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Old November 03, 2017, 13:14   #1
jam762
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L1A1 selector detent replacement

Has anyone replaced or installed the spring/ball detent on the L1A1 selector? I have a couple that are missing them and I would like to fix these. Is there a source for these parts? What can be used as a replacement? What is the procedure? Does anyone on the board offer this service?

Please advise.
Thanks!
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Old November 03, 2017, 15:15   #2
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I have asked the same, as I had to drill out a bearing to access a dead spring.

Inside is a small channel for the spring, and a larger channel for the bearing. Factory procedure is to use a round hollow punch to swage the walls of the larger channel to smaller than the bearing diameter. What I don't know is if it can be done a second time. My plan if it fails, is to replace the bearing with the next inch or metric larger size I can find, open up the large channel to accommodate, and then have fresh wall surfaces to swage.

Should this fail, I'm considering a spring and cup plunger with a tangent roll pin like the FAL selector.
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Old November 03, 2017, 16:45   #3
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Not quite OEM, but have you looked at something like this if the repairs don't work?

https://www.carrlane.com/en-us/produ...tainless-steel
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Old November 03, 2017, 16:45   #4
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I've had the bearing corrode in place on one. I don't honestly remember how I got it out, but once out I just oiled everything up, put the cleaned and oiled parts back in, and staked it in a few places around the outside with a punch (kind of like staking the gas key screws on an AR carrier). Mark's method would have been more professional, but it worked.

Hell, for awhile I had the parts in there with no staking whatsoever and everything worked fine. It just sucked when I forgot about it and shot the ball and spring across the garage a half-second after removing the safety from the lower.
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Old November 03, 2017, 18:20   #5
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Good to know, it's a little low on my priority list right now but I'll definitely try it and then the threaded bearing is a great fall-back. I have punches for cutting holes in leather that might be large enough, if they are hard enough. Otherwise I can probably cut a punch out of a hardened chisel using carbide, but it won't be fun. I don't find oil hardening sufficient and I have little experience with ersatz heat treat.
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Old November 04, 2017, 03:11   #6
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We used ball bearings to swage holes to a smaller diameter. Will the little ball bearing in the part go below the surface? If so, you can use another, larger ball bearing to swage it.

If not, then the swage with a center hole is the only option. If the original metal is gone, then any amount of swaging won't fix it. You have to have enough metal around the hole to make it work.

Mark, make your swage from a known metal, look up the heat treating process for that metal, and follow the directions. If you do the research, you can find a metal that can be heat treated with a oxy acetylene torch.
Or use a hard metal to start with. A common hard tool steel is S1. Easy enough to work with but harder then most metals. It's a very tough and shock-resistant metal without heat treating.
Inconel (or any nickel-chromium-based superalloy) is another but it's not easy to work.

Last edited by idsubgun; November 04, 2017 at 08:29.
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Old November 04, 2017, 10:13   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idsubgun View Post
We used ball bearings to swage holes to a smaller diameter.
Duh! That's a great idea - I'm kicking myself for not thinking of it. At least to try and see if the original bearing will go deep enough to clear. I use bearings for swaging hollow rivets, and just last week used one to tighten an AK front sight base. But I never made the connection to collapsing this hole.

Actually, what I used was a round punch for shaping metal, but it's essentially a bearing.

This is what I had in mind originally, and is the factory type of punch (just hardened steel)

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....L._SL1362_.jpg

This is the new plan, thanks.

https://shop.harborfreight.com/media...mage_13807.jpg
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Old November 04, 2017, 10:24   #8
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Thanks for all the input guys! Would any of you be interested in providing this service?
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Old November 04, 2017, 10:29   #9
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Quote:
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If I was still working in the trade, I would buy that set. It was a BITCH to hold a ball bearing sometimes, especially small ones. I had seen a ball bearing tacked to a piece of bar stock when you had to do more then one, but I never had to do more then one hole, and swaging a hole with a ball bearing only happened once, or twice, a year, if even that.
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Old November 04, 2017, 16:46   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jam762 View Post
Thanks for all the input guys! Would any of you be interested in providing this service?
Let me see if I can fix mine first, I'll let you know.
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Old November 04, 2017, 19:34   #11
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Chevy SB pushrod.......................................


Leland
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Old November 05, 2017, 08:48   #12
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Chevy SB pushrod.......................................


Leland
Perfect. I keep one in my tool box just for odd jobs like this.
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Old November 06, 2017, 13:17   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunplumber View Post
Let me see if I can fix mine first, I'll let you know.
Sounds good, thank you sir!
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Old November 08, 2017, 18:22   #14
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First attempt, success, then failure.

I had ONE 7/32" (.2188") bearing. For the spring, I used an L1A1 mag catch spring cut to maybe 7-8 coils - I should have counted. I pushed the bearing in, and it snapped right in and was retained and tested perfectly.

Apparently there was still a bit of an edge after drilling out the old bearing. I'd measured the hole at .220, but I didn't check for concentricity.

I tried to use the ball punch I posted above, but the bearing would not depress far enough. So I took a 5/16" punch, and using a carbide 7/32" end mill in the lathe tail stock, bored it to just under the amount the bearing was supposed to protrude. This way, the bearing would be slightly compressed when I swaged the edge. I then sharpened the outside edge of the punch. This is where I failed.

I punched it once and everything looked good, but I didn't "feel" like it was enough, so I struck it a second time, hit it slightly off center, and compressed the edge too far. Bearing now does not protrude far enough to function. And I'm not seeing any way of getting it out without destroying the bearing. Ok, ordered more off Amazon (100 each of 5 sizes for $8 shipped). Will be here Friday.

In retrospect, I should have sharpened both the inside and outside so the point was not right on the edge, and left a little bit of a flat - not quite a knife edge. I also note the original stake marks are either circumferential or interrupted (as if they'd cut an + across the staking tool face). I wonder if this is significant. Was the interrupt an upgrade?

Now lets see if I can get the $0.20 bearing out without breaking a $15 carbide endmill.


------- continued -----

Using a 7/32" end mill, I was able to push the bearing down and shave just the edge I'd swaged too far - scratched the bearing but didn't deform it. Bearing popped out to the right height. After testing my punch on an unaltered selector, I discovered the outside of the stake mark was pretty much on the 5/16" mark, So I cut the punch deeper, then faced it so there is no sharpness, - just squared. 7/32 ID 7 5/16 OD


So Jam - send me your selector and $12 return ship and I'll practice on it. No guarantees, I may ruin the selector, but I'll do my best.

The hardest part of staking is that the knob is rounded in all directions, making it very difficult to hold it firmly. I used a V block, but I think there is a better alternative - I just haven't thought of it yet.

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Last edited by gunplumber; November 08, 2017 at 19:03.
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Old November 08, 2017, 18:30   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunplumber View Post
First attempt, success, then failure.

I had ONE 7/32" (.2188") bearing. For the spring, I used an L1A1 mag catch spring cut to maybe 7-8 coils - I should have counted. I pushed the bearing in, and it snapped right in and was retained and tested perfectly.

Apparently there was still a bit of an edge after drilling out the old bearing. I'd measured the hole at .220, but I didn't check for concentricity.

I tried to use the ball punch I posted above, but the bearing would not depress far enough. So I took a 5/16" punch, and using a carbide 7/32" end mill in the lathe tail stock, bored it to just under the amount the bearing was supposed to protrude. This way, the bearing would be slightly compressed when I swaged the edge. I then sharpened the outside edge of the punch. This is where I failed.

I punched it once and everything looked good, but I didn't "feel" like it was enough, so I struck it a second time, hit it slightly off center, and compressed the edge too far. Bearing now does not protrude far enough to function. And I'm not seeing any way of getting it out without destroying the bearing. Ok, ordered more off amazon. Will be here Friday.

In retrospect, I should have sharpened both the inside and outside so the point was not right on the edge, and left a bit of a flat so not as knife edge.

Now lets see if I can get the $0.20 bearing out without breaking a $15 carbide endmill.

Can you TIG a piece of steel to the ball bearing and yank it out? I know it's small but..........
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Old November 08, 2017, 18:51   #16
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Can you TIG a piece of steel to the ball bearing and yank it out? I know it's small but..........
I'm sure someone could . .. someday I may be able to weld razorblades together, but I'm not that good yet. Updated above post.
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Last edited by gunplumber; November 08, 2017 at 19:00.
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