Overzealous CLA's

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by chad_hahn, Aug 23, 2002.

  1. People are always saying when asked about purchasing a used Leica,
    factor in getting it CLAed. Why do people insist on wasting their
    money? I have a IIf that was manufactured in 1957, I finally had to
    send it off last year. I'm sure that was the first time it was
    cleaned. Until the shutter speeds started acting up it worked
    perfectly for almost fifty years.

    As they say on TV these results may not be typical but a five year
    old Leica that was designed to have thousands of roll of film run
    through it probably doesn't need a couple hundred dollars worth of
    work done to it.

  2. I believe that purchasing an M2,M3,M4 or any variants need to be CLA'd BEFORE you can feel comfortable with it, Now with the CLA you know you should be able to go 10-20 years w/o one (hopefully) . this is important if your work is important, say, weddings, and the like. I would hate to find out my shutter is hanging up or wrong AFTER the fact. remember, and ounce of prev.....well you know. So any purchase I make I would need to figure in a basic cla. (my last was 325).
  3. Don't fix it unless it's broke - Good Advice.
  4. Chad, you're right 99% of the time, but you also said "probably doesn't". If you are taking your Leica on the month long trip of a lifetime halfway around the world, if you're a photojournalist on assignment, an advertising photographer working with high priced models, wardrobe person, art directer, assistants, etc., you don't want to take that chance. Of course those doing it for a living write the CLA off as a business expense. For peace of mind it's worth doing every three to five years. Most other brands of cameras aren't worth fixing when they get that old, parts aren't available, the lensmount might have changed.
    Moving parts designed to be lubricated need lubrication. Old grease gets thick and gummy, oils slowly evaporate. A teeny spec of fungus in the rangefinder/viewfinder should be removed before it spreads. Screws might loosen from vibration. Flash contacts need periodic cleaning. It's amazing how long Leicas last, but treat it to a CLA!
  5. Here I thought you were going to write of work not authorized when sending your camera into the shop, I was, not in this thread though.

    As to your question:

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Mine got a CLA, came back, and it jammed (first roll), had never jammed before. Sure, you get one thing fixed for "insurance" and then another thing breaks; doesn't make sense. It ain't like changing the oil in your car. Has anyone got their car back from the shop, and it just doesn't seem to drive the same as before, or now it rattles, where it never rattled before?

    Always have a back-up body. Case closed.
  6. Often an old camera is sold because it hasn't been used in years. If this is the case, the lubricants have probably dried out and stuff has gotten stiff from lack of use. This is very different from a similarly-aged camera that has been used steadily over the years.
  7. Things can work for a long time after all the lubricants have dried up. The fact
    that a camera "works" does not mean that it might not need a CLA. If you use
    your cameras with dry shutters and timing mechanisms, they wear out quickly.

    -Lubricants contain volatile components that evaporate after a period of time
    regardless of whether the camera is used or not. Once the volatile
    components are gone, it no longer lubricates. Heat is also a significant factor
    with lubricant evaporation.

    -Lubricants are also mixtures of various ingredients which can separate over
    time or due to lack of use. Moisture and humidity will also be a factor in the
    separation of lubricants .

    -Leica cameras are not particularly well sealed and dust can make its way in
    and mix with the lubricants to make a gritty paste.

    Leica cameras need regular CLAs. If you wait for something to grind to a halt
    before servicing your cameras, you are reducing the camera's useful life
    significantly. If you are a heavy shooter, say a 200 rolls or more a year per
    camera, then get them CLAed every five years at the latest. Less than that,
    you can probably let ten years pass between CLAs. After ten years there is
    going to be a significant reduction in the quality of the lubricants due to
    separation, evaporation and contamination.

    If you seldom use your cameras then on top of the regular ten year CLA be
    sure to exercise all the functions once or twice every three months. This
    prevents the lubricants from prematurely separating and gumming up the
    works. The same goes for any seldom used function even if you run through a
    lot of rolls. The slow speeds are the usually the first to falter from lack of use.

    The reason people recommend factoring in the price of a CLA when
    purchsing an old used M is to make sure you are not caught by surprise. An
    M4-2 for $850 is not such a great deal if you have to get a CLA as well. You
    may have been better off with the $1050 M6. Every used M camera I have
    purchased has required a CLA within two years*. I use my cameras and
    perhaps this is my mistake :).

    I was an automotive mechanic for many years (and hope to be again once my
    son is a little older) and I can clearly remember the day a person drove in with
    a five year GM car that sounded like like a cement mixer. We asked if they had
    changed the oil recently and they matter-of-factly replied that they get the oil
    "changed" every time they get gas. 35 xxx miles without an oil change, at least
    they saved money on the servicing! We smiled, closed the hood and told them
    not to worry about it...

    John Collier

    *OK I bought a two month old M6TTL that I expect will break this record.
  8. Every used M camera I have purchased has required a CLA within two years
    My experience with Leicaflexes is similar: if it hadn't had a recent CLA before I bought it, it needed one right away.
  9. John Collier is right on the money. Even if the lubricants are all
    dried up the camera may appear to still work properly, but it will
    wear out quickly. Imagine trying to run an engine without enough
    oil in it. A while back I picked up a cheap IIIc. Right out of the box
    it worked, but I sent it in for a CLA. When I got it back the
    difference was like day and night


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