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Restoring a Thorens TD 165 in rough shape

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Restoring a Thorens TD 165 in rough shape

Postby lavallee » 26 Feb 2018 18:52

Hi All,

I am completely new to restoring old turntables and am open to any and all suggestions, especially those who have experience with this model. :)

As mentioned in other threads, I bought a Thorens TD 165 TT off of Ebay that is nearly complete, but in rough shape1 It looks like the plinth is either not original (unless some 165s DID have rear hinges in slots in the plinth) or at least, poorly re-finished where it was aged from being stored in an attic for an undetermined period of time. The seller said he found it in the attic of a foreclosed house he bought and claimed to know nothing about turntables, but that this one DOES turn at both speeds.

The items missing are as follows:
  • Dust cover
  • Second weight for anti skate bias
  • Cap for gimbal
  • Thorens badge on TP-60 headshell
As you can see from the photos (from the Ebay listing) the top plate is badly scratched, and the Thorens sticker was removed from under the platter (at least we think so) and stuck on the back of the rough looking plinth.

First things first: I will need to evaluate its current mechanical state and any info on what I should look for will be very much appreciated.

Also, from digging through these forums I found that the main platter bearing is a sintered bearing? This immediately gets my interest and tells me that I need to pay really close attention to what oil I use in this application. Believe it or not, I used to work for a company where we used 3-in-1 oil for use in sintered bearings! My understanding of sintered bearings is that the oil used (that is soaked up by the material the bearing is made of) is intended to flow towards the heat. My concern is that there may be a best solution that both works well with sintered bearings and the way in which it was applied by Thorens. My thoughts are also that the wrong oil could have a damaging effect on this bearing, or bring up the noise floor in the S/N ratio.

I will upload better photos when I take them. In the mean-time here are the photos from the ebay listing:
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td165_1.jpg
td165_2.jpg
td165_3.jpg
td165_4.jpg
td165_8.jpg
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Re: Restoring a Thorens TD 165 in rough shape

Postby medwaybeat » 26 Feb 2018 19:25

The finish does not look great, but the fit looks okay. If it's solid timber a sanding & refinish may sort it out.
Most the other bits like top plate, gimbal cover, head shell badge & dust cover are cosmetic and turn up reasonably frequently on ebay.
I have a 160 too that needs work so I look forward to your updates.
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Re: Restoring a Thorens TD 165 in rough shape

Postby JDJX » 26 Feb 2018 19:44

Read what I said about spindle oil in the other thread. :)

As far as 3 In 1 oil... The general consensus is that should never be used in any spindle bearing as it contains many additives that could gum up over time and is not the best lubricant anyway.

What you want is a 100% full synthetic of the proper viscosity with absolutely no additives.
This is the best for the steel spindle shaft that rides in the sintered bearing.

BTW, all bearings absorb a certain amount of oil in their microscopic surface irregularities.
The difference is a sintered bearing just absorbs more because of its make up.
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Re: Restoring a Thorens TD 165 in rough shape

Postby JDJX » 26 Feb 2018 21:36

In case I was not too clear, you do not want anything.... additives, regular oil, etc that can clog op the pores of a sintered bearing, thus defeating its purpose.
This is why !00% pure synthetic with no additives is best.

Keep in mind that the laws allow oils that are not really all synthetic to claim that they are.
That is why I use the oil I recommended. :)

BTW, I just weighed the large AS weight. It is indeed 1.4 grams... 1.44 grams to be exact. :)
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Re: Restoring a Thorens TD 165 in rough shape

Postby lavallee » 26 Feb 2018 22:18

BTW, I just weighed the large AS weight. It is indeed 1.4 grams... 1.44 grams to be exact. :)

Thanks JD!

We'll have to wait to wait and see what kind of cart I get to see if I need it. I am tempted to just buy the secondary from "Pat's Audio" on ebay. I asked him and in addition to confirming the weights, he said his is an exact copy that will fit right over the primary weight. I know his margins would be pretty high, depending on how many he makes at a time, but it would be hard to do much better with an exact fit, no?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Pats-Audio-TP- ... Swh1paFD5t
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Re: Restoring a Thorens TD 165 in rough shape

Postby JDJX » 26 Feb 2018 22:59

lavallee wrote:
BTW, I just weighed the large AS weight. It is indeed 1.4 grams... 1.44 grams to be exact. :)

Thanks JD!

We'll have to wait to wait and see what kind of cart I get to see if I need it. I am tempted to just buy the secondary from "Pat's Audio" on ebay. I asked him and in addition to confirming the weights, he said his is an exact copy that will fit right over the primary weight. I know his margins would be pretty high, depending on how many he makes at a time, but it would be hard to do much better with an exact fit, no?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Pats-Audio-TP- ... Swh1paFD5t


It looks like an exact copy . For $18.50, I would go for it, if you actually need it.

However, why not wait to see it you will use/need it....
Personally, I do not currently use my large weight.

The manual in the library leaves much to be desired and the AS settings are not at all clear
So, here is a pic of the settings from the my manual.

Antiskate_texxx.jpg
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Re: Restoring a Thorens TD 165 in rough shape

Postby lavallee » 26 Feb 2018 23:01

Well here we go! I just received the TT from UPS and right off the bat I'm pretty upset that the seller took absolutely no precautions whatsoever when packing this up! I sent him detailed instructions with the added "email me if you have questions or concerns, or are not able to pack this as per my request." I would have paid him a little more if I could be assured it was packed correctly. If he would have just packed the platter separately and tightened the transport screws I would have been happy, but none of those precautions were taken. Everything was packed as tight as possible, including up against the tonearm. Yikes!
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thorensBox.jpg
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Re: Restoring a Thorens TD 165 in rough shape

Postby lavallee » 26 Feb 2018 23:21

It looks like an exact copy . For $18.50, I would go for it, if you actually need it.

I did. And my reasoning was based on your guide by the way. Since the upper limit for the small weight was 1.5g. :)
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Re: Restoring a Thorens TD 165 in rough shape

Postby JDJX » 26 Feb 2018 23:23

WOW! The very least he could have done is remove the platter and secure the tone arm to its rest with a twist tie. :roll:

If anything is damaged due to his bad packaging, you have a claim with e-bay of course.

So, how does the tone arm look so far?

If things survived more or less OK. here is a bearing cover from "Vinyl Nirvana" They are a well known and well regarded dealer in TT parts.
You never know what they might get in .

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Thorens-TD-160 ... 0651.m4497

http://vintagethorens.com/home/td-165-166/
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Re: Restoring a Thorens TD 165 in rough shape

Postby lavallee » 26 Feb 2018 23:57

Ok so I unboxed the TT, and I am surprised it survived its journey given the careless manner in which it was packaged.

The good:
  • Platter turns at both speeds
  • With it plugged in I could hear a quiet 60hz, with it turning (at 33-1/3) with belt attached I could hear the odd yet quiet sound put out by the 16 pole motor, but when I spun it freely with no belt (not quite 33 1/3 rpm) I could hear NOTHING with s stethoscope!
  • The tonearm doesn't look damaged

Also, with platter free (belt removed) I gently pushed to somewhat less than 33-1/3 rpm. In addition to hearing absolutely nothing with a stethoscope, it spun for almost 2-1/2 minutes. I know without an accurate RPM it is very subjective, but does it at all sound worse, or better, than you would expect from a TT that's been sitting in an attic for quite a while, possibly years?

The bad:
  • The plinth is a piece of particle board junk madness
  • The headshell is slightly broken
  • What the heck did they do to this cartridge???!

Can anyone say for certain what cartridge I have here beyond a Shure Super-Track jammed into a holder for a M55E and shimmed with a piece of paper?

Also, can someone let me know if the side view of this tonearm looks like it's bent?

Also, also (:)) I notice when I tighten the headshell onto the tone arm, it sort of clicks into place at the end; hwoever, I am concerned because there seems to be some play. The pin on top of the mount appears to be bent, or at an angle. My guess is this is the reason.. I will forward a pic of that soon.

For now my focus will be getting it operational, following the restoration guide written by Joel Boutreux. Any warnings of potential gotchas will be appreciated. Also, in that guide it looks like the translation might not have worked out so well, so I might need some Help in understanding Joel's intent. One things for certain, my German is orders of magnitude inferior to Joel's, to be sure! :)

Once I get it functioning well, I will move towards updating the aesthetics. For certain, the plinth will be replaced with a solid wood one. :)

Thanks in advance for any suggestions. Now to order some oil.. :)
Attachments
headshell_cart1.jpg
headshell_cart2.jpg
headshell_cart3.jpg
headshell1.jpg
tonearm.jpg
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Re: Restoring a Thorens TD 165 in rough shape

Postby JDJX » 27 Feb 2018 00:04

I hate to tell you this but your tone arm looks really bent at the end. It's toast. That and the head shell (also toast) obviously got damaged in shipping.

I'm afraid you got a bad deal all the way around.

If that was me, I would file an e-bay claim ASAP!
Item received is damaged due to his bad packaging. It's that simple.
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Re: Restoring a Thorens TD 165 in rough shape

Postby kmh3212 » 27 Feb 2018 06:02

eBay sellers can take a nice anything from antique glass unicorn to a bowling ball and have it be junk by the time it gets to you. I had a similar experience as you buying turntables of eBay. I did what you did after having several bad experiences buying turntables. After saving my stereo funds to replace a long lost TD 165 that got “misplaced” by my in laws where I carefully stored it in a seldom used storage space.... I bid on what appeared to be a great turntable and won. I wrote down and numbered the steps needed to properly pack a turntable to avoid damage by the. Gorillas at ups. It was totally ignored and all I received was not a turntable but broken turntable parts. Even the motor shaft was bent. The platter rattled around in the box and broke or bent or scratched everything. The table was thrown in the box with a dozen wadded up newspaper pages in there taped up and shipped. I could have cried! That wouldn’t Help so I got mad and wrote a scathing request for return letter with many HD pics. I got my money back but I wanted a good working Thorens TD 165!
eBay now has a set of instructions for turntable packing if those idiot sellers could read. It was inherently similar to my instructions that were ignored.
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Re: Restoring a Thorens TD 165 in rough shape

Postby 1200y3 » 27 Feb 2018 07:28

The supertrack stylus might be very valuable. That is what Shure named their higher end styli, and Supertrack+ was V15II HE.

Retrofitting a new tonearm like an SME 3009 or Rega RB250 would never be a mistake either. (If you are planning a restoration.)

You can always grab a pipe wrench and some vice grips and bend that tone arm back to shape without altering the sound quality [-o<.

I'd have fun rebuilding and modifying it before doing a mint one, but if I were to purchase audio equipment, I would look at Audiogon, US AudioMart, or Canuck Audio Mart, then E-bay lastly. There is no guarantee that you'll get better results, of course, but you'll be dealing in a smaller world that specializes in audio, and I have to admit I have found and enjoyed many great deals.
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Re: Restoring a Thorens TD 165 in rough shape

Postby lavallee » 27 Feb 2018 14:30

Many thanks to you all for all of the very useful information!

I hate to tell you this but your tone arm looks really bent at the end. It's toast. That and the head shell (also toast) obviously got damaged in shipping.


Thanks JD, that what I was afraid of, but given my lack of experience, I wanted to be sure. I have another photo of the headshell that shows the pin being bent, which fits perfectly with the bent tonearm, and being cause by improper packing!

I got my money back but I wanted a good working Thorens TD 165!
eBay now has a set of instructions for turntable packing if those idiot sellers could read. It was inherently similar to my instructions that were ignored.


Thanks for that info! We can use it in our claim! Like you, all I wanted was a working (somewhat) TD 165 that I can restore. I really would prefer that to any refund!

I am currently processing the claim, complete with photos of how badly it was packed and the damage that occurred as a result of improper packing! This is a starting point with this seller; however, I would accept him making it right with a replacement. The caveat to that is that nothing else is damaged due to the incompetence of the seller.

To that end, I need your Help

Question: How should I check for other damage to the sub-chassis suspension, motor mounting, and main bearing for the platter, as a result of not packing the platter separately, and a failure to tighten the transport screws?

The platter does turn pretty quietly; in fact,when I gently turn it freely (belt off) I can hear NOTHING, even when using a high end stethoscope. When using a stethoscope while it is running, I can only hear the AC signal put out by the 16 pole motor. It sounds similar to a 60hz signal, but at a slightly different frequency.

Like I said, our starting point is to file for a complete refund, but if I can find a replacement piece, and he is willing to pay for it, I would be willing to accept that. I found an armtube for a TP-11 tonearm, and a TP-60 headshell on ebay. Please let me know your thoughts on these too.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/361425851534?V ... 1425851534
https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Thorens-TP-6 ... 3509023238

Attached are photos showing the damage of the TP-60 as a result of the pressure put on the tonearm by improper packing.

Thanks in advance for all of your Help
Attachments
headshell_bent_pin_1.jpg
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Re: Restoring a Thorens TD 165 in rough shape

Postby lavallee » 27 Feb 2018 18:21

Of note: had the seller simply Googled "how to pack a turntable for shipping" the very first item in the list returned from Google would be the article on eBay that goes into great detail on how to properly pack a turntable!

http://www.ebay.com/gds/How-to-Pack-a-Turntable-for-Shipment-/10000000002161041/g.html
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