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What is wrong with my Lee Classic Turret

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Mr.Revolverguy, Jul 30, 2007.

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  1. Mr.Revolverguy

    Mr.Revolverguy Member

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    All I purchased a Lee Classic Turret about 6 months ago and I am so frustrated with it. The indexing worked perfectly out of the box and everything was great I setup all my calibers it was so sweet I had to make no adjustments. Then after about 2000 rounds of reloading between 45ACP, 40S&W and 44mag the indexing got really bad not advancing ETC. After research here I decided to take the index clamp off and noticed the square ratchet was out of shape. I called Lee and this Lady told me well it is a wearable part so it is not under 2 year warranty. Already frustrated I just said whatever the part is only a dollar anyway so send me 10 rachets and 3 clamps just for safety sake. Well I put the new clamp on along with the rachet square and wow back in business. Well this weekend at around the 700 round mark it is out of timing again. I take the clamp of and you can clearly see where the square is out of shape good thing I bought 10 of them huh? I know it is the ratchet because I put a new one on and it is as good as when I took it out of the box works awesome does not even need adjusting.

    I am so frustrated I do not know what to do at this point. Anyone here have any recommendations? I mean the press is not all that complicated. But I am starting to wish I would have kept my cash and just stuck with my RCBS Rock Chucker that I have had for the past 14 years. Since I have them mounted on the same table I think the Rock Chucker has cast a spell or something on the Lee. Has anyone else seen this behavior? Should I call up and buy a new index rod as well I visibly see nothing wrong with it. What's really sad is that I am taking my time and being very careful in the name of safety and also trying not to get this rachet out of shape, which only equates to me putting out about 20 to 30 more rounds an hour than what I can on my Rock Chucker.:banghead::banghead::banghead::banghead::banghead::banghead:
     
  2. browningguy

    browningguy Member

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    This seems to be the norm, I use mine as a manual advance now, got tired of changing out the parts. The handy thins is having 7 sets of dies already set up so I can change cartridges very quickly.
     
  3. presspuller

    presspuller Member

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    Welcome to the world of Lee.:cuss:

    The only thing that I can think of is to make certain that you never short stroke the handle, ie make certain that you go all the way down then all the way back up with the handle.

    I have a RCBS piggyback and the only time I messed up the indexing bushing was when I didn't do the above.

    Good luck.
     
  4. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

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    Here is the writeup I posted sometime ago re: replacing the ratchet and why you might be dinging it up. Never try to rotate the turret head if the ram is in the down position. It must be raised at least a couple of inches, preferably all the way to the top.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=58931&d=1181080815

    You were given bad information by the woman you spoke with. ALL parts are under warranty and she is DEAD wrong. I would call back and ask for John Lee and tell him what happened. This has been going on for awhile and somebody in the Lee shop needs to correct it. The only way it will get done is if people complain.

    I love my Lee loaders and have had no trouble with the ratchet in the Classic Turret Press. If you handle it right the ratchet will last, literally for thousands and thousands of rounds.
     
  5. Mr.Revolverguy

    Mr.Revolverguy Member

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    I will call back and ask to speak with him. It was your article to begin with that made realize what part I needed to replace. I have read your article a number of times, but not just that remember I said I have never had to adjust mine so no need to turn the turret to begin with.

    Thank you
     
  6. Rod B

    Rod B Member

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    The square ratchet is a "fail safe" item that is designed to fail rather than risk more costly components being damaged.

    Usually failure of this item occurs when the turret is twisted while the ram is at its lower most position.

    To avoid further failures raise the ram about 1 1/2 to 2 inches before rotating the turret by hand. Another option is to remove the drive rod if you wish to index the turret in a manual mode.

    Lee makes good products & also offers good customer service, however their instructions leave a lot to be desired. :uhoh:
     
  7. Mr.Revolverguy

    Mr.Revolverguy Member

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    Thank you for the instruction. But to try and make it clearer "I have never turned the turret while the ram was down. Heck I guess I have been lucky and have never had to turn the turret by hand at all. Maybe there is something else going on? When the ratchet is new it works PERFECTLY I mean great just over time it wears really badly this is with just regular use. I have read other post on here that suggested putting grease in the turret hole to make it smoother, some have said "one shot" case lube would do it also?
     
  8. pinkymingeo

    pinkymingeo Member

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    I think the solution is a metal drive ratchet. I've been thinking about making one, but haven't had the time. If used in the plastic clamp there should be adequate protection against a catastrophic jam, though tell the truth I can't picture such a jam at the moment.
     
  9. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I just sent Lee an email over the weekend about a loose clamp and bad ratchet. They wrote me first thing monday morning offering to fix the press or send me the parts I need to fix it. Since it's a very easy part to change I asked then to send the parts. I guess you got bad information because they are sending me the exact same parts you need for free. (HELL, it's only $6.50 worth of parts!!)
     
  10. Mr.Revolverguy

    Mr.Revolverguy Member

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    Angel

    I did get the parts I just went ahead and purchased them. It was a bad day and last thing I needed was to be griping over the 19 bucks I spent for ordering extra. But I am going to call back this morning to see what I can do about the ratchet and see what their answer might be.
     
  11. kellyj00

    kellyj00 Member

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    I'VE HAD THE SAME PROBLEM!

    And I freaked out, called Lee....got some lady who said "well, it's covered but $4 in shipping" I said "forget it." and she sent me a 3hole turret ratchet for no charge. Thanks.

    So, a friend was over and I showed him my problem and told him "I broke my press"....being much calmer and smarter than I, he took apart that clamp part that holds the ratchet, looked at it for a second, then told me how it works. He had me grab my grease gun....he put the clamp back on, and put a bunch of grease on the indexing rod above and below the clamp part.... after a few pulls of the lever, it was indexing perfectly again....well, sort of. It was out of time.

    So, I had to take a crescent wrench and put it on my indexing rod. Then I rotated the turret about 1/8" clockwise by hand to put it back in proper 'time'. My friend just laughed when it worked perfectly....we've loaded about 3,000 rds on it since then with no issues, except I give the indexing rod a squirt of grease every 1000 or so. Not sure if it's helping, but it's piece of mind.

    If you're the fed up with lee and want to sell yours. My friend (mentioned in above narrative) would love to buy yours.
     
  12. Uncle Don

    Uncle Don Member

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    I'm just curious - when the call was made, was the request for 10 items under the warranty? If so, I can kind of understand thier point, but if you simply asked for a replacement for your broken one, you should have gotten it with no cost and no shipping.

    In any event, when the new ones come, make sure you put it on the same way it came off (flange down) and that after it's installed, you raise the ram a couple of inches to rotate the turret so the index rod doesn't bind against the ratchet. Lastly, make sure that the lever prime is coming down between the two bumps on the casting because this ensures that you are aligning the clamp correctly too. I think Benedicts writeup coveres this pretty well.
     
  13. Phil A

    Phil A Member

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    Lee Classic Cast Turret (4 hole)

    Check to make sure that the turret indexes with very little resistance. The only significant resistance is to initially push in the spring loaded ball detent, so check if there is not some sort of problem with that. Also there should be almost no drag with the turret. After the initial ball detent resistance and not that much, my press rotates with the pressure of one finger on the end of the handle. With a smoothly indexing, low drag operation, I don't think grease on the ratchet should be necessary, just a bit of oil on the rod. Now we are talking about the 4 hole indexing mechanism. The 3 hole indexer is not nearly as smooth and is a bit harder on the ratchet. Some light grease might be O.K. there.

    The drawback with Lee presses is that you may need to do some filing and some fitting and some patience. One of my primers did not work out of the box and the index was slightly out of alignment. Annoying but fairly straightforward fixes and adjustments in my case. - Phil
     
  14. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

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    No grease, no oil. The ratchet must run totally dry.
     
  15. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    True Benedict1, but a bit of grease on the turret sure helps a bunch. Just not enough to contaminate the dies though...
     
  16. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

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    We are all sort of running by each other. In the interest of clarity:

    1.) Lee recommends to lightly oil/grease the turret for smooth rotation.

    2.) The ratchet mechansism should run dry but if some lube is desired, use only powedered graphite, nothing oil based.

    3.) If oil is put anywhere on the index rod it may run down, slowly, to the ratchet gear. Not good. It must move unimpeded, up and down on the rod. That's the way it was designed to work.

    If all is well, parts in spec and there has been no rotation of the turret when the ram is down, the ratchet should last for a very long time. If by some chance there is a problem inside the nylon collar that holds it in place, that needs to be discovered.
     
  17. kellyj00

    kellyj00 Member

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    the ONLY way that my lee classic turret press works is with axle grease on it. without it, the turret sort of 'half indexes' because the ratchet isn't 'catching' fast enough. I think the grease acts like a sort of a pillow for the ratchet to ride on. I've loaded a few thousand using this method.

    I've heard of quite a few folks who just use their auto-indexing turret by manual indexing (very much increases the chance of a double charge, not to mention it increases the amount of time and fatigue in loading a few hundred rounds) I would be doing that myself right now if it weren't for the grease.

    I have yet to lube my turrets. Not an argument, this is my experience. I don't give two patooties about what those grape eating possums at lee say about their press, they've sent me the wrong part twice now. first time for a spring I was missing on my pro auto disk...they sent me a lever after the lady said "spring will be in the mail" had to call back, and ask again. geesh. different lady, just as clueless. I asked her for a 'ratchet' and she said "$4 shipping" I said "i've only loaded a few hundred rounds and it's already goofy, I'm going to call this a warranty issue or if you'd rather I can send it back to MidwayUSA and they'll send it back to you as a factory foul-up and get credit." asked her just to put the ratchet for my 4 hole press in the envelope, she sends me a white hex ratchet for a darned 3 hole press.

    You've gotta get the right folks at Lee from what I hear, I guess that's where I went wrong. My mistake for thinking that the folks who answer the phones at Lee would know about Lee products or at least be able to know the diff between a spring and a lever, and a 4 hole and a 3 hole ratchet.

    benedict1: what press do you have? the classic turret or the basic turret? Mines a basic, and I'm thinking maybe the classic is built better and actually works without lube. By grease, I mean from a grease gun. You know...chassis lube for the zerks on your car.
     
  18. Uncle Don

    Uncle Don Member

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    It really is too bad that you have had this trouble, but I assure you that any lubricant on the index rod for the ratchet to engage is just exaserbating your problem. If you have a four hole press, get the index rod dry and put a new ratchet on. Then, make sure that it is indexing properly by tweaking the stop nut on the index rod that fits into the turret. Once that is done, you should never need to adjust again.

    I had a four hole press before the Classic Turret. The CT is a nicer press in that it has more clearance, has single stage press linkage and postive primer disposal. It's also made of cast iron and steel, but the indexing works the same way. Again, I understand your frustration but the press will work perfectly when you get it adjusted properly. From now on, when you call Lee, ask to speak with a technican. I have spoken with two (Pat and Dave) and either will get you squared away.
     
  19. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

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    Classic Turret, which is quite a different animal. Most of what you say does not apply to the Classic Turret. No one should ever, ever put any grease near that ratchet. That ratchet has to slide up and down effortlessly, nylon against metal.

    If your talking grease gun we are talking different languages. You also seem to be confusing two presses. In your first sentence you mention Classic Turret and then at the last part of your post say you have the basic turret, which is the older aluminum casting model. Which is it?

    I'm sorry but your advice could certainly cause trouble for people with a Classic Turret who think you have it figured out.

    Sorry you had problems with the phone staff. Have you called to voice your concern to John Lee? I'm sure he would like to hear it. He and all the people at Lee are always trying to improve. Give him a try. I believe you will find him interested in the problem.
     
  20. kellyj00

    kellyj00 Member

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    stolen from lee's website...

    If the auto index no longer advances the turret to the correct position it is out of adjustment or the Nylon hex ratchet is worn.
    To check adjustment, raise and lower ram. With the ram at the bottom of the stroke, rotate the hex adjusting ratchet counter-clockwise with a 7/16” open end wrench until the turret snaps into position. Cycle the ram up and down again to check for proper index.
    If you cannot obtain a complete index, the Nylon Hex ratchet needs to be replaced. Remove the clamp halves and fit a new nylon hex ratchet to the index rod and reassemble. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN. Adjust the index position as described in first paragraph.
    Should the Auto Index still not function after performing the above actions, it is likely the clamp halves were overtightened. There are two “home cures” to fix this problem.
    b Grind down the OD of the Nylon Hex ratchet so the clamp halves will no longer
    grab the nylon during index.
    c Shim the clamp halves apart by wrapping a paper shim around the Hex Adjusting ratchet where it is clamped by the clamp halves. A narrow strip of masking tape wrapped a round or two on the Hex adjusting ratchet works well.





    I'm going to stop calling them Lee Precision...there's nothing precise about "wrapping a paper shim around the Hex Adjusting ratchet"

    Let me know if it fixes your problem. I wasted 30 minutes doing their steps and trying to figure it out.
     
  21. Uncle Don

    Uncle Don Member

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    He certainly won't get it fixed with that. The fix you are talking about is the three hole turret press which uses a completely different indexing system. The four hole is not rocket science. A nylon ratchet moves up and down a twisted index rod. If the nylon ratchet gets twisted against the twist such as turning the turret when the ram is all the way down, it can be damaged. I have my oringinal and have at least 10,000 rounds thorugh my press.

    The clamp is nothing more than a housing to contain the ratchet, it does nothing else. There is no adjustment with nor does it ever have to be taken apart unless replacing a ratchet. If the press isn't indexing correctly, it is not the ratchet unless it's been damaged. It is the stop nut at the top of the index rod. Note if it's going to far around, take the turret and index rod out of the press and turn the stop nut slightly clockwise using a 1/4" wrench on the index rod and the turret on the other end to turn the nut. If it is not coming far enough around, turn it slightyl counter-clockwise. Once this is done - that's it, it doesn't need to be done again and the index rod can be taken in and out of the press with no effect to the presses timing.
     
  22. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Uncle Don...Don't both presses take the same nylon rachet?
     
  23. kellyj00

    kellyj00 Member

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    Uncle Don's write up is the best I've seen on the subject. That is a great way to make an adjustment if your turret is out of 'time'. I've been turning the turret by hand with a crescent wrench on the metering rod, like Lee shows in their silly video. I bet they get a lot of calls...

    My grease idea won't fix this issue, but it will work if you've worn out a ratchet. Don's right, I've worn my ratchet out.... probably due to rotating the turret while the ram was down. Newbie mistake. The grease is just a temporary fix I guess that lasts a few hundred to 1000 rounds or so. The right way to handle it is to just get a new ratchet, so I sent lee an email this time. I'll call if I don't get a response in a day or two.

    My ratchet doesn't really look all that worn, but I didn't take it apart until it started happening, so I don't know how it looked in the first place. I guess I'll quit bad mouthing Lee now, being that my greasing of the ratchet is just keeping it working, where I broke the part myself.

    btw, How does rotating the turret with the ram down prematurely wear out the ratchet? I'm not an engineer, so sometimes I miss the obvious stuff.
     
  24. Uncle Don

    Uncle Don Member

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    No - the three hole press takes a white one with teeth of some sort that works by clamping pressure from an alumiminum housing. The four hole uses a small nylon black ratchet that is simply inside the housing - it has no effect on the ratchet at all. It (the housing) has a small square recess at the top which causes the square ratchet to catch inside it on the downstroke and since it can't then turn, the index rod must, and the index occurs. On the upstroke, the ratchet moves freely because it is now near the bottom of the housing which has no recess. It's pretty ingenious in my opinion, but not complex.

    I didn't see your question on why they prematurely wear out if the turret is turned at the bottom: Picture the scenero above, therefore at the bottom of the stroke, the nylon ratchet is in the recess for it in the housing and cant turn freely (which is why the turret rotated on the way down). Unless you "unbind" the ratchet out of the recess, turning turret is making an attempt to rotate while in the square recess that is resisting it. If you raise the ram a couple of inches, the ratchet is now out of the recess and you can turn the turret at will. When you remove a turret for caliber changing, just be sure you raise the ram a couple of inches. Clear as mud?
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2007
  25. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I don't understand why you are having a problem getting the replacement parts for free since the press and all it's parts have a 2 year guarantee. I sent Lee an email on Sunday night, they replied on Monday, I gave them all my information on Monday night and today (Tuesday) they confirmed the parts being shipped. (for free or course because of the 2 year guarantee and with NO shipping charge.)
     
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