HO CMT C-Liner Close Coupler Conversion
Text and Photos:  Pat Scopelliti,  June 2008

OK. Here is the procedure with photos to convert the C-Liner to 
a more realistic looking coupler.

First, the original coupler, as shipped. It's alright, but  just a big large
(similar to Kadee #5). See photo at left. 

Replacing the original with a Kadee 58 is simply a matter of unscrewing the draft gear, removing the original coupler, insert the Kadee 58, and reattach the cover. Looks better, especially coupled to a doubledecker. Note that the coupler still sticks out a bit too far from the FM unit. 

Now, to get the coupler closer,  remove the body (remove both couplers, spread the sides near the tanks and the body slides right off). Note that the coupler mounting plate has two holes: the one used and a second one closer to the truck. That second hole is not tapped for a screw.

Drill out that hole closest to the truck (it's a little too tight for a 2-56 tap) and tap it for a 2-56 screw. It is best to use a drill press when drilling out the hole, and make sure you drill deep enough to allow the tap's full threads to get about 1/4 inch into the hole. Here's a look at the frame with the two holes marked.

Now, if you try to mount the regular Kadee 58 you'll find that the draft gear interferes with the truck. You might be tempted to cut the draft gear short, but the brass spring gets in the way. The solution is to use a Kadee 158 which uses two whisker springs attached to the coupler rather than the separate standard brass spring. 

Without the brass spring you have room to cut the draft gear short and not affect the coupler's operation. And as opposed to using a shorter shanked coupler, you still have the full swing of the regular shank.

After cutting the draft gear and cover, assemble the coupler (snaps together nicely), then use a file to smooth the end. Also, you'll notice a lip on the top of the draft gear - gently remove it. Otherwise the coupler will not sit flat on the coupler mounting and will hang down a bit. Here's the coupler, draft gear, and a finished shortened coupler, top of photo.

Now just attach the coupler using a 3/8 inch 2-56 screw and you're done.

Here's an overhead shot which shows the difference between a Kadee 58 in the standard mounting hole and a Kadee 158 using the other mounting hole.


And here are two units coupled back to back (not elephant-style). Not perfect, but better.
I'd love to do the front coupler as well since it also has two holes, but the uncoupling pin would then strike the bottom of the pilot opening. I guess you could reverse the uncoupling pin or (shudder) clip it off. Enjoy,  Pat Scopelliti