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Which Kadee couplings for common British 80s/90s wagons?

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I own the usual British wagons for the 80s:

 

Bachmann: TTA, MFA, BAA, OCA, BDA, SSA

Hornby: Seacow, ZBA, ZCV, ZGV

FTG: SPA

 

but I'm completely unsure what Kadee product numbers I require.  Has anyone made a table detailing which Kadee product number is best for the popular British wagons? 

 

Would it worth using this post to create a table so other people can use it as a reference (I'm free for moderators to edit my post with new data). I'm not sure if you'd need two suggestions, one for tightest radius and one for normal.

 

If not, could anyone with knowledge on Kadee couplings please recommend which ones I would require?

 

Thanks in advance,

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Why don't you buy a selection and try for yourself. A lot depends on the radii you are using, what works for one, may not work for another.

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Depends how tight your curves are and if the wagons are fitted with NME pockets at  and they are at the correct hight, this is particularly a problem with some Bachmann wagons such as the MFA. Probably a selection of 18, 19 and 20 will be sufficient for the NME fitted wagons. For the none NME wagons a section of wisker coupling of different lengths and different head  settings will be needed fitted to a draft gear box. A height gauge is essential.

 

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17 minutes ago, JZ said:

Why don't you buy a selection and try for yourself. A lot depends on the radii you are using, what works for one, may not work for another.

 

I forget a lot of people use flexi track, I was thinking 1st/2nd/3rd radius, i.e. standardized (which isn't true).

 

 

Edited by faa77

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Although my loco’s and wagons are from the 60’s, I use Kadee 18’s on all my freight stock fitted with NEM boxes.  

 

Here is a video showing the close coupling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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General Principles

 

In my experience, there are only about half-a-dozen Kadees that you'll ever use, so I'd steer clear of the Starter Pack as it's as likely to confuse as inform.

 

Step 1: Get a height gauge, #205 (metal) or #206 (plastic).  The metal type last pretty much for ever, but the #206 is the one to get if you want to set things up on a layout or programming track. 

 

For modern D/EMUs, coaches or wagons with NEM mounts, (and assuming the pockets are at the correct height) #18 or #19 should cover at least 90% of situations, so those are what you will need most of. Try the #18 first, and change it if necessary. Occasionally, even a #19 will be too short and that's the time to break out the #20s. The very short #17 is only needed if the pocket sticks way out from the end of the wagon.

 

4-wheel wagons without NEM pockets generally need the #146 whisker coupler, but if they have deep buffer beams, the #141 may be better. Best practice is to whip the body off, glue the box to the underside and drill/tap for a screw to secure the lid. Drill and Tap set is #246 and Delrin screws are #256. Whisker couplers have a tendency to droop a bit and adding a fibre washer (#209) inside the draft-box takes up the slack nicely.

 

Whichever sort you are using, the inner rear face of the coupler should generally be in line with the front of the buffer heads unless you have very gentle curves. That's what decides your choice of NEM coupler or dictates where to fix the box when fitting the other kind.

 

John

 

 

Edited by Dunsignalling
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As others have said, there are no reliable hard-and-fast rules as to which Kadee couplers work with which UK stock - there are too many variable factors, both with the stock and with the layout it will be run on.

 

The best advice probably is to buy a few Kadee couplings*, or the Kadee starter kit, and experiment.  That may sound potentially expensive but IMO switching to Kadees is not something you should even think about doing if your funds are tight anyway.

 

See also this topic: 

 

*  This is made a whole lot easier if all your stock is fitted with NEM pockets which comply with the standard.  That way you just need a pack of each length of the NEM couplers to experiment with - and you can probably omit the shortest ones (#17) to begin with anyway.

 

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1 hour ago, Dunsignalling said:

General Principles

 

In my experience, there are only about half-a-dozen Kadees that you'll ever use, so I'd steer clear of the Starter Pack as it's as likely to confuse as inform.

 

Step 1: Get a height gauge, #205 (metal) or #206 (plastic).  The metal type last pretty much for ever, but the #206 is the one to get if you want to set things up on a layout or programming track. 

 

For modern D/EMUs, coaches or wagons with NEM mounts, (and assuming the pockets are at the correct height) #18 or #19 should cover at least 90% of situations, so those are what you will need most of. Try the #18 first, and change it if necessary. Occasionally, even a #19 will be too short and that's the time to break out the #20s. The very short #17 is only needed if the pocket sticks way out from the end of the wagon.

 

4-wheel wagons without NEM pockets generally need the #146 whisker coupler, but if they have deep buffer beams, the #141 may be better. Best practice is to whip the body off, glue the box to the underside and drill/tap for a screw to secure the lid. Drill and Tap set is #246 and Delrin screws are #256. Whisker couplers have a tendency to droop a bit and adding a fibre washer (#209) inside the draft-box takes up the slack nicely.

 

Whichever sort you are using, the inner rear face of the coupler should generally be in line with the front of the buffer heads unless you have very gentle curves. That's what decides your choice of NEM coupler or dictates where to fix the box when fitting the other kind.

 

John

 

1 hour ago, Dunsignalling said:

 

 

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Ooops, ignore previous blank post please, pressed the wrong button!!

 

I generally use #18 and #19 for most of my stock with NEM pockets, getting the inner face in line with the buffer front. I'm using locos and bogie parcels stock in the main with Peco medium radius points (3ft radius approx). I haven't used #17s finding them too short, but a #20 was needed for a Bachmann BG.

 

On non-NEM stock the #146/#148 whisker couplers are preferred, fitted as described above, some additional packing may be needed for some locos. I have used the old favourite #5 with success, principally because I had a stock of them.

 

The Starter Pack does as Dunsignalling says provide a lot that you will never use, start with a pack each of #18s, #19s and #148s.

 

It's a bit of a 'try it and see' situation for non-NEM stock. Height gauge(s) are vital for whatever type you use, not all NEM pockets are set right!!!

 

Most of my stock was done quite a few years ago, experimenting with #5s. The advent of whisker couplers and NEM suitable KDs has made things a lot easier.

 

John

 

 

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4 hours ago, Dunsignalling said:

General Principles

 

In my experience, there are only about half-a-dozen Kadees that you'll ever use, so I'd steer clear of the Starter Pack as it's as likely to confuse as inform.

 

Step 1: Get a height gauge, #205 (metal) or #206 (plastic).  The metal type last pretty much for ever, but the #206 is the one to get if you want to set things up on a layout or programming track. 

 

For modern D/EMUs, coaches or wagons with NEM mounts, (and assuming the pockets are at the correct height) #18 or #19 should cover at least 90% of situations, so those are what you will need most of. Try the #18 first, and change it if necessary. Occasionally, even a #19 will be too short and that's the time to break out the #20s. The very short #17 is only needed if the pocket sticks way out from the end of the wagon.

 

4-wheel wagons without NEM pockets generally need the #146 whisker coupler, but if they have deep buffer beams, the #141 may be better. Best practice is to whip the body off, glue the box to the underside and drill/tap for a screw to secure the lid. Drill and Tap set is #246 and Delrin screws are #256. Whisker couplers have a tendency to droop a bit and adding a fibre washer (#209) inside the draft-box takes up the slack nicely.

 

Whichever sort you are using, the inner rear face of the coupler should generally be in line with the front of the buffer heads unless you have very gentle curves. That's what decides your choice of NEM coupler or dictates where to fix the box when fitting the other kind.

 

John

 

 

 

Really appreciate this! Just have a few questions:

 

-Why doesn't #205 allow setting things up on a layout or programming track, if the only difference is it is made from metal, so you mean because it conducts?

-You mention the 20s: is the only difference between 20, 21..... etc the length? They just keep getting longer?

-Are #246 and #256 needed for #141, not for #146?

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NEM fitting couplings are #17, #18, #19, #20 (that's all).

#17 is the shortest (rarely needed) #20 is the longest, (again probably rarely used.

#18 is likely to be the usual fitting with sometimes a #19.

 

All other couplings usually sit in some kind of housing (the gearbox) and come in a variety of lengths as well as having straight shanks, overset heads or underset heads.

The type of gearbox and shank depends on exactly where and how you need to put the coupling on the wagon.

As mentioned before a #146 will usually fit on the underside of the floor of a UK wagon without an NEM mount.

The range #141- #149 are all variations on the same theme. Whisker couplers of varying lengths and offsets

Older couplers had a centring spring in the gearbox, later ones (whisker) have the springs on the coupler itself

Sometimes you may need to fix a coupling directly to, for instance, a bogie without a gearbox.

It's a case of trying to see what suits best.

 

Download this and have a peruse:

https://www.kadee.com/html/kadee_catalog_small.pdf

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1 hour ago, faa77 said:

-Why doesn't #205 allow setting things up on a layout or programming track, if the only difference is it is made from metal, so you mean because it conducts?

It will cause a complete short circuit be in on dcc or dc - the 205 is for use an isolated length of track line what you might have on a workbench, a 206 is for use on a layout.

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I standardized on No.5's a long time ago, I remove any NEM pockets

 

I house them in No 242 Draft boxes and use plasticard to mount at the right height,

 

Agree that a height gauge is essential

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3 minutes ago, Butler Henderson said:

It will cause a complete short circuit be in on dcc or dc - the 205 is for use an isolated length of track line what you might have on a workbench, a 206 is for use on a layout.

Put a 205 on its own, isolated section of track, or simply put insulation tape over one of the rails

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2 hours ago, faa77 said:

 

Really appreciate this! Just have a few questions:

 

-Why doesn't #205 allow setting things up on a layout or programming track, if the only difference is it is made from metal, so you mean because it conducts?

-You mention the 20s: is the only difference between 20, 21..... etc the length? They just keep getting longer?

-Are #246 and #256 needed for #141, not for #146?

Yes, the reason for choosing the #206 gauge over the #205 purely because the latter will create a dead short if used on an electrically live track. I use a #205 on the workbench at home, but carry a #206 in my tool box to use on layouts elsewhere to avoid that possibility.

 

The #20 NEM coupler is the longest NEM-fit version. #21 to #29, inclusive, are an older type of coupler, based on the #5 design but in a variety of lengths and heights and made from engineering plastic rather than metal. Dimensionally, they tally with the more modern "whisker" couplers, #141 to #149. 

 

The reason I advocate the #146 coupler over the #148 (the direct whisker equivalent of the #5) for stock with buffers is that the longer shaft allows the draft box to be placed fully underneath the wagon rather than sticking out to obtain the correct knuckle alignment. It just makes a much neater job.

 

The #5 / #148 is designed for stock without buffers and will suit such applications admirably.

 

I urge you to follow Melmerby's advice and look at the Kadee on-line catalogue - much will become clear.

 

John

Edited by Dunsignalling
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This is the metal height gauge:

 

2009847220_heightgauge.jpg.18268ea6d64c7d3d2b17dc256670fd49.jpg

It's on Peco Code 75 track.

The coupling affixed to it is a #5

Edited by melmerby
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Useful table:  https://www.kadee.com/html/kadee_catalog_small.pdf#page=9

lets you know how high above the rail the draft gear box needs to be mounted. You can match your floor or adjust it down.

I have a plank with a Kadee height gauge at one end and a re-railer at the other.

Be careful with the height gauge. Test the dropper first against the step and visually compare the knuckles. If the dropper sits on top of the step it will force the knuckle up to the right height but not permanently. Kadee droppers are almost always right when supplied, so get the knuckle correct before adjusting it.

 

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#20 Kadees come into play with 23m /C3 restriction vehicles. I find I need a #19+#20 to couple two 153s safely

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10 minutes ago, Ravenser said:

#20 Kadees come into play with 23m /C3 restriction vehicles. I find I need a #19+#20 to couple two 153s safely

What minimum radius do you have?

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On ‎09‎/‎02‎/‎2019 at 22:23, teacupteacup said:

Put a 205 on its own, isolated section of track, or simply put insulation tape over one of the rails

Correct, and fine if you already have a 205 (like me) but sooner or later you will forget, which is why I bought a 206 for "portable" use and screwed the 205 to the bench.

 

For a DCC user getting a first gauge it's logical to have the programming track double up for coupler set-up, so a 206 is the sensible pick. 

 

John

Edited by Dunsignalling

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Permit me to express the deviant thought. Nothing looks as good as the Kadee 'body mounted' in the bufferbeam. (I use them this way for gangwayed LNER and BR stock.)

 

Despite being off standard for height, the magnetic uncoupling using the Kadee permanent and electromagnet uncouplers, still functions perfectly well: and the dropper can be slightly straightened to reach down to standard height above rail should that prove necessary.

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On 09/02/2019 at 22:21, teacupteacup said:

I standardized on No.5's a long time ago, I remove any NEM pockets

 

I house them in No 242 Draft boxes and use plasticard to mount at the right height,

 

Agree that a height gauge is essential

 

Interesting, I went the other way and now won't use the boxes if I can avoid it, instead I buy bags of tension locks with NEM pockets, glue the pockets on and replace the TLs with Kadee NEM knuckles.

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23 hours ago, melmerby said:

What minimum radius do you have?

 

 

The worst case is the bespoke Marcway crossover, at 2'6 radius , though it's a dogleg  affair with a straight section on each route and modest curvature on one leg. Everything else is 3' radius

 

If I get occasional fouling with 2 x long NEM anyone using Setrack is going to be in deep troubleblogentry-80-0-82611400-1543100533_thumb.jpg

 

I've had real trouble getting a 23m /C3 unit through that reverse curve with fixed body mounted Kadees between the 2 vehicles . I'm on my second attempt and will need to find some NEM swivel mounts for a third attempt

 

Moral of the story - anything C3 restriction - watch out!

 

(The steam age stock is my "funny trains period" , before anyone starts wondering what a 23m Sprinter is doing on the same layout as a blood and custard LMS composite)

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Are the vehicles permanently coupled? Do they have CCUs?

If so don't use Kadees,  use close couplers (Hornby/Roco)

If not, can you put the couplings on the bogies?

 

I do not put Kadees in rakes of vehicles as they don't work well with close coupling units.

I do put couplings on bogies in preference to bodies* as there is less lateral movement

 

*Not "bogies"

Edited by melmerby
bodies instead of bogies (second attempt at edit!)

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18 minutes ago, melmerby said:

Are the vehicles permanently coupled? Do they have CCUs?

If so don't use Kadees,  use close couplers (Hornby/Roco)

If not, can you put the couplings on the bogies?

 

I do not put Kadees in rakes of vehicles as they don't work well with close coupling units.

I do put couplings on bogies in preference to bogies as there is less lateral movement

 

Yes - a 155 DMU. No - older model

 

Not now - I cut off the tensionlocks to improve the model and close couple.....

 

What with the length , the gangway and through wiring for Express Models lighting there are problems - and the rigid Kadees are definitely a part of this. 

 

But swivel mounted Kadees  body-mounted on Bachmann 158s in the manufacturer's NEM pockets close couple fine.. Those units run happily through that crossover

 

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