in anticipation...

Michael



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 Posted: Mon Mar 11th, 2019 11:40 pm
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I generally use plastic modelling solvent........which works fine for the mounting pads to wagon underframe.I use the same solvent to fix the pocket to the pad.......this can be a bit more fraught because some pockets dont stick that well and are susceptible to an accidental glancing sideways tap.....which can be frustrating (Canadian understatement! )......but I just work away at it and slowly but surely I have eliminated the problem from most vans.
Having made the initial join with solvent, after its dried, I sometimes apply a seam of superglue round the pocket edges.

Its not 100% perfect and I would love to hear of a more elegant solution.

I should mention that when using pockets in this manner it is very important that they are set square and central in relation to the buffer beam because they no longer have quite the same flexibility as when fitted by Bachmann and Hornby. Dapol, on the other hand, I generally replace as described above.

HTH

John




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 Posted: Tue Mar 12th, 2019 12:11 am
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Sanding can help uncooperative plastics stick. As can adding an inbetween layer of paper or cardstock



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