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Parker Vacumatic Lockdown Plunger

repair parts parker vacumatic lockdown spring plunger adhesive fix

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15 replies to this topic

#1 sethk

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 20:11

I have a 1938 Parker Vacumatic with the lockdown plunger.  I recent had it sent away for a diaphragm replacement.  In the process, the repairman had to rebuild the plunger as it had seen some wear and had presumably been repaired at some point in the past. Unfortunately, when the pen arrived back in the mail and I removed the blind cap, I was greeted by a snake-in-a-can of spring and plunger button shooting out of the pen.  It seems the button on the end of the plunger came loose from the metal plunger tube, letting the spring free from its housing. I've seen a lot of pictures of mostly disassembled Vacumatics, but haven't seen photographic examples of the internal plunger components. So I thought I'd post a couple images and include some insights and questions regarding my current problem.
 
Here are the parts as they came loose from the end of my pen. The spring fits inside the shaft (presumably with the metal inset piece at the bottom of the spring) and the brass button slides on top of the end of the spring and inside the end of the sleeve.
 
VacSpring-300x200.jpg
click image for full size

 
 
Here is my fix for giving the button a better chance of bonding securely inside the shaft. I've alternated between two paper clips to gradually compress the spring by sticking one through the spring, via the lock-down slot and using the other to keep the spring held down against the top of the slot. This way, the spring is not in contact with or placing upward pressure on the cap as it is glued and left to dry. 
 
VacClip-300x200.jpg
click image for full size

 
Any input on what I should use to get the button to stay?  I've been considering epoxy or even good old fashion Krazy Glue.  Obviously I'll need some that can hold tight with only a small amount, and I'm not particularly concerned with being able to undo the bond easily. I will using this pen regularly but gingerly and I assume that if anymore work is needed on the Vacumatic system, I'll be needing to replace the whole shebang.
 
Thoughts? Questions?
 
Also here's a (badly lit) picture of the whole pen (fine, arrow nib; "shadow wave" finish). It was my wife's great-grandfather's and its my favorite of all my pens.
 
DSC02460-300x200.jpg

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#2 viclip

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 20:34

I have a 1938 Parker Vacumatic with the lockdown plunger.  I recent had it sent away for a diaphragm replacement.  In the process, the repairman had to rebuild the plunger as it had seen some wear and had presumably been repaired at some point in the past. Unfortunately, when the pen arrived back in the mail and I removed the blind cap, I was greeted by a snake-in-a-can of spring and plunger button shooting out of the pen.  It seems the button on the end of the plunger came loose from the metal plunger tube, letting the spring free from its housing. I've seen a lot of pictures of mostly disassembled Vacumatics, but haven't seen photographic examples of the internal plunger components. So I thought I'd post a couple images and include some insights and questions regarding my current problem.
 
Here are the parts as they came loose from the end of my pen. The spring fits inside the shaft (presumably with the metal inset piece at the bottom of the spring) and the brass button slides on top of the end of the spring and inside the end of the sleeve.
 
VacSpring-300x200.jpg
click image for full size

 
 
Here is my fix for giving the button a better chance of bonding securely inside the shaft. I've alternated between two paper clips to gradually compress the spring by sticking one through the spring, via the lock-down slot and using the other to keep the spring held down against the top of the slot. This way, the spring is not in contact with or placing upward pressure on the cap as it is glued and left to dry. 
 
VacClip-300x200.jpg
click image for full size

 
Any input on what I should use to get the button to stay?  I've been considering epoxy or even good old fashion Krazy Glue.  Obviously I'll need some that can hold tight with only a small amount, and I'm not particularly concerned with being able to undo the bond easily. I will using this pen regularly but gingerly and I assume that if anymore work is needed on the Vacumatic system, I'll be needing to replace the whole shebang.
 
Thoughts? Questions?
 
Also here's a (badly lit) picture of the whole pen (fine, arrow nib; "shadow wave" finish). It was my wife's great-grandfather's and its my favorite of all my pens.
 
DSC02460-300x200.jpg

Do you still have the little metal shim which resides in the slot & functions to catch the lock down mechanism?


Edited by viclip, 18 July 2013 - 20:34.


#3 sethk

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 22:12

Do you still have the little metal shim which resides in the slot & functions to catch the lock down mechanism?


Yes, I believe so, as I am able to get the shaft to lock when down by turning it with my fingertips. Thanks for inquiring. I hadn't thought to check that and would have been burned if that piece has gone flying to some random patch of my floor to be lost forever.

#4 FarmBoy

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 04:23

The metal shim holds the ferrule on the shaft.  There is no simple way to remove it with the filler in the pen.

 

If the filler body is not split the end cap should be swaged in place but you will need to remove the filler unit from the pen. 


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#5 sethk

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 05:32

The metal shim holds the ferrule on the shaft.  There is no simple way to remove it with the filler in the pen.

 

If the filler body is not split the end cap should be swaged in place but you will need to remove the filler unit from the pen. 

 

Thanks for the input, FarmBoy. I'm not in any position to remove the filling mechanism, and I've been advised that the plunger part of the system will not likely sustain further repairs or vigorous use (though I see no evidence of a split). In any event, the end cap fit into the shaft with slight pressure, but was not nearly snug enough to restrain then spring. So, I've crudely glued the cap into the shaft for the time being. The pen now fills, and I trust that it will hold through light use until I find parts for a more durable solution. I would enjoy picking your brain when that time comes, if not sooner, if you are available. Also, I'm afraid I'm unfamiliar with the meaning of ferrule means in this context and would be grateful if you could point me in the right direction. Thanks again.



#6 AeRoberto

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 21:13

Check for cracks in the shank, if the top button came loose, probably there will be one running from the edge of the plunger. If this is the case, start searching for a new unit, glue will never hold for long.



#7 sethk

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 21:49

Check for cracks in the shank, if the top button came loose, probably there will be one running from the edge of the plunger. If this is the case, start searching for a new unit, glue will never hold for long.

 

Thanks for the input.  My fix is holding for now and I'm using the pen, but carefully.  I've been keeping my eyes own for Vacumatic parts pens, as I eventually want to get my own tools and learn to service them myself. Now I'll keep an even closer eye out.



#8 Ron Z

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 17:19

Farmboy is correct in that the best way to repair this is to disassemble the filler and to swage the tube onto the knob.  But that's not always practica.  I consider superglue to be an inferior adhesive because it can, and often does break down over time.  Epoxy cement would be better, and is usully adequate for most people. 

 

Sethk is also right in that it's not uncommon to see a spit in the tube.  But sometimes the knobs just come off, or get pulled off.  Again, epoxy cement would be appropriate, though you might have to file things smooth so that the plunger fits down into the blind cap nipple without binding.


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#9 sethk

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 17:34

Farmboy is correct in that the best way to repair this is to disassemble the filler and to swage the tube onto the knob.  But that's not always practica.  I consider superglue to be an inferior adhesive because it can, and often does break down over time.  Epoxy cement would be better, and is usully adequate for most people. 

 

Sethk is also right in that it's not uncommon to see a spit in the tube.  But sometimes the knobs just come off, or get pulled off.  Again, epoxy cement would be appropriate, though you might have to file things smooth so that the plunger fits down into the blind cap nipple without binding.

 

I appreciate the insight Ron (as well as everyone else's on this thread).  It's pretty fantastic to have so many folks with experience working on a 80 year-old filling system. All right at my fingertips, and full of generosity to boot. 



#10 Ron Z

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 18:42

I run into a lot of fillers that need one repair or another before they can be put back into service.  I prefer to repair rather than replace because the supply of replacement parts is finite.  I don't throw ANY filler parts away unless they're totally, absolutely, completely dead.  Even so, some of them go into yet another bag of dead parts, just in case.


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#11 Hanamizu

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 21:30

"I removed the blind cap, I was greeted by a snake-in-a-can of spring and plunger button shooting out of the pen."

 

Been there, done that and have the cleaned workshop to show for it! I sent mine out for repair. How you found the tiny bits and pieces is impressive.

 



#12 balson

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 06:35

Yes, I believe so, as I am able to get the shaft to lock when down by turning it with my fingertips. Thanks for inquiring. I hadn't thought to check that and would have been burned if that piece has gone flying to some random patch of my floor to be lost forever.

 

if you do need a work around for the metal pin that holds the spring to the filler unit, aluminum flashing is the same thickness and can be easily obtained from lowes or home depot and is easily cut to the right size with tin snips.  



#13 sethk

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 14:13

 

if you do need a work around for the metal pin that holds the spring to the filler unit, aluminum flashing is the same thickness and can be easily obtained from lowes or home depot and is easily cut to the right size with tin snips.  

 

Good to know! Thanks for the tip, balson.



#14 D Armstrong

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 18:50

Don't assume that crazy glue is irreversible, especially on metal parts. It doesn't take much heat to release the bond. And, as Ron pointed out, anyone doing work on filling systems will have a stash of parts, and even parts of parts. Any time we can resurrect, rather than cannibalize, it's a victory. Did you know that Parker's original service manuals advocated simply breaking off the 'jewel' when working on caps, and replacing them with new ones? They even had a special tool to chew through them! How things change in 60 years...

 

If there is no cracking along the barrel of your filler unit, then the problem is likely the little brass end cap. Brass is much more malleable than aluminum, so chances are that the inserted portion of the cap is a little loose. It can be gently pressed outwards again to fit properly in the barrel, again assuming that the barrel is sound. 

 

As someone once said, these things weren't born, they were made. They can be taken apart, and usually repaired.


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#15 sethk

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 00:09

Don't assume that crazy glue is irreversible, especially on metal parts. It doesn't take much heat to release the bond. And, as Ron pointed out, anyone doing work on filling systems will have a stash of parts, and even parts of parts. Any time we can resurrect, rather than cannibalize, it's a victory. Did you know that Parker's original service manuals advocated simply breaking off the 'jewel' when working on caps, and replacing them with new ones? They even had a special tool to chew through them! How things change in 60 years...

 

If there is no cracking along the barrel of your filler unit, then the problem is likely the little brass end cap. Brass is much more malleable than aluminum, so chances are that the inserted portion of the cap is a little loose. It can be gently pressed outwards again to fit properly in the barrel, again assuming that the barrel is sound. 

 

As someone once said, these things weren't born, they were made. They can be taken apart, and usually repaired.

 

Very helpful, thank you.



#16 geheim

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 21:09

those little shims come out when they want to, however, If you want to replace the spring etc... you can fight with forever seems.

 

 

I swear I thought I had a modern made lockdown filler. heavy feeling pieces may get the tanita out and check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by geheim, 23 February 2019 - 21:10.

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: repair, parts, parker, vacumatic, lockdown, spring, plunger, adhesive, fix



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