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Thread: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

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    Default Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    Hi all,

    I recently acquired an old Parker Vacumatic on ebay, with a busted diaphragm. It seems that to replace the diaphragm, one needs a special tool to hold and unscrew the plunger . I don't have it and do not wish to acquire it for just one pen.

    I tried unscrewing the plunger with a small wrench but it doesn't work and I feel that putting more pressure would damage the threading of the end cap.

    Has anyone succeeded in unscrewing the plunger without those special tools?

    For now, I bought a new diaphragm, folded it into itself and thrust it down into the barrel after unscrewing the nib end. It works beautifully now, but as an eyedropper. I would love to get the real vacuum filling going.

    Any advice will be appreciated.

    Thanks

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    You need the tool. It is designed, by virtue of being threaded, to grasp the end of the retaining collar of the filler pump. Using any other method puts you at risk of damaging the threads. It is also easy to crack the barrel end by using excess force, which might happen if you didn't have the tool and use gentle dry heat to warm the barrel. Not sure what else to say.

    Have you read this information on restoration of the Vac?
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    You don't need the 'proper' wrench. You can get away very well with some easier options, especially if it's just for a one-off.

    This article - https://www.mainstreetpens.com/artic...eaptools_2.htm gives some great information on how to do make one yourself.

    Since you're not far away, I'd normally recommend getting a simple 'c' clamp tool from Lawrence Oldfield at penpractice.com (they're only a fiver) but I believe he's taking six months off from toolmaking at the moment and I didn't see any available on his stock list.

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    Default Re: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    Quote Originally Posted by mizgeorge View Post
    You don't need the 'proper' wrench. You can get away very well with some easier options, especially if it's just for a one-off.
    Maybe I should have said you need "a tool" rather than "the tool". However, Ron Zorn's suggestion requires one to not only purchase the precise tap needed for the threading, but have the setup and skills to create the tool. That isn't always easier, cheaper, or possible. No matter what, the point is that oft times a Vac pump can be damned hard to extract, which means a really firm but safe grip on that small amount of threaded metal sticking out. If you cut your corners too far, you hose it up anyway, and then you are left - still - with a non-functioning pen.

    The Oldfield option sounds promising, maybe someone has one sitting around...
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    I used the Oldfield c rings for quite a while before getting the grown up versions (which are available and IMO very good value). For occasional use, they work brilliantly, especially as they can be used with existing pliers or a loggerhead wrench.

    I'm sure I've seen something similar elsewhere. I'll have to have a trawl through my links to see if I can find it.

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    Default Re: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    I think we are talking about a single repair. Not sure what Vac the pen is but a filler restore is the same price no matter the pen. Say 40 and some postage. If you damage the filler taking it out that is a 25-75$ part depending on the filler you need. Break a barrel and it is probably over.

    Mid1940ís Major probably not a big deal, harvest some parts and make the best of it. An early Vacuum Filler or a Golden Web in DM trim and it is probably a very bad day.

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    Default Re: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    I had to restore one Parker 51 vacumatic and purchased the Pen Practice fairly cheap C rings for the job. The smaller one works for the 51 vac and standard vac and the larger one works for larger vacs.

    @gnat9: You can't remove the vac threaded filler unit without a specially designed threaded tool that will allow you to unscrew it's threads. End of. In fact, in "trying a small wrench that didn't work" you may have already done some damage.

    Like the other members have suggested either buy or borrow at least a C ring that fits or find out how to make a tool and read up on how to do the job before you go any further. If you can't get a tool that fits then sadly you can't repair the pen.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    Thanks for all the advise. I'll look into making a tool.
    @Chrissy: No, I'm quite sure I haven't damaged it

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    Default Re: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    Quote Originally Posted by gnat9 View Post
    Thanks for all the advise. I'll look into making a tool.
    @Chrissy: No, I'm quite sure I haven't damaged it
    That's good news. If you had been in the UK I could have loaned you my C ring tool but I see you're in France. Maybe someone there has one and they will read this.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    Hello gnat9, where in France are you? I'm in Eure-et-Loir and I have the Vac tool.

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    Default Re: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    Quote Originally Posted by amk View Post
    Hello gnat9, where in France are you? I'm in Eure-et-Loir and I have the Vac tool.
    Hi amk, I live in Grenoble. I'll pm you. Thanks for the offer.

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    Default Re: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    A cheap option is to use a metal valve stem cap for a tire. Most auto parts stores carry after market decorative aluminum valve stem caps. Chop off the end and cut a relief slit in the side of the threaded portion of the cap. Screw it on the filler unit and then carefully adjust a small pair of Vice-Grip style pliers, such that they are just tight enough to cause the cap body to grip the filler but not deform it. I did this for years before I bought a Schrader tap (the proprietary size that Parker and the tire industry used) and made my own Vac wrench. A more obscure tool that would work is a Presta to Schrader adapter for a bicycle pump. These have a long female Schrader coupler on one end that fits a Vac filler. These are usually made of brass. Never used one for a Vac, but it would certainly work with the above method.

    Bob

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    Default Re: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleite View Post
    A cheap option is to use a metal valve stem cap for a tire. Most auto parts stores carry after market decorative aluminum valve stem caps. Chop off the end and cut a relief slit in the side of the threaded portion of the cap. Screw it on the filler unit and then carefully adjust a small pair of Vice-Grip style pliers, such that they are just tight enough to cause the cap body to grip the filler but not deform it. I did this for years before I bought a Schrader tap (the proprietary size that Parker and the tire industry used) and made my own Vac wrench. A more obscure tool that would work is a Presta to Schrader adapter for a bicycle pump. These have a long female Schrader coupler on one end that fits a Vac filler. These are usually made of brass. Never used one for a Vac, but it would certainly work with the above method.

    Bob
    That's a brilliant bit of information - thank you

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    Default Re: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleite View Post
    A cheap option is to use a metal valve stem cap for a tire. Most auto parts stores carry after market decorative aluminum valve stem caps. Chop off the end and cut a relief slit in the side of the threaded portion of the cap. Screw it on the filler unit and then carefully adjust a small pair of Vice-Grip style pliers, such that they are just tight enough to cause the cap body to grip the filler but not deform it. I did this for years before I bought a Schrader tap (the proprietary size that Parker and the tire industry used) and made my own Vac wrench. A more obscure tool that would work is a Presta to Schrader adapter for a bicycle pump. These have a long female Schrader coupler on one end that fits a Vac filler. These are usually made of brass. Never used one for a Vac, but it would certainly work with the above method.

    Bob
    Excellent. Thank you.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleite View Post
    A cheap option is to use a metal valve stem cap for a tire. Most auto parts stores carry after market decorative aluminum valve stem caps. Chop off the end and cut a relief slit in the side of the threaded portion of the cap. Screw it on the filler unit and then carefully adjust a small pair of Vice-Grip style pliers, such that they are just tight enough to cause the cap body to grip the filler but not deform it. I did this for years before I bought a Schrader tap (the proprietary size that Parker and the tire industry used) and made my own Vac wrench. A more obscure tool that would work is a Presta to Schrader adapter for a bicycle pump. These have a long female Schrader coupler on one end that fits a Vac filler. These are usually made of brass. Never used one for a Vac, but it would certainly work with the above method.

    Bob
    Thanks Bob. That sounds like a great idea.

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    Default Re: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    I used a bicycle chainring bolt nut with a slit in it once. It worked, despite Richard Binder saying it was impossible. When i started doing more Vacs, i got the tool. Itís nice to have, and not really that much.

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    Default Re: Parker Vacumatic - Unscrewing the plunger

    I used my own vac tool for a number of years, until I ran into one that [U]would not[U] come loose. Borrowed a Vac wrench, had my own by the end of the day.

    A word of caution - the plastic thread bushings are ridiculously easy to crush. Less likely with a vac wrench, much easier with a one of the home made ones if you use wrench to tighten it. I had a wing nut on mine.

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