Canon AE-1 Program "shutter squeak" repair

Discussion in 'Canon FD' started by s_u, May 26, 2004.

  1. s_u


    I am a new visitor to this forum, being a longtime user of Nikon and
    Contax, but I recently inherited my father's Canon AE-1 Program,
    which looks as if it has not been touched by human hands since my
    mother bought it for him in 1983. I think no more than ten rolls of
    film were run through it. It does, however, have the
    infamous "shutter squeak" problem. Do any Canon mavens have a
    recommendation for a good repair shop that can take care of this
    little problem at a reasonable price? I live in Tennessee, so a
    southern repair facility is preferable. Thanks in advance for any
  2. Shane, I've had Morgantown Camera and Video Repair rebuild the shutter on my T90, and their website lists that they do "most" repairs on AE-1's. They're in WV, but their mail service dept is very good.
    You can also try KEH in Atlanta. They did a CLA on a Canonette of mine, and replaced the light seals. They're a little more expensive, but I'm satisfied with their work. Good luck.
  3. Shane,

    All Canon A-series cameras used the same shutter and are prone to the infamous "squeal" that you mention. The noise, however, is not caused by the shutter, but rather by the mirror return damper arm. The lubricant originally used dries out with time. Any reputable, Canon-qualified technician can handle the job. Since I live in Georgia, KEH and Peachtree camera would be my recommendations... I'm sure there is someone near where you are. At the camera's current age, the foam seals on the back are likely very gummy by now, too. Have all of it taken care of at the same time with a good CLA (did wonders for mine a couple of years ago).
  4. Shane,

    Karl Aimo specializes in A-series repairs, and comes very highly recommended by everyone whose comments I've seen. He's in Massachusetts. Try this e-mail:
  5. Try this, very fast and one of the lower priced. I was very pleased.
  6. Contact Karl Aimo. It will probably cost $55-$80. He does good work.
  7. Karl Aimo Did my AE1P last year. It too had the "squeek". CLA did the job. around $75.00 if I remember right.

  8. Highly recommend Karl. Top notch and honest.
  9. u can repair the shutter squeak yourself. all u need is a needle and a little bit of oil...u can see a good description at: unfortunatly (4 u...good 4 me) its in german, but maybe it helps...i fixed my a1 in 15 minutes at a cost of about 0,50 euros shutter sounds like new :)
    greetings from austria (cows not kangaroos)
  10. (or, using a web translation engine . . . )

    The Canon A-series and the whooping cough...

    Does your Canon AE -1 suffer (P)/A-1 at whooping cough?
    Does the mirror fall asleep with the up and Abbewegung?
    Disturb you pitiful views of other photographers?
    Does the release noise of the camera go to you simply on the spirit?
    Then are you exactly correctly here!
    The repair is in principle a thing of few minutes, which can really make for everyone.
    Only courage!
  11. I have recently purchased an AE-1 Program cheaply on ebay, complete with the infamous squeak.

    Looking at Stefan Lach's aldo-net link above I looked long and hard at the pictures posted on that site and decided to take the plunge and have a go, mainly as the cost of having it professionally serviced (not just fixing the squeak) was quoted as £60 by my local camera store in the UK. About the same price of another decent body, so I thought what the heck - let's do it!

    It is important to use a syringe with a needle as thin as possible and about 2 inches long. I took out the battery, removed only the bottom plate and thereon worked 'blind' and by 'feel' being VERY gentle with the needle, so as not to damage anything inside.

    I found that the needle, once in position, didn't quite sit vertical with the body, so I tilted it ever so slightly to compensate. Then in the top of the needle I poured in 1 tiny drop of synthetic engine oil and cocked the syringe as though it were to be used at the '20ml' mark, fitted it carefully on the needle and SLOWLY and GENTLY depressed the plunger.

    After removing the syringe/needle I replaced the bottom plate/battery and test-fired the camera. It gave one final squeak and that was it - problem fixed. Now it sounds like new.

    In hindsight, I appreciate that this procedure should ABSOLUTELY NOT BE DONE by anyone not confident enough to try it. You really can cause serious damage to your beloved 'anitque camera' if you get it wrong. But if you are up to the task, have a bit of faith and courage.

    Also whether or not I should have used synthetic engine oil is another issue, but like others I believe that some lube is better than none. As a man of the modern world I truly believe in synthetic oil and it's longetivity, and that in using it I should never have to do this again.
  12. I recently picked up an A-1 which squeaked painfully.
    Inspired by the aldo-net link, I decided to go for the DIY syringe needle procedure. The instructions were slightly intimidating and sounded complicated, but in practice the job is really easy! Once the bottom plate is unscrewed (2 screws) and lifted off, shine a bright table lamp or flashlight into the innards. You will be able to spot the bronze flywheel quite easily since its color makes it stand out. With good illumination, it is very easy to direct the needle to the correct spot. No need to work blind. I used a drop of synthetic oil too.
  13. Hooray... I've just cured the squeak on my "new" AE-1P (3 screws on bottom plate). Aim for the brass cog as directed in the post above (you can see it spinning to the "tune" of the squeal as you fire the shutter and look in with a bright light). Remember to remove the battery or put it in Lock mode to avoid accidental firings with needles poked in. I found access easier with the shutter cocked.
    I used microscope immersion oil, which seems to have the same viscosity (150 cSt) as Castrol GTX, and is supposed to be non-drying and kind to optics! Engine oil should have been easier to find, but not for me.
    I needed several attempts to fix it - so yes I may have got excess oil where it shouldn't be. But I'm not going to pay £60 for a CLA on a camera that cost £40 and which otherwise looks in very good condition (the seals and other insides are as new).
    My AL-1 has never had the squeak as far as I can recall. Does it have a different mechanism?
    Now I have two fantastic cameras, one program and shutter priority and one aperture priority. Awesome.
  14. Can anyone tell me exactly what kind of oil to use for the do it yourself method and where I can get it online?
    I live in Switzerland and I checked all my local home improvement stores for a fitting oil, but couldn't find anything thats not penetrating oil, which as I heard shouldn't be used. I also checked online and looked at diffrent kinds of weapon oil and although they seemed to be very durable, they were also all more or less penetrating. So can anyone recommend a specific brand of oil that would work?
    Thanks in advance and greetings from Switzerland.
  15. Joe, you might want to try Super Lube 51010 Synthetic Oil. It comes in a small tube, which is convenient for this kind of work. Though you'll still need a syringe with at least a 2 inch needle. If you've got the money, or the time to check on eBay, I recommend a Hamilton syringe. Very precise, and usually have long thin needles.
  16. Garrys camera repair does great work. They fixed my canon AE-1 program for 50 dollars. Just google them.
  17. The "Canon A Series Cough" isn't the shutter, but the mirror braking mechanism, many people start oiling the shutter and destroy.

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