Author Topic: Replacing HO scale coupler (an N-Gauger needs some help!)  (Read 689 times)

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Bart1701

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Replacing HO scale coupler (an N-Gauger needs some help!)
« on: December 12, 2021, 11:01:53 AM »
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I'm a visitor from the N Gauge side of the forum and need some help with an HO locomotive.

I was adding the railings and other detail parts to my 80 year old neighbor's Athearn John Deere locomotive. In the process, I managed to damage the front coupler and need to replace it.

Any ideas on where I can get a replacement coupler? I only need one. I looked on the Athearn site, but the #90601 coupler looks nothing like what is actually on the locomotive.

Also, any tips on installing the replacement? I assume I'd need to remove the body shell to get to the coupler cover? How easy is it to remove the shell, and are there any tips on how to do this?

Thanks much,
Bart














davefoxx

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Re: Replacing HO scale coupler (an N-Gauger needs some help!)
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2021, 11:42:02 AM »
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You have a Blue Box Athearn locomotive.  Getting the shell off is easy.  Since I cannot see a lug engaging the skirt on each side of the locomotive over the fuel tank, you must have the kind where you will squeeze the shell to disengage four tabs that go through the fuel tank. If this is correct, you will see four round holes and four rectangular holes on the bottom of the fuel tank.  The rectangular holes are what holds the shell on.  The round holes are the motor mounts.  Just carefully push your fingers down behind the handrails above the fuel tank and squeeze the shell. Wiggle it a little, and the shell should come off without too much of a struggle

Some research on the internet will get the information you need regarding the types of couplers that will work.  I switched to Sergent Engineering couplers, so I don’t recall the exact coupler that will solve your problem.  But, once you get the loco apart, you should be able to see what you need.  Maybe something as simple as a Kadee No. 5 will drop in.

Hope this helps,
DFF

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Mark5

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Re: Replacing HO scale coupler (an N-Gauger needs some help!)
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2021, 12:43:46 PM »
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Kadee #5 is a drop in replacement for Athearn Blue Box.

But ... it looks like someone installed Bachmann EZmate couplers (the first version).

https://shop.bachmanntrains.com/images/HO_Scale/78005.jpg

If you have a local hobby shop, they might have them in stock for a few bucks.


davefoxx

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Re: Replacing HO scale coupler (an N-Gauger needs some help!)
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2021, 12:46:38 PM »
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But ... it looks like someone installed Bachmann EZmate couplers (the first version).

If that’s the case, you did your friend a favor.  Break the other one and replace it, too.  :trollface:

DFF

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Member: Wilmington & Western RR
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BUY ALL THE TRAINS!

Bart1701

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Re: Replacing HO scale coupler (an N-Gauger needs some help!)
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2021, 06:22:40 PM »
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Thanks, HO People!

I think I'm going to try to find an EZ-Mate coupler to use. My neighbor worked for John Deere and bought a number of the various John Deere train sets and has them on display in his home. He does not operate his trains, but I certainly don't want to return the locomotive with a broken coupler - just in case he does decide to set up some track and run them someday!

Thanks again,
Bart

turbowhiz

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Re: Replacing HO scale coupler (an N-Gauger needs some help!)
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2021, 10:57:38 AM »
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As a long time HO modeler, I'll chime in on this one...

Athearn blue box locomotive coupler mounting is a always poor using the factory clips. They were designed for horn hook couplers back in the day and well yeah...

The best way I know to properly fix this for an operating model is to drill out the hole where that terrible plastic clip post pokes into the frame and tap for a 2-56 screw. Then take a #5 box (or whatever more modern box you want, say a #158 box), and screw the box/coupler assembly to the frame from the top using a 2-56 screw. It will clear the shell no problem.

That lets you mount a real kadee coupler and have it function properly forever. And the height it spot on too...

(now in your case if this isn't an operating model then I get you might not want to fix it to a high standard, but this is the best way..)

greenwizard88

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Re: Replacing HO scale coupler (an N-Gauger needs some help!)
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2022, 11:06:43 AM »
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It's possible that it's a McHenry coupler, too. The ones Athearn makes for their Ready-To-Roll series don't use springs, just that plastic tab to keep it closed. Either way, I'd suggest replacing with a Kato #5 or #158. The plastic couplers tend to distort up or down when under heavy load, causing them to uncouple.