SP-15 Gear Roller Grunt

One of our SP-15s makes a sort of grunting noise as it travels down the bed. I suspect it is the gear on the back form roller, but I cannot see any issue with it. The other SP-15 is silent during this travel, and this noise is new, so something seems to be out of alignment. I checked the set screws; they are tight and the gear seems to be tight. Any thoughts? Thanks.

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Paul Moxon, Moderator
10 years ago

Thanks Sara, this can easily be overlooked.

Sara Langworthy
10 years ago

Hi Katie, we just had a similar mystery sound on an SP-20, and the culprit was an askew wiper blade. The set screw holding it in place was just loose enough to shift one tiny nylon corner of the wiper to knock against the rack as the carriage moved down the bed. My theory is if the set screw is loose enough to allow the wiper to move out of place, it is also loose enough for the wiper to be inadvertently knocked back into position during all the cleaning/investigating that goes on when one is trying to locate the source of a bad sound. If the snorting noise returns, check the wiper blades. Ours have a telltale notch chipped off the corner where the nylon was coming into contact with the rack. Though I hope your grunting sound is gone for good already!

Eric Holub
10 years ago

I’ve seen a starting tooth that had the tooth section broken from the arm and stuck low in place from dried ink. This would not align the teeth onto to the rack. Test the statring tooth for movement.
I’d add that “grunting” suggests an intermittant rather than continual sound. Does it equate to the revolutions of the gears? A wobbly gear is a problem to be replaced.

Paul Moxon, Moderator
10 years ago

The gear contacting the starting tooth (BS-429) would make just a brief noise, then cease after passing it and continuing travel down the rack. Nonetheless, your starting tooth may be clogged, missing its spring, damaged or missing all together.

Daniel MacDonald
10 years ago

Hello Katie – I experienced a similar issue with the first run on our new-to-us SP 15. Everything seemed tight on the roller with the gear, but I was convinced that’s where the sound was coming from. I took it apart what I could, cleaned everything, and put things back together. I applied more oil and everything fired up like… um, a well oiled machine! Good luck!

The Arm
10 years ago

Paul is right- it would be the gear skidding across the rack instead of engaging. It can mean that the roller is set too high, or that the starter tooth on the rack isn’t functioning correctly.

I know that sound and it makes me cringe every time!


Paul Moxon, Moderator
10 years ago

– Form roller set too high, gear skips along top of rack
– Gear too close to bed bearer, because form roller rubber is too far to the right on core. Cut back with large serrated knife.

It could also be that dirt and lack of oil between bearing block/nyliner/roller core end (journal) could cause the roller to work harder when turning.

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