astro-babys guide to stripping and rebuilding the EQ6/Atlas mount
1 - Synta EQ6 / Orion Atlas - Stripping & Cleaning the Declination (DEC) Axis

This procedure will guide you in stripping down and cleaning the EQ6/Atlas Declination axis. Re-assembly of the Declination axis is covered HERE.

To carry out this procedure you will need a good assortment of tools including cross head and Phillips screwdrivers, a rubber or nylon mallet, a soft toothbrush,

degreasing agent, metric Allen keys, long nosed pliers, lots of lint free cloths and lithium grease.
I found commercial degreasing agents somewhat ineffective and resorted to using good old hot soapy water. Lithium grease is easily available from shops

selling bicycles. Its also advisable to have a large soft towel or similar to lay the mount on while working on it to protect its external finish.

I would strongly advise you do not attempt this procedure without reading it through a few times in advance to understand the process. The procedure takes
around 4 hours from top to bottom (but read the observations at the bottom of this page) unless you are very confident of what you are doing and have exactly the right tools.
Its definitely best to have someone around to help you with some elements of it - remember take your time and when in doubt STOP and THINK.
Take a break when tired because you don't want to bodge anything.

The DEC and RA worm gear adjustment process required after re-assembly can be quite lengthy as its very much trial and error so bear this in mind before
starting and allow plenty of time to carry out the procedure - it will pay dividends in terms of smooth and precise running and longevity of the mount.

Stage 1 - Stripping the Dec Axis
EQ6 Placed on soft cloth Removing the dovetail carrier set screws Removing the dovetail carrier
Place the mount on a flat surface with some soft
towelling to protect the external finish
Using an allen key loosen the three allen headed grub screws around the dovetail holder. Remove the dovetail holder. This may need to be rocked a little to remove it. This can be placed to one side.
Removing the DEC clutch lever screw Removing the DEC clutch lever Removing the DEC clutch
Use a phillips screwdriver to undo the screw holding the DEC clutch lever. This may be very tight so be careful not to strip the head from the retaining screw. Remove the DEC clutch lever. You may need to prise this away carefully using a wide tipped screwdriver. Remove the DEC clutch bolt. This may be quite tight and you may need to use a spanner.
Removing the DEC clutch Removing the weight bar safety screw Removing the weight bar
Fully remove the DEC clutch bolt from the mount along with the small brass button. If the button cannot be removed easily then ignore it. It can be extracted easily later in the procedure. Remove the safety nut from the declination weight bar. Now remove the weight bar from the mount by pushing it up and through the mount towards the dovetail holder end. Place the weight bar aside.
The weight bar collar retaining set screws Removing the DEC weight bar collar The weight bar collar and DEC axis spindle
Using an allen key slacken the three grub screws around the weight bar retaining collar. Unscrew the retaining collar.
Note: This fitting can be VERY tight.
Here is the counterweight collar being fully removed. Be careful not to lose the small brass button on the back of the weight bar lock lever. This may well stay with the collar but it may, now that the weight bar has been removed, fall out easily. This item can now be put aside.
Tapping out the DEC axis spindle Removing the declination shaft The EQ6 declination collar
Now lightly tap the end of the declination shaft
which is exposed (after removing the counterweight
collar) with a rubber mallet or block of wood.

In this picture I am using the large plastic handle of a screwdriver to act as a buffer for the mallet.
The declination shaft will now slide free of the mount. Here is the declination shaft removed. At this stage you can remove the small brass lock button from the clutch lever if it wasn't removed earlier.
Note: You can see in this picture the almost invisible teflon washer at the end of the shaft.
Removing the declination circle Removing the declination collar teflon washer  The DEC tapered bearing 
Unlock and remove the DEC scale from the declination collar. Carefully extract the teflon washer from the rear of the declination shaft and place it aside. Make sure it is not confused with other washers that will be removed later. The cone/taper bearing at the base of the mount will now drop free. Remove this and check that the bearing surfaces of the mount are clean and free from corrosion or paint.
Loosening the upper set screw for the DEC worm Loosening the lower worm set screw removing the DEC worm carrier cap head screws
Slacken off the upper worm gear set screw adjuster using an allen key. This will need to be slackened off a lot. Slacken off the lower worm gear set screw. This will need to be slackened off a lot. Remove the worm carrier cap headed bolts. These may be very tight on the EQ6 and you may need a socket set type wrench to remove them.
Removing the worm carrier The worm gear teflon washer Removing the worm gear bearings
Remove the worm drive carrier. It may stick if the set screws have not been slackened off enough. Here is the base of the worm carrier. You can see another thin teflon washer here. This may be stuck to the mounts bearing or the worm carrier so take care. Set this washer aside and make sure it is not confused with the washer from the base of the declination shaft removed earlier. Remove the two roller bearings from the Declination
gear. These may simply slide out or they may need to be tapped out using a wooden pole and a mallet as a driver. On this mount the bearing simply pushed free without much effort.
The DEC bearing on the EQ6 mount Removing the mount DEC bearing Removing the mount DEC bearing
Here is the top of the mount with the DEC worm carrier removed. You can see over-sprayed paint both on the edges of the mount and also on the bearing and the edges. In fact in looked worse than the picture suggest. The paint should be scrapped away carefully and a very fine emery cloth applied to remove paint and imperfections.
You can also see here the motor gear. At this stage in the strip down I removed the motors. You can see this process HERE
Before cleaning up the top of the DEC assembly the facing bearing shown in the previous picture was removed. You can remove this using a wooden pole/spline through the mount. This needs to be done very carefully by applying a few taps at a time around the bearing. Be careful not to damage the bearings dust seals. Here is the face bearing being removed from the mount.
The tapered bearing face The DEC bearing face on the EQ6
Now ensure that the bearing faces in the DEC axis are clean and free of paint, corrosion etc. Here is the bearing face for the taper bearing at the base of the DEC axis. Here is the top of the DEC axis cleaned up. This picture was actually taken after the bearing was reinstalled. Note the absence of paint from the bearing faces and the edge of the mount.
Stage 2 - Stripping the Worm Carrier
The EQ6 worm carrier Removing the worm carrier caps Removing the slotted screw from the worm carrier
Heres the worm carrier as it was removed from the mount. First remove the large brass gear and place it somewhere safe. Remove the worm roller end-caps. These can be removed using either a pair of circlip pliers or a pair of fine snipe nosed pliers or a pair of small allen keys.
Note: These were incredibly difficult to shift on this mount and in the end it required two of us. One to hold the circlip pliers into the holes and one to insert a large screwdriver between the tips of the pliers to act as a lever.
Now remove the slotted bolt fitting from the worm carrier. This can be removed using circlip pliers or a pair of small allen keys or a pair of very fine tipped screwdrivers.
Loosening the worm allen head set screws Removing the worm from the carrier The worm roller end bearings
Loosen the allen headed grub screws on the worm / motor gear. The worm will now slide free from the carrier. The worm end roller bearing will simply slide free from the worm. Remember also to remove the other bearing from the carrier. This should simply push out but you may need to tap it out using the handle of a small screwdriver as a pusher.
Stage 3 - Cleaning & Lubrication
The worm gears and bearings cleaned and ready for reassembly
The brass worm gear, its roller bearings, the tapered bearing plus the worm and its end bearings and motor gear all cleaned and awaiting greasing and reassembly.
With a clean lint free cloth now wipe all the excess oil from the components. On this mount the roller bearings and the worm roller bearings were sealed and appeared to be well lubricated so were left alone.

The tapered bearing had almost no lubrication and so was cleaned and relubricated with lithium grease.To lubricate bearings put a blob of grease onto the palm of your hand and press the bearing into it and then rotate the bearing around forcing the grease into the inside of the bearing.

The brass worm gears and steel worm along with the woprm carrier casting should all be cleaned in a degreasing agent. I personally find really hot water and a basic detergent works best. These items were then cleaned with a soft toothbrush and then rinsed and left to dry. All of the gears showed either little lubrication and/or engineering swarf though none of the legendary black 'goop' that is supposed to be used in Synta mounts.

The worm carrier had its edges cleaned by the gentle application of some emery cloth to remove the loose flakey paint and to smooth the facing edges to the mount. You should do this by placing the emery cloth flat on a perfectly smooth surface such as glass and gently, with a rotating motion rub the work carrier around the cloth.


The declination (DEC) axis prior to strip down showed a fair amount of play. On strip down the DEC assembly came to pieces rather easily. The cap headed bolts on the worm carrier were extremely tight and in the end I required a socket set with a long tommy bar to remove them. Similarly the worm gear roller bearing covers were also done up extremely tightly.

The top of the DEC assembly showed a large amount of paint flecks on the bearings and their faces as well as something that resembled ground up sand in the lubrication. I suspect this was paint. If you look at the worm carrier you can see two areas inside the carrier immediately next to the worm that have no paint. The RA worm carrier had paint in these areas. My HEQ5 showed the same and in fact had retained one of the piece of paint which was like a large shard of very hard enamel. I can only speculate that on this EQ6 the paint flakes had, over time, been ground up in the worm gears.

The worm and its associated gears showed very little lubrication as did the taper bearing at the base of the DEC axis. In fact the worm gear appeared resistant to grease when first removed rather as if it had been in contact with some kid of de-greasing agent. After cleaning it was fine.

Paint spray was removed from the top of the RA axis and its bearing and bearing faces and components relubricated. The main roller bearings were well lubricated inside their dust caps and apart from cleaning the exteriors of any contamination were left alone.
That completes strip down of the Declination Axis. If you wish to go to the re-assembly guide click HERE
or go back to the main page HERE