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Seiko 5216 differential wheel


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Hey folks, I'm wondering if anyone can give me some advice on a 5216 I'm servicing. The issue is basically that when the differential wheel is fitted, you can barely wind the mainspring manually - the force required is too much. If I remove the differential wheel or spin the oscillating weight the winding is as smooth as butter. I took the differential wheel out of a 5206 I have and fitted it to the 5216 and it works fine. You might think that the differential wheel from the 5216 is seized up but I can spin it freely in either direction with a probe. I compared the two wheels I have under a microscope and they seem to function identically even though they're different part numbers (531002 versus 531003). What am I missing that's obviously wrong with the 5216 differential wheel? I'd love some advice before I consider the part broken and try to replace it.

 

Thanks!

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Does the oscillating weight follow the gravity when you vertically rotate the movement in either direction? Does the oscillating weight stand still when you hand wind in a horizontal position? If you can answer both questions with „yes“ I see no reason why the reverser (differential wheel) should block the manual winding.

00F50E75-0CA7-4B0B-97AD-AD5E039B0856.thumb.jpeg.d0671b1909d3cf8c6d6c16495b521f89.jpeg

 

Edited by Kalanag
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8 hours ago, coder79 said:

The issue is basically that when the differential wheel is fitted, you can barely wind the mainspring manually - the force required is too much.

Curiously the same issue was reported by someone else few days ago, for a very similar watch. Maybe there is some input there that can help. 

 

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2 hours ago, jdm said:

Curiously the same issue was reported by someone else few days ago, for a very similar watch. Maybe there is some input there that can help. 

Sounds very similar to my issue. although my manual winding was working, it just felt a bit odd.  I believe in my case it is going to be a lack of oiling on the differential wheel. I haven't had chance to strip it back yet, but I intend to give it a good clean again and oil it. I will report back if this sorts out my problem. Might be worth you doing the same, even though it appears to be freely moving already, having said that, mine did too.

I do seem to remember trying to put the second reverser idler in the other way (Although mine looks perfectly symmetrical and it shouldn't make a difference) and getting a slight improvement there. I honestly could have dreamt this though.

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I've clearly double posted - I'm so sorry! I should have done some better research. I'll keep an eye on both threads - is it possible to close this one as a duplicate?

I never found anything in the technical sheet about oiling the diff wheel (other than the top and bottom pivots) so I've tried it both ways. I've tried it with no lubrication and I've tried placing some 9010 between the upper and lower wheel. I don't have any S4 - could this stuff be the cure?

I was also wondering about the second idler. When assembling, I looked closely at it and couldn't see a top or a bottom.

To answer @Kalanag's questions, this is where it gets weird. In both the 5206 and 5216, you can see the full automatic train spin if the rotor is removed. When the rotor is installed, it's not enough force to spin the rotor in either movement. Both rotors fall to the bottom when the movement is rotated but the troubled 5216 is visibly more hesitant. This was a good call out because it felt nice when turning with a probe but it's actually not "smooth as butter", as someone might have said 🙂 

Please let me know if you find anything @jyard!

 

 

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I find it hard to believe that a lack of oiling would make it so that the manual wind doesn't turn at all, I believe its the answer to my issue just because my winding is a bit rough.

There is nothing in the 5606a sheet about oiling the differential either. The bit I am going to be focussing on is the little click bit on the top of the differential:

Capture.thumb.PNG.a0da48e2bab0fab7e9907eef3eeab727.PNG

I think the last poster on my post is suggesting Seiko s4 oil for this. I actually don't have any and I am using 9104 instead, which I believe is an acceptable substitute from the research I have done.

When I have looked at strip down videos of the 5606a the second idler seems to be plastic, with a jewel in it, whereas mine is just simple metal cog on a post. This is the reason I thought I might have it the wrong way around.

I am swamped at work so haven't had chance to look at it yet, but hope to have a look at the weekend. Also, I am very new to this, so take my advice with a pinch of salt!

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36 minutes ago, coder79 said:

…To answer @Kalanag's questions, this is where it gets weird. In both the 5206 and 5216, you can see the full automatic train spin if the rotor is removed. When the rotor is installed, it's not enough force to spin the rotor in either movement. Both rotors fall to the bottom when the movement is rotated but the troubled 5216 is visibly more hesitant…

That doesn‘t sound wrong at all! How easy the weight follows the gravity depends on the state of mainspring winding.

42 minutes ago, coder79 said:

…I've tried it with no lubrication and I've tried placing some 9010 between the upper and lower wheel. I don't have any S4 - could this stuff be the cure?…

The type of oil wont make any difference for sure!

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1 hour ago, coder79 said:

I don't have any S4 - could this stuff be the cure?

I don't think so. S4 is just a graphite loaded grease as that supposedly helps over the very long term with metal to metal friction an ratcheting. But for testing as long it's not totally dry, it will perform just the same.

 

1 hour ago, coder79 said:

I was also wondering about the second idler. When assembling, I looked closely at it and couldn't see a top or a bottom.

Gears that are stationary to each other normally don't have a side. But when they engage and disangage there can be a chamber to facilitate meshing. Example, certain intermediate setting wheels.

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Firm winding is a characteristic of this movement.  It extends to the 4Sxx which is a re introduced 5216.  

From my hobbyist perspective, I would follow the tech guide to the letter for oiling these wheels.  I know that the Seiko 830x movement has very specific instructions for oiling the differential wheels.  NO OIL anywhere near the internals of these wheels.  Some watch makers can't believe this and oil the differential wheels as if it were an ETA movement. It works great for about a month then slowly locks up the winding.  These wheels worked for 50 years with no oil, no reason to think they can't go another 50 without oil.  If the tech guide for the 5216 says S-4 on the diff wheel, get some S-4 because nothing else is going to work well. 

I was able to get S-4 oil so it is out there.  It's a grease but Seiko calls everything "oil".  I'm not sure what the Moebius equivalent is but it is dark gray/black and very thick.  It does not flow at all.

I have one 5216, serviced in Japan, that winds smoothly for a 5216.  I have another that is very stiff.  It will spin the rotor when hand wound.  This is an indication that it is time for service.  Seiko was never big on hand winding their automatics.  Look at how long they stuck with no hand winding capability at all on a lot of movements.  To them, you are supposed to put a couple of turns on it to kick start things, then wear it to wind it up.  In order to drive home the issue, they cleverly designed it to be a pain in the fingers to do more than that. 

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53 minutes ago, bklake said:

Seiko was never big on hand winding their automatics.  Look at how long they stuck with no hand winding capability at all on a lot of movements.

Exactly the case on my Bell-Matic with the 4006A. The annoying part with this series is the winding stays engaged when using the date quick set.

1 hour ago, bklake said:

I have one 5216, serviced in Japan, that winds smoothly for a 5216.  I have another that is very stiff.  It will spin the rotor when hand wound.  This is an indication that it is time for service. 

I've got this part out of both of my movements and the "idling" direction of the diff wheel definitely feels smoother on the "good" one when turning with my finger. I suppose it doesn't take much drag to affect the manual winding.

Can these parts be opened or would that ruin them? Outside of cleaning and re-cleaning, I'm starting to think this differential wheel isn't salvageable.

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I'm afraid I'm not qualified to answer that.  I work on my watches as a hobby.  Seiko is my favorite to work on.  I have a few old Seiko 8306 and 5216 watches and movements but I am holding off working on them until I feel I have the skills to do them correctly.  For the higher grade Seiko movements, I have collected a few tips and tricks based on reported problems and that is what I relayed. 

I know that the Seikos that use reversing wheels instead of Magic Finger winding have very specific servicing needs that are very different than  the Swiss standard.  Some watchmakers only know one way of doing something so that is how they do them all.   It doesn't work every time. 

As suggested on the Seiko forum, wash the heck out of the wheel and see if it get better. 

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Apologies for jumping on coder79's question, however it seems to be getting more traction than mine and our issues do appear to be similar.

5 hours ago, bklake said:

NO OIL anywhere near the internals of these wheels.  Some watch makers can't believe this and oil the differential wheels as if it were an ETA movement. It works great for about a month then slowly locks up the winding.

What do you class as internal? I shared an image further up on the topic and I feel like this part should be oiled there. It seems like it is going to be a heavy use part, I am surprised that there is no oiling at all with so much metal on metal.

I agree though, that it's clear from the technical sheet that it mentions no oiling at all on the differential wheel, but I thought there perhaps should be some, as it might be causing the issue I am seeing. It doesn't explicitly say that you shouldn't though.

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The 5216 tech guide is less clear than the 8306.  The 8306 guide has an X on the points of the differential wheel indicating no oil.  I think it says that an X means Never Apply Oil.  Pretty clear.  The pivots get oil, the internals do not. 

I'm not an engineer or metallurgist so I can only guess that they used materials that don't need oil.  The tolerances must be pretty tight if a little drop of diluted 9010 can gum up the works.   They designed it, they specified the oiling points.  I only know enough to follow their directions. 

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I am suprised no one mention Lubeta V105. For who doesn't know it's a special type of oil developed by ETA to lubricate their reverser wheel. On ETA movement the tech sheet says not to oil these wheel at all and if they failed you should replace them but we know that option is not always possible.

So here is my experience with these wheels. Reverser wheel, differential wheel, reversing wheel... I consider them all the same. When they failed you often notice it's hard to hand wind and the rotor spins along hand winding and/or the rotor became stiff. At this point I will try to fix the wheel first by clean and lubricate. I clean the wheel using ultrasonic, then I dip the whole wheel in V105 for about 15 seconds then let the wheel dry normally. If you don't have V105 you can make an alternative version of it by mixing 3% 9010 with 100% naphtha. This method allows you to easily lube the internal, provides just enough lubricant it needs. And yes I believe all these wheels need to be lubricate when servicing, unless you can always buy the new freshly lubricated wheel from manufacturer.

There are cases when the only option is to replace the wheel. I have a Seiko 2409 that I found the differential wheel is rusted inside when I was cleaning it. The rotor is hard to move even after all the cleaning and oiling. I replace the wheel with one from a donor movement and then the rotor spins when hand winding. Finally I clean and lubricate the new wheel and it works silky smooth since. So even if you replace the wheel, you still have to clean and lubricate it if the replacement wheel is old.

Edited by ColdWind
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3 hours ago, ColdWind said:

I am suprised no one mention Lubeta V105. For who doesn't know it's a special type of oil developed by ETA to lubricate their reverser wheel.

The mechanism used by the Seiko in this topic is different from the ETA one, as it can be seen it has a ratchet wheel as opposed to a friction barrel clutch. For this reason it should not be lubricated according to ETA specs. As mentioned above, the Seiko S4 (or its Mebious equivalents,  synthetic or natural base) is a graphite loaded grease which supposedly helps on high pressure metal to metal friction. It is in fact the same product that is indicated by Seiko for the reducer wheel of a magic hands auto wind, except that the latter is a two-way ratchet instead of a single way one.

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6 hours ago, ColdWind said:

I am suprised no one mention Lubeta V105. For who doesn't know it's a special type of oil developed by ETA to lubricate their reverser wheel. On ETA movement the tech sheet says not to oil these wheel at all and if they failed you should replace them but we know that option is not always possible.

So here is my experience with these wheels. Reverser wheel, differential wheel, reversing wheel... I consider them all the same. When they failed you often notice it's hard to hand wind and the rotor spins along hand winding and/or the rotor became stiff. At this point I will try to fix the wheel first by clean and lubricate. I clean the wheel using ultrasonic, then I dip the whole wheel in V105 for about 15 seconds then let the wheel dry normally. If you don't have V105 you can make an alternative version of it by mixing 3% 9010 with 100% naphtha. This method allows you to easily lube the internal, provides just enough lubricant it needs. And yes I believe all these wheels need to be lubricate when servicing, unless you can always buy the new freshly lubricated wheel from manufacturer.

There are cases when the only option is to replace the wheel. I have a Seiko 2409 that I found the differential wheel is rusted inside when I was cleaning it. The rotor is hard to move even after all the cleaning and oiling. I replace the wheel with one from a donor movement and then the rotor spins when hand winding. Finally I clean and lubricate the new wheel and it works silky smooth since. So even if you replace the wheel, you still have to clean and lubricate it if the replacement wheel is old.

The tech guide says no oil on the differential wheel.  That means no oil on the differential wheel. 

The name of the part is the same as its Swiss counterpart, the operation is different.  From the posts I've read regarding this part, oiling it works for a few weeks to a month, then it stops working.  This information is from experienced watch makers who service hundreds of movements a year.  The occasional Seiko comes across their bench and they service as they usually service the more familiar Swiss movement.  The watch comes back a short time later because it won't wind. 

Clean room clean and demagnitized is what you need here, not oil. 

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1 hour ago, bklake said:

Clean room clean and demagnitized is what you need here, not oil.

Small update on this. I've been cleaning and soaking and cleaning again for a day now and the manual winding is definitely better. I can at least wind the watch without feeling like the stem is going to break. It's currently installed with no lubrication (other than the pivots). It sometimes catches on a stiff spot so I'm going to keep cleaning and soaking.

I've been using Zenith, isopropyl, one-dip, and lighter fluid; my bench is a laboratory at this point.

I've demagnetized a couple times and haven't noticed any affect.

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2 hours ago, bklake said:

The tech guide says no oil on the differential wheel.  That means no oil on the differential wheel. 

The name of the part is the same as its Swiss counterpart, the operation is different.  From the posts I've read regarding this part, oiling it works for a few weeks to a month, then it stops working.  This information is from experienced watch makers who service hundreds of movements a year.  The occasional Seiko comes across their bench and they service as they usually service the more familiar Swiss movement.  The watch comes back a short time later because it won't wind. 

Clean room clean and demagnitized is what you need here, not oil. 

Seiko's tech also says it is unnessary to disassemble the complete barrel with arbor. Disassembled and washed it is "inadvertenly". Do experienced watchmakers follow that, I think not.

Seiko 2406 tech says clean the differential wheel but it also says "it is not necessary to lubricate inside differential wheel which is self-greasing". I don't know watch parts, if all are made from metal, can be self-greasing.

But I do think I can freely say my opinion and what I tried and exprerienced myself. That's why as I mentioned, my 2409 won't work well until I lubricate the differential wheel. Actually I have 2 watches with this movement that I had for years and they still auto smooth as I just checked. Maybe my 2 can not speak for all. Maybe I got lucky both of them does not stopped working after a month. But, if I was wrong, then lubricate the wheel will not ever break it, and if you already cleaned your wheel yet it still failed, what do you have to lose?

Edited by ColdWind
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If the part is working correctly, experiment a little and see if it can be made better.  I have done this in the past. 

In this case, the part is not working correctly.  It is best to follow the tech guide to the letter to determine the cause.  The part is either faulty or was not serviced correctly.  It doesn't make economic sense to replace a part that may or may not be available when all that is needed is proper preparation. 

The Seiko 4S15 is basically the same as the 5216.  Almost all of the part numbers are the same.  This might help with parts searches. 

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  • 4 months later...
On 7/19/2022 at 4:19 PM, coder79 said:

Small update on this. I've been cleaning and soaking and cleaning again for a day now and the manual winding is definitely better. I can at least wind the watch without feeling like the stem is going to break. It's currently installed with no lubrication (other than the pivots). It sometimes catches on a stiff spot so I'm going to keep cleaning and soaking.

I've been using Zenith, isopropyl, one-dip, and lighter fluid; my bench is a laboratory at this point.

I've demagnetized a couple times and haven't noticed any affect.

I don't know if you ever reached a solution with this. But I eventually resolved my problem with the differential wheel.

Originally I was cleaning with just lighter fluid, as both a main wash and a rinser in an ultrasonic. I recently upgraded and now use L&R ultrasonic cleaner and rinser. This improved things a great deal.

On 7/19/2022 at 8:33 AM, ColdWind said:

I am suprised no one mention Lubeta V105. For who doesn't know it's a special type of oil developed by ETA to lubricate their reverser wheel. On ETA movement the tech sheet says not to oil these wheel at all and if they failed you should replace them but we know that option is not always possible.

I then went the extra mile and bought myself some Lubeta v105 as ColdWind suggested, gave it a soak and it was even better. I am now fully satisfied with the results.

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  • 8 months later...

I know very late to the party. I've restored a dozen 5206 and 5215(bc they are one of my favorite seiko movements) and I believe that this is a common issue with this series in particular but other seiko autos as well but to a lesser degree.  First off the part is the same for the 5206 and 5216 imo, the main difference being that its cosmetic. I typically do the 99:1 namtha/9010 dip and it seems to do the job most of the time. The second thing to consider is whether the previous owner was a habitual hand winder(tisk tisk). That might mean worn down pivots or even a broken jewel. I would suspect worn or scored pivots since the replacement works. I've never tried it but polishing the pivot and adjust the endshake could fist a worn differential as well. 

all in all were in this together. I can tell you how many times this has been the culprit and I suspect this is why may seikos have a seperate plate just for the differential. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just to add another data point, I've just serviced my 5206, and with that differential wheel, and also a spare from a 5216, function was correct when used unlubricated from the cleaning machine, but once dipped in 3% 9010 97% IPA and dried I couldn't handwind without the rotor rotating.
Rinsing out the 9010 in 100%IPA in the ultrasonic and they were back to full function. 
It seems unintuitive, and I don't like the idea of bare metal either, especially not at this level of torque, but my vote is to follow the tech guide and run the differential wheel's internals dry.

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  • 1 month later...

Came back to this party after along time. I keep seeing people saying that you can substitute V105 with a solution of 3% 9010 97% IPA. Yeah I know I know, I even saw someone posted a vintage Omega servicing guide that said so. But do the guys who said that actually ever tried the solution themself? Cause I can confidently say that it is a SOLID NO, 3/97 9010/IPA solution can't be a substitute for V105, the V105 is a DRY type of lubricant, after treated with V105 the surface of the metal would be completely dry while the 9010 solution would leave an oily liquid that makes the wheel becomes sticky thus makes the rotor spin like helicopter 🙂 Please ask me why I know that cause I have tried the solution myself, I even went 1%/2%/3%/4%/5%... of 9010 and none of that ever worked. Treated with V105 and everything are silky smooth again. 

On 12/23/2022 at 6:29 AM, jyard said:

I then went the extra mile and bought myself some Lubeta v105 as ColdWind suggested, gave it a soak and it was even better. I am now fully satisfied with the results.

This. Stop saying V105 and some 9010 mixed solution are the same and actually start trying the good thing yourself.

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On 11/23/2023 at 4:55 PM, ColdWind said:

V105 with a solution of 3% 9010 97% IPA. Yeah I know I know, I even saw someone posted a vintage Omega servicing guide that said so.

From Omega working instruction 40 This one dated 2017 which is vintage? Okay if you think 2017 is vintage I guess so and

image.png.fe27571ca6931eaa551842beb15846ec.png

Notice it doesn't actually say isopropyl alcohol basically some suitable product.

On 11/23/2023 at 4:55 PM, ColdWind said:

This. Stop saying V105 and some 9010 mixed solution are the same and actually start trying the good thing yourself.

If you actually read what it says if for some reason you live somewhere in university cannot be imported this is a suitable substitute. Then I vaguely recall some time in the past mixing some of this up don't remember having a problem and I definitely did not use isopropyl alcohol. I do know like in the case of the Omega reverser wheels if you try to do with no lubrication that will be an issue.

 

 

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