Compatible Shank Couplers

Sergent Engineering compatible shank couplers feature a shank that allows them to be a drop-in upgrades for the traditional knuckle couplers included on most HO scale cars and locomotives.

Picture Part # Description Price Status Buy Now
EC87K 6 Easy-to-Assemble Die Cast AAR Type E Couplers with compatible shank (If you're new to our couplers and wonder what you need to try first -- this is it!) $7.00 Stock Item
EC87KB 144 Easy-to-Assemble Die Cast AAR Type E Couplers with compatible shank $84.00 Stock Item
EC87P100K 6 Easy-to-Assemble Type E Couplers with +0.100" extended compatible shank. $10.00 Stock Item
EC87P130K 6 Easy-to-Assemble Type E Couplers with +0.130" extended compatible shank. $10.00 Stock Item
EC87M040K 6 Easy-to-Assemble Type E Couplers with -0.040" shortened compatible shank. $10.00 Stock Item
EC87M040RK 6 Easy-to-Assemble Type E Couplers with -0.040" shortened compatible shank and cast-in scale size lift ring. $12.00 Temporarily Out of Stock
SBEC87K 6 Easy-to-Assemble Lower Shelf E Couplers with compatible shank (1968-current). $10.00 Stock Item
SBEC87KB 144 Easy-to-Assemble Lower Shelf E Couplers with compatible shank (1968-current). $120.00 Stock Item
SBEC87P100K 6 Easy-to-Assemble Type Lower Shelf E Couplers with +0.100" extended compatible shank. $11.00 Stock Item
SBEC87P130K 6 Easy-to-Assemble Type Lower Shelf E Couplers with +0.130" extended compatible shank. $11.00 Stock Item
SBEC87M040K 6 Easy-to-Assemble Type Lower Shelf E Couplers with -0.040" shortened compatible shank. $11.00 Stock Item
SEC87K 6 Easy-to-Assemble Double Shelf SE Couplers with compatible shank (1975-current). $13.00 Stock Item
FC87K 6 Easy-to-Assemble Type F Couplers with compatible shank (1954-current). See instructions here $13.00 Stock Item
SFC87A 4 Assembled Type SF Couplers with compatible shank (1975-current) $13.00 Temporarily Out of Stock
HC87K 6 Easy-to-Assemble Type H Couplers with compatible shank (1940-current). See instructions here Be sure to check out our tailor made tightlock couplers for Walthers passenger cars $13.00 Stock Item
RC87K 6 Easy-to-Assemble Sharon Couplers with compatible shank (up to about 1940). Note that we do not recommend assembly of these kits without the AFRC assembly fixture listed below. See instructions here. $8.00 Stock Item

An MS uncoupling wand is required to operate the couplers. This wand is simply a custom made industrial strength magnetic rod which lifts the internal steel ball in the coupler allowing it to open. The wand has a wire attached to one end aid in aligning couplers in preparation for a tie as well. We don't recommend building your own uncoupling wand from magnets you may have lying around. Customers who have tried this have reported less than satisfactory results. A magnet that is too strong will prevent the couplers from later locking after uncoupling. A magnet that is too weak won't unlock the couplers reliably. Click here to see how to use the uncoupling wand.

Part # Description Price Status Buy Now
MS Local Uncoupling Tool $6.00 Stock Item

The MWRY uncoupler is provided specically for uncoupling passenger cars that have diaphrams prototypically positioned above the couplers. The plain side of the uncoupler slips in from the side between the top of the couplers and the bottom of the diaphrams. The round end of the tool can be used to open knuckles in preparation for coupling. The predecessor to this tool was actually designed by long time Sergent Engineering customer Larry Mowery.

Part # Description Price Status Buy Now
MWRY Passenger Car Uncoupling Tool $9.00 Stock Item

Type E couplers are pretty forgiving as far a coupler height goes. Tightlock couplers (type F and H) are not. This Sergent Engineering coupler height gauge is a go/no-go type gauge so there is no need to guess whether or not coupler height is close enough. If the knuckle slips into the groove on the gauge, you are good to go. Limits for the gauge are of course based on the 32.5" to 34.5" prototype limits. The gauge is cast in tooling resin so dimensions won't creep over time.

Part # Description Price Status Buy Now
HG87 Coupler Height Gauge $5.00 Stock Item

If you plan to assemble lots of EC87K kits, you'll want an AFC Assembly Fixture. This fixture is used to hold the coupler together as it is assembled. The AFC is also very handy for holding the coupler if it becomes necessary to thin the shank of the coupler for certain installations. Note that this fixture works for EC87 and SBEC87 couplers, but not double shelf or tightlock couplers.

A separate fixture is offered for the RC87K Sharon coupler kit. The AFRC fixture fits only the RC87 style coupler.


Part # Description Price Status Buy Now
AFC Precision Cast EC87K Assembly Fixture $8.00 Stock Item
AFRC Precision Cast RC87K Sharon Assembly Fixture $8.00 Stock Item

The diameter of the mounting hole in Sergent Engineering compatible shank couplers is smaller than that used by other manufacturers. This allows the Sergent couplers to fit more snuggly with less slop in most rolling stock. Unfortunately, some thoughtful manufacturers of rolling stock decided to address this problem for themselves, and they provide an oversize mounting post. The result is that the mounting hole in the compatible shank Sergent Engineering couplers must opened up slightly to fit. Although this can be done with care and an appropriately sized drill bit, the RM20 tapered reamer is a better tool for this job because it doesn't bite into the metal as it works.

The reamer comes with what resembles a large pin vise to spin it. This is actually a tap handle with the tee bar removed to lessen the temptation to muscle the reamer though. The reamer is sharp! Be careful with it and work slowly.


Part # Description Price Status Buy Now
RM20 Compatible Shank Reamer $18.00 Stock Item

You'll probably want a couple of extra ball and spring packets, too. Even though Sergent Engineering will gladly replace these small parts at no charge if they happen to get lost during assembly, you might want them more quickly than we can send replacements. These are cheap and nice to have on hand.


Part # Description Price Status Buy Now
BP87 Spare Ball Bearing and Spring Pack $1.00 Stock Item
BPR87 Spare Ball Bearing and Spring Pack for Sharon Couplers (same balls, much lighter springs) $1.00 Stock Item

Couplers that have the cut lever attached on top are referred to as "top operating" Couplers that have the cut lever attached at the bottom are referred to as "bottom operating". The type E coupler modeled by the EC87 was always available as a bottom operating coupler, even though the top operating version seems to have been preferred initially. Sergent Engineering offers two items to assist the modeler in adding these special details.

The BCL87 contains 10 etched brass cut lever linkages. These linkages fit into slots on the bottom of the coupler as shown in the picture. These brass etchings fit the E, SBE, and SE style couplers. The cut levers (not included) should be inserted through this linkage in a manner that allows the coupler to swing from side to side.

Type F couplers are almost always bottom operated and the linkage is mostly hidden by the coupler casting. A "J" shaped small diameter wire can be used to simulate the linkage for these couplers. The Sergent Engineering type F coupler head provides a shallow locating hole for this wire.

For those that desire to model top operating type E couplers, Sergent Engineering offers drilled top coupler castings which will accept lift rings. This option should be ordered at the same time coupler kits are ordered. Lift rings should be installed prior to assembly of the couplers since there is a risk that glue used to attach the rings may also make its way to the locking ball inside the coupler. For this reason, the drilled tops are only an option for kits - not assembled couplers.

Holes in top castings are created with a #80 drill. We recommend either bending your own eyebolts from 0.010" wire or using Grandt Line #5085 eyebolts (or #86085 if you would rather have the equivalent in brass) for this application.


Part # Description Price Status Buy Now
BCL87 10 Etched Cut Lever Linkages for Type E Couplers $2.00 Stock Item
DRLEC Drilled Top Option for one pkg EC87K $1.00 Add 1 week for delivery