Vandercook Univ. I: spring issues (the part, not the season)

I think I might now what the prob is, but wanted to hear what others think. The spring under the latch that holds the cylinder back and in place that is not the original spring. I faked it with a purchase from a hardware store 7-9 years ago. Well, it seems that its time has come to an end because I’m having a problem getting the cylinder “over the hump” and when I step on the foot pedal the grippers don’t want to raise well. I can make it happen by being firm and stepping on the pedal multiple times, but the press is protesting with squeaks that I don’t like. Any tips? I think I might need to get a new spring — the part # in the manual is X-11022. Could be something else?

8 thoughts on “Vandercook Univ. I: spring issues (the part, not the season)

  1. Ellen Knudson - April 19, 2009

    Fritz, I want you to know that the spring worked perfectly and it’s all running smoothly now on the Uni I! The graphite powder worked wonders, also. The print runs have been going much better and faster with the right part in place. YAY!

  2. Ellen Knudson - March 30, 2009

    Fritz teased me today because I didn’t mention that my press is a Vandercook Uni I. I usually gloat about that, but it slipped my mind. :) Anyway, I oiled every joint connected with the foot pedal and applied graphite powder to the grippers, and now the cylinder goes back much easier — however, the cylinder is slightly forward and I think the replacement of the spring will solve that. Thanks, y’all!

  3. Fritz Klinke - March 30, 2009

    I chatted with Ellen today as she was ordering her spring. On the power Universal presses the cylinder movement is determined on the speed of the cylinder travel and the point at which the microswitches are activated–the faster the cylinder travel, or speed, then the further the cylinder will travel before stopping. If the cylinder crashes into the bumper springs, slow down the press, or readjust the arm on the back of the press attached to the cylinder that actuates the microswitches. If you vary the speed of the press from slow to fast, then that will cause problems as far as to where the cylinder stops, or doesn’t. The microswitches control the relays that control the motor.

  4. Eric Holub - March 30, 2009

    Usually if I can depress a cylinder check cam with my fingers, without pushing fairly hard, then the cylinder will creep forward from rest position. But if the cylinder check spring is so strong that you have to muscle the cylinder over it, it ought to be holding the cylinder at the correct rest position too. There must be more going on here than just the spring.
    How is the nylon tire on the cross-rod, that is the contact point with the cylinder check cam? (I’ve seen No. 4s, which have no nylon tire there, rather worn at this spot, and rotated for unworn metal to contact.)

  5. Ellen Knudson - March 30, 2009

    Eric — yes, that sounds like what’s happening — the cylinder doesn’t seem to rest as close to the feed board and I do think the spring has loosened. But it is also difficult to pull the cylinder over that lever and that’s when I hear the squaeaking, when the grippers raise — even at the end of the press when paper is released I hear a softer squeak. I have taken the grippers apart and cleaned them, just last year, and they are smooth and clean. I am adding some graphite powder, so we’ll see how it goes. I plan to order a new spring, too.

  6. Eric Holub - March 30, 2009

    If the grippers are clean, they shouldn’t need much lubrication. If they are dirty or burred or bent, lubrication won’t help. I disassemble, clean the moving parts, slide the gripper buttons in and out by hand, feel for resistance. Bends straightened, burrs filed or crocus-clothed; when movement is smooth, only then a rub with graphite. Graphite can get gummy from humidity, so it may need a regular cleaning.
    By it being harder to get over the hump, you mean it is now harder to get the cylinder past the cylinder check? Why would an old spring, right or wrong, suddenly get stiffer? (The original springs are very stiff.) Usually I see them get weaker or lose coils, and then the cylinder won’t rest close enough to the feedboard. Sometimes then the mechanism won’t be correctly lined up to give full opening motion from the pedal, at least on some models. But if things are squeaking, you need to follow the linkages back from the cylinder to the pedal and lubricate the contact points.

  7. Ellen Knudson - March 30, 2009

    I think the correct spring would be a good idea…but I am going to get some graphite powder today. I oiled the exterior moving parts of the mechanics connected with the foot pedal, etc. Last night I took the gripper bar off and the gripper parts seem stiff, so I’m going to try some dry lubricant on that. I don’t want oil getting on my paper!

  8. Fritz Klinke - March 29, 2009

    If it’s the spring you need, $6.25 plus shipping will get you a new one that’s not a fake. If it is something else, like lack of lubrication, then an oil can may help.

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