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My Grandfather clock stopped chiming and striking after re-oiling ‍♂️

theolane

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Dec 3, 2022
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Hello everyone - my first post here :)

I recently acquired Hermle Grandfather clock (1171-850). Was keeping the time, chiming and (strangely enough, it was striking only once every hour)

It was working great (for months) but I decided to re-oil it a few weeks ago. I bought a clock oil, took the movement out and re-oiled it. I haven't taken it apart - I just re-applied the oil (and wiggled out the old oil and gunk in the process until it al got clean). I did not notice any warned off pivots btw.

Now the clock keeps the time nicely however, I noticed some bizarre stuff
- First, to my surprise, It started striking the hours correctly, which really made me puzzled why in the past was only striking once every hour (can not imagine the snail being blocked at "1" - which would be the only explanation for 1 strike that I can think of)
- After few hours of striking and chiming, it stopped doing so (but as I said it beats nicely and keeps the time)
- After removing the dial and fiddling with the leavers it looks that not enough energy is channeled to both of the chiming and striking train (I did check the weights - they are correctly placed).
- If I use the crank key and wind the either of the train for just one click up, it would come to life, make for a few strikes / chimes and then stop (almost never finishing the cycle)
- I noticed that the striking is never more than 4 times - then it stops (and I noticed that after it stops, the striking train starts going briefly backwards as well)

What on earth I messed up ? ‍♂

Thanks for all the suggestions gents ! :)
 
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Kevin W.

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Time for a overhaul. You cant clean it without taking it apart. And do a proper job that way.
 
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Simon Holt

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The reason for a single strike every hour could be that the rack was stuck and not dropping on to the snail. That could be due to someone having oiled the pin on which the rack pivots. No levers should be oiled at their pivot points, and they should be squeaky clean.

The reason for the strike train running backwards could be from the weight of the hammers pushing on the star wheel as they come to rest. That's not good - after striking, the lever that lifts the hammers should not be in contact with the star wheel. The chime and strike trains need a moment to run up before starting to lift.

Simon
 
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theolane

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Thanks Simon and Kevin,

What confuses me is that things were better before I did the re-oiling (if I took it apart and then something went wrong that I'd understand). Also - both trains went bananas (I could understand one of the trains - bot both, that's kind of weird )

Any idea why is so and what could be done (other than completely taking int apart :- ) ?
 

Simon Holt

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Thanks Simon and Kevin,

What confuses me is that things were better before I did the re-oiling (if I took it apart and then something went wrong that I'd understand). Also - both trains went bananas (I could understand one of the trains - bot both, that's kind of weird )

Any idea why is so and what could be done (other than completely taking int apart :- ) ?
We'll need to see what you're seeing. Can you record some video showing what happens as the clock enters warning until the lifting lever drops off the star cam on the minute shaft? Post the video to YouTube then post a link to it here.

Simon
 
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theolane

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We'll need to see what you're seeing. Can you record some video showing what happens as the clock enters warning until the lifting lever drops off the star cam on the minute shaft? Post the video to YouTube then post a link to it here.

Simon
Thanks Simon

So here it is

Any suggestion is welcome !
 

theolane

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If it was clogged up with hard deposits of black oil before you oiled it then adding further oil will make matters worse.
Chances are it will require an overhaul which will mean taking it apart and fitting bushings etc.
Good luck
Thanks New65 - I’d not say clogged (one of the weight pivots realy had a lot of crap indeed (if I recall, it was the going train) and 2/3 otter smaller one had some light dirt coming out - the others were quite clean

re bushings - I haven’t noticed any play in any of the pivot points.

The clock was working great till my intervention and was / is keeping good time

It might very well be that full cleaning would do the trick but the symptoms seems quite strange tbh .

I’ve just uploaded a video too - pls check if you have some time

regards!
 

roughbarked

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Thanks Simon and Kevin,

What confuses me is that things were better before I did the re-oiling (if I took it apart and then something went wrong that I'd understand). Also - both trains went bananas (I could understand one of the trains - bot both, that's kind of weird )

Any idea why is so and what could be done (other than completely taking int apart :- ) ?
Always, disturbance of any kind, will loosen some of the crud and put it in the wrong place. As well, you really cannot tell much about the wear until it is all nice and clean.

These one click winds, are they at the start or the end of the mainspring?
 

Simon Holt

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I watched the video and the symptoms do indeed suggest lack of power. The fact that an additional wind of the spring brings it to life shows that nothing is broken or locked. You'd probably get the same result by giving the fly a nudge after it has stalled, instead of giving the spring an extra click.

Contamination is the most likely cause. You could narrow down which wheels are the culprits by nudging them to see if they have end-shake (i.e. you can move the pivots in and out of the plates a fraction). When a train is under power (e.g. it should be chiming, but isn't) the wheels should all be under tension and you won't easily be able to move them. Start at the top of the train, i.e. the fly - if that moves easily then it's not the culprit. Work your way down until you find the wheel that won't move easily - that is the culprit.

Alternatively, let the springs down using a spring let-down tool and, with movement face down, look for a wheel that doesn't fall back down when you lift it.

Simon

Edit: My suggestions are short-cuts that may get it going temporarily. It really needs a full tear-down and cleaning, together with new bushings in any ovalled holes. I only use short-cuts like this if I want to evaluate the behaviour of a movement before I strip it down.
 
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theolane

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Dec 3, 2022
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Always, disturbance of any kind, will loosen some of the crud and put it in the wrong place. As well, you really cannot tell much about the wear until it is all nice and clean.

These one click winds, are they at the start or the end of the mainspring?
thanks roughbarked
Re the one click winds: The clock is cable driven
 

theolane

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Dec 3, 2022
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I watched the video and the symptoms do indeed suggest lack of power. The fact that an additional wind of the spring brings it to life shows that nothing is broken or locked. You'd probably get the same result by giving the fly a nudge after it has stalled, instead of giving the spring an extra click.

Contamination is the most likely cause. You could narrow down which wheels are the culprits by nudging them to see if they have end-shake (i.e. you can move the pivots in and out of the plates a fraction). When a train is under power (e.g. it should be chiming, but isn't) the wheels should all be under tension and you won't easily be able to move them. Start at the top of the train, i.e. the fly - if that moves easily then it's not the culprit. Work your way down until you find the wheel that won't move easily - that is the culprit.

Alternatively, let the springs down using a spring let-down tool and, with movement face down, look for a wheel that doesn't fall back down when you lift it.

Simon

Edit: My suggestions are short-cuts that may get it going temporarily. It really needs a full tear-down and cleaning, together with new bushings in any ovalled holes. I only use short-cuts like this if I want to evaluate the behaviour of a movement before I strip it down.
Thanks Simon Holt - I’ll check it over one of the coming weekend and will post here

re the mainspring : the clock is cable weight drive
 

theolane

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@
Yes / that’s the first thing I checked in fact (did even measure them )
Simon Holt - what is strange is that it strikes only 4 times and then it stops … it looks kind of particular sport on one of the gears (a gear that makes 1 turn for every 4 strikes )

re pushing the fly wheel by hand :I tried it and it does not work . The only think that works is that single wind click
 

shutterbug

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Your video was taken down by Youtube, so it can't be viewed any more.
 

Kevin W.

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Was going to look at your video, but i cant.
 

shutterbug

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It's up again. I'm a bit confused by it. Are your weights on the floor so it needs winding, or does it just stop, and the little nudge from the key starts it again?
 

wingardclocks

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probably loss of power, somehow secure all the hammers back so they wont be lifted. If it runs fine then it needs at least a cleaning, and if older than 20 yrs probably could use a handful of bushings
 

Kevin W.

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In clock repair i have a baseline to work from, so i dont chase my tail. In this case as in most a complete teardown. Especially when you dont know when the last complete service was. Adding oil to a gummy movement, is not the answer.
 
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Willie X

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The chime cable could be crossed on the drum. That will cause the trouble you have. Cure ... with a death grip on the crank, release the click and let the weight all the way down (then wind it back up.
If the cable is on the drum correctly, the cable retainer should be loose, as in rattle around freely, no resistance at all.

Note, it's possible to have a single double layer of cable at the start of the wind. If you see this, the cable retainer will have to be removed in order to get that first turn flat on the drum.

Willie X
 
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NEW65

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I am having trouble seeing the video clearly. I just wondered if the stop works is to blame for failure of the strike?
 

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