Taking off a Universal III motor

I need to remove the motor that drives the cylinder on a Vandercook Universal III. I need to have the motor rebuilt.

I worked on it a bit today and simply could not figure out how to get it off nor could I figure out how much of I should take to the motor place once I do get it off.


It seemed like one option could be the four bolts at #1. Then you’d have the gear mechanism attched. But if I take the four nuts off the whole thing will not slip through that slot on the backside of the motor because the gear won’t let it slip far enough to get over the bolts that the nuts were on.

The four very long bolts at #3 pass completely through the motor housing. That looks like the path to take but I was worried that if you took that apart some parts of the motor might fall apart.

You can kind of tell I have no idea how these motors work.

Any help anyone can offer?

. . .

Ray Nichols
Wallflowers Press

. . .


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The Arm
16 years ago

On all three of my Uni IIIs, those four bolts labelled 1 are allen head bolts and don’t have nuts. There are also two pressed in pins in this assembly which can be either a little fussy or no problem at all. I am a little confused about the nuts and also the large bolt you are speaking of. Could you try to be more specific? The clutch assembly with gear should come off the motor by removing the allen head screw in the end of it. When you take it off make sure to hang on to the woodruff key. I’d also suggest you remove the clutch adjusting collar before you send the motor to the rebuilder.
Give me an email address and I will send some photos to you. I will also send them to Moxon so he can add them here. If you continue having trouble maybe we should talk on the phone.


Ray Nichols
16 years ago

Yes, I still have the counter.

I’m still not getting the motor off. If I undo the four nuts (at #1) they won’t slip over the bolts.

I’ve tried undoing the large nut (has holes in it that you need to sort of pry it along to turn it). I’ve not taken it completely off but I’m worried I’m not going to get it back on. But nothing about that gear (smaller one that drives the one on the cylinder) seems like it is going to somehow come off once I take that large nut completely off.

Am I missing something or am I just not going far enough with the large nut?

The Arm
16 years ago

As a side note I see you have the spring actuating tab for the optional impression counter. Does your press still have a counter?


Fritz Klinke
16 years ago

Leave the motor and gear box attached to one-another, and let your motor guy handle it from there. A good one will re-lube the gear and worm and repaint the whole assembly after bench testing. Typical cost around $400, but there aren’t any new ones sitting on the shelf and if we did have them, the price tag would be about $1500. Never ever throw away a Vandercook motor and gear box thinking it is a stock item. These were all custom built in batches of 20 to 30, depending at what point in time the order was placed based on orders on hand at the plant.

The Arm
16 years ago

Hey Ray,
Take off the clutch and then your bolts numbered 1. There are some pins there too that may or may not give you difficulty, but you should be able to get it free with a little coaxing. As for the wiring, separate it from within the junction box at the back of the press.
Let us know if you have any more trouble.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

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