N-scale Equipment - Kato 2-8-2 - Coupler Conversion
05/21/2006
I used the Micro-Trains # 2002 coupler conversion kit to change the coupler on the tender of this locomotive. The kit comes with two couplers, one for the front/pilot replacement and one for the tender replacement. I actually like the Kato coupler (a dummy) on the pilot better than the big bulky Micro-Trains coupler. So, I decided to leave the pilot as is. The following photo shows the various parts. The instructions tell you to remove the rear truck from the tender. That is done by removing a small screw (upper left-hand corner of photo). In the center of the photo is the capsule of springs. To the right of the capsule is the pilot coupler replacement, and the remaining parts are used to install the rear tender coupler.
Coupler_Conversion
After studying the parts I realized that the tender coupler would be a simple replacement. I wanted to convert all of my locomotives and rolling stock to have body-mounted couplers. So, in the next photo you'll see the idea I came up with. Since I wasn't going to use the pilot coupler, I decided to body-mount it to the tender, and not use the tender coupler (as the instructions say).
Coupler_Conversion
The next step was to temporarily tape the coupler to the tender, put the rear truck back on the tender, but backwards, and test the coupler height against one of the Micro-Trains boxcars. It appeared to be a perfect match. The shape of the coupler body and the rear end of the tender were also a perfect match. This gave me some confidence to go ahead with the project. The coupler was taped to the under side of the tender.
Coupler_Conversion
And here is the final result. I used Walthers' Goo glue to bond the coupler to the tender bottom. I am letting it dry overnight before testing the coupler. The last thing I did was to use the Dremel tool to cut away the coupler holder on the rear tender truck. This is so that it clears the new body-mounted coupler.
Coupler_Conversion
But as you can see from this shot, it looks like it is going to work just fine.
Coupler_Conversion
When I switched to using Micro-Trains Z-scale couplers as my fleet standard, I set about changing out this model's couplers, both tender and pilot. As shown above, I had previously installed an N-scale coupler with Walthers Goo, which made it easy to remove. The first thing to do is to check the tender frame's rail height against the Micro-Trains gauge to make sure that the coupler will wind up sitting at the right height. It was a perfect match.
Coupler_Conversion
There appeared to be a slight lip at the end of the underbody, so I filed it down to provide a smooth, flat surface against which to mount the coupler.
Coupler_Conversion
Using a small drill bit and a tap, I made a hole at the right location for the coupler.
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I installed the coupler with the supplied screw. It does show a bit on the top, but a bit of black paint will hide that.
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The coupler in action.
Coupler_Conversion
I also wanted to install a working coupler on the front of this locomotive. After careful studying, it turned out to be very easy to do with the Micro-Trains Z-scale coupler. The first photo shows the original parts, the dummy Kato coupler. The line drawn on the photograph points to the part that needs to be popped off the pilot deck. Once that's done, the dummy coupler can be removed.
Coupler_Conversion
The next photo shows the bottom view of the pilot deck with the coupler installed. I had to glue a thin piece of styrene (transparent) to provide an even surface for mounting the coupler. I carefully drilled a hole just behind the cow catcher.
Coupler_Conversion