VPI Classic motor question

I have a Classic with the 600 RPM motor. The table is 2.5 yrs old. The motor started making a swooshing sound on each rotation about a year ago which continued after lubricating it. The sound could only be heard with the ear to the pulley and the speed stability seemed fine with the SDS. I lubricated the motor again about two weeks ago, including removing the pulley and cleaning the shaft, and the swoosh continued. Today I started hearing a more frequent noise that sounds like a very low friction sound. Still very low, but what the hell?

Is there is anything I can do about it at this point? I don't think putting more oil into the motor after I just lubricated it will fix it. If the speed appears to be ok, should I just ignore it? The first time I heard the noise VPI did not offer any advice beyond lubricating the motor. Is replacing the motor the only way to take care of the problem perhaps?

Any advice and feedback would be appreciated.
Perhaps the belt. The old jr's had a similar issue that occurred when the belt needed a dusting of their special powder or got too old.
When you lubed the motor shaft did you remove both the pulley and brass collar? The brass collar holds the motor shaft in position. The motor shaft has about 2mm of up and down play and you need to adjust this play until your motor runs silent.
I had a similar problem. I talked to mike at VPI and he instructed be to pull the shaft upward and slide the brass collar down as far as it could go. While holding the shaft up and the collar is down, tighten the set screw. This should eliminate any vertical play in the shaft. Don't over lube the motor. Only 1 or 2 small drops of 40wt oil is needed. Let us know how it turns out.
The sound seems to be coming from the motor, and I re-powdered the belt when I lubricated the motor a few weeks ago. I replaced the belt a few months ago so it should be fine. However, I do admit it is difficult to test it as the pulley does not seem to spin without the belt on, only vibrates. But I will give it a try again.

You might be onto something here. Yes, I removed the little brass collar as well, and did notice that the shaft can be moved up or down a few mm, and the collar holds it in position. I believe I pulled it all the way up and tried to fix it in that position by tightening the collar. From your experience, which position renders most silent results?
You need to experiment with the brass collar position. If you pulled the motor shaft all the way up and then fastened the brass collar, that is more than likely the source of your noise. Let the shaft fall the way down, and then pull it up ever so slightly and fastening the collar. Turn the motor on w/o the pulley and listen for noise. If the noise is still present, repeat the process with the motor shaft just a bit higher than previous.
I'd recommend contacting Mike at VPI.
Thanks guys. I don't think it's the collar position. I removed the pulley and the brass collar, and the plastic washer. (Btw, the washer should be on the bottom, under the brass collar right?) So only the shaft is spinning. The noise is still there. I suppose it's small particles of dust plus excess oil that possibly are responsible. I think I probably put too much oil at this point into the motor.

I'm trying to reach Mike, but I keep missing him.
If you run the motor without the brass collar you will get noise as the motor is not positioned correctly within the assembly. Just try the brass collar with varying shaft heights...it cost nothing. If all else fails, give VPI a call.
I pulled the shaft all the way up and fastened the collar. The motor still makes a swooshing sound. I think the noise is a combination of dirt that made its way into the motor over time and any excess oil I applied. The speed is spot on so I'm going to stop obsessing for now and enjoy the music.

Last question: does changing the motor entail soldering? If you DIY, how do you go about it given the fact that it is located underneath the plinth? Seems like a big challenge without a professional workbench.

Thanks all.
Should be easy to change the motor. First unplug the power supply then remove the belt, platter, and arm wand. Then turn it on it's side and remove the metal plate under the motor. The wires are not soldered. They just use wire nuts. It should be easy to figure out what wires come from the motor. Once you figure that out disconnect them and mark them with tape if need be. Then remove the screws that hold the motor in and remove the motor. Pop in the new motor which hopefully has the same colored wires and reverse the process. You could also take a picture of the wiring before disassembling it so you don't forget how it went. It is really pretty simple wiring so that is not really necessary.

Hopefully they will send instructions with the motor. If your still uncomfortable messing with it I'm sure they can do it for you if you send it back to them.

Actusreus, did you try the collar/shaft in different positions other than all the way up??
I did. All the way up seemed to sound most quiet.

VPI's phone number

I called them all day yesterday, but apparently only Mike is knowledgeable enough to give advice on the motor issues, and he was not there every time I called. I'll probably give it another try tomorrow.
Actusreus, did you ever hear back from VPI?
Every time I called Mike was not there. I asked the person who answered the phone whether he could help me, but he didn't even know whether replacing the motor entailed soldering, and whether the shaft should be all the way up or down. After asking other people there, he said it should be all the way down, which is the opposite what someone said Mike had told them. So back to square one.
Try it all the way down, and then slightly up from the down position. That is how I do it and it works. Give it a try, you never know.
That's what I did. There is still a little bit of swooshing sound coming from the motor, but it's quite low. The playback does not seem affected so I'm going to leave it for now. Perhaps the oil needs to settle a bit more. Thank you all of your advice.
I was in a similar situation as actusreus. I was having the swooshing noise with my 600rpm motor as well. I decided to go ahead and replace my motor. I made the switch to the 300rpm motor and large pulley. It has made a significant difference in lowering my noise floor. The motors are the same price and I would advise switching to the 300rpm motor.

Actusreus, I think you and I exchanged messages about the lubrication of the VPI motor awhile ago in a different post. It could be useful if you can locate it. I did quote all information I had from mike in that particular thread. Mike said to start with one drop of 40wt mobil 1 synthetic under the brass collar. My problem was I still had the swooshing noise and decided that if one drop didn't solve the problem then another drop might help. This wasn't the case. Too much oil will cause the swooshing noise to be more pronounced. I also think dust can become an issue over time and cause the sound you speak of as well. Replacing the motor was the only solution. The process to switch the motor is straight forward and simple. All wires are connected with wire nuts and no soldering is involved. Anyone with slight mechanical skills can do this without a problem. If you have enough skill to correctly setup your cartridge then, I would venture to say you will have no issues swaping the motor as well.
That's good info, Andy. Thank you. Yes, I do recall our exchange regarding the lubrication of the Classic motor. I advised not to disassemble the pulley and to use a syringe to put the oil in the space between the pulley and the brass plate. Having dealt with the current problem, it appears to me I was right on one issue, and probably wrong on the other due to VPI's awfully unclear instructions regarding the lubrication.

Beginning with what I think I was wrong about, VPI's instructions simply state to put a drop of 40 Weight motor oil "below the brass piece." No mention of removing the pulley or shaft adjustment. Considering that the brass collar is not visible without first removing the pulley, and you need to loosen up the screw in the "brass piece" to apply the oil, this is just unacceptably inadequate. The fact that the manual warns "not to disturb [the pulley] at all" in another section makes the lubrication instructions even more confusing. Then you have a brass plate around the pulley so to me it seemed it was the way to go. I wonder now whether putting oil around the pulley rather than at the shaft contributed to the noise problem.

Now, what I think I was at least partly right about. The screws on the pulley must be perfectly tensioned as the pulley will otherwise wobble/vibrate. VPI uses special tools to balance them; I had a lot of difficulty getting the screws perfectly balanced with a standard Allen key. The manual does not explain it, VPI in their email responses never mentioned it. I wonder how many Classic owners who removed the pulley to lubricate the motor now have vibrating pulley, which is either easily noticeable or barely noticeable depending how well balanced the screws are. So my advice still stands: do not disturb the pulley unless you want to spend a lot of frustrating time adjusting the screws afterward.

Andy, btw, do you use the SDS with the new motor, which you used with the 600 rpm motor? I want to upgrade the motor, but need to know whether I'll be able to continue using my SDS. Thanks.
I upgraded the motor on my Classic 1 to the 300 rpm ver and still used my SDS.

See below, my correspondence with Mike from VPI on the re-installation of the brass collar after lubricating the motor.
I have a Classic 3 for over a year with the 300 RPM motor. I took the Pulley and brass collar off and lubricated the motor. What is the prescribed method for re-assembly of the brass collar on the motor shaft?

1. The motor shaft has about 2 mm of play, up and down, should the motor shaft be down when inserting and tightening the brass collar? midway? or up?
2. Should the recessed part of the brass collar touch the fixed part of the upper motor assembly?

I tried a number of positions for the collar. If the collar actually touches the stationary area, and you put your ear up close, you will hear the collar rubbing against the stationary area. When the collar is just barely not touching the stationary area, there is not a sound. Therefore I concluded the correct position of the shaft at rest is at its lowest point, and the correct position of the collar is barely not touching the stationary portion of the motor assembly. So the motor shaft is at its resting point, you put the collar on, and position it so it is barely not touching the stationary area. Turn the motor on and listen. If you hear it hitting the stationary area, you have it too low. Try again. Try and get it so it barely doesn’t touch. Then tighten the allen screw. Is this correct?

*********Answer from Mike at VPI


When installing the brass collar you lift the motor shaft up, drop the collar on, lightly tighten the set screw. Turn the shaft, if it rotates easily (forget the thumps from the coils and magnets) and you have very little vertical motion of the shaft you are good. You should have very little vertical play but still turn freely. Snug up the set screw.

Thanks Macster. I appreciate your response.
It was $150.00 plus the shipping, and I got the new pulley. I never had any problem with removing and installing either pulley. I just loosen the screws, removed the pulley, did what ever it was that I had to do and put it back on and tighten it "snug."


Your method makes sense to me. Mike's response does not. Do you understand it? It sounds like he suggests pulling the shaft all the way up. "Very little vertical motion" would simply depend on whether you pulled the shaft all the way up or not before fixing the screw so you're either supposed to do it or not. Also, the shaft turns with the collar, so I don't understand how "turning freely" is a dependent factor in the correct re-installation.

Getting the pulley not to vibrate was a very painstaking process for me so I am very reluctant to remove it yet again to try what you suggested, but it sounds to me like you might be onto a fix. Any other shaft position will necessarily result in the collar virtually touching the stationary area of the motor save for the tiny washer. My only concern about what you suggested is the fact that when I had the shaft all the way down, I could hear a clicking noise in addition to the swooshing noise, which I thought was the shaft rubbing against the bottom of the motor. Moving it up reduced the noise and got rid of the clicking.

So what did you end up doing?
I took the pulley, brass collar off the motor, and cleaned everything up, after a year there was a little bit of dirt mixed in around the stationary area and on the collar.  This is the primary advantage of dis-assembly versus using the syringe method, the ability to clean the area.  I used a tooth pick to oil the top part of the Armature (rotor), adding about 2 - 3 drops.  Then I also oiled the stationary area, the bushing, and the Armature shaft.  I originally put everything back together as described in my email to Mike and left it like that for about 2 - 3 weeks.  I then corresponded with Mike, and received the method which I posted.  Essentially he is saying that the collar is needed to ensure the symmetrical position of the Armature within the stator.  That did make sense to me, since as I did mention, the collar is recessed to fit the stationary area on top of the motor.  Lifting up the shaft, lifts up the armature, which re-positions the armature in the stator.  It also in turn, puts a little bit of pressure, from gravity, against the collar as it fits like a glove into the stationary part of the motor.  I surmise, based on MIke's remarks, that it is important to have that little bit of gravity pressure against the collar.  This also keeps the armature centered when you have the additional sideways pressure from the belt.  
Ultimately I re-positioned the collar, exactly as Mike instructed in the email.  I put the shaft all the way up, then tightened the collar, so there was no play.  I then barely loosened the collar and allowed the shaft to fall a very, very small amount.  So right now there is an almost imperceivable amount of up and down motion on the shaft.  That is how I currently have my motor configured.  If I make any more changes, it would be to give it a little more play, but right now I will leave it as is.  Also, since I know the collar is rubbing against the stationary area, I will be very diligent about keeping that area oiled up.   
As far as "noise" coming from the motor.  I believe the primary source of noise is coming from the collar rubbing against the stationary area, however, I will say, that with Mike's method it is very uniform, whether the belt is on or off of the pulley.