SP-15 Trip Spring Question

Yesterday when printing I noticed that the usual sound of the trip springs on my SP-15 seemed different/quieter. Upon examining, I found that the spring on the operator’s side is no longer fitting snugly under what is referred to as “Dowel B” on sheet #302 “SP Series Replacement Trip Spring” diagram that Paul has posted here previously. There is some play when I gently push down on the end of the spring. The other trip spring is still fitting properly under the dowel. I’m assuming that the loose spring is on its way to breaking and should be replaced.

Since both springs were broken when I first got the press, I know what’s involved with replacing them, but I’m wondering if there’s any underlying issue I should look for that would cause the one spring to be weakening. In the 4 years since the springs were replaced with new ones, I’d say that the press has received light to medium usage. Is it normal for the springs to wear out periodically? Thanks for any insights.

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Gerald Lange
12 years ago


I should add to this that I have personally owned well over a dozen or so working Vandercooks over the years and have had a great deal of experience with their problems. And do currently teach at a couple of educational institutions where the presses are battered and misused on a daily basis. And continual repair is a given. Just as an explanation for my overly cautious cautions and paranoia.

You seem to be aware.


Gerald Lange
12 years ago

Hi Sylvia

Sorry I did not respond earlier but for some reason the comments section was blocked on this post. I have a Vandercook SP15 that was purchased as new back in the early 1980s. Nothing has ever gone wrong with it. It is quite perfect, but I do take very good care of it. I don’t know that you have to replace the spring if it is not broken. Still, it would not hurt to have replacements. I have replacements for pretty much everything that can be replaced, whether I need them or not. Just to be on the safe side of it all.


Paul Moxon, Moderator
12 years ago

Other than short rolling, the steel may simply fatigue after may years of straitening and bending. odd that only one side is know longer touching dowell “B”. Perhaps the bend at the loop end was compromised during installation. I’m not sure you need to worry, but a spare pair is a good idea.

Recently, Dave Seat had a few copies of the install tool (J-19953) made. I bought one and so did Fritz, so it can be rented from NA Graphics.

The manual says to oil the eccentric once a week. The SP15 is clunky and there are a couple sources of noise: the eccentric bearing, trip arm contacting the trip rollers (X-21119) and the plunger; the rear carriage tie rod contacting the drum arm (X-20564) pushing the drum down and lifting the motor.

Gerald Lange
12 years ago


The only thing that I am aware of that would cause breaking of the springs is short rolling the press. Not sure why folks do that but they do. Maybe stock up on some springs?


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