Location: Henderson, Colorado
Symptom: Turntable speed too slow
One of the most common problems of Rockola jukeboxes from the mid-1950’s through the 1980’s, is the turntable not turning at the correct speed. This is almost always associated with the old rubber grommets that hold the turntable motor.
Height comparison of new turntable motor grommet with old grommet.
The turntable motor basically hangs from three of these grommets. As the grommets age, they get dry and brittle and shrink and the motor gradually sinks. I assume the weight of the motor is not evenly distributed among the three grommets because it seems like 2 out of the 3 are in worse shape. This causes the motor to tilt and the shaft is no longer aligned properly.
This photo only shows two of the grommets, but you can see that rear grommet is more compressed. The motor has already been removed.
What’s worse is that many of these jukeboxes are designed to play 33 RPM records. The motor shaft has two milled diameters, the bottom one is for 45 RPM and the top one is for 33 RPM records. As the motor sinks, the idler wheel begins to ride on the 33 RPM portion of the shaft.
Generally these grommets are easy to replace. The motor will be mounted in a variety of ways depending on the jukebox, most using screws or shafts with spring “E” clips. One source for new grommets is here.
Location: Castle Pines, Colorado
Symptom: At the end of record play, the gripper arm would start to return the record to the magazine without actually gripping the record.
This one stumped me for a while. If I turned off the gripper motor and turned it by hand, the gripper arm worked just fine. But if I energized the motor and ran it at normal speed, the gripper arm would miss the record, leaving it on the turntable.
It turned out to be a lubrication issue. The old oil/grease was just gummy enough work fine at hand speed, but not work at normal speed. There are two gears, side by side, with one gear mounted on the shaft of the other. See 12 and 13 below. Oiling between the two gears and getting some oil down on the shaft fixed the problem.
The cooler temperatures of winter seem to cause a lot of problems with both jukeboxes and pinball machines. Although pinball machines don’t use as much lube as jukeboxes, in both cases old gummy lubrication gets more gummy in cooler temperatures.
Gripper Arm Assembly. Click for larger.