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kevinkr 26th September 2010 11:33 PM

Restoring and Improving A Thorens TD-124 MKII
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Having looked at a variety of very crusty Thorens TD-124 threads, none of which really related too directly to my project I have decided to open a new thread.

I have just acquired a fairly clean, and low hour TD-124 MKII with an SME 3009 Series II arm which I am going to restore.

I acquired this from a parent of a friend who lives in Manhattan so you imagine the day I had yesterday driving down and back as a consequence of this TT purchase.

The TT was a built in and does not have a plinth of its own. Every last bit of rubber with the exception of the belt and pulley has deteriorated to the point of needing replacement understandably..

The lubricant in the motor bearings has turned to glue so rather than just clean and reassemble I have decided to install a motor bearing upgrade kit which replaces the tinned bronze bearings with precision machined sintered bronze bearings, new felt pads and all of the hardware required to reinstall the bearing caps on the motor. (Should this prove not to be as good as claimed I will keep the old parts for that eventuality.)

I need to replace the motor mount bushings, the "gummi-muffins" which are the TT mounting bushings, the six pads on the platter, the belt.

I also plan to install a stiffer bearing cap on the main bearing but since this is a late model MKII I plan to retain the original sintered bronze bearings as they aren't worn at all..

I haven't quite decided on the plinth, but I am thinking to start it will be one of the moderately priced ($400 or so) CLD plinths available on eBay.

This unit has the later aluminum platter so I can use my Zu/Denon DL-103 without concern for the issues of magnetic attraction with the earlier iron platter - the down side is the aluminum platter is reputed not to perform quite as well due to somewhat lower overall mass.. The older iron platter apparently somewhat less resonant, not that this platter appears to have an issue.. The other significant difference is the strobe on the platter is 33 rpm only..

Parts in some cases will be sourced from Octave, and in others from a couple of well regarded eBay sellers of TD-124 parts and upgrades.

The arm has already been cleaned up and is complete and in very good condition except that the decoupler will have to be replaced. (They're readily available.) I also plan to install RCA jacks on this arm as I have done on my other.

GTHICM 27th September 2010 12:10 AM

TD124 Restoration Parts
Kevin, it seems as though you got a great deal. I am contemplating some of the same things with a Thorens I have.

The motor bearings are said to be sintered brinze and tinned, depending on the articles one reads. Let us know what you find inside that motor. I think that the MkII has six rubber motor mounts that might be best upgraded with silicone gel bushings available on Ebay. They are said to better insulate vibration.

Why don't you build your own plinth or have it made locally, as there will also be some pretty expensive shipping charges, I assume? Do you plan to renew the rubbers for wounting to the plinth, or hard mount it as suggested by some to sink vibration to the plinth?

The last thing, why do you plan to upgrade the spindle bearing plate assembly? What improvements do you hope to obtain? Please keep us posted as this project moves along. Good luck!

kevinkr 27th September 2010 02:48 AM

Yes, actually I am planning on a bearing plate upgrade as well, there are so many to choose from so I am going to do a little more research, none short of a full bearing replacement are more than about $70 or so, not exactly extremely expensive. (Stainless steel, gun metal, and bronze are all on offer.)

The motor grommets I ordered are silicone gel types ordered on eBay today in fact.

I also ordered silicone gel bushings for the chassis to plinth interface, and will try both with and without them to see what is preferable given the plinth in use.

Long term the plinth will be some sort of CLD type, I have some hope of finding a counter top fabricator that would be willing to make me a slate plinth. Mixed hardwoods are another more realizable option as I can either do that myself or my father in law may be interested in the project..

kevinkr 29th September 2010 04:18 AM

Ordered an OEM Thorens belt from Thakker today.. Still waiting for all of my parts to start rolling in.. :D

Pano 29th September 2010 04:25 AM

This is very cool. Funny how we so often end up with similar equipment, you and I.

I ran a Thorens pinch roller TT for years. TD-124, IIRC. Earlier than what you have, I think. Bought it at the flea market in Paris. I liked it because it was 1) Cheap 2) a Thorens.
Always felt the idler wheel roller thing was goofy, but what did I know? Now they are highly sought after. Had an Ortophon MM cart on the stock arm. It made good music.

kevinkr 29th September 2010 04:40 AM

Think you might have been a little further ahead of the curve than me - I'm actually way behind the curve, but very lucky. :D

Sounds like we are on the same path and looking for many of the same things sonically speaking, your encouragement along with Greg's was what gave me the confidence to tackle those Onkens now more than 4yrs ago.. :D

Pano 29th September 2010 10:10 PM

With the Thorens and those Onkens, you'll be a happy camper!

I almost built a pair of Onkens recently, but then a pair of Altec A7s fell in my lap. What's a fellow to do?

kevinkr 30th September 2010 04:34 PM


Originally Posted by panomaniac (
With the Thorens and those Onkens, you'll be a happy camper!

I almost built a pair of Onkens recently, but then a pair of Altec A7s fell in my lap. What's a fellow to do?

I understand that quandary, although I have to admit I prefer my Onkens to any A-7 I have yet heard, that said it would still be very high on my list of second choices.. It was an option at one time, but I went the other route. Either way results will be quite good..

It's been a 2 weeks and I am still running that SEP, it's not perfect, but there is something I like about it, or perhaps its just the 2nd most tolerable amp I have heard in my set up.. The rest are sleeping or passed along to others..

I think I have a number of weeks of waiting before the parts all start to arrive, and I have decided to try building a longer arm - at least 12" which will consist of a carbon fiber tone arm on an SME 3009 yoke.. (The knife edge, stub and counterweight will all be stock 3009 with tweaks as necessary) Should be interesting getting it to work.. My parts arm will donate most of the key parts, the rest I'll either fabricate or purchase on eBay. If I am lucky it will be possible to make it compatible with a future SPU.. (or not)

cactuscowboy 30th September 2010 04:58 PM

Nice find! I've never seen a used Thorens during years of digging at yard sales and thrifts, but I keep looking.

Have fun with the project.

ashok 30th September 2010 05:12 PM

My TD124 from a few years ago is still missing a good plinth. I never got round to getting it done. Now I want to do it soon.
Let us know how your plinth and assembly is shaping up. I haven't done anything to the basic turntable like changing the bearing etc.

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