[rollei_list] Re: OT: Question re shutter CLA and Ronsonol

  • From: Ardeshir Mehta <ardeshir@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: rollei_list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 13:20:06 -0500

On Tuesday, January 11, 2005, at 10:52  PM, Richard Knoppow wrote:

>> [...] in the case of my 3.5 Tessar-equipped Rolleiflex K4/50 Automat, 
>> whose shutter I gummed up by stupidly injecting WD-40 into it (guys! 
>> Learn from my mistakes!), I can still loosen the shutter to work just 
>> PERFECTLY by injecting a small quantity of Ronsonol into it. (I am 
>> lucky in the fact that this early model has a slot on the lower left 
>> side of the lens, through which Ronsonol CAN be injected into the 
>> shutter mechanism).
>> I can even flood the shutter with Ronsonol, and then drain the excess 
>> out through the slot - but then Ronsonol gets on the lens elements. 
>> (Not to worry, it all evaporates eventually, leaving not a wrack 
>> behind). So I've been using just a few drops of Ronsonol lately, so 
>> as not to get any of it on the lens.
>> The effect of loosening up the shutter lasts only for a few hours, 
>> but that much time still allows me to shoot a roll, or indeed quite a 
>> few rolls, before it starts gumming up again!
>> So until I can afford to ship the camera off to Harry for a full 
>> overhaul - maybe in a month or two, maybe more - I can still USE the 
>> camera.
> I think you were darn lucky! First of all that the WD-40 didn't get 
> all over everything and secondly that a squirt of Ronsonol fixed it.
> Ronsonol is quite pure Naphtha. It IS suitable as a shutter cleaning 
> solvent, I used it, but only on shutter parts when the shutter has 
> been opened up. Generally I follow it with a flush of 99% Isopropyl 
> alcohol. Unfortunately, the best cleaning solvents for shutters are 
> now either environmental hazards (trichlor) or are just plain too 
> toxic to use in any sort of casual manner (carbon tet). A shutter can 
> sometimes be cleaned without a total disassembly but its difficult to 
> get all the residue off the shutter blades. Because they operate with 
> no clearance and no lubrication shutter blades are particularly 
> sensitive to residue.
> Most shutters are intended to be lubricated in a few specified 
> locations. Compur shutters require a very small amount of fine oil, 
> like watch oil, on the trunions of the speed controller gears and a 
> touch of very light grease on a couple of sliding parts. Ilex shutters 
> are intended to run dry. If a Compur is properly cleaned it should run 
> dry, the lubricant increases its life. Modern synthetic lubricants are 
> very much longer lived than the older ones made from animal fats but 
> don't last forever.
> Instructions for cleaining Compur shutters is widely available in the 
> form of reprint factory guides. Information on Kodak and Wollensak 
> shutters, and a few Ilex shutters is harder to find but available.
> The problem with shutter cleaning on a Rollei is that one must 
> partially disassemble the camera to get the shutter out and putting 
> everything back afterward. That's a lot of work.

Thanks, Richard. Yes, I was darn lucky, as you say. I shall not try 
WD-40 again on a camera! (I should have read up on your archived posts 
before I started to mess around).

I also don't think I shall try disassembling the camera; I'd rather 
ship it off to Harry, all in good time. (Since I also have a 
Xenotar-equipped 2.8D Rolleiflex now, I can spare the month or so it 
will require to ship the older camera off, get it overhauled by Harry, 
and have it shipped back again to me in Canada. It's just a question of 
money right now, the Holidays having eaten into my budget rather 

Still, at one time I did try to unscrew the front elements of the 
Tessar lens to try and get to the shutter in order to clean it. I did 
manage to unscrew the front element using a rubber stopper (I don't 
have a lens wrench) but the shutter is apparently behind TWO lens 
elements, and I couldn't unscrew the second element. So I just put the 
front element back.

I am wondering about the slot in the left bottom side of the lens, and 
why this camera has it. Maybe you can enlighten me. A little lever 
protrudes therefrom, which can also trip the shutter. The camera is an 
early model Automat. Through this slot some bits of the shutter 
mechanism are actually visible. I can squirt vast amounts of Ronsonol 
into the shutter though this slot. I can also drain dissolved stuff 
out, and at one time quite a bit of sludge came out though it after the 
Ronsonol had loosened it up. Bits of black solids also came out - 
specks of stuff like maybe tiny paint chips? I thought I was succeeding 
in cleaning the shutter off completely, in fact - so much stuff came 
out. But apparently I was wrong, for after the Ronsonol evaporates the 
shutter still sticks, though not nearly as much as it used to.

But the question remains in the back of my mind: what happens after the 
CLA? Won't dust and dirt get into the shutter again, through this slot? 
My 2.8D doesn't have such a slot, and its shutter seems to be totally 
sealed against the elements. Why, then, does this one have such a slot, 
though which dirt can get it? I am mystified.


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