Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: HELP: Graflex RB Series D - Tension Spring Problem

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    HELP: Graflex RB Series D - Tension Spring Problem

    I picked up a Graflex RB Series D, yesterday. I shot a bunch of tests shots with it using different exposure combinations (slits and spring tension).

    Everything was fine. I got home and dropped the spring tension down from 5 to 1 and now it won't go back up.

    The knob spins but the number doesn't move at all.

    The focal plane shutter still works

    Any ideas what the problem might be?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Re: HELP: Graflex RB Series D - Tension Spring Problem

    The numbers are stamped onto a large gear that engages a pawl , the knob of the Tension Plate
    is peened in place so I've never taken the assembly apart.
    Does it click or engage when you turn the tension knob, and can you still release the tension
    using the tension release button ?
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Tension_release_F.jpg 
Views:	19 
Size:	73.2 KB 
ID:	133510 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Tension_release_B.jpg 
Views:	19 
Size:	41.5 KB 
ID:	133511

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Re: HELP: Graflex RB Series D - Tension Spring Problem

    No click or tension. Here's a video link to the issue:

    The release button worked. That's how I got it from 5 to 1 the other day. It stopped winding after that

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Re: HELP: Graflex RB Series D - Tension Spring Problem

    Looking at you video is does seem like the knob has detached from the gear, you'll either going to
    have a get a beater for parts or take the Tensioning Plate off to see if the knob has detached.

    If you're brave enough, you can remove the Tensioning Plate to see what's going on inside, note that
    removing it will release any tension in the spring inside the lower curtain roller. So if there is any tension
    set on the curtain it should be released past O, if it's still possible.

  5. #5

    Re: HELP: Graflex RB Series D - Tension Spring Problem

    I think Jim is correct. The knob is no longer attached to the shaft or gear. You will need to take off the mechanism and see what broke. It is relatively easy to remove, although as Jim notes it releases all tension on the spring, so can be a little difficult to replace. I am sure there are instructions how to do this somewhere online.

    The good news is that you didn't break the main spring.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Western, PA.

    Re: HELP: Graflex RB Series D - Tension Spring Problem

    You can get a lot of great Graflex help if go to Graflex.Org and ask this question on the "Help Board".

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Re: HELP: Graflex RB Series D - Tension Spring Problem

    here's some info I had saved about retensioning the shutter (which you will have to do after releasing tension and removing the knob), so this should be helpful.


    About servicing Graflex focal plane shutters

    FROM: (W1xyz)
    SUBJECT: Tensioning the Graflex Shutter - repost
    DATE: 11 May 1999 22:37:32 GMT

    here it is

    Tensioning the Graflex Shutter

    This How To is for those who recognize that the rewards of learning how to "do
    it yourself " must be weighed against the risk of potential failure. Don't
    risk ruining your Super D if you aren't sure ! ;-D


    By now the old and venerable spring in your RB auto Graflex or Series D has
    lost its luster and doesn't pull the curtain fast enough. As a result, all
    speeds are slow. Fortunately the fix is not too difficult for those with a
    little patience and mechanical aptitude:


    1. First make sure that the curtain is not rubbing anywhere and the curtain
    selector is free to move (they often get bumped and then stick). It should move
    very freely with no sticky spots.

    2. Apply just a drop of lightweight oil into the two oil holes. These are the
    little holes in the end of a round, flat, keyed metal piece on the left hand
    side of the camera. Don't ever use or spray WD-40 or any spray lube or it'll
    get in and mess up the works. Just use one of those little needle oilers like
    the one sold in Radio Shack. Check to see if this improves things dramatically
    - probably not ;-)

    3. Look at the tensioning escutcheon (that's the plate that surrounds and
    holds the tensioner) You'll see the tension knob, the release button and a hex
    shaped cap. You should also see screws at the perimeter of the plate-don't
    undo these yet. Release tension with the release button now. Then just take off
    the hex cap (counterclockwise) to reveal the screw slot.

    4. Find the right screwdriver to fit the screw slot before proceeding. Notice
    that as you tension the shutter, the screw slot rotates. This slot is at the
    end of the tensioning shaft and has to be tightened in order to increase the
    spring tension. Don't try to force the screw since it's locked in place
    relative to a gear under the plate.

    5. Loosen, but don't remove, the screws holding the plate down. On the Series
    D there are four screws. The idea here is to lift up the plate enough so that
    the gear disengages from the shaft so that you can retension it. Put a thin
    screwdriver in to hold the slot BEFORE you lift up the plate so that the
    tension doesn't release suddenly.

    6. You may have to unscrew the perimeter screws a little more to disengage the
    gear. Once accomplished, now is the time to guess how much more tension to
    apply by turning the slot so that it gets tighter. I'm impatient so I give it
    a good whirl thereby throwing caution to the wind. This can result in too much
    tension which could overly stress the now ancient shutter curtain material, so
    you probably should try moderate tensioning first. If the spring has lost its
    temper, it will feel "dead" when you turn the screw - this is not the case and
    the spring has some life left in it.

    7. While still holding the tensioning slot push the plate back down to engage
    the gear. Re-tighten the perimeter screws. Put the hex cap back on after
    applying one drop of oil.

    8. Test the shutter. I usually test with Polaroid having found the speed to
    be reliable enough, however, if you have a flash meter you could make a setup
    with a bright light to measure the relative shutter speeds.

    9. You may have to go back and do this again. Be patient, don't poke or pull
    on the curtain in frustration, and don't curse me 'cause it's really easy and
    self evident once you dive in.


    I love these old boxes and with care they ought to be useful tools for the
    serious photographer. I am still learning the ins and outs so I don't claim to
    be an expert by any means but I have found this procedure to be workable
    several times now with no failures yet.

    PS - I've been asking around about how to convert some of these to Graflok
    backs, a challenge that I have not attempted yet but will tell you about my
    experiences and write a "how to" if there is any interest.

    Bob Crowley

    FROM: (Richard Knoppow)
    SUBJECT: Re: Tensioning the Graflex Shutter - repost
    DATE: Tue, 11 May 1999 23:38:27 GMT

    I've found in some Speed Graphic and Graflex shutters that the
    lubricant in the shutter roller has gummed up. A small amount of light
    oil there will loosen it up and increase the speed. The rollers for
    the shutter curtain may also need just a touch of oil on their
    Most older Speed Graphics seem to have had the tension cranked way
    up to get the highest speed to be really 1/1000th. It makes the slower
    speeds much too fast.
    Accuracy of speed is not the strong point of the older shutter
    design. The modified shutters in the Pacemaker Speed Graphic and in
    the Super-D Graflex are much better.
    Richard Knoppow
    Los Angeles, Ca.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2000

    Re: HELP: Graflex RB Series D - Tension Spring Problem

    I prefer to use "Drop-L-Do It" from Lubecon. It is molybdenum suspended in a quickly evaporating carrier. It never gums up and is the lubricant recommended for Leica shutters.

  9. #9
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Re: HELP: Graflex RB Series D - Tension Spring Problem

    I have cans of spray Moly, but it's clumsy for cameras...

    I use it less than my Nuclear Grade anti seize, which is also a real product.

    I just bought clock oil from Otto Frei

Similar Threads

  1. Adjusting Beseler 45V-XL spring tension.
    By Dustyman in forum Darkroom: Equipment
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 31-May-2014, 13:31
  2. Replies: 8
    Last Post: 1-Jan-2009, 11:41
  3. Need Graflex spring
    By Eric Rose in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 27-May-2004, 11:49

Tags for this Thread


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts