Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1996/06/10

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Subject: SM Shutter Problem
From: Bob Sperling <>
Date: Mon, 10 Jun 1996 08:26:13 -0400

Alex: You wrote about your 1932 Leica I and asked if adding a drop of oil to
the flat release spring would help. Here are some answers to your questions:
        a) Is this a cure?  NO
        b) What lubricant is recommended?  Any watchmaker's oil.
        c)  Should I attempt this...?   Maybe.

        Here is the procedure: Get a set of watchmaker's or jeweler's screw
drivers.  Remove the 4 or 6 round head countersunk screws from the top
plate.  Remove the 4 body screws.  Behind the right-side pair they may be a
flat stiffening bar in the camera.  It will come loose in your hand.  Not a
problem; easy to replace on reassembly.  Remove the four lens flange screws.
Put your finger inside the body to collect the back plates of those screws.
When you remove the lens flange, note the position of any shims that might
be present.  Hopefully, there won't be any.  On a Leica I the shims are
somewhat less critical than on an RF model.  Also, remember that, on
reassembly, the "O" on the lens flange goes on top.  If your camera is
actually earlier than 1932, it might not have the "O".  In that event, the
small notch on the flange goes at the 9 o'clock position.  There MAY be a
5th small screw that is visible, with the baseplate off, at the 6 o'clock
position, below the lens flange. Now you can slide the shell off the body.
While doing so, try to keep a finger on the film pressure plate. When the
shell is off, take a spring-clothes pin and clamp it on the shell and
pressure plate.  This saves some annoyance with the small springs that are
behind the pressure plate.
        Take a cue-tip and dip it in benzene. Try to get the cleaner in to
all the visible spaces to clean out gunk.  Shake the camera gently to remove
any film chips.  (Often the source of shutter problems) Now, take a small
hypodermic with the watchmaker's oil and place a SMALL amount amount at the
top and bottom of the large shutter drum, avoiding getting any on the
curtains.  Add a drop to the top and bottom of the two rollers on the
opposite side of the drum. You can add a tiny drop to the flat release
sping, as you depress the shutter release, at the point on the bottom of the
camera., where the release  PIN presses on the spring.  Now just put
everything together, and you've done the CLA that could cost US$150.
        If you have any trouble, e-mail me, and I'll guide you through.
        Also, Nick from Kualla Lampur, if you want to work on your IIIc,
I'll guide you, as well, but your disassembly is a little more complicated.
Drop me a note, if you like.