Kadee minimum body box widths and #4 couplers


Donald B. Valentine <riverman_vt@...>
 

I'm not sure everyone is on the same page as to which coupler
it is or not but with regard to the #4 you may be overlooking a
part of its operating characteristics. As Deeny mentioned the #4
had a slot in the coupler shank that was behind the square post
that held the coupler in its pocket and there was a spring that
fit into that slot. BUT, and what has not been stated here, is
that there was also a very small cylindrical piece of metal that
fit INSIDE that spring to provide limits to couper travel. Many
of us used these couplers on assembled Ambroid/Northeastern cars
back in the early years of Kadees. IIRC this shank and spring
were utilized on the early non-magnetic couplers to which Jon
refers and were carried over to the #4's.

Regards, Don Valentine


--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Jon Miller" <atsf@...> wrote:

The #4 has a long slot in the shank just wide enough to fit over a
square post within its own cast metal dedicated coupler box.<

Denny,
I don't think this is the coupler that Tim is talking about.
It's one
of the pre-magnetic ones I think. It had a slot in the back and a
spring
was attached that applied the springing action. The spring was
behind the
center pivot post. I'm pretty sure this was one of the first
Kadees made.

Jon Miller
AT&SF
For me time has stopped in 1941
Digitrax, Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI user
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS


Jon Miller <atsf@...>
 

Tim, Denny, and all.
Just to prove (to myself) I'm not nuts (meaning really bad memory) I went to the junk box. It's an old Kadee with a straight uncoupling pin. The pivot pin and hole are just that, round (not a #4 style). Behind the pivot, on the couple shank, is a notch. The back of the couple box has a notch. A spring about 3/8" long fits in the two notches. This style of coupler has 'no' travel. I can post a picture if anyone's really interested but probably not.
As I don't have one of Jon C.'s tanks I thought that was what he had done.

Jon Miller
AT&SF
For me time has stopped in 1941
Digitrax, Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI user
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS


Denny Anspach <danspach@...>
 

... the #4 had a slot in the coupler shank that was behind the
square post that held the coupler in its pocket and there was a
spring that
fit into that slot. BUT, and what has not been stated here, is that
there was also a very small cylindrical piece of metal that fit
INSIDE that spring to provide limits to coupler travel.
I didn't mention that *&%$### subatomic-sized cylindrical filler
piece that has to be placed inside the spring sunokt because I felt I
was already pushing the envelope already in attempting to describe the
#4's venerable but unusual coupler shank centering arrangement. If
memory serves, this tiny cylinder was also a later addition by Kadee
some years following Kadee's shift to magnetic couplers, while other
aspects of the design remained unchanged. BTW, the coupler seems to
operate quite well if this cylinder is left out, i.e. as in, it has
already flown off the bench into a netherworld.

As implied, assembling the couplers with this miniscule little piece
was and still is no picnic. Once assembled, the coupler box/coupler is
treated with the highest respect.

Denny


Denny S. Anspach MD
Sacramento


Craig Zeni
 

To this day I believe that a properly assembled #4 is operationally the best coupler Kadee's ever offered. Centers better than any other, and the spring/metal dowel set up gives a bit of nice slack action. I don't use them much any longer as I much prefer the appearance of the 58/158 et al....


Craig Zeni
When cryptography is outlawed, bayl bhgynjf jvyy unir cevinpl.

6.1. Re: Kadee minimum body box widths and #4 couplers
Posted by: "Donald B. Valentine" riverman_vt@yahoo.com riverman_vt
Date: Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:24 am ((PST))

I'm not sure everyone is on the same page as to which coupler
it is or not but with regard to the #4 you may be overlooking a
part of its operating characteristics. As Deeny mentioned the #4
had a slot in the coupler shank that was behind the square post
that held the coupler in its pocket and there was a spring that
fit into that slot. BUT, and what has not been stated here, is
that there was also a very small cylindrical piece of metal that
fit INSIDE that spring to provide limits to couper travel. Many
of us used these couplers on assembled Ambroid/Northeastern cars
back in the early years of Kadees. IIRC this shank and spring
were utilized on the early non-magnetic couplers to which Jon
refers and were carried over to the #4's.

Regards, Don Valentine


--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Jon Miller" <atsf@...> wrote:

The #4 has a long slot in the shank just wide enough to fit over a
square post within its own cast metal dedicated coupler box.<

Denny,
I don't think this is the coupler that Tim is talking about.
It's one
of the pre-magnetic ones I think. It had a slot in the back and a
spring
was attached that applied the springing action. The spring was
behind the
center pivot post. I'm pretty sure this was one of the first
Kadees made.

Jon Miller
AT&SF
For me time has stopped in 1941
Digitrax, Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI user
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS


Denny Anspach <danspach@...>
 

Of peripheral interest in this discussion was the observed fact that in two month 2006 test of couplers holding together a fully operating 131 car train of freight cars of mixed ancestry pulled by a single steam locomotive, the only failures that I experienced were 1) The cast-in post of a #4 coupler box was fractured and pulled right out of the box, and 2) several McHenry couplers failed when the "stops" limiting knuckle range-of-movement failed. A large majority of couplers on the train, including the car tagging the locomotive tender itself were plastic Accumate Proto semi scale couplers. The remainder were almost all Kadee #5s, with a few #78s. Not a single one of them failed in any way, or even came close.

Denny


Charlie Vlk
 

Denny=

Even Kadee cast metal couplers will fail now and then in hard operation.

However, HO operators around here (Chicago area) generally convert over to the Kadee couplers, some allowing the OEM plastic jobs to fail in service first, others before they put the car on the layout.

I think the major argument against the clones is that the plastic centering springs are not as reliable as the Kadee metal stamped or whisker springs. Cars left in staging between sessions on a curve don't center as well even though some manufacturers state this is not so. All I know is that what I've observed... the layout owners replace the couplers with Kadees. I don't know what the experience has been with the new metal Life-Like and Canadian Kadee knuckle couplers.... perhaps they won't be replaced.

Same is true in N Scale with Micro-Trains.... although the new McHenry couplers haven't been out long enough for us to make a determination about them. They have molded-in acetal springs for centering even though they have the Kadee No.5 -style knuckle spring, so the centering action will have to be monitored. The Accurail coupler licensed to Atlas and used OEM on a number of brands are not well-regarded, but they do solve the "draft gear bounce" problem of the M-T couplers as they have a fixed center post pivot in their design instead of the floating spring.

Charlie Vlk