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Old 04-29-2013, 03:36 PM
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southcoast68 southcoast68 is offline
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DUAL 1218 Restoration Journey

I just recently finished this project of restoring a DUAL 1218 and I’d figure I’d share some pictures and basic advice, both to encourage others and to show off a little . I got this table last September by responding to a CL ad for a number of TTs that were up for sale. I came away from the site with this DUAL, an ELAC 770H, a Garrard SL-95B, a late ‘50s Voice of Music changer, and a FISHER 220T receiver – all for $100.

This is actually the second resto project from this lot. I already have restored the ELAC and have been using it for a few months. It still needs work to the base and dust cover, so it really is not totally done yet. The DUAL was just sitting on a table in my stereo room, waiting (and taunting me). So, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to tear in and get her making music again.

These first few photos show the rather sad condition this table was in. The base it was in (not pictured) was falling apart, with one side of it totally missing. The RCA cables were in bad condition looking like something heavy was put on top of the plugs, crushing them. Both the base and RCA cable were removed and thrown away (they never even made it into the house).




Additional problems included a worn idler tire with a flat spot in it, but even more of a problem was a bent tone arm. Not only was the arm bent like shown in the photo, but it was also kinked when you looked at it from the side. This would all have to be replaced (if I could find the parts).




The DUAL sat in waiting while I tackled the ELAC first (ELAC did not need anything replaced, just cleaning and re-lubrication). I was thinking that the DUAL may wait months if not years for me to find another tone arm, idler, base and dust cover, but thanks to luck and a couple of Ebay listings, I was suddenly able to acquire all I needed.

First, a real nice base with dust cover presented itself. It was a United Audio base and cover built for the 1218, but in a design I had not seen before. Its not the typical “wedge” design that is more common, but rather a straight sided one, a little wider and deeper and with a lower platform painted black that sort of resembles an inverted picture frame. I won the auction and a few days later, it was in my hands. I was indeed pleased that even though the dust cover was cracked at the rear in two places, there was no missing pieces and the overall condition was just about devoid of scratches, just some light scuff marks, that’s all! The base itself had its masonite mounting platform sagging on one side which I would have to fix and it was dry looking, so a sand and re-finish would be in order.



Second, trolling the ‘Bay one afternoon, I spotted a listing for a complete tone arm assembly for a 1218 which included a Shure M91ED cartridge installed on the correct single / multi play cartridge sled! The auction also included another platter which turned out to be in MUCH better condition than the one I had already. When I received the arm, I noticed that whoever removed the arm, snipped the wires WAY too short. This would mean that I would have to transfer the wires from the old arm to this one (a job I was not going to look forward to).

Third, Ebay also provided a listing for another idler tire for a 1200 series DUAL. You would not believe the price, all the prices for all the parts are at the end of the story, but it was ridiculously cheap!

Testing the table’s operation revealed the following; 1. the start / stop lever was about frozen in place, 2. moving the arm from the rest did start the motor, but only when the speed selector was on 33, it would run on 45 and 78, but only if I started it in 33 and shifted it up, 3. moving the arm to the center did initiate the change / shut off cycle, but the arm failed to move back to the rest. All of this indicated that the motor needed lubrication, the mechanism need total tear down and re-lubrication, and the friction pad (the infamous pimple) would need replacing. She had a long road ahead.

Continued..
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:42 PM
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Ok, so the disassembly and cleaning began late one Friday night. After a light oiling and re-assembly of the motor, after which the motor ran strong and quiet. I started with the speed change mechanism first. The first piece of advice I could give out is that if you undertake a turntable restoration, study on how the mechanism works first. I did for a couple hours and I still was left with a few mysteries, but it did clue me in that the disassembly, cleaning, lubing and re-assembly could be done in stages eliminating the need to take the thing totally apart all at once, since doing so could lend to loosing parts. Also, its mandatory you go to Vinyl Engine to download any manuals available (they had both the operating and service instructions for this model) and take many pictures as you go, and maybe even doing some sketches too. Whatever you do, don’t commit it all to memory!



In doing the speed change mechanism, I will say to be aware that there is a spring under the ball bearing that serves as the detent when changing speeds. Removing the small nut pictured may cause the ball and lever to shoot off and get lost, so go slowly.



I will also say to be careful with assemblies that are fused together by old grease and dirt. I had one hell of a time separating the idler tire bracket from the speed change mechanism, and noticed that the post the bracket used to connect it to the speed change lever was machine crimped at the factory and that a lot of prying would possibly destroy that connection, which you don’t want, or bend the lever, which you also don’t want. I was getting lucky with spare parts so far, but that luck runs out, and if I were to break anything, the project would die. It took A COUPLE OF HOURS with PB Blaster and slow coaxing to get all these parts apart for cleaning meaning I was up until 3 am doing this part of the project.

It takes some patience to re-assemble the speed change mechanism due to the way the yellow plastic piece fits inside the metal carrier as well as the whole assembly being spring loaded against the bottom of the deck. Also be sure to note the orientation of the large fine adjustment gear. I wound up putting it back upside-down the first time, and that was with having a picture to do by, DUUURRRRR. The idler tire is only held on by a nylon ring and when you remove it for cleaning, be careful not to damage it because it is rather soft. I can only imaging that the DUAL designers figured that a nylon lock ring would cancel more vibration than using a metal C clip. About C clips, it is my experience that these little buggers can get very angry with the thought of being removed and displaying this anger by flying away from you with great velocity leaving you to spontaneously say “Jesus!!!!”, therefore many of us call these little guys “Jesus clips”. In addition, these clips can also crack and break in two, so be careful, you don’t want to break any or loose any, since this DUAL was manufactured in W. Germany, all of its fasteners are metric size and probably un-obtainium from you local hardware store.



The following Sunday afternoon saw the disassembly of the main part of the mechanism. This included the start / stop levers, the changer rocker arm, the arm lifter and the removal of the main plastic gear from the unit. Even though the old grease was thick and gooey, this part went much faster since everything came apart fairly easy with minimal use of PB Blaster. My advice here is to note that some things like the main gear get removed from the top of the deck and that you will have to turn the unit over a few times to get it all taken apart. It took a while to clean off all the old grease with isopropyl alcohol and then dry them off for new grease and re-assembly. Speaking of the grease, I used white lithium grease in a tube, AGS brand available at ACE Hardware. Its pretty easy to use, and has a lighter quality to it (less tacky), doesn’t smell as much also. For oil, I use a light machine oil from a syringe like applicator. You don’t need a lot of grease or oil for any of this, just a small amount goes along way and keeps things neater. Also, be very careful of the levers that attach to the underside of the main gear. Their job is to initiate the auto shut off / change cycle as well as determining whether to bring back the arm for another record, or shut off, and they are delicate! Be careful with the fine wire “feeler” that is attached here and DO NOT bend or break it. Care fully remove these items, clean them and replace them. If the factory did not use lubricant here, don’t you use it either!! These parts are designed to slide against one another with no glops of grease since they detect forward momentum of the arm when traveling the lead out groove of a record (this is how the table knows when to pick up the arm at the end of different size records), re-install them clean and dry and double check them for free movement. Remove the black switching lever to clean and re-lubricate, but be aware that there is a small (and I mean small) spring under this lever that must be replaced the same way. Finally, be careful of screws and fasteners that don’t want to give up their hold on things right away. Go slow and be mindful of slotted screw heads since sometimes a screwdriver may grind up on the soft metal they are made from. All in all, this mechanism went back together without issue needing only small adjustments to be complete. One thing is for sure, you will get a better understanding of how this clockwork does its job the further you go through this process.







Continued...
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:49 PM
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southcoast68 southcoast68 is offline
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The following Friday presented me with the task I was not looking forward to, replacing the tone arm. The pick-up wires are really fine, hair like, and delicate, so I was apprehensive about pulling the wires from the old arm to put into the new arm. I first started by drawing a diagram of which wire connected to which terminal at the junction under the table, I encourage you the do the same. Then, with low to moderate heat from the soldering iron, I un-soldered the connections. At the head shell end, I removed the small screw under the tube which fastens the head shell and ground connection to the tube and SLOWLY pulled the wires from the old arm. Setting all that aside, I carefully removed the antiskate springs, brackets, connection of the arm base to the slider arm and finally the arm base plate and the arm itself. Its worth noting here that the large rocker arm that lifts and transports the tone arm has to be removed to get all of this out, so if you replaced it before, you will have to remove it again (and be sure to remove its bracket from the chassis, clean, re-grease and replace).



The small piece of PC board in the head shell slides out once the head shell is removed from the arm and since the head shell on the replacement arm was in better condition, I decided to switch it over to the new head shell and while I had the board out, I remove the tarnish from all the contacts with a pencil eraser so everything was clean upon completion. Passing a piece of wire from the back of the arm through to the front, I taped the fine wire leads to this wire and carefully pulled the wires back up the arm. Then attaching the head shell and ground wire back to the pipe part of the arm, that part of the job was complete, PHEW!!

Carefully feeding the leads through the hole in the chassis, I replaced the clip that holds the arm mount to the chassis. Then, using the diagram, I re connected the fine leads to the junction connection, then the moment of truth, I connect my multi-tester between the head shell end and the junction end of each lead to check for continuity, and I got it on all leads on the first try, the electronic gods were smiling down on me for sure. Back to the old grind of cleaning old grease and reassemble after new greasing continued until all that was left was the infamous friction pad (the pimple) to be replaced. Well, there has been a lot of talk of the things folks have used to replace this little booger with, and I tried a few of them. Insulator jacketing from coax cable (not pliable enough) piece of pen cartridge (could not find a suitable size), and I really was not going to pay for a small rubber button for this. So, I sat there looking around the room for something soft, with a grippy texture to its surface. It hit me to try one of my “McGyver” fixes for this and tried an eraser sliced off the end of a pencil, and it worked perfectly! I don’t want to leave it this way and will probable re-visit this when I get something more suitable, but for the time being, a Dixon Ticonderoga gave up its hat for the DUAL’s cause. I will also mention that the mount for this friction pad for the 1218 is mounted on a spring loaded pin. Check to make sure your’s has spring to it, if not you may have to work some oil down into it and work it until the springiness re-appears.





In removing the cuing lever mechanism, you must first remove the C clip from the bottom and then remove the screw from the top side of the chassis with a flat blade screwdriver, but be careful, there is a hidden spring under this lever that will go pop once you get to the end of the screw. Hold onto the lever with your fingers while unscrewing so that nothing goes flying on you.



Testing the unit now revealed that now the auto-mechanism works as expected, the table starts trouble free on all speeds and the arm returns to the rest without issue, and I am a happy camper! Now on to the more cosmetic upgrades. General cleaning removed much of the old grime and dirt, but there was one annoying issue to deal with. Apparently at some point in its life, this DUAL was a close spectator to someone using white spray paint. There was a light overspray of white paint on the edge of the chassis near the tone arm which was also apparent on the sides of the size selector and start / stop levers. Not wanting to dismantle all of it again to clean, prep, and repaint the base, and also not wanting to use and solvent to remove the overspray (dulling the existing pain and making a re-paint necessary anyway), I thought like McGyver again and used a black permanent marker on the sides of the control levers and the edge of the chassis where the spray was most evident, and it looks fine.

Continued...

Last edited by southcoast68; 04-29-2013 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:52 PM
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On to the base refinishing, I did not get any pictures of this since I did it out in my dusty garage, so I’ll just explain. The base is made from a MDF type of material with a wood veneer. I used a fine (1200 grit) sanding sponge to lightly open up the grain of the veneer again (be careful not to sand right through) and then using a tack cloth, remove all of the sanding dust. Then using a dark maple stain, letting the stain just sit for a minute or two, then wiping the excess off gave the base a richer color than before bringing out the grain once again. After drying, I use the tack clothe again to remove any standing dust, and then applying some Minwax wipe on polyurethane for a first coat. Then after a few hours, re-tack and apply another coat then a third coat the same way produces a nice shine, not to glossy.

The “new” platter I got was in real fine condition, without even a small mark on the bright metal insert, still needed something more. So, using paper towel to protect the rubber mat, I polished the edge of the platter with Mothers Mag and Aluminum Polish to bring out a nice shine.





The Shure cartridge had it stylus broken off way before I received it, so Ebay once again came to the rescue with an aftermarket replacement. Its not the best quality, but it does sound real nice and will do for now until I decide if a high end stylus is worth the cost. I know lots of folks do not like the idea of using a record changer, and I am one of them if the changer is of the way popular black plastic variety made by a famous UK manufacturer, but the DUALs’, ELAC’s, PEs’ of the turntable world do tend to take better care of records, and I do like the convenience of stacking three record for some extended listening. I plan on using the DUAL in this capacity, so just last week, the final piece of the puzzle, the multi change spindle came in the mail. The DUAL 1218 is complete.

In conclusion, the DUAL is in testing and so far works just perfectly. The mechanism is quiet, the speed is steady and the overall sound quality is REAL nice as played through my Sansui 881 receiver and ADC Sound Shaper equalizer. I am planning on replacing the power cord and even making it all modular (RCA cables, power cord and ground wire removable ala Technics so the unit can be easily swapped out for another table when the mood strikes me), and then I may re-address the pimple issue to use something other than the eraser. Now for the cost, I don’t have to the penny amounts available, so this is just general pricing or what this project all cost me;

DUAL 1218 $20
UA base and dust cover $45
Tone arm, cartridge and platter $20 (a real bargain)
Idler tire used but in nice shape $0.99 (told you it was cheap, the shipping cost more)
New stylus $15
New RCA cable $0.00 (given to me by a friend)
Drop spindle $25
Total $125.99
Listening pleasure (priceless)




Thanks for looking in and I hope this will encourage others to get their tables running. Its not a hard job provided you prepare well, have patience (and luck) and do it in small manageable bites. Good luck!

Cheers

Last edited by southcoast68; 04-29-2013 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:54 PM
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Pacific Stereo Pacific Stereo is offline
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Oh, I have done more of these than I can count (and no longer do them!) and feel every bit of your pain. Nicely done, and looking good! And great photos, BTW.
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I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Pioneer, Sony, Marantz, Concept. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Worked for Yamaha and JVC as a factory tech. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo "crazy-expert" salesman. I would stand on my hands to sell a hifi while simultaneously explaining how eight-to-fourteen modulation works. Pacific service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Infinity IRS dealer. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:33 PM
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Fantastic! I would never tackle a project like this but, I would love to if i didn't have 10 thumbs.
Your Dual looks lovely, great job.
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:58 PM
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WOW!.... What a great description on your DUAL rebuild. It came out looking and working great.
The 1218 is a real neat looking model in my opinion.
I can use a lot of your information as I was real lucky some time back and came across a DUAL 1216 in pretty good looking condition at Goodwill so I snatched it up pretty quick. After looking it over a little better at home I found the tone arm is loose in the gimbal assembly and I think it’s just that the aluminum arm shaft is loose at whatever type of fastener it has. One of these days I would like to do an oil & re-grease on this unit and see if I can fix the loose tone arm.
It didn’t have a cartridge but the slide out carrier is there. It’s interesting in that it’s in a case marked “Sylvania”. It looks all original and I’m thinking it was sold that way but I suppose it could have been put in a Sylvania case by someone.

Jeff
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:11 PM
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Just don't misplace your steurpimple.
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I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Pioneer, Sony, Marantz, Concept. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Worked for Yamaha and JVC as a factory tech. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo "crazy-expert" salesman. I would stand on my hands to sell a hifi while simultaneously explaining how eight-to-fourteen modulation works. Pacific service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Infinity IRS dealer. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:38 PM
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Very nice job! Love the old Dual's.
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:34 PM
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Great job on the restore - you have a gifted talent. I think everyone in their lifetime probably owned a Dual.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:19 PM
nobody nobody is offline
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Nice job. I do love the old Dual's. I have a restored 1009SK that I've been using pretty much daily since it was finished a year or two ago. Once these old machines are fully restored and working like new they sound great to me.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:57 PM
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Beautiful job! Enjoyed the read.
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:07 PM
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I have that same TT. Thanks for the thread!
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