Camera CLA & Repair: What oil to use?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by luke_h, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. luke_h

    luke_h Member

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    Having purchased a bum Kodak Retina IIc last week, I want to fix the cocking rack on the camera myself since I'm pretty sure I can. I want to clean and lubricate the internal workings while I'm in there doing that. At the same time, I want to disassemble the shutter enough to clean and relube it as well.

    Having never actually taken the time to relubricate these old cameras, I have no idea what oils to use. What are some suggestions for brands, weights, types?

    I assume the oil for the wind gears would be thicker than whatever will lubricate the shutter mechanism.

    Thanks for any info!
     
  2. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Nye clock and instrument oils: http://www.nyelubricants.com/ Available at places that sell watch repair supplies and at http://www.micro-tools.com/store/SearchByCategory.aspx?CategoryCode=LUB

    DO NOT USE: WD-40, LPS-25, 3-in-1, Sewing machine oil, "houshold" oil, or _anything_ with graphite, teflon or molybdenum. Nothing that says 'new', 'miracle' or 'as seen on TV'.

    In a pinch automotive engine oil works very well for all but the finest of mechanisms - and then Automatic Transmission Fluid can be used.

    Unless you are going to run a few hundred rolls/year through the camera you will be better off with as _little_ lube as possible. If a mechanism - shutter, timer, etc. - will run dry then run it dry.
     
  3. luke_h

    luke_h Member

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    Thanks for the info. I have several types of automotive oil, transmission fluid, and marvel mystery oil at my disposal. I'll go the dry route I think.
     
  4. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    This has not been my experience (or the advise of the manufacturer) for 00 Synchro Compur shutters.
     
  5. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    In the past I've found the traditional lube to work just fine.
    The Nye lube mentioned in the above post are the most useful. Watch oil has a viscosity much like water & is crystal clear. If you take a look at the Micro-tools catalog they offer some watch oilers that allow you to pick up a miniscule drop at a time. allowing the drop to transfer to each end of the gear shaft is all it takes. You can use the eye a sewing needle also.
    You can run the shutter dry but I'd think you would end up with erratic speeds.
    On surfaces like the speed setting cam "dry moly"(micro-tools) applied with a small piece of Q-tip works very well.
    Grease is generally not used in shutters, but most commonly in helical focusing & zoom lens setups.
    Marvel, Three in one & other household automotive lube will just crap everything up.
     
  6. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    It depends on what the camera is to be used for.

    I have many I use once a year (once a decade?) and keeping them dry works a lot better having them gunk up. I am sure the shutter doesn't run as well as it could/should but it is good enough for a nostalgia rush. A wise engineering saying is "If you fix anything long enough you will break it". I don't think I can take a shutter apart more than 4 times - the screws can only be tightened so many times before the threads strip and the springs eventually sproing into a parallel universe.

    The old Kodak "Ball Bearing Shutters" were designed to run dry - though the speed setting lever has no discernable effect on the shutter speed and it might if a drop of oil were added.

    A Compur shutter (or anything else, for that matter) in regular use should certainly be well lubricated as per the factory (or better).

    If the camera is doing (mostly) museum duty then I would leave it bone dry.
     
  7. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    A drop of oil is WAY too much. As John Kroeher said, a micro-drop is needed. A sewing needle works well as does a plain pin. Dip the pin into the oil, make sure there is no blob of oil on the end, and touch it to the shaft of the gear. The ultra-fine oil will run down the shaft and lubricate the gear. After you have treated all the spots you think you should, run the shutter through all the speeds several times. Let it sit for a few days, then cycle the shuuter through all the speeds several times again. Don't add any more oil.
     
  8. luke_h

    luke_h Member

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    I would like to NOT say museum duty, but that's usually the fact of life when I have so many other cameras sitting around the house. This shutter currently seemed to only be firing at one speed (looked like about 1/125th) and bulb mode. Other than that, the slow speed settings all fired off at that too-fast speed.

    I'm new to disassembling a compur syncrho shutter, but have some instructions in hand. I've been quoted at around 100 dollars + the cost of the cocking rack, so I figure I'll give it a go on my own. So far, I've only ever torn down Argus C4 cameras at the shutter level. This will be a good move into something more complex. I probably won't be pulling out shutter leaves or anything of that sort. Just cleaning the springs and levers with lighter fluid.
     
  9. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Quoted $100? Seems high.
    Have you checked with Paul Ebel or Flutot's/ I don't think either would be that high and both are regarded well by members here.