A photographer/collector who likes analog cameras and the images film produces, while also enjoying

A photographer/collector who likes analog cameras and the images film produces, while also enjoying
A photographer/collector who likes analog cameras and the images film produces, while also enjoying the latest digital.

Friday, August 15, 2014

IBM Selectric III Repairs (Part 2)

It has taken me some time to get back to this project.  I waited on delivery of a Bristol wrench set and a half cycle wheel.  Then other summer activities intervened.  I also had input from Clark (professorc30).  Thanks Clark!  He suggested that I do a cleaning on the typewriter before attempting to troubleshoot further as that might solve the problems.

I finally got around to cleaning the Selectric III.  After now completing this task I am amazed at how quiet the typewriter is.  Can hardly even tell it is running, so all is well in regards to the previous noise.  The other issues however were not resolved.

When I obtained this Selectric III for free, not all the keys functioned.  A few stuck down and would only slowly return.  Also, the Shift keys would stick down.  Once you struck the Shift key several times it would then seem to loosen up and work fine.  I assumed these issues would be resolved with the cleaning.

After initial cleaning the very quiet running Selectric still did the following:

  • Several letters do not print when the keys are pushed (Some seem to stay down & others immediately return but do not print)

  • Only the dash key will strike multiple times when held down.  No other key will do this.

  • The Shift keys still stick.

  • Both the left and right margins will not stop the carrier no matter what position the margin stops are in.  This was not a problem before cleaning.  (I feel that I may have reengaged the print shaft a tooth or so off as compared to where it originally was located.  Was not sure if this may be a cause of the margin issue?)

Posting to the GolfBallTypwriterShop Yahoo group, I received additional feedback.  Suggestions that the margin issue was not returning horizontal.  To more thoroughly re-clean the Selectric and let a good penetrating oil set to loosen up the sticky keys.  Also that the dash/underscore key is the only key on Selectrics designed to strike multiple times while depressing the key.  Did not know that…..  All good advice.

I did discover that I had forgotten a step in my cleaning process.  I went back and re-cleaned everything.  This re-cleaning cleared up the margin problem.  However the sticking / unable to print keys were not changed.

Something told me to take another look into the cardboard box I had carried this Selectric III home in.  Low and behold I found this in the bottom of the box.

 Now I am showing my lack of knowledge on Selectrics.  This was a key lever pawl spring comb from the left side of the machine that should be installed on the Selectric, not sitting at the bottom of a cardboard box.  The below image shows the spring comb installed on the right side and where the missing spring comb should be placed on the left.

 I may be out of my depth now.  I have spent a lot of time unsuccessfully trying to re-insert the spring comb.  It looks to be somewhat bent and my tries to have each tooth ride on the lever pawl under tension has been unsuccessful.  We shall see what the groups suggests about this problem.

More to come............

IBM Selectric III:
Flagship model produced by IBM between c.1980 and 1986.
Bristol Wrench:
Wrench similar to an Allen wrench but with a slightly different pattern on the face.


  1. That's some persistence you have there!

  2. I am trying to persevere. Ask me again later.......................

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