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Kadee installations - Bachmann wagons

18914 Views 23 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Giovanni Pasta
The other day I wrote up a little topic on installing Kadee #5 couplers to Hornby wagons. Here now, continuing on the theme, is an account of installing Kadees on a couple of Bachmann 12 tom ventilated vans. These are the vans:

They come with narrow tension-lock NEM couplings. I thought that I could just whip out the tension-lock couplings and replace them with some NEM Kadees, but alas, the height of the NEM pocket was wrong.

So basically, you have to lower the Kadee towards the track by about 1.75 mm. This is done quite easily by flipping the NEM pocket over as it has a thinner edge on one side. The pocket will also sit proud of the pocket holder, so a drop of contact cement helps keep it in place. It works fine and can be released with the tip of a screwdriver if required. It would be nice to rather have some adaptors allowing the correct height to be set. Perhaps there are NEM pocket adaptors out there, but I couldn't find any. If someone has a link to a shop, please post it.

The result is this:

And this is what it looks like when measured up to the Kadee height gauge:

And coupled to another van:

What Kadee to use? Well I measured the angle between two vans connected with the tension-lock couplings. In a very un-scientific experiment it looked like this:

I tried using a set of #19 long NEM Kadees. The result was thus:

I thought that I wouldn't need such a tight angle and would prefer them slightly closer so I settled for #18 NEM Kadees. Giving this result:

They now look quite good and are able to negotiate the sharpest curves on my track.

So you see, it's a bit of hit and miss or hit and score when fitting these things. You have to have a selection of couplers on hand and you have to experiment a bit. In the end, when all locos and rolling stock is correctly set with couplers at the right height, it will be fantastic.

One other tip. I'm starting to amass a collection of different sized Kadees. The paper packets these things come in are not great for keeping the parts in once opened, so I've transferred the contents of half used packets to a neat storage box:

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once more, we thank you Doug...

I haven't used the NEM kadees....they only came out after I ceased US modelling as an obsession...

but in the second photo, side view, I notice the kadee shank appears to be an offset one?? Is that right?

perhaps what is needed is a straight shank version?

( I am surprised Bachmann haven't followed NEM pocket height rules....or have they?}
the pocket height itself seems right for the height gauge?

or..are US NEM pockets always lower than Euro ones?
aaahh, I see....[when I exited US modelling, NEM couplers were just rearing their ugly made me wonder...]

as a 'user' of kadees , and one of those responsible for the increase in space debris.....[the springs, for the uninitiated]

again I warn of potential probs.....with the #5boxes, be careful how titght the centre screw is done up, if using that method.

sometimes the'pillar' in the other part of the box is a tad short, thus by screwing in tight, the box pinches the spring, inhibiting the coupler's ability to self-centre.

I have found it useful to pass the box over a bit of wet n dry fine a couple of times.

also,the ears are not essential, and can be cut off.....or used to secure the two box halves, as the case may be.

check the bronze/brass/copper/not steel spring unit that goes in the box........sometimes this is not cut as exactly as is needed, and the flipper spring may get snagged,preventing free is usually casued by the tiny 'turn-over' of metal created by the choppng process.

to improve coupler performance, with a file of a swiss nature, polish up the outer face of the swinging jaw...there is a casting parting mark that could do with removing....especially useful if the wagon is lightweight.

for lubrication of the couplers moving parts, do NOT use oil of any nature....GRAPHITE dust is the stuff...I used to use a 2B or 3B pencil!

The usual cause of failure is the loss of the loss of the jaw return spring.

There are usually spares in the packet.

the easiest tool to use to replace them is a Stanley knife blade,inserted through the coils...if you CAN see the coils, that is.

I have tried a small pinprick dab of superglue on the iner end....but am unsure as to whether this contributes to spring retention.......I'd be concerned about the glue travelling along the spring....cappiliary action, is it called?

for a ''go anywhere' uncoupler, there used to be a tool on the US market which is easy to replicate.

It consisted of a U-shaped [plastic?] frame, with two small bar magnets glued to the inside faces, facing each other.

the width of the U is such that it will pass cleanly either side of the couplers

a handle of whatever exotic material takes your fance is attached to the top of the ''U''....can be diamond-studded if you wish.

to uncouple two vehicles, simply reach over and insert the U shaped magnetic tool between them......the droppers are then swung aside, and with your third hand (you DO have 3, dont you all?), move the train as needed.

one downside to Doug's massive electric magnet from kadee,is the racket it makes on I recall it has a very loud buzz.
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and apologies if someone has posted this sort of advice before.......sorry
re the buffers....that was a reason for my suggesting 'making one'....the issue is the thickness of the U-shaped holder....perhaps some thinner material can be used?

or magnetic material such as that stuff that bends?

Doug..I haven't actually used the kadee jobbie, but seen it in action......all of.......15 years ago or so?

power supplies might have moved on a bit?

the other method of uncoupling, which doesn't involve lifting the vehicle, is a long thin bit of steel, with the end flattened like a screwdriver balde, to slip between the jaws of the coupler?

of course, if the main criteria is NOT automatic uncoupling, but simply, to gain a more compact, less obtrusive coupler, then the dropper arm can be snipped off below the coupler jaws...
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