Much to my amazement I found a really clean-looking Nikon F2 in an antique store for $20. It's the black body, has the Dp-1 metered finder, and there were two polarizing filters on a 35mm Nikkor lens. Needless to say I grabbed it as fast as I could! Focusing ring moves smoothly, meter works, very little brassing, and just altogether in great shape. Definitely was not worked hard.
The shutter sounds close to accurate at all speeds, however I found after a few days that the film advance lever would catch if I fired it at 1/30 or slower. After reading on the forums for a while, I mustered up the courage to take off the bottom plate and found the lever that was sticking. It appears the only issue is dried lubrication causing one small lever to catch after the shutter has been fired. Of course I realize that the best plan would be to have a professional CLA done, but is there anything I can do to clean/replace some of the grease on the winding mechanism? What would the best easily obtainable lubricant be? My funding is limited at the moment so if it's possible to do some maintenance like this myself, I'd definitely take the chance.
I can't comment on the lubricant, but nice find! I have the same camera and absolutely love it.
Wait until you DO have the funds. Which aren't all that much, BTW.
Honestly, best advice I can give you. Life gave you a nice silver platter, here, don't take a crap all over it.
There is only one place to send it for a CLA: Sover Wong. He did mine, and I'm very pleased.
I'll let others recommend a grease, but you may just be able to clean the gunk off and get it working OK.
The other thing to check for is deteriorating foam seals on the top and bottom back cover slots and the mirror damper cushion foam. Sover will replace those, but if you want to do it yourself, Jon Goodman sells an excellent kit for $10 which, with some care, you can install yourself.
Great find. Don't mess it up; that's saving money turned upside down. At 20 bucks you could spend some money on a good CLA.
The best grease I know of that won't migrate and won't dry out is 'vacuum grease': it's made for greasing laboratory glassware fittings that are subject to vacuum and high temperatures. It's not much on extreme pressure - extreme pressure as in heavily loaded bearings. The stuff is expensive, though and you have to buy a big tube. A good alternative is moly grease made for brake calipers - you can buy small (good for one brake job) tubes at the auto parts store for a buck - this is a pretty thick grease good for large gears and winding mechanisms.
As to oils. Well, you can do a lot worse than plain-old SAE 30 oil as you put in the car.
For oiling delicate mechanisms - think clockwork in shutters and self-timers - the best is Nye Clock Oil. However, 'Turbine Oil' from the hardware store is also very good stuff.
Be very, very sparing with lubricant. Apply oil with a toothpick, only the thinnest film is needed. Ditto grease, wipe some on, wipe most of it off.
Naptha - aka Ronsinol or lighter fluid - is the best stuff for removing the old lubricant. It dissolves caked-on grease, won't harm plastic and it evaporates without a trace.
Do not ever use WD-40, LPS-25, 3-in-1, Liquid Wrench or any other product that comes in a spray can or advertises itself as 'penetrating'. These products are great for freeing rusted up 1/4 inch bolts and garden equipment. They all, without exception, turn to a gooey gummy mess in short order.
If in doubt, or if it feels like you are forcing something, then stop the DIY and send it off to Mr. Wong. The camera can be close to 40 years old. After a good strip and clean it will be good for another 40 years. Like a Leica M3, an F2 can be kept going forever.
If you see the sticking lever, a drop of lighter fluid on it's pivot will free it.
Apply the drop, work the camera and apply yet another drop. You may need two or three applications but it sure isn't brain surgery.
Use the head end of a straight pin or a toothpick to apply the solvent and blot any excess. The slight residue of the fluid will act as a lube
No spray on solvents of any kind should be used.
Essex Camera repair in NJ can also do a lovely job on an F2.
Congrats on your lucky find and purchase! I could/would be jealous but I currently have eight F2s (3xF2AS, 1xF2A, 4xF2(all DE1s) in my arsenal. Despite the manifold advances in technology over the course of the last several decades, these mechanical gems remain my all-time favorites (obviously!). On the repair issue: hand your "baby" over to a professional; spend a little extra and let an expert handle the job (That said, drop Jon Goodman an email re replacement foam; re-foaming requires a little care, but is easily done with a little time and patience).