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Thorens TD-124/II restoration / upgrade

Discussion in 'classic' started by Tony L, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    What a lovely little unit
  2. Evo

    Evo pfm Member

    Is the armband wooden and if so does that mean it is a replacement?
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Original Thorens boards are black painted wood. I suspect Mike’s is an original. SME made perspex armboards, though the wood sounds better to my ears.
    Evo likes this.
  4. Evo

    Evo pfm Member

    Ah, mine is a perspex sme board.
  5. Mike P

    Mike P Trade: Pickwell Audio

    Yes, I'm pretty sure my armboard is original.
  6. Mike P

    Mike P Trade: Pickwell Audio

    I've already spotted that Audio Silente sell a reproduction speed controller label and I plan to buy one and have the original serial number transferred over to the new label. Postage from A.S. is relatively high, so I'm going to wait and put together a single larger order with everything I need once I've complied the (initial) list of everything I want from them. I fully expect the list is going to grow as I go along.

    And yes I'm on the lookout for a decent SME headshell. If anyone has one spare, please let me know.

    The thing on the armboard is just a wire wrap used to secure the arm during transport.

    The speakers were these.

    My friend still has them. I'd love to give them room in my house but my wife would kill me.
    Evo and Tony L like this.
  7. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Any of the TD-124 owners here got a good specific (and available!) recommendation for motor oil for the E50? I’m getting to the point where I want to strip my motor down for another service and I’ve not found ‘the one’ yet. The original Thorens recommendation was for Castrol Regal oil, which as I understand it was a 20wt turbine oil. Unfortunately it is no longer available.

    I’ve never been happy with the oils I’ve used to date. The Schopper stuff is very light and gives a very long motor spin-down time, but the deck starts running fast and slows down after it has warmed up. It also seems to evaporate/vacate the top bearing rather faster than I’d like. Last time I rebuilt it I used some stuff designed for sintered bearings in open-reel recorders, but that seems a bit too heavy and the deck now starts slow and only hits speed once it’s warm. What I really want is an exact match with the original Thorens spec rather than endlessly guessing the audiophile third-party market. None of the 3rd party suppliers state a weight or oil type so its just a wild guess.

    I notice from reading around some of the USA sites recommend 3-In-One Motor Oil (the stuff in the sky blue can, not the usual 3-In-One), which is a 20 weight oil specifically designed for electric motors and sounds ideal, but it just doesn’t seem to exist anywhere in the UK. It would cost about £30 to get a $3.99 can into the UK from eBay, which is a bit extreme! I’m wondering if anyone has a specific recommendation for a nice 20 wt. oil that is perfectly safe for sintered bronze bushings and is available in the UK?
  8. matt j

    matt j pfm Member

    Viscosity of a 20w oil seems to be around 5.6cst (100c), is there nothing of similar spec more readily available here? I suspect it isn't anything earth shatteringly complex.

    I use PAG 46 for TT bearing oil, no idea how it would fair in a motor, it's cst is 6.8 (100c), it's for A/C Compressors. Possibly too thin but thought it might be worth a shout.
    Tony L likes this.
  9. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’m sure you are right, but that doesn’t stop me getting confused! As I understand it I’m looking for a 20wt oil that is safe for sintered bronze bearings (far from all modern oils are). I’m hoping some of the other 124 owners can point me to a specific brand/type that has worked well in their rebuild.
  10. Mike P

    Mike P Trade: Pickwell Audio

    Hi Tony,

    I don't have any experience of the E50 yet as I haven't started the rebuild on my TD124 yet but the oil I use in my TD125 main bearing is an ISO46 viscosity fully synthetic oil designed for use in air compressors. I selected that particular oil after having a long chat with the technical department at a lubricant manufacturer.

    It contains nothing that will harm sintered bronze bushes and being fully synthetic it has a much higher viscosity index than mineral oils (the higher the VI the less an oil changes viscosity with as the temperature changes). In my TD125 it gives a very stable speed with virtually no need to tweak the speed as the player warms up.

    ISO 46 is roughly comparable to SAE 20 but on the less viscous side. An ISO 68 might be more what you're looking for.
    Tony L and matt j like this.
  11. user510

    user510 pfm Member

    The TD124 owner's manual actually gives more lube specific advice than does the service manual for the same model.
    Texaco ROB (iso 46 or sae 20wt)
    Texaco ROG (ISO 220 or sae 50wt)
    The ROB is recommended for the platter brg and motor
    The ROG is recommended for the idler wheel axle and stepped pulley bushings.
    And of course, as already mentioned above, the lube needs to be compatible with sintered bronze bushings so as not to clog the porosity of that bushing material.

    I should think there is room for experimentation so long as the lube is compatible with the bushing material.
    I guess the subject of E50 assembly procedures has been discussed in detail often enough. For reasons which I think are apparent when handling the pieces of this motor, the upper and lower case halves do require careful attention to getting the axial alignment as best centered a is possible about the rotor shaft. This I think reveals a weakness in the E50. Instead of assembling easily into an optimal axial alignment condition, it requires attention to get it right. But that is a key to success.

    As part of that procedure it pays to make sure that the spherical seating - to which the so-called self-aligning bushings fit - do in fact swivel easily after the bushing assembly is secured into place by its two holding screws.

    Another important element is the running clearance between rotor shaft and the bushing ID. After doing a few of these I've concluded that a running clearance between shaft and bushiing needs to be in the 0.0008 - 0.0010 inches range. Less clearance makes getting the axial alignment trickier and perhaps impossible. More clearance would be a bit loose, imho. It is important to consider this when purchasing replacement bushings. What you don't want is bushings that are too tight around the rotor shaft. That makes for drag and results in a motor that doesn't easily come up to speed.

    Some E50's seem to assemble just right and work optimally with minimal effort. Others require more attention to get the all-important axial alignment just so.

    Tony L likes this.
  12. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Many thanks. Any recommendations for specific iso 46 & iso 220 oils, e.g. brand & type name? I have to admit I just don’t understand enough about oil formulations to know if that is the only spec one needs. It looks like iso 46 can for instance be a hydraulic oil, and that confuses the hell out of me.

    As to the E50 bushings I’ve got what I think are very decent condition originals and the Audio Silente replacements. The latter are in the deck at present, though as Mike’s blue belt has proven a bit of a game changer I’m tempted to go back to the original ones for another assessment. I certainly had a longer unloaded spin-down time with them, and my noise issues were always the belt, not the motor. I’ve got the original bushings soaking in isopropyl alcohol at present. I’ll leave them soaking and then vacuum-load them with whatever iso 46 oil I end up with before commencing the rebuild.
  13. user510

    user510 pfm Member

    Here's a link I found on the net which should help explain in layman terms to those of us who are not chemical engineers. (definitely myself included)
    So the type of oil we seek is known as a circulating / turbine oil. Of course turbine oil sounds more exciting.
    I find it interesting to compare motor performance after using a modern replacement bushing as opposed to cleaning and re-using the oem bushings.
    Nagraboy and Tony L like this.
  14. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Superb, exactly what I needed. I’ve ordered some, they even mention the TD-124 on the Mobil DTE Medium description! Job done. Another thing to stop worrying about.
  15. mjkelshaw

    mjkelshaw pfm Member

    Just to add my 2 penn'orth, following much reading on 'Lenco Heaven', I concluded that I needed a 20wt oil for use in the 'sintered bronze' bushings of my G99 & PTP6. However, lacking any knowledge of lubricating oils, I contacted 'Morris Lubricants' and had a reply from a 'Technical Advisor' who recommended one of their products, but given that the minimum quantity available was 5 litres, very helpfully suggested that I looked for a smaller quantity of ISO 46 'hydraulic' oil.
    Similarly, I found the link to 'Lube Finder' and ordered Mobil DTE 46, which I have been using in both bearings. I hadn't noticed that it was recommended for use in TD124's. This means when I finally get around to re-assembling the bearing and motor on mine, I shall use that rather than the small expensive bottle I purchased from 'Schopper' or the now ancient but unopened vial of 'ROB' oil contained in the 'Lubication Kit' which I obtained from 'Metrosound' in the '70's :)

    Mike K.
  16. Mike P

    Mike P Trade: Pickwell Audio

    Morris is a great company and that's consistent with the advice I got when I spoke to the technical departments at a few lubricant suppliers. It was years ago but I think I remember speaking to Millers, Morris and Pennine.

    Circulating oil such as Mobil DTE is a good bet. I've just bought a bottle of ISO 220 circulating oil which I plan to use on my TD124 where a higher viscosity oil is called for. I'll be using the fully synthetic ISO 46 compressor oil for the main bearing and it's what I've been happily using in my TD125 for years.

    A benefit of a fully synthetic is the higher viscosity index, which results in less speed drift as the deck warms up.
  17. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    My 124 strobe starts very fast (or slow, not sure which) then eventually starts gently going in the other direction after about 30 mins. Maybe I need a different oil too. I’ll have a check to see what was used when the motor was serviced a few years ago.
  18. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    When viewing from the front fast is strobe moving left, slow is strobe moving right.

    I’ve had my deck go both ways depending on the motor oil and bushings in use, i.e. start fast and then slow down, or as at present start slow and speed up. I’ve never got it ‘right’, so I’m interested in what a Thorens spec oil does (my suspicion is the Shopper stuff is too thin, and the stuff in there now too thick). There is also a suggestion that the motor windings change in resistance or something as they warm up which can have an impact.

    I’m still undecided what bushings to rebuild with. I’ll assess that when I’ve got it all in bits. My original ones are a little dull/grubby even after cleaning to the best of my ability, but they seem unworn and certainly hold fresh oil well enough. The Audio Silente ones should still be as new. I do know my unloaded motor spin-down time dropped from about 35 seconds with the original bushings to about 15 with the AS using the thin Shopper oil, but I’m not certain that is of any real value beyond the marketing FUD of certain boutique refurbishers. I’m unaware of any official Thorens spec to strive for.
  19. Mike P

    Mike P Trade: Pickwell Audio

    Just a bit of a heads-up folks....

    I recently ordered a few bits from Audio Silente via ebay. A new idler, a bearing cap and a new speed selector decal/plate.

    Carriage wasn't cheap at 22.13 (Euros) and then today I got a bill from Fedex for £38.05 for duty and other charges.

    So just factor that in when ordering.

    Oh how I love Brexit.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2022
  20. Shuggie

    Shuggie Trade: Ammonite Audio

    FedEx charge a handling fee of £12 for shipments from the EU (they call it a 'disbursement fee'). So, assuming that Audio Silente shipped without Italian VAT, The rest is UK VAT, which you would have paid anyway before Brexit. So, the only additional cost is that £12 fee.

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