Main springs are the most common Repair for crank phonographs. They are also the most hazardous, the springs are greasy and slick, they will pop out of your grip and slap you a black greasy kiss. The edges are usually razor sharp, and can cut without you knowing until you wash up.
Knowing all these hazards and even more that will spring up, and You still want to install your own main springs? We by no means recommend "do it yourself" main spring repair. We will try to lead you through it, and by necessity it will be rather general in nature.
# 1 The very first thing is to have a good pair of leather palm gloves, A bucket ( any kind) next a good grease (we use our SPRING-N-GEAR GREASE available from us for 2 ounce-$5.00, enough for 6-8 main spring jobs ). A small paint brush. Tools vary because each spring barrel comes apart (or its cover comes off ) differently.
Find a place with some room to move around and grease will not be a big problem ( this is definitely not a dinning room table project). Paper towels, rags and solvent ( kerosene ) for cleaning.
# 2 It is the nature of the main spring to break as it is being wound, and this will cause the adjacent spring (springs) to unwind violently, causing it to fly wheel past center and back wind. This causes the center to disengage and damages the center loop, now this (and others in the line) must be repaired as well as the broken spring replaced.
Now It is time to remove the spring barrels from the motor and determine how they come apart. Some machines use one spring and barrel, most use two springs in two barrels (some 3 or 4). There are two springs in one barrel on most Victrolas, some are one to a barrel, Victrola uses a snap ring to hold the cover on. Some brands bolt the barrels together, others must be tapped apart.
After finding the way to get it apart, you will probably be struck by the mess of tar like substance that will need to be cleaned out so you can see how to disconnect from the center arbor. Few arbors are slotted and will pull out and reinstall easily (Victrolas are one of these). Most arbors have a pin that engages a pear shaped hole in the center loop of the spring. This type needs the center loop pulled and bent away from the pin with a screw driver to free it. Pull the arbor or arbor and gear, out of the spring.
If you are confused by these directions so far, or you are not sure, I suggest you don't continue, as the rest is the hard part.
Normally the broken spring is evident. But some are torn loose from the barrel end, so you may have to remove both to find the broken one. It is always best to inspect, and clean them all.
# 3 After removing the arbor from the spring, you must unwind the spring out of the barrel ( using the leather gloves ). Being sure to mark the direction the coils are wound in the barrel, it must go back the same way. There are many ways to remove the spring, but I prefer to simply pull out the center until it is free, then twisting and unwinding the spring into a bucket.
After removing, check spring for cracks, rust, or any sign of damage. If it looks ok and it is not caked with dried, or gummy grease, Then wipe it down and repair the center loop.
If the center loop has just been opened, and not folded back, use long nosed pliers to shape it back to the size that fits snug to the arbor, and will catch the arbor pin. reinstall ( see # 5 )
# 4 Now you must remove the broken spring in the same manner as described above. Clean the barrel if it is gummy or crusty grease. Take the new spring and you will notice it is tied with wire. Hold the coil in your left gloved hand into an empty trash can ( or similar) and cut the wire and release into the trash can, stand back. This method is the safest if not the noisiest.
Take the spring, and at the barrel end, bend it to allow for the curve of the barrel.
# 5 Take note of the direction you have marked to wind the spring back into the barrel. Wipe a little grease into the barrel with a paint brush. With gloved hands, slide the loose end into the barrel, holding position, wind in about 3/4 turn. Holding the spring in place with your hand, pull the spring down to engage the pin into the pear shaped hole. (this may take a few times to get the knack, a curved end helps allot) Once hooked twist the barrel with one hand and stuff in the spring with the other, as shown
Grease the inside of the spring about every foot- foot 1/2. continue until you have the center coil in position. Now the center loop must be shaped to fit the arbor snug and engage the arbor pin into the pear shaped hole.
# 6 After you have completed both barrels (or one or etc.) reverse the procedure you took to separate the barrels, and reinstall in the motor, wind it up and marvel at your achievement. The first wind up be sure to wind very tight, (till it will wind no more) this will form the center loop onto the arbor. You may find that the spring slips, my first spring jobs did. It slips because one or more pins (arbor or barrel) are not engaged. Then you must do it again. Remember, each time its easier.
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© 1995 through MMXV Dwayne Wyatt
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