Kato F7 coupler

Discussion in 'N Scale' started by 282mike, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. 282mike

    282mike TrainBoard Member

    :cry: One of my Kato F7As hit the floor #$@% and of coarse the front MT coupler took the hit! Needless to say its history!Well these couplers are obsoleet items acording to the MT website. Can anyone help me to find a replasement, or even two in case this happens again:cry:
  2. Bruce-in-MA

    Bruce-in-MA TrainBoard Member

    According to the Kato conversion chart: "2000 (incl 2004 (001 02 052) Front, 1128 (001 30 012) Rear )"

    Or for the older F7:

    1159 (bodymount pilot coupler with truck mounted rear conversion)
  3. Gats

    Gats Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I've fiddled a (I think) 2004 into the A unit pilot recently as I have a couple of them to convert as well. The coupler has an upswept profile from memory. I'll check later and get back to you.
  4. atsf_arizona

    atsf_arizona TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Hi, 282mike,

    Here's some info that I compiled back in March 2006. Hope it helps!


    Kato F unit front coupler compare

    Hi, all,

    I've finally gotten back to continuing my research into working front knuckle coupler
    options for the N scale Kato F unit.

    As of 3/9/06, my bottom line for front knuckle coupler options on Kato F unit:


    1) The MT 2004 apparently works well as nose coupler for all runs of the N scale Kato F unit.

    2) The older MT 1159 kit is probably not needed, unless one is running long NTrak trains and
    needs the extra strength given by the special MT body mounting clip supplied in the MT 1159 kit.

    3) One can also use the stock Kato knuckle coupler off of E units and PA1s, they seem to be
    exactly the same coupler as the stock Kato F unit knuckle coupler.


    (I'm open to any corrections on the opinions given in this post - smile)


    Here's a group shot, comparing the resulting appearance. In the following photos, left to right, are:

    Kato knuckle coupler; Micro-Trains 2004; Micro-Trains 1015 using MT 1159 kit:


    Kato knuckle coupler; Micro-Trains 2004; Micro-Trains 1015 using MT 1159 kit:


    (For improved appearance, I cut off the standard MT magnetic coupler pins).

    Here's some closeups:


    Stock Kato coupler (i.e. I replaced the original Rapido with a stock Kato knuckle coupler off a 2000 run
    Kato E unit):


    IMHO, the stock Kato coupler (I re-used the front coupler from my converted-to-Micro-Trains
    Kato E units and PA1s) looks better, as it is smaller than the rather huge-looking MT couplers.

    The stock Kato coupler is stiffer in side-to-side-swivel than the MTs.

    While not a problem with the F units, I and others have experienced that the stiffer Kato
    coupler, body-mounted on the nose of the Kato E units and PA1s, and used on smaller radius curves
    (especially non-easemented curves)..... can knock the leading truck-mount Kato passenger cars
    off the rails at the entry to the curves.

    In those cases, using the MT couplers below will probably resolve that problem.


    Here is the Micro-Trains 2004 coupler:


    The MT 2004 is a smooth, easy install on the Kato F unit, just a drop in...
    albeit, it does look rather big.

    The MT 2004 worked just fine as a slide-in replacement into the space available on these
    1996 era Kato freight F units - re-using the stock Kato coupler clip.

    The MT 2004 is made specifically as the MT replacement for stock Kato couplers on diesel
    locomotives - as a result, the MT 2004 coupler shank is vertically offset to account for
    the lower height of the Kato coupler mount point. It also looks like MT made the MT 2004
    coupler box *smaller* than the MT 1015 coupler box, in order for the MT 2004 to fit
    properly into the Kato coupler clip and space available.

    I suspect that the Kato F unit coupler clip and space available hasn't changed over the years.

    The front coupler clip and space available seems to be the same for my 1996, 1999,
    and 2000 era Kato F units, E units, and PA1s. (I don't have any of the 1992 run, or
    new 2005 or 2006 run, of Kato F3s / F7s / PA1s, to compare).

    On my layout with 12" non-easemented curves hidden in the tunnels, the much more
    free-swiveling MT 2004s solved the Kato E unit / Kato PA1 problem of the 'stiff
    Kato stock coupler knocking leading passenger car off the rails'.

    Therefore, one place that I use the MTs is on the nose of the trailing A unit.

    I tend to use the stock Kato coupler on the nose of the leading A unit, where the
    smaller size lends a slightly better appearance.

    - - - - - - - -


    The Micro-Trains web site recommends a MT 2000 kit for the Kato F unit.

    The MT 2000 kit consists of a MT 2004 for the front, and a MT 1128 for the rear,
    along with the requisite 'four toothpicks' for easily removing the Kato shell.

    (As I noted earlier in various threads, I prefer to use Red Caboose short-shank Unimates,
    rather than the MT 1128s, on the rear of the F units. The Unimates provide
    much better appearing, much closer inter-unit spacing than the MT 1128s on the rear).

    Therefore, for the front couplers of the F's, I found it's cheaper to just buy the MT 2004 kit
    which has qty = 4 couplers, as I've no need for the MT 1128s.

    - - - - - - - - -

    Note: the MT 1015 is *not* the correct coupler to use on Kato F units, *unless* you also use
    the older, out-of-production MT 1159 installation kit (see below). The MT 1015 doesn't have
    the vertical offset coupler shank that the MT 2004 has; the MT 1015 coupler box also appears to
    be bigger and would not fit into the Kato coupler clip.
  5. atsf_arizona

    atsf_arizona TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter


    Here is the Micro-Trains 1015, installed as part of the hard-to-find, older MT 1159 kit:


    The older, hard-to-find, out-of-production MT 1159 / MT 1015 kit for the Kato
    F unit works fine, however, it does require some cutting of the F unit's pilot
    above the MT coupler box to install. You can see that in the above photos.

    The MT 1159 kit consists of a MT 1015 for the front coupler, and includes a
    replacement body-mount clip to attach the MT 1015 front coupler very firmly to the chassis.
    (The MT 1159 kit also includes a MT 1128 for the rear of the F unit).

    Because of that front clip, according to Tony Burzio of San Diego Model RR Museum,
    the MT 1159 still has a valid role to play for Kato F unit use on long NTrak trains.
    Tony has noted that when running long 100+ car NTrak trains, this stronger MT 1159 nose
    clip is much better suited to handling the strain on the coupler (compared to the MT 2004).
    (Thx, Tony, for that tip!)

    If not needing the 1159 kit's stronger coupler mounting clip..... IMHO the easily
    available MT 2004's probably suffice nicely, and you can eliminate the need to search
    for the out-of-production, hard-to-find, more expensive MT 1159 kit.


    In summary, I observe when viewed together, they're all fairly close in appearance:

    Left to right: stock Kato coupler; MT 2004; MT 1015 which is part of the older MT 1159 kit


    Left to right: stock Kato coupler; MT 2004; MT 1015 which is part of the older MT 1159 kit



    If you really need it, I have taken some pictures of the MT 1159 kit's nose clip, and compare
    it to the stock Kato F unit / E unit / PA1 coupler clip, to better document what I
    was talking about above regarding the 'stronger' MT 1159.

    I'd be happy to hear any additional experiences - especially if you can confirm/deny
    that the old 1992 Kato Fs, or the new 2005/2006 Kato F3/F7s/PA1s have the same (or
    different) coupler clip and space available.

    The above is just my experience and my opinions - pls send corrections or suggestions.

    I hope this may be of help, and save some time for you. It was was fun building this post.
  6. Powersteamguy1790

    Powersteamguy1790 Permanently dispatched

    The MT # 2004 will fit on the nose of the
    Kato F-7 as well as the Kato F-3. The MT # 2004 is pre-assembled.

    Stay cool and run steam.....:cool::cool:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2007
  7. 282mike

    282mike TrainBoard Member

    Kato F7A couplers

    :angel: THANKS FELLAS!! I really appreciate all the responses. I suspected the later couplers would fit. the omly way for me to find out here on the prairy in mont. is to ask ya'll!! :teeth: :shade:
    Thanks agin282mike
  8. glennac

    glennac TrainBoard Member

    Kato F7 Coupler Conversion Question

    Forgive the resurrection of this old thread. However, it is spot on target with the questions I have regarding converting Kato F7 Rapido couplers to MT Knuckle couplers. AND the locos pictured (Cigarband Santa Fe's) are the same ones I am trying to convert.

    I have a 2000-1 MT Coupler Conversion Kit. The pilot coupler replacement is obviously straightforward. However, the rear replacement appears to be quite tedious, involving trimming the existing spring post ("but not TOO MUCH" it says).

    After reading the above thread am I to conclude that it would simply be much easier to use the Unimate Short Shank Couplers #51000? In that case, would they be a direct replacement for the existing Rapido couplers and thus NOT involve having to trim the spring post and all of the other tedious maneuvers that the MT conversion would require?

    Thanks so much!
  9. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    That is correct. Personally, I much prefer the Unimate solution.
  10. glennac

    glennac TrainBoard Member

    Thanks! Have ordered a couple of sets of the 51000's. That is a relief. Was not looking forward to the operation. One slip, or aggressive trim, and you have ruined a perfectly good truck.
  11. atsf_arizona

    atsf_arizona TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Hi, Glennac,

    See this set of photos that I made documenting doing the Unimate on the rear coupler of a Kato F3, F7, E8/9, PA:


    Example picture, there are many more above, step by step:





    I did the picture set so I myself wouldn't forget what I did! :)

    Hope that helps!
  12. glennac

    glennac TrainBoard Member

    Thanks John! I believe I have seen your tutorial before but didn't save the link. Unfortunately, that domain appears to be blocked by the hospital I work at. So I'll have to take a look again when I get home from work later tonight.

    Just out of curiosity, for those who wish to proceed with the MT conversion, how do you go about trimming the spring post without destroying the truck. I know it's possible, since I have had the procedure done by a local train shop on other locos. What tool could get in there to cut the post without damaging the surrounding housing?

  13. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    When I cut only part of the spring post off I usually insert the points of some needle point tweezers into the the coupler pocket at the base of the post. This stabilizes the post enough where I can then slide the point of an Xacto blade in and nick one side of the post, reverse the blade and then cut through from the other side of the post. An unsupported post tends to bend at the base and break off if it is not braced somehow. I have also slid a small blade of a screw driver in on the opposite side of the post from where the Xacto blade is inserted.
  14. glennac

    glennac TrainBoard Member

    John, I have attempted a couple of these Unimate conversions on several Kato F7 units. I'm finding that, even with leaving a bit of "stub" on the back of the "T", the coupler is still quite floppy in the box. Even more so than with the previous Rapido installed. Is this your experience? Am I missing something here? Thanks!

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