New to VPI, cleaning up a dirty Classic 1, hit a snag.

New to VPI, cleaning up a dirty Classic 1, hit a snag.

Postby Coolbob » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:52 pm

I've been in and out of the' audio hobby all of my life and have been looking to upgrade my ProJect Debut III turntable for a couple of years now. I couldn't really find much that excited me within my price range, then a friend who upgraded from a VPI Classic 1 to an Avenger made me an offer I could not resist on his Classic 1.

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Bringing my new toy home.
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The good news is that the turntable came fitted with a Shelter 501 cartridge. The bad news is that the cartridge and needle were really, really dirty as was the entire turntable.

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Shelter 501
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First thing I got home I started reading the VPI forums which have been invaluable!

As luck would have it, I received the wrong record clamp with the turntable. Not sure which table this clamp fits, but it definitely won't thread on the VPI. The previous owner assures me he has the correct clamp. Also the manual, cartridge set up tool, rubber doughnut, and anti-skate accessory are missing.

I quickly discovered I would need a new phono preamp, my MM/MC phono input on my integrated amp just work with the low output Shelter 501. My budget being what it is, I found a ProJect DS+ new for $250 and ordered it at once. I am very pleased with how well the preamp pairs up with the Shelter cartridge.

I also found a great deal on an acrylic dust cover on ebay (necessary with 2 cats in the house).

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$170 delivered.
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I removed the platter to clean it up and lube the bearing and discovered old, pasty grease and a flat spot on the bearing.

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Flat spot on bearing.
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I ordered fresh lube and two new 5/16" ball bearing on Amazon, one chrome steel and one ceramic bearing. I decided to install the chrome bearing, so maybe I'll put in the ceramic bearing the next time around. A small mini-torch made quick work of the old bearing and I dropped in the new bearing with a drop of super glue. I added the correct amount of synthetic grease on the bearing and synthetic oil on the shaft, easy peasy.

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One new chrome steel bearing installed.
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I boiled the belt and double checked the tracking force and anti-skate settings for the tonearm.

Everything was going great, exceeding all my expectations but lubing the motor did not give the results I was hoping for. There was no up and down play in the motor shaft and it was working silently, but I know it's never been lubricated since it left VPI. I removed the pulley and drew a few drops of synthetic lube into a tiny hypodermic needle and then slit the needle tip under the brass ring on the shaft and added a drop. Turning on the motor mixed the clean oil with the old yellowed oil and I used the edge of a paper towel to draw out the yellow mess out from around the motor shaft. I added another drop of fresh synthetic oil and repeated the process of drawing out the old yellow oil. After doing this about 5 times, the new oil stayed clean, but I noticed a slight noise from the motor. I've tried setting the brass ring down snug and running it higher, allowing for about 1/32" of vertical play on the motor shaft, but no matter how I set it or how much synthetic lube I apply, there is now a very slight noise to the motor that wasn't there before. Thankfully, it is completely inaudible in playback, but can be heard whenever the motor is on and I hold my ear close to the turntable. I played three albums back to back and the turntable is absolutely phenomenal, but the motor noise is really bugging me.

Any ideas?
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Re: New to VPI, cleaning up a dirty Classic 1, hit a snag.

Postby YoungDave » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:58 am

I'm sorry to say I do not have any advise for the motor noise, but I want to congratulate you on your efforts. I find it highly satisfying to bring an old item up to as-new condition, and I am so pleased to see others do it, too. I hope another forum member will have some motor advise.
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Re: New to VPI, cleaning up a dirty Classic 1, hit a snag.

Postby Brf » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:13 pm

Coolbob, you are very far ahead and it looks like you will be just fine.

Here is a copy of the manual http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/5e0564_c86fc00d22b84d2db21791bb38e5009f.pdf

A custom arc template generator for phono cartridge alignment (also prints nice strobe disks) can be printed off here (3rd line down) http://conradhoffman.com/chsw.htm

Please note that the anti-skate device is (was) an option when your table was in production. You can purchase one from most on-line VPI dealers http://www.elusivedisc.com/VPI-Anti-Skate-Device-for-JMW-9-Tonearms/productinfo/VPI-D1013/

As for the motor noise, just let the oil do its work. It may take some run in time.
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Re: New to VPI, cleaning up a dirty Classic 1, hit a snag.

Postby dizzio » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:25 pm

I’m probably asking for it but I’ve got a stupid newbie question. Instead of replacing the bearing why can’t it be rotated to expose a new surface and reinstalled? :?:
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Re: New to VPI, cleaning up a dirty Classic 1, hit a snag.

Postby Brf » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:48 pm

dizzio wrote:I’m probably asking for it but I’ve got a stupid newbie question. Instead of replacing the bearing why can’t it be rotated to expose a new surface and reinstalled? :?:


Nothing wrong at all. I use to do it all the time.
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Re: New to VPI, cleaning up a dirty Classic 1, hit a snag.

Postby Coolbob » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:08 pm

Thanks everyone for your input!

I'm sorry to say I do not have any advise for the motor noise, but I want to congratulate you on your efforts. I find it highly satisfying to bring an old item up to as-new condition, and I am so pleased to see others do it, too.


I agree, I find it more rewarding to refurbish older equipment than simply write a check for new gear.

Please note that the anti-skate device is (was) an option when your table was in production. As for the motor noise, just let the oil do its work. It may take some run in time.


Yea, I have twisted the lead cable to provide anti-skating force and I can't believe it works as well as it does. I've probably listened to at least 15 LPs in only a few days and I'm blown away at how good this turntable sounds with good source material. I thought about buying the anti-skate kit, just in case I need it, but I've decided to save my money for more LPs. I added another drop of oil today after playing LPs for a few hours. I hope the noise works itself out. The platter defiantly spins easier with the new bearing and grease.

I’m probably asking for it but I’ve got a stupid newbie question. Instead of replacing the bearing why can’t it be rotated to expose a new surface and reinstalled?


I defiantly considered rotating the existing bearing, but a G10 5/16" chrome steel bearing is only $4 and the ceramic G5 bearing was only $8. Besides, heating up the old bearing with a mini-torch to get it out may have altered it's hardness.
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Re: New to VPI, cleaning up a dirty Classic 1, hit a snag.

Postby elader » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:47 am

tell me about ceramic versus steel for the bearing?

Is it alumina oxide or silicon nitride?
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Re: New to VPI, cleaning up a dirty Classic 1, hit a snag.

Postby Brf » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:21 am

elader wrote:tell me about ceramic versus steel for the bearing?

Is it alumina oxide or silicon nitride?


I know this doesn't answer your specific question, but both Oxide and non-Oxide ceramics work equally well as a bearing replacements.
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Re: New to VPI, cleaning up a dirty Classic 1, hit a snag.

Postby elader » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:00 pm

BRF, is the bearing on .... say... the prime the same 5/16ths?
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Re: New to VPI, cleaning up a dirty Classic 1, hit a snag.

Postby Brf » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:21 am

elader wrote:BRF, is the bearing on .... say... the prime the same 5/16ths?


I am not 100% sure. If you have a micrometer, it will take you less than 30 seconds to measure, or perhaps another Prime user can chime in.
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