Here’s how I like to fix the seized bearing problem:
Place the typewriter on its back on a soft work surface (I use a piece of “BORRIS” or “KRISTRUP” door mat from Ikea) and you will see that there is an access hole on the base of the typewriter. Remove the spring shown with a spring hook and some needle-nose pliers.
Re-position the typewriter so that it is facing you as if for typing. Remove the ribbon cover and the ribbon.
Set the left and right margins to their extremes, and use the carriage-release lever to the move the carriage all the way to the left. You will see that the carriage is held in place on the right by two screws, with an adjusting cam and screw in between them. I would recommend that the adjusting cam and screw remain untouched at this time. Remove the two outer screws. Again using the the carriage-release lever, (because the escapement is seized) move the carriage all the way to the right to expose the screws that hold the carriage on the left side. Remove the two outer screws and then carefully lift the carriage away.
NOTE: There is no need to be concerned at this stage about any other springs, linkages, the mainspring, draw-string etc. It seems that the carriage was designed to be very easily removable. Some people may prefer to then remove the entire escapement unit for very thorough cleaning, but in my experience (with more than a dozen seized Facit typewriters) it is rarely necessary and brings risks of its own.
Gently place the carriage on your work mat as shown, and set aside the rest of the typewriter for now:
Here is a closer picture of the escapement – the victim of the slow-acting cement used by Facit in the escapement bearing:
Below is a view from the “top” (seen here with the carriage resting on its back) with the carriage moved all the way to the left:
To free the seized bearing, a solvent and/or lubricant must be introduced. I use a syringe with a blunt needle for this purpose. It allows precise location and dose, and minimises the risk of solvent/lubricant causing problems elsewhere.
So, what solvent/lubricant to use? There is quite some discussion about this, so I looked at three criteria:
- What is reasonably available.
- What is reasonably safe for humans to handle.
- What is reasonably safe for the typewriter.
Of course, definitions of “available” and “reasonable” will vary, but here is what I have used with apparent success:
As a penetrating lubricant I use CRC 5-56. I apply this at the top and bottom of the escapement bearing, using a long, fine, blunt syringe needle to reach underneath the escapement wheel and also underneath the pinion (the gear-wheel that engages with the carriage rack) on top. A few drops will do. I leave this overnight. The aim is to dissolve the old “lubricant”, and here is a very useful post about another solvent product that has been used successfully:
x over it: Mystery Solved! The Frozen Facit (Starring Facit 1620)
The following day, you can use (GENTLY!) a pair of needle-nosed pliers to test the performance of the solvent, by GENTLY (you’ll be sad if you break an escapement tooth), attempting to rock the escapement wheel back and forth. If it is still unyielding, re-apply your penetrating solvent and wait another day.
In my experience, the escapement bearing may free completely and suddenly, or it may remain quite resistant for a while. Be patient. Re-apply and wait another day if necessary. Once the escapement has freed a little, you can move the escapement pawl out of the way with a thumb while you gently experiment with increasing the range of escapement wheel movement. As it becomes adequately free, you will then be able to move the carriage from left to right while watching the escapement wheel moving. If you feel resistance and hear a grinding sound, it is the spring-loaded rack being forced off the escapement pinion. This indicates that the escapement bearing is not yet free enough and the force you are using is too high. Again, be patient.
After reaching the point where the carriage is moving smoothly again, I use another solvent in an attempt to flush out – or at least to dilute – the residue left by the process above. This is because I also have some concerns about the possibility of the CRC 5-56 (perhaps like I have read about WD-40) leaving a problematic residue of its own, or in combination with the old “lubricant”. For this I use “Medicinsk Bensin” , which we can buy in the supermarket here in Sweden. It has a CAS Registry Number of 64742-49-0, and I think it may be called Naphtha in English. If you plan to use this solvent, please familiarise yourself with the Safety Information Sheet (here is an example in English) in your own native language. This solvent is also likely to damage paint; yet another reason to be very careful with it.
I apply the cleaning solvent in the same manner as the CRC 5-56 (using a different, dedicated and labeled syringe), and then moving the carriage back and forth to allow the solvent to move through the bearing. I do this multiple times, cleaning the residue between cycles with a cotton swab. The difference this process makes to the smoothness in the bearing action is quite noticeable to me. I then allow a few hours and a few further cycles to allow the remainder of the solvent to evaporate.
Finally, I apply a few drops of lubricant applied to the top and the bottom of the bearing (not the pinion or the escapement wheel themselves). I use TF2 Plus Dry Lubricant with PTFE, which is a product I learned about here: The Filthy Platen: Oils ‘aint oils . I apply this with a third dedicated and labeled syringe, and it seems to work very well indeed.
A further advantage of removing the carriage is that it allows much better access for cleaning. If you wish, you can also remove the perforated base-board (four screws) for greater access.
When you are finished cleaning, replace the carriage and fasten with the four screws you removed earlier. Remember to re-fit the spring removed in the first step.
I hope some people find this information a useful supplement to the great information that has already been published. In a later post I will show how to remove and replace the platen on these Facit portables.
21 CommentsAdd a Comment
Very nicely put together tutorial! I only wish I had a Facit to tinker with 😀
This reminds me that I encountered a frozen Facit once. I didn’t know that it was a common problem. I think I eventually freed it with some PB B’laster, but it was very resistant.
Typewriter manufacturers planned on their products being used for many years, but I think they might be surprised to know that they are still in use after a half century or more.
Thank you so much for this very helpful article. Thanks to you, I have successfully freed the bearing on my recently acquired 1969 Facit 1620. While the carriage is as quiet and smooth as glass when moved with the carriage release levers, should I still be hearing the ratchet sound as I use the carriage return lever to move the carriage back to the right?
Hi David. I’m glad that you found this useful. The escapement pawl would usually pull away on the carriage return. It may not be retracting enough if there is some dried lubricant and/or dirt preventing it. I would suggest a good clean with appropriate solvents, and then a very light touch with the oil I described. If that doesn’t solve the problem, there may be a need for some small adjustment. -Charles
Many thanks for this excellent post. David referred me to it. I am in the process of freeing the bearing on my TP2. Not normally a patient typewriter repair man, this effort is forcing me to be. I have soaked that gear down with a variety of solvents and it will not budge..,. the ribbon spools were very sluggish too, but they have finally broken free. Do you have any recommendations for how to apply force to the escapement gear to try to get it to break lose? Or, do you advise to simply wait it out over days??
Just re-read your post where you clearly explain what to do…that PATIENCE thing is gonna be a tough one for me 🙂
Hello Todd. Ahhh yes, the ribbon spool axles. They are too often overlooked (in many typewriters); the ribbon advance takes its energy from the keystrokes, so if the spools are not capable of freewheeling it ruins the keystroke action. I hope the escapement also frees soon for you. If it helps you to remain patient, I have sometimes had to wait days – but I have not yet encountered one of these Facit escapements that didn’t free eventually.
Thank you sir! After three days I was able to slightly rotate the escapement wheel. By the end of the day it turned sluggishly. At day 4 it turned freely. I used Pb blaster here in the USA after seeing no effect with Laquer thinner. Long story short – it works and despite being smashed in transit – the Facit is one of my favorite typewriters! Thanks again.
I came across your article in my search for guidance with facit tp1 platen removal. I’m worried that when I make the move to get this old platen replaced, I’ll be floundering! Looking forward to your next post!
Thanks for the wake-up call! I have now published the platen removal guide as promised. I hope it is useful to you, and feel free to contact me with any further questions. -Charles
These Facit posts are so helpful! My one question: I have a TP1, a TP2, and a 1620. The TP2 and the 1620 have a wound spring with a prong around the outer edge of the escapement; this quiets the carriage when it is being returned. My TP1 doesn’t have this extra spring around the escapement, and I noticed in the photos of your TP1 that the spring is missing as well. Was the TP1 made without that little spring?
En svensk här! Köpte en Facit på Tradera med låst mekanism. Googlade och fann din sida. Använde 556, efter någon timme gick hjulet att rubba mer och mer, lättare och lättare. Nu eftertvätt med Isopropylalkohol och smort med Remington vapenolja. Den fungerar nu! Stooort tack för din sida, utan den hade min Facit nog kastats eller blivit liggande.
Can i have a video it makes easier.
Thank you Charles! Excellent set of instructions, they worked perfectly with my Facit 1620. Plus I was able to disentangle the fallen off draw cord for the carriage and pull it through to make it work again much more easily with the carriage removed. Kind regards, David.
I began seeking out more information on the Facit TP1 after recently acquiring one of these machines. That is how I ended up discovering your website. While the escapement mechanism seems fine on my TP1, I did learn upon arrival that the ribbon drive was seized. I was able to resolve that issue by using a combination of mineral spirts and compressed air. Now that all is in order, I’ve found the TP1 to be an incredible typer and love the feel of this machine (as a point of reference I’m also very fond of the Olympia SM9). I’ve bookmarked this page for future reference just in case this issue should arise in my TP1. Thank you for putting this information together and sharing it with the rest of us!
Thanks for publishing this information. I recently bought an old Facit machine of unknown model (looks similar to the one in the pictures above but still not exactly the same). My parents had a similar machine which I used for a lot of school work etc in my youth. The machine is clogged up with dust, old ink and God knows what. I sprayed down the hammers with pure ISO 99,9% and 556 and used a soft brush to spread the stuff around. After carefully moving the hammers by hand it seems to have freed them up. My main concern now is that the carriage seems to be totally locked/stuck in the exact center of the machine. The two “carriage locks” on the bottom of the machine doesn’t want to move at all. Might it be the described problem or is there some unknown “carriage lock” somehwere? I have not been able to find any such lever on this model.
Hello Henrik, on the Facit TP1 the carriage lock lever can be found at the upper left-hand side of the keyboard. It sets just to the left of the “1” key and just above the ribbon color selector (as seen in the second photo from the top above).
I wonder if anyone can help me with a different problem with the carriage of a Facit TP2. I bought it yesterday, for just £15; but the carriage lever is not screwed in place (I reckon I can deal with that) and, once unlocked, the carriage slides back and forth rather than staying in one place and only moving each time a letter/number is typed. Everything else appears in good order. Am I (as an ignoramus) doing something wrong? Or does something need repairing?
Thank you for your wonderful posts on freeing facit escapements and removing facit platens.
I’m wondering if you might be able to offer any guidance on type alignment adjustment for a Facit TP1? I have a TP1 that is wonderful in every regard, except capital letters and lowercase letters are not aligned, with capital letters printing higher.
I was a technical instructor for Facit-Odhner Inc. I taught classes on typewriter repair to Facit dealers all through the Midwest. it was a very enjoyable experience. Facit closed it’s doors around 1972, the new ahe of electronics was ushering in.
Thanks for your guidance. I have freed the escapement on my TP2. However, the drawstring is broken where it attaches to the white plastic drawstring tension drum —at the left bottom corner of the “window” in which you can see spring steel. I can not find a slot, hole or notch for attaching a replacement drawstring. Can you offer any advice?