Last days off (hard to believe I’m already halfway my hitch after that!) I managed to assemble and test the Sergent couplers I had ordered while at work. I ordered compatible shank type E couplers, with the goodies needed to make them work (assembly fixture, reamer, height gauge, and uncoupler), with enough couplers for 6 pieces of rolling stock for testing. Assembly went really well and ended with (in part) what you see in this picture.
I got lazy and really didn’t take many shots of the assembly process. The instructions on Sergents website, and included with the various pieces do a great job of covering the process. I was lucky that my daughter had a plastic (non-magnetic obviously) pair of tweezers from some crystal-growing kit that I was able to use to insert the ball into the casting. Definitely work on a piece of paper towel or something similar, or you will lose some of the balls!
I chose a cross section of my fleet for testing. I installed couplers on my Proto 2000 0-6-0, an Accurail stock car, a Tichy flat car and tank car, an Athearn (blue box) boxcar, and a Roundhouse caboose. That gives me a tidy little local freight to play with. That’s a Kadee #5 laying beside the Tichy flat for comparison.
These things look great! I also love the lack of slack compared to normal Kadees. I have a couple that are a little bit stiff in the knuckle, but I suspect that will work its way out as I use them. In testing at the club, I was able to couple and uncouple even in an area where the tracks are fully 24″ from the aisle. I only have one or two spots in my plans (mostly around the roundhouse!) where there is anything deeper than 24″ benchwork, so I don’t anticipate that being an issue.
I need to do a bit more testing next days off, but I’m definitely leaning towards converting the entire fleet over to Sergents. I did take a couple videos illustrating coupling and uncoupling, but I can’t get them off my phone with the laptop, so they’ll have to wait til I get home and can use the desktop computer again.