Unscrewing the waaay too tight cap on a Rega fingerlift

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Board, Aug 7, 2021.

  1. Board

    Board Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I recently got my Rega RP-303 tonearm replaced by one just like it. The fingerlift on the previous one lowered at a very slow, pleasant speed, but the new one lowers much too fast to my liking, so I wanted to disassemble the fingerlift to grease the insides to slow down the speed at which it lowers the tonearm onto the record.
    But I can't unscrew the metal cap on the top. I have tried using both one small screwdriver in one hole and two small screwdrivers in both holes simultaneously, and it simply doesn't budge at all (I removed the cueing platform first). I used so much force that I was afraid of breaking off the entire cueing apparatus.
    I can pop off the plastic bottom and put in grease at the bottom of the mechanism, but that didn't slow down the lift.
    Judging from this video ...



    ... I need to take off the cap in order to grease the piston, which is what would slow down the lift, as this picture also shows:

    [​IMG]


    So, does anyone have any suggestions on how to either:

    1: Unscrew the metal cap somehow, even though it's rock solid.
    2: Grease the mechanism somehow, or do something else, to slow it down without unscrewing the metal cop.
    ?

    As for option number 2, I have already tried to cover the bottom of the mechanism in grease and push the grease as far up as possible, and put in a bit of tissue or foam in the cap, so that the piston would sink into that, and neither of those two methods worked. With the foam/tissue method, the mechanism either just went down as quickly as before if there wasn't enough tissue/foam there, or it just went down quickly and then stopped halfway, when it met the foam/tissue, because there was a bit too much tissue/foam in there.
    The grease is too thick to push through the two small holes, unless I heat it up I suppose.

    All suggestions are very welcome. With the previous tonearm it was such a pleasure to be able to simply lower the handle on the cueing mechanism and then just walk away.
     
  2. hakstone

    hakstone Musically curious

    Location:
    06107
    This should probably be in audio hardware forum.
     
  3. Tony A.

    Tony A. Forum Resident

    Location:
    N. CA
    An instruction sheet I think is from Rega says to place "... fine nosed pliers jaws into the two slots in the top of the retaining cap and carefully unscrew anticlockwise."
    You could also find a small U-nail or sturdy staple gun staple, fit the two tips into the slots and turn the top with ordinary pliers.
     
    Agitater likes this.
  4. Board

    Board Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks for your suggestion, but like I essentially explained in my post, the problem is not that I don't have the tools - the problem is that the cap is too tight, as if it was glued.
     
  5. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Katy, TX
    It's a spanner nut. You need a spanner wrench. You could buy one or just make one. Piece of wood and put two nails separated about the distance of the span. Or get really small punch and tap the nut counter-clockwise. You need to force it. If I had to bet, there's an o-ring in there that got improperly installed and worked it's way into the threads.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Ripblade

    Ripblade Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Six
    Prise the plastic cap from the bottom. Thumbnail might be enough to do it. Inject some silicone grease into the opening, work the lifter up and down to spread the grease.

    I forget what grease should be used, but 100,000CST seems a good starting point.
     
  7. jrjhoe

    jrjhoe Well-Known Member

    Location:
    The Netherlands
    I tried this before with screwdrivers, couldn’t get it off at all. Main reason seemed to be the direction in which you can easily apply force, as when I switched to fine-nosed pliers it went off without a problem.

    A word of warning though: the ‘grease’ needs to be very sticky, especially if you want the lift to lower more slowly.
     
  8. richbdd01

    richbdd01 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect £200…
     
    VinylSwan likes this.
  9. Board

    Board Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Maybe it wasn't so clear from my original post, but this was the very first thing I did, and it didn't help. The grease I used (lithium) was something like NLGI grade 2, which I think is something like the one you mentioned. It stays firm and won't slide off a knife.
     
  10. Board

    Board Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'll see if I can get one of those tools at the local, large hardware store, or then try a very fine nosed plier like Jrjhoe suggests. I have tried putting in two thin tools at the same time, but I still couldn't turn them. So, as you suggest, maybe there's an o-ring stuck in there.
    Thanks for your suggestions.
     
  11. Ripblade

    Ripblade Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Six
    No, I just missed it, sorry.

    I don't think the grease you tried is the right stuff. The dashpot piston is a close fit to the sleeve it slides in, so the grease has to be fluid enough to allow movement with controlled resistance. The correct viscosity is more like liquid honey than peanut butter. Lithium grease is much too thick.
     
    Agitater likes this.
  12. Ripblade

    Ripblade Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Six
  13. BrentB

    BrentB Urban Angler

    Location:
    Midwestern US
    It might be. Or maybe they put Loctite or similar on it from the factory to keep people from messing with it and then wanting some warranty of some sort after they F it up.
    I would take a soldering iron tip and heat up the cap near the threads to see if it will then loosen.
    Also it is not a perfect world. It is possible that a machining flaw make the threads slightly distorted or it was put on cross-threaded.
    I would contact Rega directly for any further advice, honestly.
     
  14. struttincool

    struttincool Senior Member

    Location:
    Anacortes, WA
    This is a new RP-303 arm?
     
  15. Ripblade

    Ripblade Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Six
    I wouldn't use a soldering iron since the cueing shroud is plastic.
     
  16. struttincool

    struttincool Senior Member

    Location:
    Anacortes, WA
    How much is a brand new assembly? 40 or $50? I did this once and it turned out to be a worn piston.
     
  17. AKA-Chuck G

    AKA-Chuck G Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington NC
    I been through this. It was a bitch getting the top part off. I actually found using a small hex wrench worked for me. I used the bend end of the wrench for torque, at about a 45 degree angle, and put the straight end into one of the small holes. You may need 2 wrenches at the same time or alternate from one hole to the other with pressure. It should come lose like this. You need silicon not grease.

    Silicone Damping Fluid For Tonearm Cueing Mechanisms, Damping Troughs and Monopivots
     
  18. Board

    Board Forum Resident Thread Starter

    So, I have some good news, although not as good as I had hoped for:

    I didn't think getting other tools would make any difference, but I nevertheless bought this at Bauhaus (I'm in Europe):

    [​IMG]

    It fit in the two holes, and I used just a little bit of force, and the cap came loose. Yay!
    I was quite surprised, as I had used a lot of force with two separate tools, and it didn't budge at all, but with this tool it was no problem at all, like jrjhoe said.

    The not so good news, though, is that when I disassembled the fingerlift and put grease all over the components it didn't change anything, so the lithium grease was definitely not too thick - quite the opposite, even though it was a relatively thick grease.
    So, I'll have to see if I can find thicker grease or silicone.
    So I have a question: Is it more important that it's silicone than its viscosity? Meaning, would thinner silicone slow the lowering time down more than thicker lithium grease?
    If so, maybe Bauhaus or a car shop has some good silicone as well.
    I have the gear oil that Rega recommends for the bearing, but I doubt that this would be a good idea to use in the fingerlift.
    Ideally, I would like lowering to take 10-30 seconds.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021
  19. Davey

    Davey NP: Broadcast ~ The Future Crayon

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    You need to follow the advice above and use the right product for the job, which is silicone oil, typically 300K cst, but could probably get by with 100K but might as well go for the right one and just do it once (or twice :)). It is very, very thick, like very dense honey. Around 50K cst is used in tonearm dampers, sometimes more, sometimes less, depends on the cartridge compliance and other things. But cueing levers typically use 300K cst.

    You can get thick 100K to 500K silicone oil at some hobby shops since it is used in RC model race car differentials, but usually in quantities way more than you need. You can get it online in a syringe for about $10 or so.

    Lithium grease would only have a cst in the hundreds, at most. You should make sure it is all cleaned out before putting the new oil in.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021
    aunitedlemon and AKA-Chuck G like this.
  20. Board

    Board Forum Resident Thread Starter

    So Lithium grease is essentially unusable for my purpose, even if I find a thicker one?
    The one I have is like the thick one in this video:


    I'm thinking that the local bicycle shop or car shop might have some silicone grease/oil. At least I'll ask them.
    As for ignoring people's suggestions above, it seemed to me like the silicone being suggested was thinner than the lithium grease I have, so I thought my grease would be a better option than what seemed to be a runny oil.

    EDIT: I just found the website of a local RC shop, and they have the silicone oil up to 500,000 CST. Do you think it's better to use 500,000, or should I stick with 300,000?
     
  21. Ripblade

    Ripblade Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Six
    For the time frame you want, I'd go with the 500k cst.
     
  22. AKA-Chuck G

    AKA-Chuck G Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington NC
    Boltman92124 likes this.
  23. Davey

    Davey NP: Broadcast ~ The Future Crayon

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    I don't know which viscosity Rega uses, you could try to check with them, or just take a chance. I'd try to get the 300K, but I'd guess 500K would work, I've never done a Rega arm or used 500K oil before, so can't help there.
     
  24. AKA-Chuck G

    AKA-Chuck G Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington NC
    I used the 300k on my Rega and it worked fine. If still too fast, clean and go to 500k. :wave:
     
  25. Ripblade

    Ripblade Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Six
    10 seconds is already pretty slow. If that's the minimum, I'd go as thick as possible...
     

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