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Old 08-26-2021, 12:09 AM
texas yankee texas yankee is offline
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686 center pin and extractor rod disassembly 686 center pin and extractor rod disassembly 686 center pin and extractor rod disassembly 686 center pin and extractor rod disassembly 686 center pin and extractor rod disassembly  
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Default 686 center pin and extractor rod disassembly

I'm back at this again from last January after letting the gun sit for a while - recovering from some foot surgery has me chained to the house, so this gun as called out to me needing to be fixed properly.

I have a mostly very nice 686 - S\N is AAC8xxx (M) - I was in the process of sending the gun to S&W to have the extractor rod assembly cleaned - the thumbpiece needs more than a normal amount of pressure to push in on the center pin to open the cylinder - the ejector rod operates smoothly so I don't think the extractor rod or the center pin is bent - the springs might be jammed up or maybe some type of lube has gotten gummy or dirty over the past 41 years - a local gunsmith couldn't get it disassembled to fix the very stiff center pin. S&W told me that since my gun was made in 1980, it does not come under their lifetime warranty, which started in 1989, according to Steve at qa@smith-wesson.com. I'm trying to get a ballpark, non-binding estimate from S&W as to how much to resolve the issue with the stiff center pin (everything else is fine), but I might just end up trying to disassemble the center pin from the extractor rod and clean it out myself - probably replace the springs, too. I've been putting some Kroil penetrating oil in the assembly from both ends, exercising the center pin, and letting it sit outside in out almost 100 degree temps - I've noticed an improvement - it takes less pressure to move the center pin, so I guess the Kroil is working - but I still want to disassemble the center pin from the extractor rod and extractor and give it a good cleaning. I've read a lot of posts and watched a number of videos and I feel comfortable attempting the disassembly myself, if the S&W estimate is too much. But one thing that wasn't completely clear to me was which way to turn the cylinder, after 1) securing the end of the extractor rod where ya push to extract the spent casings, and 2) after putting some spent casings in the chambers to support the extractor. I'm asking "which way to turn" because I read conflicting guidance based on a supposed change to the manufacturing process - so, for my 1980 model 686, looking at the back end of the cylinder where ya load the rounds into, and where the extractor pulls out the spent rounds, do I turn the cylinder clockwise or counter clockwise to separate the center pin and the extractor rod? Thanks!

Last edited by texas yankee; 08-26-2021 at 12:20 AM. Reason: Clarification
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Old 08-26-2021, 01:06 AM
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Clockwise, viewed from the back. The threads are left hand.
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Old 08-26-2021, 02:48 AM
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Default Perspective matters

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Originally Posted by texas yankee View Post
...do I turn the cylinder clockwise or counter clockwise to separate the center pin and the extractor rod?
You're using a perspective (point of view) not normally associated to this action.

It's commonly stated that you turn the ejector rod, NOT the cylinder. The different points of view require opposite actions to achieve the same result.

Modern ejector rods (with a line or groove next to the knurled end) are left-hand threads which means you need to turn it clockwise to loosen it, while holding the cylinder stationary, when viewed from the knurled end of the ejector rod.

From that same point of view you'd need to turn the cylinder counter-clockwise, while holding the ejector rod stationary, to loosen the two items.

.

FWIW, I often use a portable drill with a keyless chuck to loosen my ejector rods.

With the ejector rod chucked hand tight in the drill I usually hold the chuck/drill stationary with my right hand & turn the cylinder with my left.

Viewed from the end of the ejector rod I have to turn the cylinder counter-clockwise to loosen the two items.

.
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Old 08-26-2021, 05:20 AM
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Have you checked to see if the front locking bolt moves freely?

When you push the cylinder thumb piece forward to unlock the cylinder, it pushes the center pin forward, which in turn pushes the front locking bolt forward to disengage it from the ejector rod end, and then the cylinder is free to swing out.

The front locking bolt travels in a hole in the barrel under lug, it has a spring behind it, if that passage is plugged with junk, it will become difficult for the bolt to compress the spring and retract the locking bolt.

With the cylinder open, press on the locking bolt with the end of a rod, if it doesn't move freely, there's junk in the way.

Look at the underside if the barrel lug, there is a weep hole, get an aerosol spray gun cleaner with a tube, stick it in the hole and spray the heck out of it while working the bolt.

I have a 6" 586 that became very difficult to push the cylinder release thumb latch forward to unlock the cylinder... the passage recess that the front bolt retracts into, was filled with caked powder residue. The 686 has the same arrangement.

A good cleaning fixed the issue.

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Old 08-26-2021, 11:07 AM
texas yankee texas yankee is offline
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Thanks for the guidance.

I just checked the movement of the front locking bolt and it seems to move OK without feeling that it's gummed up or restricted in any way, besides the obvious push back from the spring.

On the cylinder assembly, I'll play my old guy card here and say that I'm not completely clear on understanding the guidance about which way to turn the cylinder.

There's this:

"Modern ejector rods (with a line or groove next to the knurled end) are left-hand threads which means you need to turn it clockwise to loosen it, while holding the cylinder stationary, when viewed from the knurled end of the ejector rod.

From that same point of view you'd need to turn the cylinder counter-clockwise, while holding the ejector rod stationary, to loosen the two items.
" I understand this to be saying that if I'm looking at the assembly from the ejector rod end, I'd turn the ejector rod clockwise to loosen it, and from that same view, I'd turn the cylinder counter clockwise

And there's this:

"Clockwise, viewed from the back." Whether I twist the ejector rod or the cylinder, I *think* both folks are saying the same thing, given the firs guy's talking about looking at the assembly from the ejector rod end and the second guy's talking about looking at the assembly from the other perspective, the extractor end - am I understanding that correctly?

Also, I think I read about a change in which way to turn the components to disassemble them based on how old the gun is - S&W tells me my gun was made in 1980 - so is the information above accurate for my gun?

Two pictures via Google Drive links:

IMG_2971.jpg - Google Drive

IMG_2970.jpg - Google Drive

Last edited by texas yankee; 08-26-2021 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 08-26-2021, 02:06 PM
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Just as a PSA. I really like my rod /vise grip tool i think I got it from brownells.
I can name a whole list of junk tools that don't work. I think this tool is great, and makes dissembly/assembly super easy.
From the pictured vantage point, assembly is CCW. And removing is CW. As previously mentioned. Left hand threads. So, righty-loosey - lefty tighty.

Two tips. Keep snap caps in place when doing so. And I've used 1/2" strips of sticky notes to put between the rod and the tool to use. Keep the rod from spinning when tightening and loosening.
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Old 08-26-2021, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texas yankee View Post
Thanks for the guidance.

I just checked the movement of the front locking bolt and it seems to move OK without feeling that it's gummed up or restricted in any way, besides the obvious push back from the spring.

On the cylinder assembly, I'll play my old guy card here and say that I'm not completely clear on understanding the guidance about which way to turn the cylinder.

There's this:

"Modern ejector rods (with a line or groove next to the knurled end) are left-hand threads which means you need to turn it clockwise to loosen it, while holding the cylinder stationary, when viewed from the knurled end of the ejector rod.

From that same point of view you'd need to turn the cylinder counter-clockwise, while holding the ejector rod stationary, to loosen the two items.
" I understand this to be saying that if I'm looking at the assembly from the ejector rod end, I'd turn the ejector rod clockwise to loosen it, and from that same view, I'd turn the cylinder counter clockwise

And there's this:

"Clockwise, viewed from the back." Whether I twist the ejector rod or the cylinder, I *think* both folks are saying the same thing, given the firs guy's talking about looking at the assembly from the ejector rod end and the second guy's talking about looking at the assembly from the other perspective, the extractor end - am I understanding that correctly?

Also, I think I read about a change in which way to turn the components to disassemble them based on how old the gun is - S&W tells me my gun was made in 1980 - so is the information above accurate for my gun?

Two pictures via Google Drive links:

IMG_2971.jpg - Google Drive

IMG_2970.jpg - Google Drive
What you're saying is correct regarding the different viewing perspectives.

Smith & Wesson made the thread direction change a long time ago (1959/1960), so yes... your gun has the left handed threads and your information is accurate.

The vice grip style tool is from MidwayUSA:

Gunsmither Tools Visesmith Extractor Rod Tool S&W J K L N Frame

Brownells has this style tool, the tool from Midway works with all of the S&W frames sizes, where the Brownell tool is a less expensive route as it's sold by ejector rod size, you would need the "large" (K/L/N frames).

BROWNELLS EXTRACTOR ROD TOOL FOR S&W | Brownells
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Old 08-27-2021, 02:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texas yankee View Post
Also, I think I read about a change in which way to turn the components to disassemble them based on how old the gun is - S&W tells me my gun was made in 1980 - so is the information above accurate for my gun?
.

I attempted to address this preemptively for you.

All you have to do is look at the knurled end of your ejector rod.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BLUEDOT37 View Post
Modern ejector rods (with a line or groove next to the knurled end) are left-hand threads which means you need to turn it clockwise to loosen it, while holding the cylinder stationary, when viewed from the knurled end of the ejector rod.
.
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Old 08-27-2021, 06:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou_the_welder View Post
Just as a PSA. I really like my rod /vise grip tool i think I got it from brownells.
I can name a whole list of junk tools that don't work. I think this tool is great, and makes dissembly/assembly super easy.
From the pictured vantage point, assembly is CCW. And removing is CW. As previously mentioned. Left hand threads. So, righty-loosey - lefty tighty.
I will second the claim the tool is not just another piece of junk but very useful.
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Old 08-27-2021, 06:14 AM
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I had a brand new 629 with a "stout" cylinder release button. Being a new gun dirt and powder residue weren't an issue. I removed the cylinder release button and used a q-tip to apply electrical cleaner to the spring, let it sit for a bit then blasted it with canned air. It did the trick.
I followed that up with removing the side plate for inspection as I always do with new guns. Sometimes new guns are dry and sometimes they are greasy. This gun was greasy with a thickish tacky grease, not quite cosmoline though. I bet some of that gunk made its' way to the cylinder release spring. I cleaned out the tacky grease and lubed it with my standard one drop of oil.
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Old 08-27-2021, 07:00 AM
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If the rod is still tight, I'd leave it. Both my ex 686-1 (1986) and current 627-1 (1995 or so) do have left hand threads, so beware as stripping them is costly!

For that reason I'd continue with the Kroil, soaking the inside of the rod multiple times, working it a lot (it helps to remove the cylinder from the yoke and use its own weight to push down on the locking rod against a flat surface) and frequent applications of a narrow air hose muzzle against the back and front of the locking rod.

Good luck with your foot surgery as well as the 686!
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Old 08-27-2021, 07:13 AM
texas yankee texas yankee is offline
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Thanks, all, for the exceptionally helpful guidance! Thanks, too, for your patience and civility, understanding that what's second nature to some (you guys) can be confusing to someone doing it for the first time (me).

I've continued using the Kroil on the cylinder, and given that there may be some sticky oil \ grease inside the extractor rod that's impacting the spring, I'm going to run the cylinder assembly through my ultrasonic cleaner a few times, and then try and take it apart.

BTW, my foot surgery went very well - I found a doctor that takes a different approach (decompression surgery versus cutting nerves) and I'm very happy with the results - much, much less invasive, and a much shorter recovery period - I was back in regular shoes (Crocs, for me) after a couple of days.
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Old 08-27-2021, 08:45 PM
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The end of the adventure . . .

I put some more time in on the ejector rod assembly last night and today - used some more penetrating oil, tried a few cleaning cycles in the ultrasonic cleaner, and ultimately wrapped the end of the ejector rod in a piece of leather belt and used vise grips - but I still couldn't turn off the cylinder. Maybe because of the penetrating oil and the ultrasonic, the center pin seems to move a lot better now, so I think I'll let it stay the way it is and live with not being able to get the cylinder off - I gave it some CLP and it seems happy enough. I also put come CLP in where the locking bolt goes and exercised it for a bit - that seems fine, too.

If I spent more time on revolvers, I might have bought the recommended tool(s) to hold the extractor rod firm to turn off the cylinder, but I haven't been spending that much time lately on teardowns, versus shooting, and thinning my herd.

I don't think I mentioned that I had previously completely dis-assembled the gun, except for the cylinder assembly, so the rest of the gun is nice and clean.

At this point, although not getting that ejector rod dis-assembled bugs me, it doesn't bug me enough to risk ruining the ejector rod and center pin.

Thanks again for all the guidance.
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Old 09-20-2021, 05:44 AM
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This thread is chock full of good info. I'm glad you posted it!
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