broken nikon 18-70

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by cameron_price, May 30, 2008.

  1. Hey guys. I'm picking up a broken Nikon 18-70 DX lens from someone for $25.
    The lens still autofocuses and meters with DSLR bodies properly, but it won't
    zoom past 24 mm or so. I'm planning on picking up this lens, since it's
    relatively inexpensive, and trying to repair it myself. If I mess it up, it's
    not too bad of a loss in my opinion. Is anyone aware of how to fix this problem
    (I've read on the web that it's a single loose screw), or know of any websites
    that give step-by-step instructions on how to take apart lenses and put them
    back together (pictures would be a great benefit!). Thanks everyone!
  2. The screw to tighten is under the zoom rubber, do not take apart the lens side that attaches to the camera. Remove the rubber band for the zoom, then the one screw underneath, you can expand the lens from there and will see three screws, one will probably be loose. It takes more time to get the plastic collar lined up and to reassemble more than anything. Write if you have a question.
  3. Cameron, I have a similar problem with an 18-70: was tromping through a refuge in Florida, apparently got some sand or grit in the focusing mechanism; hence it STICKS when I'm trying to frame and requires extra wrestling to get it to open up. I cdn't bring myself to send it in, so my solution was.... buy a nikon 17-55 f2.8! Still, that "wounded" 18-70 sits sorrowful atop my file cabinet, waiting for laying on of hands-- skilled hands and tools -- to heal it and make it usable again! So I join you in asking of same lens: What to do?
  4. Ken, my 18-70 has been stuck at 70 for over a year. Nikon wanted too much to fix it ($200) so it has been sitting on the shelf. I am going to try your method and see what happens. Thanks for the information.
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The problem with taking a lens apart is that once the elements are out of position, you should use special tools to adjust the alignment. If not, it could be soft in the entire range. But considering that your cost is $25, you don't have much to lose.
  6. Tim, make sure you have a good set of phillips screwdrivers. Slide a thin small screwdriver blade under the zoom rubber and then work it off the lens. Then remove the one screw, it has a shaft that goes through the collar and into the main body of the lens. From there you will see some of the workings, you have to get the collars up towards the front element, extend the lens as if you were zooming to 70mm. From there there are three screws with some form of locktite on them, one (hopefully) will be loose, retighten, put a dab of locktite and reassemble. Re assembly was the toughest part, I kept trying to do it the same way over and over, finally retried a different way and it worked, tried it so many times I forget now how I did it though. Seems that I worked it all around the outer glass element and the outer element with collars lined up back to the rear portion of the assembly. Using the outer screw/pin as a reference for reassembly helped. If you have a point and shoot you can take photos for reference.
  7. Correct Shun, but the procedure I described doesn't impact alignments. I would give the inner area an air blast before reassembly as well Tim.
  8. I did the exact same thing as Ken K. I also had a little trouble getting the front element
    back on. The trick was to get the correct orientation of the zoom mechanism, so that
    you can slide it back on and get the full zoom range. Sorry, I didn't take photos of the

    Afterwards, the zoom was sharp again as ever before, throughout the entire zoom
    range, and now with a little less dust inside (since I blew this out before reassembly.)
  9. Glad it worked out for you Tachion!
  10. Hey guys. I'm having a heck of a time finding these screws when I move the zoom ring and zoom collar up towards the front element, after removing the rubber zoom ring and the single screw found underneath it. The problem is that the zoom ring and zoom collar won't move very far towards the front element; and the thread that the zoom ring screws onto (it is roughly at the middle point of the lens, and it forms a perimeter around the entire lens) won't budge. I found a picture at this following link of what, I believe, the screws I should be targeting, but I just can't get to them. Help?
  11. I would be curious how you make out as well I have similar have an issue with the same lens
  12. Cam, that link is a nightmare come true. You do not need to take apart the lens rear portion to tighten the three cam screws. The lens should zoom out far enough once you have the two collars disengaged to have access to the cam screws.
  13. The screwdriver is pointed at the correct screw, one of the three. you can see the cast block to the left and down, that is where the screw that hold the collars in place goes into. You can judge the distance from there. The lens will expand to expose the cam screws, I suppose you could disassemble the lens as shown in the pics but it is several more steps and then you are handling the electronics as well. Personally I would not be placing electronics on a piece of aluminum foil as shown in one of the photos at the link you provided.
  14. Ken, thanks for supplying a repair solution to the Nikon 18-70mm zoom problem. My lens had been loose for some time, and after a motorcycle ride in northern New Mexico it finally jammed and would not go wider than ~24mm. I found the other posting (on another site) for repairing the lens by removing the mount and disassembling most of the parts to get to the zoom mount screws! Your method took me ~20 mins and the lens works well (still as sharp as when it was new).

    I do have a question: what lube would be recommended for the zoom mechanism? I presume it should be somewhat immune to temperature changes; won't run off when warm or stiffen up when cold. As I said the lens works well but the zoom is a bit stiff.
  15. I would contact a camera shop for an answer to that. Using a lube that is not recommended could ruin the lens. Vapors from a lube not intended for lenses could haze or damage the glass. If you find one that is recommended please pass on the information here, good luck.
  16. I found this forum today because I've had the same problem with my 18-70. Thanks to the help and direction I found here, it took me 20 min. to get to the loose cam screw and tighten it. Not only did that get rid of the annoying wobble I've had with the front assembly, but my zoom now works full range again. My lens is fully functional, except when zooming out to 18mm it bottoms out with about a 1mm gap between the flange on the front assembly and the zoom barrel. I'm going to disassemble it again to figure out why, but I wanted the best lubricant available to apply before re-assembly. I came across this link which might prove helpful:
    There is a mix of opinions but you'll get the idea.
  17. I managed to get a tiny amount of lube from the local camera repair guy. It is Nikon helical grease, part #3650914a, and he said a 1/2 oz is a lifetime supply!
    You can find the direct link to Micro-Tools, a company that sells camera tools and other supplies here:
    Best of luck all...
  18. The best I could do was a tube of lith grease from Princess Auto that cost me $1.99. I bought it, but I can't bring myself to apply it to lens parts. My trouble is I have no idea where to start looking for the right stuff in the Vancouver area. I'll try Camtex or Brighouse.
  19. <p>Tom if you use the wrong stuff you could damage the lens forever. I would folow David K's lead on the Nikon grease or call a repair center. You can try these guys, they are down to part time now but have always done good honest work for me and answered questions.<br>;hl=en&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;q=classic+camera+repair+biddeford&amp;fb=1&amp;split=1&amp;gl=us&amp;view=text&amp;lr=lang_en&amp;latlng=13373777723036138479&amp;ei=RBPdSeHFFIvWNcTRzbgK&amp;sig2=kttpJI8dWzvQVpbU-gJ8bA&amp;dtab=0&amp;oi=&amp;sa=X">;hl=en&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;q=classic+camera+repair+biddeford&amp;fb=1&amp;split=1&amp;gl=us&amp;view=text&amp;lr=lang_en&amp;latlng=13373777723036138479&amp;ei=RBPdSeHFFIvWNcTRzbgK&amp;sig2=kttpJI8dWzvQVpbU-gJ8bA&amp;dtab=0&amp;oi=&amp;sa=X
  20. Micro-Tools sells a number of lubes for cameras and lenses. I'd check that possibility out before I put some inexpensive grease from the auto parts store on the inside of a lens.
  21. Ken, thanks for your great advice, but I still have no success with this broken 18-70 Nikkor. Mine was stuck at 35mm and could not be zoomed more than that... That's why it's a bit difficult to find these 3 screws ..
    I thought they could be hidden somewhere since the lens could not zoom at the longest focal length.
    Do you have any clue?
  22. Take some pics and post them here so I and others can see where you are with it Prio.
  23. I disassembled mine and found the same loose screw and put it all back together and the zoom works better than ever. It now makes a high pitched (squeak) sound while focusing and it seems like the focusing might be a little bit slower than before, but it works fine. Any ideas for eliminating the squeak? Lube?
  24. Thanks Ken K for posting about the fix. I had similar problems with the rough/jammed zoom and I tried your recommended fix and it worked well for me. I took some pictures and roughly noted the steps I took so I can pay it forward for others who might have similar problems.
  25. Sounds like a gear Braden. An alignment issue, lube won't fix it, but could make it worse.
    Irv, I am glad to see your post on the procedures you took to correct your lens. I am sure others will use your information themselves. Nice work.
  26. Hello to everyone, I'm new to the forum and I think I need your help.
    I have a Nikon 18-70 DX with the focus mechanism that sticks between 0.7 and 2 meters. AF and MF work correctly but only in this range. Could it be a lose screw problem?
    Many thanks in advance.
  27. I cannot say. Look at the posts and the links. If you feel confident in your technical skills take it apart. If you feel it is beyond your skills then decide now before you take it apart.
  28. Hi Ken, thanks for your answer. Do you know if the rubber focus ring is mechanically linked to the elicoidal that move the lens element(s) to achive the focus?
  29. I don't recall. Hmm, don't know what a elicoidal is either. I just took mine apart until I found the loose screws. I did NOT take it apart from the back, all from the front. The biggest challenge was getting all the little slots and grooves to line up. I suggest you take pics as you go along or even better video it if possible.
  30. Is it possible to slide down the rubber focus ring to see if there is any screw below? I've tried with mine and I found it really stiff to remove.
    Many thanks, Ken.
  31. Yes, that is how you access the area to where my lens had loose cam screws.
  32. I did the repair and found the screw. Everything went back together fine, but now the focus will not lock. The AF light comes on in the viewfinder when it is focused, but the lens just goes from limit to limit and will not stop. I can use it for MF and it works fine, but AF would be nice. Any ideas?
  33. You only took it apart from the front right? Sounds electrical to me which no electrical components are in the front third that I recall.
  34. No, I followed a different tutorial and tore the thing down to the guts. I wish I would have seen this one first. I've taken it apart and put it back together a couple times now with the same results. All the electrical seems to be in order.
  35. Still sounds electrical to me, only recommendation is to check contacts on lens. clean with a pencil erasers. I don't do electronics, but if the electronics worked before you took it apart then something most likely is loose or not making contact. Post when you find it.
  36. Glad I came across this site... my 18-70 is like new again and super quiet... lining the screw hole about 90 degrees to the left while the lens is upside down will help lining the plastic ring back up if you jiggle it slightly while twisting back to correct position. Took me 1/2 hour to get it lined up trying everything else... then i did it twice in about a minute.
    Good luck to next victum of the loose screws
  37. Hi,
    Because my wonderful 18-200 vr lens was dropped and is currently being repaired, I've just picked out my kit 18-70 DX lens after about 18 months of non-use. I immediately found it only focused up to about 35 and then stuck. I followed this thread and undid the shaft screw, thinking it would free up the zoom so I could get to the offending loose screw. I soon discovered it wouldn't budge so now I'm in a state of panic and wonder if anybody could offer some help PLEASE!
  38. I don't know what you mean by shaft screw. Can you upload a pic? The access screws you need to take out are under the rubber ring.
  39. I can't upload a picture as I only have a 70-200 lens, but the screw I'm talking about was under the rubber ring.
  40. Ok, removed that, take off front part of lens. The plastic shroud that moves in and out is the biggest struggle. You have to untwist it in the right manner to unattach it. It has been a while since it did it but persistence pays. Do your best to look at how it looks together since it will be important to get it back together. The cam screws are under there and usually loose. I hear some have fallen out. If you can borrow a point and shoot camera, take photos, video to help. If you get frustrated take a break.
  41. I'm not sure what to untwist to get to the cam screws. Anyway I've managed to get a picture of how it looks now
  42. Thanks Ken - I did see this before. You say in an earlier posting that after removing screw the lens should expand. I can't get mine to expand to get to the cam screws. Is there a knack to this?
  43. Twist and shout! I don't remember exactly. I know there are grooves with tabs that the sections ride on. Wish I remembered, but persistence pays. I do remember it took longer to get them together. Now I think of it, make some marks on the expansion sections to help in re assembly.
  44. I've given up trying to fix it, but now I can't put put it back together! It seems impossible to get the screw into the hole, in the picture. Is there an easy way to do this?
  45. It is challenging, take a break. Put it all in a box for now.
  46. I too am having the same problem as a couple of posts have mentioned.
    I took apart the lens as instructed and tightened the screws, then reassembled and now the AF won't work at all! It makes a high pitched squeal and just jumps around the entire focal range.
    I took it into a respected camera store in Brixham and the Nikon technician suspected an alignment issue, he said it would cost at least £150 to send off to be fixed, more than i paid for the lens so i figured i'd try and ask around here for a DIY fix?
    Here's a video of my lens playing up :
    ANY ideas?!
  47. Will, it sounds like it worked before but doesn't now as far as the focusing goes. Not sure what would cause that. It could be electrical or a mechanic issue. I would look at the connections first on the lens and make sure that none of them are stuck. If that doesn't work then take it back apart and see if a wire is loose or something mechanical is binding up. Sorry no magic answer on this one. Maybe someone else has an idea for you.
  48. Ken K:
    I had the same problem until 5 mins ago. One of the screws were totally loose. Now my lense is back to smooth zooming and fully operational. The funny thing is that I was about to sell this lense. I did a google search on how to lubricate lenses, and ended up at this post. Now I'm definitely keeping it!
    Thanks a lot, Ken!
  49. Glad it worked out for you Per.
  50. Apologies for reviving an old thread, but I joined up because I just experienced this same problem.
    Mine had actually got to the stage where the troublesome screw was rattling around loose inside the lens. Following the lovely instructions I fished out the screw and tried to replace it but it didn't seem to be catching on anything, spinning loose in its hole. I tried leaving the screw out and closing it up but it didn't seem to like that either. Is it doomed?
  51. Steven, no apology needed. The thread is public and here to help.
    Im not sure why the screw isn't catching. You can inspect the threads on the screw and hole where it is supposed to be. If one or the other is damaged then replace the screw or correct the hole. The most common reason for the screw to come loose or fall out is due to the thread lock liquid not being applied or applied correctly. I have not heard of a screw or hole being stripped, anything is possible though. If you can or want please supply photos if possible.
  52. I have just had another look, I could place the screw in its hole and it would just drop all the way in with the head sitting flush. I reassembled without the screw and fear that there is something else loose and rattling about inside that is causing the actual jamming of the zoom. I'd speculate the screw was holding it in place and once the screw fell out it either dropped away or broke off.
    I have a cheap Tamron 28-80 on order, perhaps when it arrives I'll try and get some photos.
  53. The lens will not function properly without the screw in place. There is a shoulder on the screw that acts as a guide for the mechanism.
  54. My new lens turned up today. Took the broken lens apart again and took couple of pictures. You can see by the magnified views the hole is not threaded and is slightly elongated. It is pretty clear to me from that and the rattling sound that the screw was previously attached to something that is now loose inside. It does seem to work with just the two screws though occasionally it catches, probably on the loose part inside.
  55. I just purchased a used Nikkor 18-70 lens. My zoom isn't stuck, but seems to grab several places between 18 mm and 50 mm, when zooming out. Zooming back in it seems much smoother, and if you zoom out quickly you don't notice the sticky zoom action. I don't know just how smooth the zoom should be if everything is working correctly, but assume that my lens is beginning to experience the problems that you all discuss here. I can still return the lens for a refund or exchange, and wonder if that would be the best option.
  56. Gary, I would return it if possible. The grabbing could be the beginnings of the cam bolts loosening.
  57. Ken: I had two weeks to return the lens, and that time has just passed. They warranty the lens for 60 days, and told me if it really starts sticking that the warranty would cover it. I spoke with several others that noted their 18-70 lenses were always a little sticky, even new. The lens review by Thom Hogan noted the same thing about this lens. I'm just hoping that it doesn't get worse, as I'm very impressed with the results from this lens so far. If it does start locking up, and is out of warranty, I figured I could attempt the repair you describe here or try to get it repaired by a service shop. I contacted Nikon and they gave me figures of between $95 and $159, but stated they wouldn't know until they looked at it. If they did a complete cleaning and alignment of the lens it might be a good deal. I found the service manual for this lens online, and it's staggering just how much there is to taking the lens completely apart and the test equipment needed to do an alignment. I've already made a copy of the repair method here, and that would be my first choice, if it does get worse.
  58. repaired the lens as stated in the forum, and the zoom works great! the focus does not work properly, bounces all over trying to find focus. seems like the focus was not aligned properly? anyone have this problem and how to fix?
  59. K cable, did it focus beforehand? Can you focus the camera with the lens manually?
  60. Thank you everybody in this old thread. I was able to fix mine in under 15 minutes.
  61. Another winner here. I was able to follow this and fix mine in 15 minutes as well!
  62. Great information. I managed to get mine back working in about 30 mins. Thank you very much.
  63. Wow, I thought that my 18-70 was toast until I read this. It now zooms like new, but when I put it back together, the AF would hunt like crazy, and when it locked on it was out of focus. Opened the lens back up, and after about an hour or so of tinkering, fixed that, too!! 18-70 is good to go.
  64. Glad to hear you fixed it Randy!
  65. Hi, my name is Mauricio and i would like to know if there is some way to fix my lens.
    I got the lens on ebay, I'm from uruguay and these lenses (and all lenses) are very expensive, so i got one used from ebay, the thig looked good so i pulled the trigger.
    The lens arrived this week, it had a massive amount of wobble in the front element and i followed your instructions to fix it. All went great, the wobble dissapeared!
    What i found today is that the lens dont go all the way to 18mm, is like it stops a little before, at the mark it goes to 18mm but the fron element sticks out like 1 or 1.5 mm, it makes a gap between the zoom ring and the border of the fron element...
    What i found too was that the focus is never "in focus" is like it wont focus right in the 18mm end, and until the 30-35mm it stays like this, like a wrong focus, i discovered this because was my birthday yesterday and i wanted to take some pics... And testing the camera flash i found this, i cant tell if it was like this when i got the lens, cause because of being slow i thought the out focus was because of camera shake...
    I dont know what i could possibly have done wrong when i assembled it back together, but now i have this problem and is kind of annoying because i already sold my 18-55 lens.
    Thanks, i would really appreciate some help!
  66. Thank you guys so much!!! I had the same problem, followed your steps and it led me to discover I had a loose screw that was jamming my lens. The night before I have to use the the lens and I discovered the problem, thanks to you guys it's all sorted. Had a hell of a time trying to line everything back up.
  67. Hello..
    I have a similar problem to Mauricio Rodriguez in that the auto-focus doesnt seem to work between 18 to 30mm..

    Randy Roy - How did you 'tinker' to get your auto-focus to work ?
    anybody any ideas.. Thanks
  68. Figured it out and thought this contribution might still help others coming across this issue.
    My girlfriend owns a D70S with the Nikkor 18-70mm and the zoom was getting stuck at the familiar positions. Opened it up in the suggested way by removing the rubber ring, and unscrewing the single locker screw. Surely, one of the screws on the inside had come almost completely loose and I even found a small piece of broken plastic inside (no idea where it came from though).
    Upon reassembly I also got the common 'will not focus' issue. After a bit of tinkering I found out that the problem is that the lens can be reassembled in several ways, of which only 1 is correct:
    On the inner zoom-ring, there is a special cut-out intended for the single locker screw. If this inner-zoom ring (the outer zoom-ring would be the one that has the rubber band around it) isn't oriented correctly, you can still tighten the screw, but when fully zooming out the inner-zoom ring will block against the screw. This prevents completely zooming out as well, leaving a small gap at the end of the lens. Only if the cut-out is aligned so that the locking screw fits between it will you be able to zoom fill out and will the AF function.
    Now the trick is to position the inner zoom-ring before reassembly so that the cut-out aligns with the metal bit that has the thread for the locking screw. Perhaps put a little mark on the inner zoom-ring and the lens body to see if they still align when continuing. After that, it's a matter of sliding the outer zoom-ring (it also has a screw hole) on the lens body, and let gravity + a bit of shaking do the work to make the inner-ring's grooves catch the diamond shaped bits of plastic on the front lens body.
    Lens now works like a charm!
    I can supply some pictures if needed, or just mail/reply if you have question.
  69. rP, I'm glad to hear the thread helped. Your additional info will helps others I'm sure. It would be great to see images that would show your repair. Thanks for posting and adding any other helpful information.
  70. If anyone has resembled the lens and has focusing problems then check that the magnetic sensor (little thing with gold ribbon cable next to the screw you have to unscrew to open the lens) hasn't been moved. I bumped it and it caused my auto focus to have massive problems. I bent it back out a little bit and my auto focus works again.

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