carriage getting stuck

Another question. Lately, when returning the carriage on my Vandercook SP-15, the back roller gear (name?) is catching on the end of the rail - the part of the rail near the head of the press, opposite of the operator’s side, that moves down if you push it. I wish I knew the correct names to reference these parts. If I crank the carriage slowly, it’s fine. If it’s rushed, it gets stuck. Any advice?

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Thanks. Do I need to remove the cover? If so, I’ve been told this is where a lot of the oil holes are on the Vandercook SP-15?


Unfortunately, the covers on the SP series are not removable, but before you spray the WD40, blow out any dust and/or grime with canned air. You may need to tap the trip arm (X-22754, manual Sheet 287-A) with a screwdriver and mallet from the feed board end. Also clean the plunger (X-20805, manual Sheet 282-A)

Paul and Devil’s Tail, thank you. I will do these and report back. Just to be clear though, blow out dust and spray on the opposite the operator’s side, correct? Near the plunger? Or inside both sides of the carriage?

Move the carriage from the feed board and do both sides of the carriage—operator and far side.

Also add a small amount of oil to the outside of both eccentrics. You should see a small hole painted red above the crank. There is one of the opposite side as well. These discs rotate when the impression cylinder shifts from print to trip.


That rail that moves up and down has a spring in it as I recall. It might be jammed or broken. Remove the rail and check it. That might be interfering with the roller gear.


That’s the “starting tooth” of the roller gear rack you are referring to, right Gerald? Quite to the point; I don’t see the connection between trip mechanism and this roller problem (though lubrication of the eccentric can’t be stressed enough). The starting tooth is right where the problem manifests.
Since the poster mentions that the piece moves down when pushed, the spring is probably present. But does the tooth rise up HIGHER than the gear rack? There is s a finger at the end of the starting tooth (inside a slot in the gear rack) which rests against a stop pin running horizontally. I just worked on an SP-20 where the finger part was broken and the gear end rode up high; a missing stop pin would lead to the same problem. Something like that could certainly lead to the situation described.
Fortunately the piece could be repaired by brazing (actually nickel-silver solder), beacause it is not a cheap part to replace, $120 or so.
To work on the startinf tooth you remove the screws holding the gear rack to the bed. (Don’t let the spring get away when you lift the rack.) Drive out the pin that the finger pivots on, check that the stop pin is also present, and examine the finger.

I didn’t mean to infer a connection between the trip mechanism and Karen’s roller problem. I was merely extending the comment about access and maintenance of the trip mechanism. You could say I was riding the Devils tail. I see now that this did not address the original question.

As I work on it this week I’ll post an update. Thank you everyone for the additional instructions.

Update: After noticing the starting finger being the same height as the roller gear rack, I decided not to fool with it. I tried the canned air and WD40 inside the carriage and lubricating the eccentrics, and that seemed to do the trick. Thank you!