The Downward Spiral - AR XA Restoration Begins.

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by herbman1975, Nov 2, 2006.

  1. herbman1975

    herbman1975 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    747
    Location:
    North East Georgia
    Let me begin by saying I am aware that there have been a ton of posts about these lately.

    That said, this thing came earlier this week. (eBay :sigh: )The seller described it as having a "hum", but I went after it anyway. The cartridge is a BOTL Audio Technica, one of those P-Mount/Standard universal carts. I put one in a NOS el-cheapo Technics a long time ago and got a hum too, so that may be the problem. I am just praying it isn't bad wiring. I immediately ruined the headshell when I cross threaded it and ground off the threads on the base of the headshell. I was lucky enough to jump on one of those NOS headshells described in a post here yesterday.

    Anyhow, here it is.

    Came in the original box.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    From the top looks like there may have been some platter rub.
    [​IMG]

    Badge
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    Underneath
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The one Haydon motor variety. Stamp in corner reads June 20, 1969 in black lettering.
    [​IMG]

    Headshell I ruined. Note the ground threads.
    [​IMG]

    Bill from the repair shop. Can't decypher the bottom of the page. Says something about a cartridge. From the looks of the bill, the guy couldn't fix the table. Then again, it could have been crappy AT cart.
    [​IMG]

    It is in good pyhsical shape for the most part. Small dent in wood on the top right. Textured finish, not sure what color it used to be. Looks like a grey/black/brown. No dustcover, mat, tube of oil, or 45 adaptor. But pretty much everything else.

    I feel the money evaporating from my wallet as we speak. I have a feeling this could be a long, expensive, process. I look forward to it's conclusion. I am sure I will be in here pestering everyone with questions. My thanks in advance.

    What do you think Divotdog? How many junk units will I have to combine to make a working one?

    :smoke: herbs
     
  2. Divotdog

    Divotdog "I can fix it Grampa"

    Messages:
    13,748
    Location:
    Boise Idaho
    Herbman, it looks like you have a heck of a lot better start than I did (yours turns!), :yes: I can’t really tell what color that used to be, mine was in about the same shape, some elbow grease, 400 grit sand paper, primer, and a little more 400 grit, and color of choice (I used satin finish black) will go a long way on the metal top, just be very careful of the tone arm wires, they are very fragile, I would check those TA wires and see if that is where your hum might be. :thmbsp:
     
  3. Eunomians

    Eunomians Diggin' 4 LP's Worldwide Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,506
    Location:
    SoCal
    Welcome to the AR Turntable fold. I've done a few XA restorations in my time. All of them looked worse than yours - which is good news.

    Just take your time. You need not spend lots of cash to get her up and running. You just need paint, sandpaper, stain(?), oil, and a brush.

    Cheers!
     
  4. Divotdog

    Divotdog "I can fix it Grampa"

    Messages:
    13,748
    Location:
    Boise Idaho
    Do a thread search and take a look Eunomians table :drool: it looks outstanding, and he has your mat problem covered :thmbsp:
     
  5. Nakdoc

    Nakdoc nakamichi spoken here

    Messages:
    2,940
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    The hum broblem is broken braid in the tonearm wires. Look at the wire exit point at the pivot and see if the braid is continuous. Then follow it to the underside. If that looks ok, then you have to deal with the wires inside the arm tube. In the old days we used to replace the arm as a unit, but there must be a way to get the headshell connector out. Any guidance from AK?
     
  6. Calypte

    Calypte Temecula, California

    Messages:
    63
    Fortunately, I don't have this frayed wire problem. However, I do have a problem with what might be noise from the main turntable bearing. If I remove the belt, I can make the platter spin freely and silently for several minutes. I don't hear any rubbing when I put my ear close to the spinning platter. I have thought that maybe the noise I hear is being mechanically transmitted to the arm and cartridge via some other route -- say, through improperly dressed wires, but fiddling with the wires doesn't seem to fix the problem. If we assume that the noise I hear is coming from the main bearing, then am I correct to assume that the only cure is another AR turntable? I bought this turntable at a thrift shop in San Diego about 20 years ago. The shop was gutted by fire not long afterward. At that time I was able to get a genuine headshell and arm rest from AR.
     
  7. Divotdog

    Divotdog "I can fix it Grampa"

    Messages:
    13,748
    Location:
    Boise Idaho
    Herbman don't sweat it, it is a difficult job but by no means impossible, I did mine following the instructions on VE :thmbsp:
     
  8. herbman1975

    herbman1975 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    747
    Location:
    North East Georgia
    Do you know anything about replacing the silver, braided wire? It doesn't seem like something that would be impossible.

    :scratch2:
     
  9. Divotdog

    Divotdog "I can fix it Grampa"

    Messages:
    13,748
    Location:
    Boise Idaho
    It's really not a bad job, the hardest part is removing the plastic piece from the end of the TA tube, but if you use some care it will come right out :yes:
     
  10. herbman1975

    herbman1975 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    747
    Location:
    North East Georgia
    Are you speaking of the wires in the tone arm, or the silver, braided wire that runs underneath the table? I think I pull off the fix on vinylnirvana, but what about that other wire? I have heard if the siver wire goes, you might as well chuck the entire tone arm. What say you?
     
  11. Divotdog

    Divotdog "I can fix it Grampa"

    Messages:
    13,748
    Location:
    Boise Idaho
    That's all one piece of wire from the headshell connection to the solder connection under the table.
     
  12. Divotdog

    Divotdog "I can fix it Grampa"

    Messages:
    13,748
    Location:
    Boise Idaho
    It sounds like you might just need to do some leveling, is your tone arm riding against the plinth?
     
  13. Calypte

    Calypte Temecula, California

    Messages:
    63
    No, but thank you for the suggestion.
     
  14. herbman1975

    herbman1975 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    747
    Location:
    North East Georgia
    Well, I am slowly but surely rehabing this thing. Right now it is disassembled except for all the stuff wired and stapled to the inside of the base.

    I screwed up and lost the ball bearing at the base of the tone arm. Fortunately, my local hardware had a replacement. I guess I lost it, but then again, it may have never been there since it arrived in the mail from eBay.

    Presently, I am sanding the plinth and preparing for paint. I will post more large pictures to slow down your web browser soon.
     
  15. herbman1975

    herbman1975 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    747
    Location:
    North East Georgia
    Aluminum Top Pics (Sanded)

    Well, this took a whole lot of elbow grease and man hours. That stuff they put in the paint to make the surface textured melts and sticks to your sand paper and is a real pain in the a$$. If my friend didn't have a cabinet shop and a grinder I would have never got it off there. Then there was the paint and primer to sand off.

    I used 60, 100, and finally 220 grit sand paper. I then used two grades of steel wool to finish it off. It actually looks pretty cool stripped down like this.

    [​IMG]

    Anyone out there know if that replacement bearing I got for the tone arm is going to be ok to use? The first page of the owners manual says: "DO NOT LOSE THE TONE ARM BEARING". Am I screwed? Or will this substitute bearing do the trick? There is very little play in the space where it goes, not too snug or loose.

    I also sucessfully removed the plastic headshell recepticle from the tone arm. I used the 5/16 drill bit trick I saw on vinylnirvana. I did not use pliers to pull it out, I wrapped the collar in a napkin, clamped it in a vise, and pulled straight back on the tone arm, wiggling ever so slightly from left to right.

    Thanks to everyone who has helped me up to this point. So much more work to do. More pics coming...

    :smoke: herbs
     
  16. Eunomians

    Eunomians Diggin' 4 LP's Worldwide Subscriber

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    1,506
    Location:
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    Wow, nice work thus far. It does take a lot of action to get that crud off on most XA's. Sometimes they're not sticky, but most of them are. And when they are, it's a veritable pain in the ass.

    I am not sure about your replacement bearing. I've never lost any on the various XA's I've revamped in the past. I am sure that they are not hard to replace, so long as you can get the right size. There is no real play with the bearing installed, the arm moves smoothly & effortlessly, like skatin' on ice (I can't skate).

    Cheers
     
  17. herbman1975

    herbman1975 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    747
    Location:
    North East Georgia
    About to begin spraying primer.

    I also have a couple of other issues:

    1. At the top of the tone arm spindle, there is a white plastic washer and a small ring of foam. The foam ring on mine has completely rotted away.

    2. On the T-Bar assembly where the platter enters the well, at the top of the well there is the same type of foam ring. This ring has also disentigrated. Some of it fell into the platter well, so I took it to work to blow it out with an air compressor. I cleaned out the old gunky foam out of the well with the air nozzle and out pops ------

    3. A nylon disc bearing! These are small, flat pieces of plastic with a small indention that go both at the bottom of both tone arm and platter wells. I am missing one. I attempted to fabricate one out of a soft vinyl disc I got at the hardware. I left the original one in the tone arm well and put the "new" one under the platter rod. I don't know why these are there. Maybe to reduce metal on metal noise? I am going to try and find a replacement that is made of nylon rather than vinyl, or just a harder plastic. I figure I could punch out a piece of the same thickness and diameter, then heat up the platter rod and press it into the disc to make an indention for the bearing to rest when the platter is inserted.

    Am I on the road to HELL or what? Is this thing ever going to sound right with these home-made parts?

    :nutz: :rant: :gigglemad: :confused: :pity: :saywhat:
     
  18. Divotdog

    Divotdog "I can fix it Grampa"

    Messages:
    13,748
    Location:
    Boise Idaho
    Herbman, It looks great so far:thmbsp: I belive that I read on Vinyl nirvana that you can just eliminate those pieces of foam, there is an article there about TA mods, I belive that it talks about it, I will look for the link a little later, never fear it will sound great! :yes:
     
  19. Eunomians

    Eunomians Diggin' 4 LP's Worldwide Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,506
    Location:
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    Did you decide on painting it black?
     
  20. herbman1975

    herbman1975 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    747
    Location:
    North East Georgia
    Auctually, I am going to paint it a dark, metallic blue.

    I have never seen one that color, and I think it will match the blue dial lights and meters on the Marantz 2275 I am going to place it on top of. The TT and REC both have the real walnut veneer too. I am going to use some dark blue grille cloth on a pair of JBL L36 and team them up w/those two units. Lots of blue and wood veneer. I plan on using this set up for new vinyl only.

    I could not paint today, as the humidity is too high. We have had a steady drizzle all day. I think it might look nice, if not, more sanding and priming.

    :smoke: herbs
     

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