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Zeta tonearm rebuild.

Discussion in 'classic' started by jamie123, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Excellent, many thanks - I now know how a Zeta works! My old one is still on my old LP12 with the friend who bought it from me. Still working fine last time I heard it (DL-103 cart), but I pointed him at this thread anyway.
  2. jamie123

    jamie123 pfm Member

    nice combo! i use a 103sa on mine .
  3. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Very enjoyable and informative read with top notch pics. Great stuff! Do bearings collect much gunk over the years and if so, is there a viable method of flushing them without disassembly?
    torstoi likes this.
  4. torstoi

    torstoi pfm Member

    That's an interesting question..
    I have read through the assembly section and noted this hole through which the vaseline used for aiding with bearing-assembly can be
    flooded out by means of spraying some different liquid through the hole.

    I did not get whether this opportunity of flooding the bearings with any liquid is only during this stage of montage,
    or in ready-built state as well, Jamie..?

    Second thing that cought my attention was the WD40, the original receipe of which at least seemed to base onto some kind of fish oil.
    So, first off, I'm not entirely sure of an oily substance is as capable of solving out a substance like vaseline in the complete way I would wish to have it in this situation,

    and third, the WD40 itself, even given it would remove the vaseline entirely, is an oily substance.
    I'm no expert in arm-bearings for sure, but I tend to think an entirely clean and dry bearing would float even a tiny bit better than an oily one.

    And last, an oily bearing will attract any dust to really stick there.
    A situation reminding me of steering cardans without rubber-hose.
    Well meaning hobbyist mechanics pack those in fat...sand and all kinds of dirt binds to the fat & those steering cardans usually get destroyed quite quickly, while those left well alone don't have sand 'stuck' to them survive comfortably for a very long time.

    ..well your arm bearing won't be destroyed or harmed for sure by adding any WD40 even shoud it gather a bit of dust over the coming years..

    Still, I would check the specs of the bearing balls in the arm and if they take any harm chemically by brake cleaner.
    If no...and my guess is, they won't..I would really flush the bearings with brake cleaner.
    (Are they metal balls or ceramics,,,I don't remember..)
    Alternatively I'd try or check for Isoprop or similar..
    It will remove any remains of vaseline much more efficiently than an oily WD40 will be able to,
    and there will be no remains of any chemical substance in the bearings left after that.

    I'd try the paper test again then,,,wouldn't be surprised if the reaction was a little better even, then.
    Nothing lost as obviously you can add back WD40 any time,
    but this time you'd be sure the vaseline is really gone.

    I'm not 100% sure if arm bearings are meant to have a little oily film on them or not,
    but kindly asking J7 of Audio Origami, I am sure he'd be happy to help out in this question.
    I'd be curious for the answer, too btw..

    I like the pictures a lot & the thread is a very refreshing breath of vintage air to the 'is DAC X better than DAC Y' topics.. :)

    P.S. Me, I'd risk a short shot of Isoprop and immediately after a good blow from a 300ml bottle of compressed air you can get in any electronics shop for a few bucks...that should do with a sure and proper cleaning.

    If my memory serves me correctly, my Ekos I reacted to a square cut-out of paper the size of a typical math notebook (5mmx5mm)
    after it returned from Audio Origami for a bearing check, fine-justage and new inner wire,
    in vertical movement w/o any tracking force and skate applied.
    And I have little doubt the Zeta doesn't have to worry about an Ekos I too much..

    edit: I just consulted the Wikipedia about WD40, and it says that WD40 contains...Vaseline, so flushing out vaseline with a product that contains vaseline itself will probably no leave you with a vaseline-free bearing.
    I tend to think there is a little potential of progress in the bearing area still, perhaps.
  5. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    I discussed arm bearings with A.J van den Hul at a show nearly 30 years ago. He suggested using the oil for trumpet valves on them.
    jamie123 and torstoi like this.
  6. jamie123

    jamie123 pfm Member

    all good points my friend, i have since learnt from mike harris at moth that to his knowledge the bearing cups are the same used in the 3 and 5 bearing zetas......so you can guess what my next move is lol.
    i will strip mine down again and give it a try with 5 bearings,that should improve free play.
    for the record after wd40 which was recommended by J7 i used alcohol as well. when i strip the arm i will see if theres any vaseline left.
    can you think off something better to hold the bearings in place that dissolves easier than vaseline or grease?
    torstoi likes this.
  7. torstoi

    torstoi pfm Member

    ..now Tony has an issue.
    I'm dead sure he'll have to have oil from Miles Davis trumpet. :)

    From the inner wire point of view, the Zeta wasn't too happy with the vdH solution if net wisdom is to be believed,
    but in this case people seem pretty united in their opinion..
    No idea if the same accounts for vdH's oil suggestion, and what it actually is.
    Common sense would dictate it would maybe not contain mineral oil derivates if you can get it into your stomach via the mouthpiece..?
    No idea, but worth checking out perhaps.
  8. torstoi

    torstoi pfm Member

    Ah, nice info,,,thx Jamie.
    No,,,the vaseline part in the first place is absolutely fine for sure, never had doubts about this one.

    But I'd perhaps try to flush out the vaseline by either brake-cleaner (followed by compressed air) ((most effective in my book))
    or isoprop (followed by compressed air) ((second effective I guess, but fairly enough still, probably))

    And add a small amout of WD40 then, in clean state.
    If J7 recommends it, then it's probably the best / nothing to think further about, for me at least.

    The news that the bearings can be upgraded is phantastic, really !
    ..for no specific reason, of course.. ;)
    divedeepdog likes this.
  9. jamie123

    jamie123 pfm Member

    thanks,i shall of course post pictures once i get the new bearings :)
    torstoi likes this.
  10. torstoi

    torstoi pfm Member

    that'll be great, yes .. :)
    I'll return the favour,,,have to dig my cam out & also I'll send you a picture of my ugly amps as well.
    I'm well aware I owe you one..
    Your's looks phantastic...from eastetics alone mine are a lost case, mostly.. :)

    My prob is I merely have a tele,,,need a macro urgently, bc climbing the rooftop of a nearby skyscraper to shoot a pic of my deck though the living room window is somewhat exhausting.
    Apart the fact the sniper-like behaviour attracts more attention than I really need..
  11. jamie123

    jamie123 pfm Member

    cool,all my pics are taken using an i-phone so you dont need anything fancy.
    torstoi likes this.
  12. sq225917

    sq225917 situation engineer

    Vaseline is petroleum based, does alcohol dissolve it? A light petroleum distillate would be a sure thing.
    torstoi likes this.
  13. jamie123

    jamie123 pfm Member

    no i dont think it would,it may soften it enough for something else to work more efficiently though.
  14. jamie123

    jamie123 pfm Member

    no i dont think it does,it may soften it enough for something else to work more efficiently though like white spirit or even petrol.
  15. torstoi

    torstoi pfm Member

    No idea, really...but since the ball bearings or balls themselves can be replaced should anything happen,
    and the contour milled ball cages cannot take any harm, I would simply go for the 'all-in' solution: Brake Cleaner
    followed by compressed air.
    The vaseline has to come out there entirely, no doubt if you want best fine-movement.

    If you don't get satisfying results the way you imagined in the first proper take,
    you can also have all 3 or 5 balls from the bearings measured or checked for roundness, damage and precise measure..
    Once you start searching for that direction, I'm sure you'll find specialists who offer more precise balls / materials then has been available by then..
    But for now I see no indication why the shouldn't work great the way they are,,,once clean.. :)
  16. sq225917

    sq225917 situation engineer

    They're ceramic balls, they'll likely be more spherical than any commonly available steel bearing. The pivot point will be the lowest precision item in the bearing assembly.
    jamie123 and torstoi like this.
  17. torstoi

    torstoi pfm Member

    ...a short OT if I may: Simon, you had / have a Stogi Reference..is that correct..? :)
  18. sq225917

    sq225917 situation engineer

    12" Stabi currently, had a Sumiko, not the stogi
    torstoi likes this.
  19. torstoi

    torstoi pfm Member

    Thank you Simon..I happen to confuse the names of Kuzma Stogi and Stabi all the time.
    I thought you had a Kuzma arm, sorry.

    Not sure if you ever came across a Mission Mechanic ?
    It looks so similar to a Stogi Reference, I wondered if you might know how those two compare..?
    divedeepdog likes this.
  20. divedeepdog

    divedeepdog pfm Member

    But who’s got a Mechanic? Rarer than a rare thing :D

    #whistling into the wind ....
    torstoi likes this.

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