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AR-XA Turntable Tonearm 'Sticking'

Guest baumgrenze

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Guest baumgrenze

I'm trying to get my AR-XA turntable working properly. I bought it new from AR in 1967, along with my AR2-AX speakers.

I have not used it much recently. When I tried to use it today on a track near the center of a record, it refused to continue tracking towards the center of the record. It kept playing the same track over and over. There was no skipping sound.

Does the spindle and its bearing need occasional lubrication? I have some 'superfine' oil, Andis Clipper Oil from Racine, WI, that my barber sold me for a hair-clipper I inherited from my father-in-law.

Has the stylus force perhaps dropped so low as to cause poor tracking?

I don't think that the 'damping' feature is causing the problem because the arm lowers without difficulty onto the record. The original manual just says, 'If you wish to disable the damping completely, please write to us for instructions.' Do I understand properly that the "plastic disc and foam spring coated with oil' on the top of the spindle are the working parts of this mechanism? It seems to make sense.

The original assembly instructions also say," Do not remove the spindle from its well; there is a small steel ball in the well which is an important part of the turntable and must no be lost." After 40 years is it perhaps time to remove the arm from the spindle and the spindle from the well (being careful not to lose the bearing), to clean the parts carefully, to dry them, and then to lube them with thin oil? I gather that the main turntable bearing and well are similar. Perhaps they need attention, too?

I poked through the vinylnirvana.com website. If there is a forum there, I missed it. I looked at audiokarma.com and could not figure out the structure of the forum(s) there. There was one turntable thread that seemed to morph from an AR thread into a Dual thread.

Has anyone here had experience with the AR-XA and its routine maintenance?

It is pretty clear that this turntable is 'new' enough so that it does not have Delrin wells, just to forestall that question.



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Guest matty g

Yep - had the same problem years ago. If I remember correctly, it was the large brass bearing in the back of the tone arm. On mine, it had developed a flat spot on the bottom and was hanging up the arm ever so slightly. I disassembled it and polished it up, lubed everything with very light clock oil (very minimal oiling, so as not to attract dust and gunk), put a new M95-ED stylus on it, adjusted the overhang and the tracking, leveled the arm and never had a problem since.

I would suggest using the Shure SFG-2 stylus force gauge rather than the plastic see-saw and weight system provided with the turntable (if you still have it). A new stylus may not hurt if you are unsure of the current condition of yours, too. Generally speaking, for most decent cartridges, 1.5 grams is about right. Be shure the arm is level when a record is playing - the stem at the rear of the arm is threaded and will adjust the arm height to a degree. If that is not enough, you may have to shim out the cartridge. You can also order an el-cheapo cartridge alignment card from Garret Bros. or any one of a number of cartridge websites to get the overhang set right.

When properly set up, those tables are GREAT. What a bargain they were (and still are) even though they don't have anti skate or high dollar arms. Another great AR engineering feat!


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Guest matty g

Oops! Disregard the comment about the stem adjustment on the rear of the arm for the height adjustment - that's not an AR table I'm thinking of. The rear stem adjustment on the AR table is strictly for the arm damping and freedom adjustment. Everything else still applies, and yes you should start by cleaning and lubing both the arm spindle and the platter spindle. AR recommends doing this yearly, but that might be overkill. Once every forty years may not be enough, however!

Good luck


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Hi there;

Warning Warning!

Do not take it apart, adjust or oil it, just yet.

You will need more handholding than you might think to proceed with your problem.

The turntable is very delicate and needs very delicate treatment.

Do you have the original AR turntable manual?

Do you have the original oiler that came with the turntable?

Do not assume anything when it comes to servicing.

The steps that you need to follow should be done step by step, not jumping ahead of the list.

You say that all of a sudden your arm doesn't track near the center.

There is going to be a lot of steps to follow, so bear with me when I start here.

1. You have not lubed either the platter shaft or arm post previously?

Can you show a photo of the tonearm and where the stem enters the base, first please?

Maybe remove the platters enough to show the top of the t-base.

Careful not to lose the bearing or nylon washer.

Now that you have started a great topic, let us follow through to the end.

This way we all can learn from your situation.

I have a little bit of knowledge of the AR-XA model turntable from servicing some at the local AR warantee depot.

I also own a few.

I do have a few bits of information from others, as well.

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