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Thorens TD-124/II restoration / upgrade

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

  1. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I suspect it is now not far off as good as a TD-124 can be. I’m happy with the last motor rebuild and new oil, there is now very little drift between cold and warmed-up, the blue belt has got rid of any belt noise, the Hanze springs help isolate the motor. I'd like to find a better idler at some point, I have two, and they are the only remaining area for noise as I suspect they are a bit hardened compared to what they’d have been like 50 years ago. The main bearing is a Schopper, the top platter a Retrotone, so it has been ‘tweaked’ a bit, but it is still very much an iron platter TD-124 at heart. I’m tempted to bung a large order in at Audio Silente at some point and try one of their idlers and grab a pair of motor coils just in case I have any reoccurrence of the ‘green goo’, but Brexit has made dealing with the EU punishing!
  2. highcut28

    highcut28 pfm Member

    I have 2 of these and you know Tony that i have struggled to quiten them .
    Must declare that i have pretty much succeeded.
    I got interested in the Lenco L75 and that led to me hooking up with a marvellous chap Sien who lives 10 mins away in KL . He known on Lencoheaven for his superb after market main bearings - not just for Lencos but he has them for Garrards and the 124 too
    I have Sien's massive bearing in one 124. It has simply transformed it - background rumble is way way down and there are improvements in soundstage and imagery .
    For the other 124 what i did was get a ceramic ballbearing via Aliexpress - cheap as chips - a few bucks for 10 of them. So its installed in the stock bearing assembly.
    I have the Audiosilente thrust pad and brass cap etc. Hugely impressive result here too.
    Whats interesting is that the ballbearing is so light that with oil it sticks in the hole at the bottom of the shaft . no need for the funny washer bit to keep it there - and can be lowered into place!
    My motors were serviced a few yrs ago. I have over the last few years replaced idlers, put in those Hanze springsetc .
    I ve done away with the top platters for 5mm thick acrylic mats .
    I know how u feel u feel about these mods Tony but i havent done anything that i cant reverse.
    They have never sounded better.
    Soon to come is a new solid heavy plinth that one 124 will be gently bolted to, so doing away with 'mushrooms'. I await a 309mm Bokrand arm that will fit onto the plinth so doing away with armboard - as i stray further from the conventional.;)
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2022
  3. sktn77a

    sktn77a pfm Member

    Wow, I wish I'd thought of this before blowing $450 (discounted!) on the official/ripoff Linn setup jig!
  4. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    My 124 has been getting a bit noisier lately (high pitched sound) so tonight I’ve taken the platter off and decided to clean all the drive surfaces. I noticed the blue belt from @Mike P had a black line a few millimetres wide all along it where it’s been in contact with the metal of the pulleys. This belt has been superb, in case anyone hasn’t heard about them yet.

    Instead of trying to clean all that black residue off the belt I decided to simply turn it inside out and use the other side of the belt which hasn’t been used at all *. I’ve also cleaned similar muck from the Audio Silente idler wheel ‘tyre’ using a vinegar-soaked cotton bud, as well as the motor and idler pulleys. Managed to clean off a fair amount of gunk so hoping for good results. It’s all spinning again now and is a bit noisier but I expect that’s the clean side of the belt settling in again the same as last time. It takes a couple of hours or so and then near silence is achieved.

    * Anyone have any tips on cleaning the surfaces? Would be nice to clean the blue belt properly really.
  5. montesquieu

    montesquieu pfm Member

    Just to note that after using the Audio Silente wheel for a bit I went back to the hard Thorens one, to great effect. There are various threads online about soaking it in bearing oil or other substances, to soften ones the have gone abit hard, though you need to be sure it's properly clean before you start using it again. Anyway I noted that the Thorens idler wheel was quieter than the AS one after this process.

    You have reminded me to have a look at Mike's belt which I have found absolutely superb, quitet and trouble-free. It's interesting that it appears marked, the issue is usually the other way round, the belt marking the pulley, so perhaps the issue is residue migrating there from elsewhere. Need to have a look at my own setup - I found it clean a couple of months after I initially put it on, and I haven't looked at it again in many many months (whereas before with the rubber belts I've have been in there once a month or so to clear the crap off the pulley- you can tell when that needs done as it gets noisy, something I have not experienced at all with Mike's belt).

    Anyway - good idea to turn it round I'll do that if necessary.
    Nagraboy likes this.
  6. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili


    I still have the original 124 idler wheel here. When I changed to the AS one I also made a few other changes, so I’m not aware of what effect they each have. Once the belt quietens down again I might have a swap over, although the AS does seem well made overall.
  7. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Interesting. Have you got any links to the softening approaches? The idler is the one part of my deck left to improve/optimise. I have two, but both seem a bit hard, just not as nice rubber as the Garrard 301/401 ones. I’m sure it is where my remaining rumble is coming from. The Audio Silente is clearly a great product, but it always struck me as too much wheel, too little tyre. I’m sure Thorens and Garrard designed their idlers very carefully and that substantial expense of rubber exists to absorb vibration and noise.
  8. montesquieu

    montesquieu pfm Member

    I just had a quick look but couldn't find the original info. My suspicion is that it was either on Lenco Heaven or on Vinyl Engine, but neither are turning up anything that I remember led me down this path.

    What I recall doing was putting the idler wheel in a thick poly bag with some silicon spray-on-stuff bought off ebay (I'll have a hunt in the garage for it in daylight as I bought the exact stuff recommended), and leaving it for a week. My wheel wasn't cracked or damaged in any way, just stiffer than I knew it should have been. I only had to do it once, some years ago, never had to repeat it.

    I previously bought an Audio Silente wheel but agree 100%, it seems like too little rubber, too much metal to do what it's supposed to do. I found it relatively noisy in operation compared to the post-silicone softened original idler wheel. Like a lot of TD124 noise though it's mechanical rather than anything that comes through the stylus, so not that much of a problem if it's at the far end of the room. Definitely see the AS idler wheel as useful in situations where it's needed, but inferior to a properly flexible original.
  9. Mike P

    Mike P Trade: Pickwell Audio

    I have a A.S. idler wheel, which I bought because unfortunately my original is quite kinked along its running edge.

    Mine came with 4 different o-rings (tyres) in the pack: Thin black (nitrile rubber?), thin red (silicone?), thick black and thick red.

    The red o-rings are quite a bit softer than the black ones.

    I spent several hours swapping between the o-rings and listening to the amount of noise they each made with the aid of a mechanics stethoscope.

    I found that the red o-rings were MUCH quieter than the black ones, to the extent that it's really quite audible when listening to records.

    I'm running the thin red ring at the moment and intend to swap to the thick red one at some point to give that a try.

    I've also seen a replacement idler with a much thicker polyurethane tyre that looks good.
  10. Mike P

    Mike P Trade: Pickwell Audio

    Before fitting the bluebelt did you scrupulously clean all the residue of the old black rubber belt off the pulleys? If there was some residue from the old black rubber belt left on the pulleys it may have now been transferred onto the bluebelt.

    I'd be inclined to use IPA rather than vinegar, which is acidic and will therefore tarnish/attack the alloy pulley to some extent.

    I polished the running surfaces of both the motor pulley and stepped pulley with metal polish.

    If you go mad degreasing the bluebelt you can make it temporarily noisy as it makes the surface a bit tacky. A light dusting with talc followed by wiping off any excess will solve that.
    montesquieu and Nagraboy like this.
  11. Mike P

    Mike P Trade: Pickwell Audio

    I've had great results rejuvenating rubber parts with Autoglym Vinyl and Rubber Care.

    I might give it a try on my idler. Nothing to lose really as it's too warped to be of much use.
  12. Mike P

    Mike P Trade: Pickwell Audio

  13. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    Thanks for these tips I’ve got no idea about cleaning products tbf. Turns out I did have some IPA in the cupboard from when I initially cleaned the pulleys earlier this year. As far as I could tell, the pulleys were pretty clean before I put the blue belt on. It’s hard to tell really.

    @Mike P How did you actually clean the pulley running surfaces? Did you remove them from the chassis and just scrub them by hand or leave them in place? Tonight I managed to remove the step pulley as it just lifts out easily but not sure about the motor pulley.
  14. montesquieu

    montesquieu pfm Member

  15. Mike P

    Mike P Trade: Pickwell Audio

    Certainly makes my system sound better :D
  16. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

  17. Mike P

    Mike P Trade: Pickwell Audio

    Joking aside, IPA = Isopropyl alcohol aka propan-2-ol

    Methylated spirit would do.*

    *For cleaning the pulleys I mean, not for drinking.
  18. montesquieu

    montesquieu pfm Member

    I was joking I have some IPA here (both kinds).
  19. mjkelshaw

    mjkelshaw pfm Member

    Just make sure that you only imbibe the 'Distinctive . Refreshing' one ;)

    Mike K.
  20. willsandbills

    willsandbills Member

    Hello everyone, been reading the whole thread and lots of helpful hints.
    One question I have is : Has anyone figured out a way of removing the speed decal without ruining it ?? I want to re spray the deck and it would be a whole lot easier if i removed it. It seems to be a light aluminium or similar.



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