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: