Nikon FM Film Fork
So I picked up another Nikon FM in the bay for a mere $16 (shown right.) The meter works, advance lever is smooth, speeds sound accurate etc. They are now known affectionately as "the sisters". There's only 3400 between their serial numbers (both 2xxxxx series.)
The only thing to note was the winding knob. I noticed it didn't lay flat like my original one. Then I figured out it was the screw in the middle, it was sticking up a little. So I grabbed the fork and screwed it out a little until it was flat. This allowed the crank to lay flat. (Old on left, new on right)
But when I did that, it caused a small gap right above the film fork. My guess is that this has been repaired previously and replaced with a slightly larger one.
Do any of you think this will cause a problem? I'm going to run some film through it this weekend to check light seals etc.
Better replace those seals. If they don't fail now, they will fail soon. And you don't want any of that stuff getting into the shutter. That could become a major problem.
Nikon FM Film Fork
Why dont you try grabbing a flat head screw driver, wrap the tip so it doesnt scratch the inside paint, put it between the prongs and unscrew the whole rewind. Then replace it in reverse and try to screw it all completely in tightly holding the screw driver in place. You dont want it to be loose or when you try to rewind film it may just unscrew over time. Hopefully that will work.
Edit: sorry dont know how i skipped passed what you typed about the screw difference. The end of what i wrote applies still. A tight rewind assembly is important. You can try to find a similar size screw from another parts camera to replace it, or maybe from an eyeglass repair kit.
I've had some issues w/ light seals on the Nikons myself. Usually, it's the flat seal where the door closes at the hinge. Or, just put a piece of tape over it once you've closed the camera. My FT2 has a bad (missing) seal there, and several years ago I simply cut a piece of electrical tape the right length and stuck it on there, meaning to do the seals later. I still haven't gotten around to doing that, and the door opens fine w/ the tape, so it's on the back-burner list. Because the camera and the tape are both black, I always forget it's even there.
A trip to Malwart got me a $2 roll of black knitting twine for the horizontal body seals, and judging from the size of the roll, it should last me about 50 years. Not that I'll be here then, but still, it's a cheap way to go, and has worked well on every camera I've used it on so far.
I don't think the gap in the film fork will cause you issues, though I had an opposite problem once with my Sears KS-2 (re-branded Ricoh XR-7).
The plastic top of the rewind had broken, and a local camera chain "fixed" it along with "fixing" a sticking shutter and "fixing" a light leak. (None were fixed, I had to do it all myself.)
Anyway, the replacement plastic, and shaft, were wrong. The plastic top was close, but a bit thicker, holding everything higher than it should have been. Basically, this caused the shaft of the fork to be slightly too short. When rewinding, it would slip quietly, making me think the film was all the way in the canister. Ruined some photos that way. Oddly, this only happened with Kodak canisters, not Fuji - go figure.
I finally found the correct part and replaced it (I have acquired about 20 compatible cameras for parts). I did as suggested, using cloth to prevent marring of the shaft while I held it and unscrewed the top part. It was very easy, and I now have absolutely no problems.
Again, I don't think this will be an issue for you, as the fork is longer, not shorter, when you adjust it. So long as it's not too long for the cartridges, you should be fine. If the gap bothers you, you can find some small washers, or cut/file the shaft (be careful to not mess up the threads), or find a spare fork/rewind assembly of the right dimensions.
My memory is hazy, but I seem to recall that there is a washer and a flat spring that should take up that gap.
In comparing the two cameras, does anything appear to be missing?
I dug my FM out of the closet to see if I could be of any help. I found it still has film in it, so that is that, for now. ASA is set to 200, but seeing as how I haven't used it at least 15 years, and rarely shot anything that slow with it, I suspect it might be loaded with Ilford SFX. It might also be cheap color film. Obviously (?!?), it wasn't important enough to remove and develop. I probably have notes somewhere. Anyhow, I would advise against relying on the SN's on the pentaprism housing for anything important. Mine was replaced when the camera took a nosedive on tripod in 70 mph winds. Frankly, I'm surprised at how low this fully manual camera goes for. I wouldn't dream of selling mine, especially for virtually nothing, but then again, that does tell one how much 35mm is worth these days.
Originally Posted by fotch
Nothing appears to be missing, but the only thing I did notice is that the winding knob doesn't lock like the other one.
On my other FM you have to slice the unlock mechanism before you can lift the winding knob to open the door.