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Montblanc 149 Leak Piston

149 piston leak cleaning montblanc

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#1 cynegils

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 18:45

Hi everyone, I am new to the fountain pen network but have already used the large knowledge base here to guide my recent purchase of a used Montblanc 149 from the 90s. I'm very grateful for the the useful information here. Unfortunately, I may not have read quite enough.

 

The pen arrived yesterday from an antiques store in Spain (I'm in NYC). It came with a little ink inside so I used the pen and found it writes wonderfully. However, while flushing the pen for the first time, I noticed there is a considerable amount of ink on the screws of the piston as you can see in the picture I included (that is supposed to be a shiny brass screw!). 

 

Also, I noticed that after a day of flushing, it is still not coming out clear, although it is significantly improving. More importantly, I tried to dry it by surrounding the nib with lint free wipes, and it seems like it could be leaking from either the red arrow, or blue arrow region in the picture of the nib, although I am not sure of this. Is this where a leak would/could form?

 

It seems like there is ink everywhere inside. Most importantly, can this be fixed? If I took it apart, and cleaned and greased the different parts, would this fix whatever is wrong? If not, I'll be trying to return this.

 

 

 

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#2 Old Salt

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 19:53

Try to send it back. You can do much better on here, or even some of the more reputable Ebay sellers, or even the back room at the Fountain Pen Hospital right there in NYC.
Hard to tell what the exact issue are, but it you have ink leaking at both ends, its in need of a total rebuild. You could also send it to Montblanc but, thats time and money. I hope you are able to return it. Sorry to hear of your troubles. Good luck.

#3 cynegils

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 00:53

Thank you Old Salt. I took the piston apart tonight and there was a significant amount of ink behind the piston. I presume that crept up until it eventually spilled onto the screw. I couldn't find any cracks, holes or breaks anywhere. However, I didn't find a drop of grease anywhere. It is as if someone opened it up and cleaned it free of any grease.

 

Other than the obvious role for silicon grease, does it also act as to seal? If so, maybe (hopefully) that is the only problem.



#4 Old Salt

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 04:45

Not seeing it, i’m Going to guess that the problem is a poor seal between the piston head and the barrel. It may be a worn seal, or it may be that a little, and i do mean LITTLE silicone grease will both lubricate and provide a tiny bit of a seal. Silicone grease is a lubricant, but can in some instances act as a mild sealing agent. Such as the brass threads of the piston housing where it threads into the barrel. You must be careful not to use too much grease. That little bit of added material with enough force can crack your barrel.
Your other issue, leaking at the nib is another issue. You might try with your fingers to gently see if the nib unit has become loose in the section. The nib unit screws in and can be gently snugged up by hand. Montblanc uses a pink sealant to seal the nib unit in the section as well as the barrel and section in two part barrels. I have used a thick silicone grease to replace this sealant on the nib unit. (Being very careful to keep the grease away from any ink channels. Use only on the threads) Two part barrels take proper sealant but your not there yet.
If the piston head turns out to be the problem, the folks i referred you to can help with parts there.

Let us know how its going. Photos are a big help.
Hope this helps. Be careful and good luck.

#5 NeverTapOut

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 06:19

Hi everyone, I am new to the fountain pen network but have already used the large knowledge base here to guide my recent purchase of a used Montblanc 149 from the 90s. I'm very grateful for the the useful information here. Unfortunately, I may not have read quite enough.

 

The pen arrived yesterday from an antiques store in Spain (I'm in NYC). It came with a little ink inside so I used the pen and found it writes wonderfully. However, while flushing the pen for the first time, I noticed there is a considerable amount of ink on the screws of the piston as you can see in the picture I included (that is supposed to be a shiny brass screw!). 

 

Also, I noticed that after a day of flushing, it is still not coming out clear, although it is significantly improving. More importantly, I tried to dry it by surrounding the nib with lint free wipes, and it seems like it could be leaking from either the red arrow, or blue arrow region in the picture of the nib, although I am not sure of this. Is this where a leak would/could form?

 

It seems like there is ink everywhere inside. Most importantly, can this be fixed? If I took it apart, and cleaned and greased the different parts, would this fix whatever is wrong? If not, I'll be trying to return this.

 

 

 

attachicon.gif IMG_4665sm.jpg

 

attachicon.gif IMG_4664sm.jpg

 

 

If it was me I would send it back. I never buy used outside the US...only if it came from a reputable dealer. When I buy used I probably ask 20 questions because I want to know everything about the pen usually the pen was not serviced and there will probably be something that will need to be done. I probably spend $100-$150 on every used 149 to bring it up to where it should be. That's me because I'm perfectionist. I never ever buy from someone who does not have a return policy. You can also send the pen to Brad Torelli. He lives in CT and is the MB guru in the US. If it can be fixed he can fix it and can tell you what is wrong. 

However, I would return it...I think it will be too much to fix.

My first 149 was a lemon...nib wise. It cost me $300 to fix and the pen needed to be serviced ..I could have bought a new nib...Now it writes like a dream. This is all a learning experience.

Regards,

David


Edited by Jesus1, 16 May 2019 - 06:28.


#6 Old Salt

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 18:22

Heres an example of ink leaking past the piston head. On this pen, a complete disassembly, cleaning, and a good greasing of the piston head along with all other parts of the piston assembly solved the problem, never to return again.
Since youve taken the thing apart, i guess youre past returning it to Spain. This is not rocket science, you can do this. It just takes care and patience. When you get done with this youll have an almost new pen that you can be proud of, and keep for the rest or your life.

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#7 cynegils

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 16:01

Thanks Old Salt. As you can see from the picture there was quite a bit of ink behind the piston. But it has been two days since I opened it, cleaned everything, greased the piston, filled the pen up with irish green ink and have been using (and shaking) it. I just opened it and so far, not a speck of green behind the piston. As in your example above, it may have just been the lack of grease or some other fluke. The dealer from Spain said that sometimes during air transport, pressure changes can force ink to move around.

 

I've only ever had cheap fountain pens before. The 149 writes smooth smooth. What a difference.

 

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#8 Old Salt

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 17:48

Well Done!!! Congratulations. You’re not a newbie anymore. Now you have a world class pen that will last you a lifetime and still be around to get passed down to your kids.
I’m glad you’re happy with your 149 they are very special indeed. Now you need a 146. Once you start down this road, you get hooked. Happy to have helped. All the best.

#9 Old Salt

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 17:59

One tip that may or may not apply. Once you have extended the blind cap high enough to get the wrench pins in the pin holes it’s best to then screw down the cap snugging up the wrench so that it is securely in place. This reduces the risk of stripping out the pin holes. Then, turn the barrel not the wrench and remove the piston housing from the barrel. It’s easy to apply too much pressure on the wrench. This process reduces the risk of over tightening and cracking the barrel.

#10 cynegils

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 18:18

You're absolutely right. This could be terribly addictive, and by terribly, I mean by its effects on the wallet!

 

I'm already thinking that I want to have a nibmeister grind down the nib to EF/F, although I have no idea what nib size I have, but the line is a little thicker than I'd like. I didn't buy this pen for a collection or simply to look at. I bought it to use, and daily, and I'm not concerned about scratches or nicks around the pen. Of course, I don't have any real paper yet, so I may wait to get some of that before I properly gauge the nib width.  

 

I'd love to unscrew out the nib and clean and grease that area as well, but the crude paper clip wrench I used (read about somewhere here on FPN) to open up the piston (the green line in the pic above) didn't really work for the front, and I'm scared I might scratch the front part. Perhaps when I take it to a nibmeister for grinding, they might be able to clean and lubricate the nib piece as well...

 

And my kids are already annoyed of me asking them if they like to see my new montblanc!


Edited by cynegils, 17 May 2019 - 18:19.


#11 NeverTapOut

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 19:42

You're absolutely right. This could be terribly addictive, and by terribly, I mean by its effects on the wallet!

 

I'm already thinking that I want to have a nibmeister grind down the nib to EF/F, although I have no idea what nib size I have, but the line is a little thicker than I'd like. I didn't buy this pen for a collection or simply to look at. I bought it to use, and daily, and I'm not concerned about scratches or nicks around the pen. Of course, I don't have any real paper yet, so I may wait to get some of that before I properly gauge the nib width.  

 

I'd love to unscrew out the nib and clean and grease that area as well, but the crude paper clip wrench I used (read about somewhere here on FPN) to open up the piston (the green line in the pic above) didn't really work for the front, and I'm scared I might scratch the front part. Perhaps when I take it to a nibmeister for grinding, they might be able to clean and lubricate the nib piece as well...

 

And my kids are already annoyed of me asking them if they like to see my new montblanc!

 

 

I am happy you solved you problem...

I have tried the paper clip trick a dozen times and I can't get it to work...I'm talking the think ones. Maybe I am turning it the wrong way. Which way do you turn to unscrew...

Thanks,

David



#12 cynegils

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 00:25

 

 

I am happy you solved you problem...

I have tried the paper clip trick a dozen times and I can't get it to work...I'm talking the think ones. Maybe I am turning it the wrong way. Which way do you turn to unscrew...

Thanks,

David

 

 

The first time I tried it, it didn't work because the clip was too thin. Then I tried again, and realized that the the whole clip was too long and too wobbly. For me the trick was to use a thick clip, and to chop it in half. Then I twisted the half clip it to make the little wrench, and I also used a clip that was covered with plastic which was nice (but of course you removed the plastic coating at the ends which go into the pin holes). The plastic was nice because when you close the blind cap on top of it, you are not crunching the resin onto metal.

 

Turn towards the left (counter-clockwise). They say if the pens hasn't been opened before, it will be hard. For me, it wasn't too hard. 



#13 Old Salt

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 00:56

If you start messing with the nib unit you may end up with a lot more than you bargained for.
There is nothing in there to clean or be lubricated, that a good soaking and flushing wont cure.
I do a lot of these and I prefer not to mess with the nib units unless its absolutely necessary. The Wrench for the piston end and Nib are different. You can buy a proper and much safer wrench on eBay.
When i bought mine, they were German made and rather expensive, these days the Chinese have got into the act and prices are quite reasonable. there are some threads on these Chinese wrenches, feedback has been good on them.

When i have the back end of a 149 or 146 open, after soaking, i usually insert a bulb syringe into the barrel and force water down into the barrel and out the nib. Thats All that needs to be done to get a good flushing. If the pen is writing well and as smooth as you say, there is no need for more. Dont over think this. Youre in rarified air with a 149. These are not pens to tinker with. Once cleaned and lubricated, it should not need that treatment for many years if at all.
You will see varied line thickness depending on the paper you use. Hard surface paper like Rhodia, Tomo River and Claire Fontaine and other fine writing paper, will produce the thinnest ink line. That nib looks like it might be a fine. You should test it out on some better paper. Other than eyeballing it, The only sure way to tell the nib size is the little sticker that Montblanc puts on the barrel of their pens. (Many leave them on for life) But then, one Fine doesnt necessarily produce the same ink line as another fine nib. Its all about your preferences.
Stable writing with fountain pens is a three legged stool. Paper, ink and pen(nib). every pen has its favorite ink, different inks perform differently on different paper, and well, pens and nib size all figure into this. Thats why we end up with a lot of ink and grades of paper to suit our different cherished pens.
The MB Irish Green you are using is one of my favorite MB Inks. Its very well behaved, rarely feathers on lower quality paper and has a fairly wet flow. Put MB blue black in your pen and youll probably see a noticeable difference. It is more dry than Irish green, and will give you a thinner ink line.

Im surprised some of our regulars on here havent jumped on you for messing with the perfection that is a 149. Many rely exclusively on Montblanc service. Personally i have a great deal of reverence and respect for Montblanc Pens. I work on them, but i know my limits... but thats me.

#14 Old Salt

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 01:04

The first time I tried it, it didn't work because the clip was too thin. Then I tried again, and realized that the the whole clip was too long and too wobbly. For me the trick was to use a thick clip, and to chop it in half. Then I twisted the half clip it to make the little wrench, and I also used a clip that was covered with plastic which was nice (but of course you removed the plastic coating at the ends which go into the pin holes). The plastic was nice because when you close the blind cap on top of it, you are not crunching the resin onto metal.
 
Turn towards the left (counter-clockwise). They say if the pens hasn't been opened before, it will be hard. For me, it wasn't too hard.

Turn It counterclockwise to remove the piston housing. Can be hard to get started if the pen hasn’t been opened up before. So go slow and gentle with it. Many here use the paper clip method. I don’t judge. Personally i think it’s best to use a proper wrench. Considering the investment we have in our 149’s, wrenches are not that expensive and greatly reduce the chance of mauling up the brass piston housing.

#15 Old Salt

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 01:07

Oops..i thought i was responding to Jesus1. Think were both writing at the same time and messages got combined...lol...

#16 NeverTapOut

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 02:08

Brad Torelli serviced mine. The piston plunger needs some silicone. It is not as smooth as I would like.

Is it best to keep the clip stationary and rotate the barrel or turn just the clip...

Would heat from a hair dryer help?







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: 149, piston, leak, cleaning, montblanc



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