Should I get a CLA done?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by rahul_glad, May 12, 2015.

  1. Hello everyone,

    I had bought a M2 body off eBay. The seller was the grandson of the original owner and told me that the camera had been sitting in a closet since the 80s. I now have the camera and I tested it with a roll of film. Everything works perfectly and I'm very pleased with the results.

    Now, a school of thought states that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." So, I shouldn't have a CLA done. However, I read on forums that the old oils dry out in the camera and turn into a sticky glue. Even though the camera is working fine, there is lots of grinding taking place inside; the gears and levers will wear out prematurely.
    Now, I'm confused whether I should get a CLA done or not...
  2. SCL


    If you hear and feel the internal "grinding", or you can't sleep nights worrying about if your camera could benefit from a CLA, go ahead and get it. If not, wait until your camera truly would benefit from it.
  3. "lots of grinding taking place inside" Rahul G.
    You can basically put that in the "broke" category.
    A camera/lens in a way speaks to you:
    1. When there's fog/haze build up
    2. When controls get sluggish or gritty
    3. When the picture exposures are coming out unpredictably or defective
    4. When focus device is obviously not matching up (Infinity standard etc.)
  4. Thanks Stephen and Gus.

    Honestly, I don't have any of those issues.
    My M2 works smoothly - there are no grinding sounds, and shutter speeds are accurate, but could that be a smoke screen? I mean, the camera has been sitting in a closet for 30 years. Should I just keep using it?
    Gus - are you from TLC camera? I was thinking of sending this camera to you for a CLA!

  5. "lots of grinding taking place inside"
    I mean, theoretically, the oils have long dried out and there might be grinding taking place - although I don't hear or feel anything. Do I still need a CLA?
  6. A CLA is always a good idea, but if the camera is working smoothly (no grinding noises, etc.) and you like the results, I think you can hold off on this for now. Check for any indications of trouble as you continue using the camera. I have a 1951 IIIf that had its last CLA decades ago but is still working as it should.
  7. Grinding inside=Insomnia=CLA.
  8. If it is your only camera or is to be used for work that is important to you, a CLA will (ideally) mean freedom from worries for a decade or so.
  9. '.... there is lots of grinding taking place inside....'
    You didn't mention all this grinding before, but I can now feel it running through my thumb as I wind on, and it feels like a Zenit 3M always feels when you wind on, and I think I can hear it now: graunch graunch :)
    Go with Mukul. A properly serviced M3 will feel like a new camera, and you won't regret it once you have paid for it.
  10. "A CLA is always a good idea" Fred H.
    I forgot to mention/add the time cycle issue to the list.
    Fred's comment is especially true when one considers that so much time has passed for the lubricants incorporated in this M2. Just like every automobile service manual, there are not only mileage recommendations for changing the lubricants, but also time limits.
    Out-gassing etc. means that the lubricants are in full failure and converting to harmful substances. Proof of this comes when I wipe away an aged & untouched surface (say with some solvent), and the metal has a permanent "stain" showing a marred finish. Bearings, races, bushings and polished slide surfaces can all be marred by this acidic action/contamination.

    Of course lenses with their even more fragile glass & anti-reflective coatings, are also affected by this out-gassing stage of this lube failure.
    Yes Rahul thank you, I'm the proud owner of that shop.
  11. Generally I would say if it ain't broke don't fix it. But I once had a mechanic tell me that the oil in a car should be changed "whenever you get the urge," meaning that it's impossible to do it too often. The same probably applies to a CLA.
  12. If you just purchased a well-running Porsche 356 you'd probably drive it a bit but would get it in the shop for preventative maintenance. Now. That said I have two M2's purchased in the 1960's. I can count CLA's for both cameras on one hand. They seem pretty happy to just keep working. Keep an eye on shutter speeds. 1/1000th is a difficult one to keep adjusted correctly. 1/500th down to about a 1/30th stay pretty true. Those slow speeds (1/15th & down) can get hinky. At the first hint of inaccurate shutter speeds get it repaired. Make sure the self-timer is working correctly, too, if you have one. Before digital I remember a National Geographic photographer friend desperately looking for some solid M2's to use as backup to his M6's and MP's. He felt they were the best drop-dead/always-going-to-work camera when the going got rough. Good luck with your M2 and your photography!
  13. On the positive side, if you get it serviced by someone reliable, it will probably last you another 50 years. Probably long after no-one knows what you're talking about when you ask for film.
  14. Just budget a CLA within the next 6 months and sleep in peace, knowing that, whether it needs it, it'll get nicely recalibrated and lubricated and cleaned soon enough. Take care!
  15. Thanks for the replies everyone!
    I think I'll just get a CLA. Even though my M2 works perfectly, it has been sitting in a closet for at least 30 years. I have no idea who used it before and in what capacity, and whether maintenance was done. Imagine doing something like this with a car - no oil changes for 30 years and I begin driving it....probably not a good idead.

    I'll most likely send it to Gus. I also need a vulcanite replacement.
  16. Rahul, you will be very happy long term that you made this decision. And if you look at the life and reliability you will obtain for the cost, your expense actually becomes more than reasonable beyond measure.
  17. Get it CLAed. It ain't all that expensive, and will never have to be done again within your lifetime.
  18. Thank you for the advice Keith and Bill!
  19. Hello everyone -

    It seems the shutter stopped firing @ 1/1000 and 1/500. Time for CLA!

Share This Page