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Clock question


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The clock in my '76 starts when I connect 21 volts, runs for a few minutes, and then stops. The hands do not move.

I know this because I have removed it to look inside it.

Everything looks clean. I lubed it with three-in-one oil, with no satisfaction.

Can someone say with certainty that a new board would fix it?


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From the web:

Place the 1-quart container in a well ventilated area. Pour the oleic acid into the container. If pure oleic acid is unavailable, Murphy’s Oil Soap may be used a substitute, as it is essentially the same substance, and works well as an ingredient in clock movement cleaning solution.

Add the acetone to the oleic acid. Slowly pour the ammonium hydroxide into the mixture of oleic acid and acetone. Do not pour too quickly, or the mixture will splatter. Ammonium hydroxide, 26 degree Baume, is a common, commercially available preparation of ammonia. The 26 degree Baume refers to the strength of the solution, and is equal to a solution that contains roughly 30 percent ammonia by weight.


Let the mixture stand for a few moments after adding the ammonium hydroxide. Clumps of soap-like material will begin to appear on the surface of the mixture. Lightly cover the opening of the 1-quart container. Do not seal it airtight. Leave the mixture in the container for about two hours, or until the clumps have completely settled out into the mixture.

Pour one gallon of water into the large container. Add the contents of the 1-quart container to the large container to form the clock movement cleaning solution.

Things You'll Need:

  • 1 quart container
  • 4 ounces oleic acid
  • 8 ounces acetone
  • 12 ounces ammonium hydroxide solution, 26 degree Baume
  • Large container – 5 quarts or more
  • 1 gallon water


If using the clock movement cleaning solution in connection with an ultrasonic cleaner, dilute the finished solution with an additional one quart of water.

If making larger or smaller amounts of clock movement cleaning solution, increase or reduce the ingredients proportionally.


  • Wear rubber gloves when working with ammonium hydroxide. Avoid breathing in the fumes.
Simple, ya?
Actually there are pre-made clock cleaning solutions available and most people also use an ultrasonic cleaner. That works for cleaning the movement parts if they haven't been damaged and/or not excessively worn.
Edited by cgsheen1
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I think if the clock has reached the point of requiring 21volts to run at all, there is a problem. Those old auto clocks, unlike modern quartz clocks, should be professionally cleaned and oiled (yes oiled) periodically. Oiling is needed at specific friction points and requires clock oil, not 3-in-1. I'd be a little concerned about dumping the whole clock in a cleaning solution. 

The clock has both a mechanical and an electronic part. In a clock, there are two plates with shafts holding moving parts pivoting or spinning on axils between the plates. Where the axils rest on the plates, there are holes that need to be kept clean and lubricated or the holes become elongated and would need to be repaired with bushings. If you have a grandfather clock sitting around, you'll notice that these holes in the plates actually have oil cups. You might want to try and clean these holes then use clock oil applied using a needle tip.

A bit of advice, don't let the battery in the car run low. A low voltage can damage the "points" that trigger the winding mechanism.

If all else fails, several people specialize in replacing original clock mechanisms with quartz which do not require maintenance. There is something about the tick-tick-tick which I like to hear (before I start the car and drown out all noise with my header exhaust).  

I was able to fix my '74 clock by cleaning and LIGHT oiling so repair is possible.

This goes in depth and specifically shows where to oil and with what:


Edited by Jeff Berk
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1 hour ago, Roberts280Z said:

I replaced the transistor and capacitors in my 280z clock, and that got it running again.  You would need soldering skills.  There is a procedure for this somewhere, and I can probably find it again.

Thanks, I’ll look for it. I think I can handle the soldering, but don’t know where to buy the parts, now that Radio Shack has departed. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

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