The Leicina 8SV is a very nice, special double-8 camera. Not only is it electrically motorized, it is also extremely robust, has a very good Angenieux lens and is usually very inexpensive. Its inner values are also convincing: a reliable exposure meter that can measure up to 400 ASA, and an ingenious, precise and solid Leica make. So the whole camera just has four gears and one worm wheel. However, these cameras are now almost all 60 years old and therefore urgently need maintenance in order to run reliably and quietly.
Maintenance is not particularly difficult, but time-consuming because it requires thorough work. Good, precise tools are strongly recommended as the slotted screws are rather soft. A microscope makes work a lot easier, especially when your eyesight is no longer as good as it was when you were 18 years old …
Is it worth it? Hear for yourself: The same camera, once before and once after the CLA:
So, let’s go!
My Leicina 8SV has been converted to Double Super 8, but that makes no difference in terms of maintenance.
First, the covers are removed, the film side towards the back and the battery side towards the top.
To remove the “hood” only one screw has to be loosened …
… then the sheet metal can be carefully removed to the rear on the left.
Now we remove the two slotted screws that hold the camera head. In newer models (with 18 instead of 16 fps) the second slotted screw is not on the motor side, but on the bottom of the film chamber.
The camera head is now only secured with a hexagon screw, which we carefully loosen and remove with the 5mm key. The camera should reside on its bottom base so that the “head” does not fall down.
Now the camera head can first be folded down forwards at the top.
Below we carefully pull the contacts out of their sockets without bending them. Be careful with the mirror in the camera head: it protrudes! It is best to put the head safely (and protected) to one side. Here you only have to clean the contact sockets if necessary, I have a separate article on this on this page.
Now we first loosen the left slotted screw of the block shown. Attention: These two screws are often very tight, please use exactly fitting screwdrivers and proceed carefully. (The yellow cable is a retrofitted flash contact, please ignore)
After the left screw, we also loosen the right one that holds the cover plate.
We take this out and put it aside.
The bearing plate of the perimeter cover can now be removed from the front side; three screws must be loosened for this purpose. Thanks to the alignment pins, the position is predetermined and the main shaft does not have to be readjusted later.
The bearing plate is put aside.
Finally we remove the cover plate for the claw slot on this side. The screw leaves a mark in the sheet metal so that it can easily be repositioned correctly when reassembling.
Now this block has to be loosened so that we can remove the drive shaft. It only sits on two (very precisely fitting) dowel pins. The best way to carefully jerk it up is to jerk the holes alternately with a 3 mm screwdriver shaft.
As soon as you get in between with the probe, the block can be removed upwards.
Now the entire shaft with the lock and claw can be carefully threaded out towards the front. Patience and maneuvering are better than force, we don’t want to bend anything here!
We put the unit aside for now, because we start the maintenance inside.
The bearing of the winding mandrel is definitely gummy and the slip clutch too lose, which leads to film jam. To remove the mandrel sleeve, we secure the cap with our thumbs so that the spring underneath does not throw it away. Fixed in this way, we loosen the two opposing grub screws with a 1.4 mm slotted screwdriver. It is sufficient to loosen the screws until they are flush with the axis, so we do not lose them. Attention, lift your thumb very carefully afterwards!
Five parts come towards us in this order: a sliding washer at the bottom, then the spring, followed by the sleeve. A sliding washer then sits on top of this and is secured by the ring on the right. All these parts should be thoroughly degreased with parts cleaner.
Only the bearing should be lubricated: To do this, put a drop of Nyoil at the very bottom of the bearing, which will eagerly soak it up. If resinification persists, flood the bearing and then oil again.
The inner bearing of the main shaft in particular was very dirty, as you can see here on the cotton swab. It wasn’t the only one used …
With a little kitchen roll and parts cleaner, you can easily get into the bearing to remove the sludge.
Here you can see the gear of the winding mandrel under the microscope. The pollution is much stronger than initially thought. A toothpick can be used to push aside severely hardened webs of old lubricant and metal debris. It takes patience, but it’s very worth it!
Here the same gear after a successful cleaning. If you look closely, you can see that the teeth have already suffered from dirt and abrasion. No wonder after 60 years …
Next is the gear between the motor and the mandrel drive. Here, too, hard rods can be pushed sideways out of the spaces between the teeth as a result of abrasion. Please proceed carefully here as well, repeat several times if necessary. In my case, this gear wheel also had thick pieces of dirt on the front side towards the motor, which I really had to shear down with a spudger. Without a photo: After successful cleaning, please re-oil both sides with Nyoil and a fine cannula: on the left behind the screw and on the right between the gearwheel and motor bracket you come to the bearing.
Wipe the toothpick again and again in a kitchen towel soaked with parts cleaner and change it from time to time. Patience helps here …
Finally, the motor gear must also be cleaned in the same way. Here you can see the condition after cleaning, still dry, i.e. not lubricated. You can clearly see what the abrasion has already done here.
A little detour: You can’t really get to the picture window and the gripper slot with the Leicina. Now is a good opportunity to do so. To do this, a locking ring must be removed. Be careful to not let it jump away! Actually, there should be a washer under the locking ring, which is probably missing on this camera. Now the edges of the picture window can be cleaned very well and thoroughly.
Now the main shaft is due to be cleaned. The dirt sits deep and very hard on their worm wheel too.
This is how it should look after cleaning.
The (last) gear on the shaft also has this dried oil sludge again. Down with it! Caution: The control disc of the claw seems to be made of a soft material, only clean it carefully here.
That’s it! From now onwe will reassemble. Here I put “Robbe” brand PTFE grease into the shaft bearing, I’ve had only the best experiences with that stuff. Expensive but so good!
The dry gears also get some of the Teflon grease.
So it looks nice distributed. (On the right you can see the retrofitted switch for the lightning contact, so it is usually not there)
Now we carefully re-thread the shaft. Be careful not to bend the claw but letting it land in its slot. (Here the retrofitted Super 8 claw, that’s why it looks so damaged)
To hit the locating pins of the claw block, it helps to use a 3 mm screwdriver as a “guide” again. If it is seated, you should press it on firmly, but not screw it down yet.
The shaft cannot be turned because it is not yet supported on both sides. To do this, we first reattach the claw slot protective plate exactly as before.
Now we put the (of course also thoroughly cleaned and lubricated) bearing plate back on and screw it on. Pay attention to the dowel pins and do not bend them!
If the motor gear can now be turned easily (to do this, actuate the release mechanism to swing out the shaft brake), everything is in place. Now we grease the control discs of the claw thoroughly. Also think of the outer grinding track that allows the claw to dip into the film.
Now we screw the gripper block back on. These screws should be tightened very well, but of course not over-tightened! It is better to use some locking varnish.
Here again the freshly greased claw before the first operation.
If you now carefully apply the contacts of the camera head, you can run the motor for a test and, if necessary, spread grease or remove excess.
Finally, we put the mudguard back on and fasten the block with the second screw.
Before assembling you should clean the contacts of the camera head thoroughly, see my other instructions on this page. Now you can film again, more quietly and with more stability than it has been for 60 years! As an example, here is the sound example of how my Leicina sounds before and after cleaning, each in 24 fps: