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Discussion Starter #1
Well guys, I decided to go with Kadees as they look really good and have a great reputation. My first conversion was my USA Trains GP9. This conversion was extremely easy and left me with a positive feeling about my Kadee decision. Once I started my SD70MAC, things changed. I tried 2 different knuckles both of which were recommended on the Kadee site and neither one simply 'did the job'. They both require reconstruction on the engine and some extra work that leaves the engine looking somewhat Jimmy-rigged. I decided to start my SD40-2 so that I could ignore the headache of the SD70MAC for a while. Things went from bad to worse when I spent several hours trying to get this one right. I had to file the heck out of the pedestal, gear box, and a few other things just to get it to sit right on the pedestal. I followed the instructions on the site and contrary to the instructions (which are not the easiest to understand anyways) more filing was needed than they stated.
At this point I am wondering if Kadees are really worth the trouble when the USA knuckles do the job right out of the box and do not require grinding, sawing, tapping, cutting, filing, sanding, whatever... plus they look good enough. If they made specific couplers designed for each locomotive it would be very nice, unfortunately it is more like a one-size-fits-all-provided-you-grind-the-heck-out-of-your-locomotive! So Kadee, how about working with us a little here? What do you guys think of going USA Trains vs. Kadee? Are Kadees worth the trouble in the long run? Thanks.

-Will
 

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Will, if your getting this upset over installing kadees, you will probably not like laying track or building your RR either. take your time, some things are easier than others. slow down take your time and you will get it, 1st time you do anything is the hardest!!!
 

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Will, you picked two difficult locos. The Aristo loco has a **** of a time "letting go" of it's old coupler.

The SD70 can take a Kadee with very little work BUT you have to have wide curves. In most cases, you have to file the opening larger. It's just a BIG LONG loco.

Did you follow the thread by Ted where he asks about a Kadee on the SD70... he did a lot of experimentation, and in the end, I think Nick's method is easy and effective.

Regards, Greg
 

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Try the KD conversion kits for the Bachmann HO F7s sometime, nice, but involve cutting up and rebuilding the trucks (and they are body/frame mounted couplers).

They make a very good product but take time and work to get right in some applications.
 

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Posted By CCSII on 03/30/2009 10:06 PM
Ah if everything in LS was free and easy nobody would be doing it!


Ummmm.... I'd be doing a lot MORE of it!
 
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seemingly i am wrong, but before i came to this forum i allways thought, that bashing was only for two groups of modellers:
rivetcounters - the 110 percenters - to give things the last touch.
and poor guys, who can't afford the prices of ready-made modells. - replacing money with time.

but i simply can not understand, that so many of you are content to spit out hundreds or thousands of $$ for thrash, that does not run well - right out of the box.

far to often one reads things like:
"oh, it's a good modell! you just have to adapt a couple of things..." - followed by a looong list of faults.

korm
 

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Kormsen, there are people that do not like things to run out of the box. They are happy to modify and adjust units until they run better.
I believe it is not a cost issue, just some like to tinker a lot.
 

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Even when one builds their own cars they are not perfect, adjustments are made during the build to bring it to a standard that works.
 

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OVGRS members have used KaDee couplers for almost 20 years installing them on every loco and piece of rolling stock that runs during the club ops sessions on the IPP&W. In all members have almost 500 cars and about 100 locos converted to KaDee couplers.

It is true that some installations require a bit of work especially locos. But ultimately, reliable operation (coupling, uncoupling, backing movements and staying coupled) require common couplers correctly installed as body mounts.

Our club website www.ovgrs.org has a series of conversions documented at http://ovgrs.editme.com/Tips None of these concern the SD70 or the SD40-2 in question but ... many other locos and cars are shown.

The question was asked is it worth the trouble? The short answer is almost always yes. IF the intention is to run only USAT equipment in a train and if the intention is to only run in a circle then the USAT couplers are fine and stick with them. Otherwise, a conversion will be beneficial. Once learned, the skill is easily applied.

Regards ... Doug
 

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Most all my locomotive Kadee conversions are custom because I like the #1 scale 1789 for all my locos. Sometimes it takes awhile to figure out a way to get a solid good looking install on a model I haven't done before, but when it is completed they are very reliable. Look at it this way, have some patience, do it right , and you won't have to do it again.
 

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This problem of having to work on equipment, even whe new, is not anything new. For many years, HO modelers bought beautiful brass locomotives that ran very poorly. A cheap plastic diesel model ran better that a brass one that cost many hundred dollars. The same was true of steam engines that cost near $1000. Poor mechanisms.


As far a couplers, some of Kadee's instructions are very complex because they are trying to still allow you to run your trains around 4' radius circles. If you have larger curves, simpler rigid mounts are possible. Get yourseld a Kadee coupler height gauge. That allows you to easily determine the proper eight for your coupler mounts. I made a coupler mount with 1 piece of plastic for my SD-45. I trimmed the existiing mounting post and fastened the plastic to it. Then I mounted the coupler to the plastic. It was very simple.


Good luck, take your time and you will certainly enjoy the results.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
More of the problem is the necessary reconstruction on a brand new diesel that cost hundreds of dollars. It's hard to say "This SD70MAC is prototype" when you ground half of the snowplow's life away to make room for the coupler. I have no problem doing the work, but it seems that Kadee could make them just a little more compatible with specific locomotives without having to grind on them so much.

-Will
 

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Will

You actually have hit the problem in your statement about compatibility - but you blamed the wrong guys. In HO after a long battle that spanned three decades, KaDees became the standard by 1980 and were (and are now) factory installed on everything. In large scale, arrogant companies who believe that their proprietary stuff is best make it difficult. Pin the blame here on USAT for using a proprietary coupler and not providing an easy mount for the standard replacement so many of us use.

I would also add that the large scale modeller's penchant for hairpin curves leads to truck mounted couplers and other arrangements which make a standard coupler mounting difficult. Sensible curves and body mounts will give a very reliable coupler for all operations. The main equipment vendors can help by either factory installing KaDees (unheard of in large scale) or by providing a solid structure for an easy body mounted conversion. USAT does this on their freight cars but not their locomotives so they do in fact understand the issue.

Regards ... Doug
 

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Am I right in assuming that (1) your Kadees are the larger G gauge units and that (2) they don't work with the USAT knuckles?

cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Doug I am going to disagree with you there as, if I manufactured a line of locomotives and rolling stock I would not be designing my product around Kadees. I would design it based on what people want, and Charles Ro has obviously done that. To design the front of my locomotive away from prototype just to accomodate Kadees would cost me extra time, money, and resting on my laurels about prototype. I don't think USA Trains should have to design their whole line around a long series of couplers that were designed to accomodate the older of the G-scale manufacturers and sacrifice their idea of prototype to appease the Kadee crowd. That is their choice and I respect that. BUT, if any other manufacturer respected this 'standard coupler' size you speak of then Kadee would only be putting out one coupler for each 'scale' and everyone's equipment would adhere to that, but that is not the case. It is no more USA Trains' fault then it is Aristo, LGB, Bachmann, Accucraft, MTH, and whoever else has been a success in the G-scale market. As many people have been sending me messages that it is no easier mounting couplers on Aristocraft locomotives, the problem does not rest with USA Trains. I think personally that it is no more arrogant to bring out a product by my own standard and idea of what is prototype, then it is to expect all new participant manufacturers to adhere to my coupler. When it comes down to it, USA Trains would have to sacrifice their idea of how their locomotive should look to be faithful to prototype to accomodate a coupler that many people use? That doesn't make sense. The who-should-do-what battle is always going to rest with what manufacturers we have preference with. But from a huge manufacturer's standpoint, USA Trains, Aristocraft, etc. should not have to design their equipment around a company that offers a good coupler. That is like Cadillac designing their fender to accomodate a Goodyear tire.... It would cost Kadee much less money to make a coupler for a USA Trains SD70MAC or an Aristocraft GP40-2 then it would for them to design their locomotives around 1 of several coupler types that Kadee offers as there are many, just not enough. Kadee is just as responsible for adapting to changes in the market as every other manufacturer. I would have pointed this argument just as easily at USA Trains if they had made an airhose to go with the Kadee coupler and using their own instructions lead to a crumby-looking job that screwed up the look of the coupler. My whole point was how difficult putting on a coupler was, following barely negotiable instructions, and having to alter the appearance of my locomotive to accomodate it. I have no qualms with the Kadee coupler at all. I think it is a great coupler. The coupler for my GP9 was a very easy install and KUDOs to Kadee for that. Had the SD40-2 and SD70MAC been such a cinch to put on, this thread wouldn't exist. I can't ignore a problem I am having to stay in good graces with Kadee fans, I think problems should be addressed. I really do want to go with Kadees so it is frustrating that it has not been fun installing them on 2 of my locomotives. If Kadee brought out a SD70MAC/SD40-2 coupler (as the design on these 2 locomotives is exactly the same for the coupler) that would take care of the problem. Instead, they are recommending a coupler that was designed for a different locomotive and entrusting us with difficult instructions to make that coupler feasibly work so long as we are willing to change the appearance of our locomotive. Please forgive me if I am starting a coupler war here, it was not my intent =(

-Will
 

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Posted By Engineercub on 03/31/2009 10:31 AM
More of the problem is the necessary reconstruction on a brand new diesel that cost hundreds of dollars. It's hard to say "This SD70MAC is prototype" when you ground half of the snowplow's life away to make room for the coupler. I have no problem doing the work, but it seems that Kadee could make them just a little more compatible with specific locomotives without having to grind on them so much.

-Will




Will,
If you are grinding on the snow plow to make the kadee fit your doing something wrong email me and i will walk you thrue it or you can give me a call...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yes Tom that is the case. Would you recommend the #1 Kadees instead? I haven't really considerred that yet.

-Will
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Nossir Nick I couldn't stomach grinding on my locomotives, the 70MAC or the SD40, so I left well enough alone and went back to the original couplers.
 

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Will,
I don't understand something. You talk about not wanting to "grind" on trhe SD70 and alter the way USA made it. The way they made it is not correct for the prototype at all. Gaping big hole and a coupler that sits way too low to even look like the prototype. Take a look at this prototype,the stock USA and my Kadee conversion. I think my Kadee conversion is a lot closer to prototype than USA's stock loco and yes I did some cutting on the pilot to make it work.
http://espee.railfan.net/spsd70m.html
 
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