Tag Archives: CLA

Nikon S Rangefinder CLA

Here are the simple steps to clean a 1951 Nikon S Rangefinder camera. I’ve read that the  Nikon One and Nikon M are similar except for the Accessory shoe does not need to be removed on the S. Also the film advance knob does not need to be removed, but for cleaning, simple loosen the set screw and unscrew the knob (ccw)

remove rewind knob-1

loosen but do not remove the set screw….
remove rewind knob-2

put something in the forks of the rewind rod and unscrew (ccw) the knob on top.
remove shutter button guard

unscrew guard (ccw) then with a gripper of some sort, unscrew the shutter button (ccw)
remove shutter speed dial

first set the slow speed dial to 1/20, then lift the shutter speed dial and turn it until you can see the set screw in the slot (looking from backside) loosen but DO NOT remove the set screw. unscrew the shutter speed dial (ccw).. I found it necessary to first advance the shutter.
slow speed dial-1

with a sharpie, mark a dot above the set screws on the inner flange. this is the slow speed cam that as you rotate the slow speed dial, it increases or decreases pressure on the slow speed linkage that is connected to the slow speed escapement, so this method will make sure you get it’s position back to factory setting on re-assambly
slow speed dial-2

loosen but do NOT remove the set screws…
slow speed dial-3

on top of the slow speed dial, there is a split-ring, carefully remove it, don’t let it fly across the room. lift off the dial…
remove body screws

now remove the perimeter screws from around the top plate 3 in back and 2 in front (1 on each corner) then remove this screw in front of the accessory shoe. it is not necessary to remove the advance knob or the accessory shoe
 top plate removed

with the top plate removed, there is a spring under where the shutter release button was, take it off so you don’t loose it.
slow speed cam

here is the slow speed cam you marked with the sharpie. see how it is graduated? that is why it is important that it goes back as factory set for proper slow speeds
 inside top-1

here is the inside of the top under the shutter speed dial area. the yellow arrow points to the lever that is in contact with the slow speed cam. the red arrow points to the shutter closing curtain release lever, the closing curtain release cam is resting against it. the crescent moon shape above the yellow arrow is the RF mirror housing. clean with lighter fluid and give a tiny spot of grease on the lever at the contact point (at red arrow) clean all gears with lighter fluid, being careful not to let it soak down onto the curtains.
inside top-2

under top plate in the RF/VF area. the boxy part is the prism cover, nothing to clean under there, the red arrow points to the cam that moves as you focus the lens. at the other end of the cam it is in contact with the Horiz. adjust screw. cleaning the optics is not that easy on the inside, basically I just did the external glass and the small mirror. It was good enough and a 90% improvement
remove front plate

unscrew the 6 screws, (circled) the two at the bottom are longer. lift the bottom first then slide up to clear the focus dial.
front plate removed

here, I cleaned the front of the VF/RF glass plates. I looked at it with a loupe and noticed spider web type fungus. use a 50/50 mix of household ammonia and hydrogen peroxide to clean fungus.
remove film plate

remove the 4 screws (circled) gives access to cleaning gears on the shutter curtains.
film plate removed

at the bottom of the curtain area I cleaned gears the best I could with lighter fluid staying clear of getting fluid on the curtains.
gear fell out

this gear fell out… [next]
 gear goes here

…simply set the gear with the forks down back over the shutter release button rod and rotate it until it seats flush with the bottom.
remove bottom plate

under here are the curtain tension adjust screws. I didn’t need to adjust anything. always clean and lube before determining if you need to adjust or not.
 bottom plate removed

under here is the curtain tension adjust screws. I didn’t need to adjust anything. always clean and lube before determining if you need to adjust or not. clean the gears with lighter fluid careful not to get the curtains.
one culprit

this is the second camera that this rod has been the culprit of a misfiring shutter (other was a Leica IIIa), . the rod that the closing curtain release lever rests on. it was loose, caused shutter to not close every time. usually have to wind film advance knob to close it.
replace top plate/slow speed dial-1

here is how it should look before putting the top plate back on. thinnest part of the cam as shown to clear the slow speed actuating rod on re-assembly. do the trick from image 10 in reverse to get it positioned properly…. while looking down on it after the top is put back on, rotate the cam itself clockwise so the cog clears the post it rests against.
replace top plate-2

with the slow speed dial set to “T” this is about how the dot line up. after slipping the top plate on, turn the dial to “20” and with your thumb or a screwdriver, rotate clockwise the inner cam until the dots line up with the set screws. replace the split-ring and tighten the set screws.
 finished

finished the partial CLA of my 1951 Nikon S. work done: partial disassembly, removed top and bottom and film plates, cleaned RF/VF optics, cleaned gears, moving parts lubed where appropriate repaired loose parts.

The slow speed dial is not as complicated as it may seem. basically you need to clear that linkage with the cam as you re-assemble. It’s a fairly easy camera to work on except I’m not sure how to get at the shutter curtains for replacement.

1937 Zeiss Ikon ~ Contax II CLA

my 1937 Contax II came to me in pretty good condition. it just needed the shutter mechanism cleaned and lubed. and the optics in the RF/VF cleaned.
my 1937 Contax II came to me in pretty good condition. it just needed the shutter mechanism cleaned and lubed. and the optics in the RF/VF cleaned.

Giving my 1937 Zeiss Ikon Contax II as best of a CLA (clean, lube, adjust) as I could without dismantling the mechanism itself, I doused with lighter fluid twice, avoiding the shutter slats, tapes and glue, which is fairly easy as, everything is on one side. then I oiled a few choice spots, avoiding escapements.

With the help from forum friends, I fixed a problem with the Infinity on the RF, the previous hacker put the longer screws on the RF side of the front plate and they were preventing the plano-convex lens from traveling all the way to the side.

I also removed foam light seals from the film back surround. originally there were no light seals (so I’ve read} around the camera back. The Kiev clones used Yak hair as a seal. I’m opting to use my smaller size black yarn just to be safe on this 80 year old camera.

I re-glued a loose flap of leatherette and cleaned with Meguiar’s leather foam. I touched up some rubbed off chrome on the top plate with my faux chrome plating kit.

Here are the steps to open it up, remove the shutter cage from the frame and clean. I did not disassemble the shutter mechanism itself, it is for experts and usually is not necessary to clean it.

remove rewind knob

remove the single center screw
rewind knob removed

here are the rewind knob parts. the wavy washer goes back on bumps-up
remove body screws

remove the 2 body screws that were under the rewind knob (circled). note the excess grease put on by a previous owner (blue arrow), The knob had it too. There is no need to grease this knob here.
remove winding lever center

there are 3 screws around the knob. remove all three, not just loosen. carefully lift off the center disc, there is a spring for the shutter button underneath.
shutter buton

here is how the shutter button goes back in the knob for reassembly. note the grooves and blade spring
remove advance knob

remove the 3 screws (circled) for the film advance/shutter speed select knob.
remove speed scale

remove these 2 screws (circled) and remove the shutter speed scale disc. There is a washer under (2? mine had 1 but the Kiev had 2)
remove single screw

this screw (circled) is under the frame advance/shutter speed select knob.
lift off chrome top plate

gently lift off the chrome top plate, watch out for the frame counter disc, it may fall out.
frame counter disc

here is how it goes back on for reassembly if it fell off. remove it now if it didn’t fall off
remove cast top plate

remove the 2 black screws (circled)
remove cast top plate

remove these 2 black screws, the one on the upper left is different than the other so make note.
cast top removed

carefully remove the cast top plate. there is a gear that might fall out.
loose gear

this probably won’t fall out but here’s where it goes on reassembly if it did. if it didn’t fall out, remove it now.
remove shutter cover

remove the 4 screws (circled) and make note of any size differences. there is a persnickety screw inside the hole (blue arrow) that holds the sprocket roller bracket. It must be carefully removed so the bracket is loose so you can slide the cover downward as you lift. like I said, lift the bottom of the cover slightly as you slide downward on the shutter cover box, then lift off.
sprocket bracket

you may want to put it’s screw back in temporarily so you can play with the shutter later while cleaning and testing.
 remove screw here

notice I put the winding knob back on. this makes a nice handle to hold onto as you lift out the shutter cradle. you can take the screw out (circled) first if you like, it was kind of tricky with the knob in the way.
 remove screws

remove these 2 screws and make note of the size differences
remove this rod-screw

from the film chamber side, remove this support rod-screw
bottom screw

remove this final screw on the bottom
lift out cradle

gently lift out the shutter cradle, there are no springs or anything that will fly across the room so don’t worry. You will however hear a slight click, this is the arm of the self timer coming free.
self timer

here is the self timer. feel free to test it and clean it if necessary. mine worked fine so I left it alone
shutter gears

contax_cla-27e
I doused everything you see here with Zippo fluid, avoiding the shutter tapes and glued areas of course. later I oiled a few choice spots with singer SM oil. (red arrows) use just a tiny bit, like half of a drop and work the gears after each drop. Avoid the slow speed gears (yellow arrows) you don’t want them to gum up.
shutter gears

contax_cla-28e
other side, here too I doused everything you see here with Zippo fluid, avoiding the shutter tapes and glued areas of course. later I oiled a few choice spots with singer SM oil. (red arrows) use just a tiny bit, like half of a drop and work the gears after each drop. avoid the slow speed gears (yellow arrows) you don’t want them to gum up. while testing the shutter, you may want to hold the shutter cover box on over the back as if it were screwed on, otherwise you have to keep manually putting the lower and upper shutter back together to wind it (you’ll see what I mean, don’t let it scare you, you can’t break it really)
self timer lever

when putting the shutter cradle back in, make sure you slide the lever all the way against the wall so it clears the cradle’s release lever
release lever

here is the shutter release lever associated with the self timer, just make sure the screw (previous photo) clears this notch as you put the cradle back in. It’s not as difficult as it sounds, just start on the far side with the cradle, then peek in and slide the lever over with your screwdriver as you lower this side
mystery solved

made in 1937. the serial number chart states this as “1936 to 1937”. here is the date stamped on the front plate I removed, it was also under the top chrome plate

I use Zippo lighter fluid (any brand will do) for flushing and cleaning the gears and other parts. just be careful to keep the fluid off of the shutter curtain ribbons, they are glued on and could become unglued by the lighter fluid.

For the oil, I use sewing machine oil. You can use watch oil or any light oil of that type. use very sparingly and never use it on the gears of the slow speed escapement.

Leica IIIa CLA, Clean the Slow Speed Escapement

Before giving my Leica IIIa a semi-complete CLA, I want to tackle the slow speeds being sluggish problem. Thanks to the Internet, I found a few sites that explained how truly easy it is. I mean, anybody can do this task and perhaps bring their 75-80 year old camera back to it’s former glory.

Two screws to get started is all it takes. The hardest part is putting it back in and that just takes some dexterity. This method is possible without a complete removal of the body shell as is needed for the newer IIIb. IIIc, IIIf, IIIg, but if you are planing a shell removal for whatever reason, CLA, investigation of a problem or the like, then by all means, wait until then, it would just be easier to put it back in but taking it out makes no difference.

On the model III and IIIa, the slow speed escapement is easy to remove by just taking the lens off
On the model III and IIIa, the slow speed escapement is easy to remove by just taking the lens off

remove the bottom film plate and remove these two screws. Be careful, they are one flat head and one roundish head remember where they go
remove the bottom film plate and remove these two screws. Be careful, they are one flat head and one roundish head remember where they go. The escapement will practically fall out of the lens opening area.

remove these two screws to take the escapement cover off
remove these two screws to take the escapement cover off

slow speed escapement with cover ermoved. I cleaned it in a bath of Isopropyl alcohol, letting it soak and working the gears then letting it dry
slow speed escapement with cover ermoved. I cleaned it in a bath of Isopropyl alcohol, letting it soak and working the gears then letting it dry

This fork goes onto the post on the escapement. It's a little tricky getting it back on but not too bad.
This fork goes onto the post on the escapement. It’s a little tricky getting it back on but not too bad.

after drying, give these bearings (red arrows) a touch of oil. Sewing machine, watch oil or equivalent. I just put a drop on a piece of paper and touch it with my smallest screwdriver and then touch the bearing and let it wick in. never over oil.
after drying, give these bearings (red arrows) a touch of oil. Sewing machine, watch oil or equivalent. I just put a drop on a piece of paper and touch it with my smallest screwdriver and then touch the bearing and let it wick in. never over oil. the (red circle) shows the post that goes on the fork in the previous photo

same procedure for oiling these bearings
same procedure for oiling these bearings

 

1936 Leica IIIa CLA and Repair

Giving my 1936 Leica IIIa a CLA. It basically works fine, the shutter fires on all speeds but the slow speeds are sluggish. The curtains have previously been changed, maybe even twice in it’s 78 year history and look good. Overall there is brassing on the top and bottom plates but from normal heavy usage telling me it was well loved. From what I can see, the inside looks clean-ish, no major rust or anything like that.

leica_IIIa-cla-01
overall ‘before’ shot

leica_IIIa-cla-05
dirty vulcanite

leica_IIIa-cla-06
filthy around hard-to-clean places

Above, showing the external condition, dirt and a reddish oxidation to the Vulcanite (red circle) and dirty internal glass.

remove these 4 screws (red circles), carefully remove the lens flange as there may be shims between it and the camera body. Mine had none but there were several on my Nicca when I worked on it.
remove these 4 screws (red circles), carefully remove the lens flange as there may be shims between it and the camera body. Mine had none but there were several on my Nicca when I worked on it.

when you remove the 4 screws, these brackets come loose. The upper one is held by the RF coupling arm, that comes in handy when putting it back on.
when you remove the 4 screws, these brackets come loose. The upper one is held by the RF coupling arm, that comes in handy when putting it back on.

remove the slow speed dial by removing the screw (red circle) but ignore the small set screw (red arrow), it is not necessary to loosen this, it will come off with the speed scale disc, making adjustment later unnecessary, but before lifting the dial off, make some kind of mark on the square shaft to indicate which edge is up for reassembly.
remove the slow speed dial by removing the screw (red circle) but ignore the small set screw (red arrow), it is not necessary to loosen this, it will come off with the speed scale disc, making adjustment later unnecessary, but before lifting the dial off, make some kind of mark on the square shaft to indicate which edge is up for reassembly.

I found it helpful to just loosen this screw rather than remove it. It's got a very short shaft so only 1/2 to 3/4 turn and the clicker disc will be loose enough to remove
I found it helpful to just loosen this screw rather than remove it. It’s got a very short shaft so only 1/2 to 3/4 turn and the clicker disc will be loose enough to remove

remove these 3 screws (circles) then lift off all the discs, remember their order they came off and the post.
remove these 3 screws (circles) then lift off all the discs, remember their order they came off and the post.

remove all these screws (red circles). the two dark body screws on the right (rewind side) come out and a bracket will fall out the bottom. It's easy to figure out how it goes back in
remove all these screws (red circles). the two dark body screws on the right (rewind side) come out and a bracket will fall out the bottom. It’s easy to figure out how it goes back in

remove these screws (circled)
remove these screws (circled)

hold down on the RF coupling arm so it clears when you remove the shell
hold down on the RF coupling arm so it clears when you remove the shell

remove the shell simply pull it down, it shouldn't be hard to remove
remove the shell simply pull it down, it shouldn’t be hard to remove

shell removed, the film pressure plate will fall out with it's leaf springs (arrows)
shell removed, the film pressure plate will fall out with it’s leaf springs (arrows)

 

After getting the shell off, that’s a good time to observe the shutter action. Look through it against a florescent light. When I did mine I discovered the 1/500 speed had just a blip of light and the 1/1000 speed showed no light at all so now it’s a CLA and repair as well.

Lets remove the top plate to see the Timing Mechanism and RF glass. (on the III and IIIa, only the smaller plate over the RF comes off, on the later IIIc, IIIf and IIIg, the entire chrome top plate comes off.

remove the two round front RF windows. The right one (red arrow) may or may not come off in two pieces. mine came off in one piece. The left window (yellow arrows) should come off in two pieces, the outer ring and the inner window that also adjusts the vertical RF view. Use a spanner to remove it's outer ring, the inner spanner slots adjust the RF. If your RF vertical view is already correct there should be no need to adjust it later
remove the screw between the RF round windows and remove the two round front RF windows. The right one (red arrow) may or may not come off in two pieces. mine came off in one piece. The left window (yellow arrows) should come off in two pieces, the outer ring and the inner window that also adjusts the vertical RF view. Use a spanner to remove it’s outer ring, the inner spanner slots adjust the RF. If your RF vertical view is already correct there should be no need to adjust it later

remove this rear viewfinder window
remove this rear viewfinder window

remove the rear screw (oblong circle) and the Diopter adjust post (circle)
remove the rear screw (oblong circle) and the Diopter adjust post (circle)

pull out the Diopter / RF window. It will need cleaning and greasing
pull out the Diopter / RF window. It will need cleaning and greasing

remove the 3 screws on the cold shoe (circles)
remove the 3 screws on the cold shoe (circles)

set the shutter dial to whatever speed, it won't matter, on the IIIa, it screws off and can only go back on one way. Loosen the set screw (circled), turn the shutter dial lefty loosey. it may be helpful to wind the the film advance first (also when reassembling)
set the shutter dial to whatever speed, it won’t matter, on the IIIa, it screws off and can only go back on one way. Loosen the set screw (circled), turn the shutter dial lefty loosey. it may be helpful to wind the the film advance first (also when reassembling)

view of the top plate area
view of the top plate area

While I was cleaning the old grease I noticed a stop-post on the second shutter release arm was leaning. I poked it and it wiggled. I tightened it and all speeds work now!

red arrow shows the post that was loose, causing the 1/500 and 1/1000 speeds to not work. That's the second shutter release lever that rests on it. Note the old dried grease (yellow arrows)
red arrow shows the post that was loose, causing the 1/500 and 1/1000 speeds to not work. That’s the closing curtain release lever that rests on it. Note the old dried grease (yellow arrows)

I cleaned old grease and re-greased the Timing Mechanism, winding knob, rewind knob shaft and Diopter adjust. I cleaned the gears at the bottom of the shutter drum.

cleaned top plate and fresh grease on the Timing Mechanism
cleaned top plate and fresh grease on the Timing Mechanism

12/23/14: cleaned the Vulcanite. a 3 step process and it looks great now. Reassembled the camera shell and slow speed dial.

Vulcanite all cleaned. It was a 3 step process, well, a 5 step actually because I had to do step 1 and 2 twice. First I cleaned it with Isopropyl alcohol. That left a whitish dry looking coating, I cleaned that with Windex. It may not take 2 or 3 tries with your vulcanite, mine was pretty bad. I did the first 2 steps at least wice then I finished step 3 with Mothers Back to Black
Vulcanite all cleaned. It was a 3 step process, well, a 5 step actually because I had to do step 1 and 2 twice. First I cleaned it with Isopropyl alcohol. That left a whitish dry looking coating, I cleaned that with Windex. It may not take 2 or 3 tries with your vulcanite, mine was pretty bad. I did the first 2 steps at least twice then I finished step 3 with ‘Mothers Back to Black’

Lets put it back together. The film pressure plate rides in it’s own groove milled into the back of the body shell. The two leaf springs have their own slots as well.

the flat leaf springs in their slots (red circles) note the round groove milled into the back around the springs. this is the pressure plate groove.
the flat leaf springs in their slots (red circles) note the round groove milled into the back around the springs. this is the pressure plate groove.

put the pressure plate back into its groove, I held mine with pressure down with a Kemwipe so I didn't leave a thumb print. hold it down as you slide the shell back onto the body. Once it clears the framework, you can let it go, it will stay.
put the pressure plate back into its groove, I held mine with pressure down with a Kemwipe so I didn’t leave a thumb print. hold it down as you slide the shell back onto the body. Once it clears the framework, you can let it go, it will stay.

be sure to hold down on the RF coupling arm as the shell passes over so it clears.
be sure to hold down on the RF coupling arm as the shell passes over so it clears.

shell back on. when you put the screws back in leave the center silver screw out until after you get the lens ring back on, that way it won't interfere with the bracket that goes under the RF coupling arm
shell back on. when you put the screws back in leave the center silver screw out until after you get the lens ring back on, that way it won’t interfere with the bracket that goes under the RF coupling arm.

Now put the lens ring and slow speed dials back on. If you had shims under your lens ring, remember where and how they went.

this mark goes to the left side
this mark goes to the left side

the slow speed dial parts in order of replacement. First the brass washer, the chrome spacer, the post with it's mark where ever/however you marked it, the plate with the clicker disc attached (mine shows them still separated), put some fresh grease in the groove on the back of the speed dial and replace it. If you separated the knurled knob from the speed dial, you should notice there is an indentation where the factory set the set screw. if your slow speeds were adjusted before, just put this back as it was and replace the speed dial with the post as marked.
the slow speed dial parts in order of replacement. First the brass washer, the chrome spacer, the post with it’s mark where ever/however you marked it, the plate with the clicker disc attached (mine shows them still separated), put some fresh grease in the groove on the back of the speed dial and replace it. If you separated the knurled knob from the speed dial, you should notice there is an indentation where the factory set the set screw. if your slow speeds were adjusted before, just put this back as it was and replace the speed dial with the post as marked.

finished
finished

Here it is with my Nikkor-HC 1:2 5cm lens from 1953
Here it is with my Nikkor-HC 1:2 5cm lens from 1953

This camera was fun to work on. It may seem intimidating but is actually easier to work on than the later Japanese rangefinders where you, a lot of times, must remove  the leatherette to get to the lens plate to get to the shutter to get to the …blah blah.