Grandfather clock gets stuck in last 15min of hour

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  • #48280
    danacv2
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 6
    • Total Posts: 20

    Hello,
    I’m new to the forum, and my wife and I are becoming very interested in clocks as a hobby. We acquired a grandfather clock with an Urgos movement circa 1980. It’s been running fine for a few months…now we are having a tough time getting it to run. When it does run, it will run for about two hours. The clock seems to always get stuck somewhere between the 45 min mark and the hour mark. When it does get stuck, it seems to also put the clock out of beat. When that happens, the minute hand gets “stuck” and when I try to start it the escapement won’t move. The only thing that will get it moving again is to push the minute hand forward a little bit. Then if I put it back in beat and let it go, it’ll run for 2 hours then get stuck in the same spot again. I’m assuming it gets out of beat because the force of the pendulum swinging is causing the crutch to bend a little when it gets stuck. The people who we bought the clock from took very good care of it, and had it serviced periodically, it seems to be in good shape, and clean. Does anyone have any ideas on things we can try to get it to run?

    Thanks in advance!

    -Dan

    #51801
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    Dan,
    First check to see if anything is rubbing against anything else. If everything is ok check all of the gear meshing points when the movement is in the stopped position. There may be a piece of crud stuck in the gear teeth or there may be a tooth that is messed up. If it is an old clock the pinions may be ground down to a point of unreliability. The leaves of the pinions must be flat radial surfaces. The curved portion of the wheels (the addendum) rolls against this flat surface. If the contact points are worn or jammed it will cause problems.
    david

    #51802
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hi Dan, there are several thing that could be happening and I find it interesting that it would run for 2 hours then stop, if you are comfortable with doing this, try taking the dial face off and leave the works in the case, now with the works exposed put the minute hand back on, while advancing the time with the minute hand, observe the action of all the different lifting levers cams, ect….as you learn what each piece is designed to do while watching it go thru its sequence your problem may become more clear, look closely behind the snail at the little lever that would be lifted 4 separate times throughout the hour, it looks like a 4 pointed star, the last point before the hour is going to be longer than the rest as it will be trying to lift levers further than it would the first 3/4s of the hour so as to lift another lever. I am assuming you would have this type of mechanism, hope this helps and if you are able try and put some pictures up or let us know what your seeing. William P.S. I would ask if you have the weights in the right spots?

    #51803
    danacv2
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 6
    • Total Posts: 20

    I took off the clock face last night but I haven’t had a chance to look around much (btw the weights correct and it was working for a few months). If I have time tonight, I’ll try to see if I can look into what you guys suggested. I think I may have to lower the movement a bit though (there is a lower ledge that will work), in order to completely see all the parts moving. It is very crowded in the case. There was really no room to remove the face without removing the movement and I couldn’t remove the movement without removing the chime block. Is that normal? The case was homemade so I don’t know if professionally made cases have better access. I’ve seen videos where people can remove the top part of the case but that didn’t seem possible with mine.

    As a side note, one of our chime rods is broken and when I removed the block I noticed there was a screw. Does that mean I can replace just the rod? The screw was very tight and would not budge though. Could I just buy a new rod and screw it in?

    Dan

    #51804
    danacv2
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 6
    • Total Posts: 20

    Sorry for taking so long. Things have been kind of busy. I have inspected the movement and I don’t see anything out of the ordinary. There doesn’t seem to be any crud anywhere or anything rubbing against each other. I can’t see anything that looks as if it may be damaged. I tried advancing the minute hand without the weights to see if anything looked off but everything seemed to be OK. The only thing I noticed was usually when I moved the hand the escapement wheel would start moving but there were occasions where it wouldn’t. But again I couldn’t see anything that might be getting stuck. I also tried this with the weights and pendulum but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Any other suggestions? I have posted some pictures if that helps.

    Dan

    #51805
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    Dan,
    Any shaft that rides in any tube or bushing could create a friction issue. Before pulling the entire works apart to inspect, clean, lubricate and reassemble, check with Bob to find out exactly what you need to do.
    david

    #51806
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1559

    Hi Dan,
    If you’ve tried what William and David suggested and still had no luck and the clock began having this problem all on it’s own without any changes being made to it then I would lean toward the possibility of dirt, gunked up or dry oil, and wear…here’s why. When I zoom in using the keys Ctrl and + I can see a badly worn hole on the strike side…right under the rack. Also may be an illusion or shadow but the pivot holes do look dirty. This along with dirt and bad or dried oil can certainly stop your clock when attempting to move into warn. I think you’re correct when you say

    I’m assuming it gets out of beat because the force of the pendulum swinging is causing the crutch to bend a little when it gets stuck

    I could be wrong but this does seem like a possibility.

    If this is your first clock to disassemble then I would recommend starting out with an American time and strike movement to get the hang of how they work. If you do decide to go through this movement then try to take as many pics with a digital camera of each stage during dis-assembly. Also take a bunch of pics of the movement before pulling it apart for strike and chime timing/setup when finished. The more pics the better! Make any notes you feel might help too.

    Enjoy,
    Bob

    #51807
    danacv2
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 6
    • Total Posts: 20

    Upon further inspection in the daylight, some of the pivot holes do look kind of dirty. The pivot hole under the rack does move a little bit but I think the picture makes it look much worse than it actually is. So I guess I’ll have to take it apart and clean it. I have a couple of Ingraham movements which I will do first. From watching the videos and watching the gears move it doesn’t look to be too bad. The grandfather clock on the other hand is much more complicated but I’m sure I’ll manage. I’ll definitely take a lot of pictures. Thanks for the help.

    #51808
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    Dan,
    Did you get your clock working?
    david

    #51809
    danacv2
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 6
    • Total Posts: 20

    David,

    I have yet to take it apart and clean it. I decided to buy a couple of books to read just to get a little more knowledge before jumping in. I also got an old movement off of ebay so I could do my first cleaning on that rather than using one from one of the other clocks I have. I’ll soon be buying the supplies I need and then embarking on the cleaning. So at this point, I think it’ll be a few week before I actually tackle the grandfather clock. I’ll be sure to post back once I have though.

    Dan

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danacv2Grandfather clock gets stuck in last 15min of hour