The adventure continues...
Well, my first theory was the correct one. It does have to do with the claw position, despite what I said above. Putting the framer adjustment to one of the extreme positions, which is at the higher end of the gate, actually stabilizes the projected image, as does running it in reverse. I think I might have tried that before I made more adjustments to the take-up tension and/or the lower loop-former. Hard to remember now.
The fact that Super 8 ran so smoothly still gnawed at me. I reduced the size of the Standard 8mm image on the screen as much as possible, and the movement was still noticeable. Nothing was really consistent -- parts of a film were rock-steady, others were not.
So I had a closer look at the machine -- I didn't have to remove the lens assembly, thankfully. I did remove the lamp house and some metal plates behind the gate facing the lamp. Finally got to where I could see what sets the "stops" for the left side of the gate when switching gauges. The fact that the screws had green paint on them indicated that it was a good bet that this is what needed to be adjusted.
Well, they were stubborn screws -- they wouldn't budge. I put some oil on them to try to loosen them up. They were very small, so I was using those really small screwdrivers, which don't let you get much torque. I even used a wrench on the screwdriver to get more torque. Nothing...
So even though these were Philips head screws, I then tried a flat-head, partly because the heads of the screws were getting stripped. Wouldn't budge, until I used a wrench again -- then Bingo, they loosened.
So I manually threaded a Standard 8mm film in, and since there is no inching knob, I removed the back cover to turn the fan, which in turn moves the claw. I slightly adjusted the "stops" so the claw pin was centered in the film's sprocket hole. The pull-down looked fine, and when the pin entered and exited the holes, it did not touch the sides of the hole.
Now the trick would be to adjust it for Super 8, too, and find the sweet spot that would work for both gauges. This is a fundamental weakness of these dual-8 machines. I doubt that this was ever adjusted correctly at the factory for this particular machine. We are talking fractions of a mm tolerances here. This machine was in great shape when I got it (it still is), and the tightness of the screws, and what looked like intact green paint on them, leads me to believe that this was not a machine that was used much, nor monkeyed around with.
There are only one set of "stops" that can be adjusted -- one near the top of the gate, and one near the bottom. When you move the gauge-changing switch, the 2 "stops" both move. Adjusting the "stops" changes their position relative to the overall left side of the gate. It's confusing to try to describe, but simple to see in action. The bottom line is that you can't adjust the "stops" independently for each gauge, so you have to adjust them so they are in the correct position for each gauge after the whole left side moves. This is different than the Eumig 800 series dual-8s, where there is a separate gate for each gauge, which automatically positions the film so that the claw pin is in the right position. The B&H dual-8s that I have seen actually move the claw itself.
One of my favorite axioms in engineering design is that something should do basically one thing, and do it very well. Dual-8 machines try to do 2 things -- run Super 8 and Standard 8mm.
Another problem I have with dual-8 machines is the size of the claw's pin. It has to be small enough to fit Super 8. I believe a larger claw for Standard 8mm is better, given the larger sprocket holes. One of my theories for years was that was the reason why my Eumig 800 series did not run Standard 8mm well. But as I mentioned earlier, it turned out to be a bad gate. I still feel that a larger pin for Standard 8mm could certainly not hurt, and the dedicated Standard 8mm machines do have a larger claw pin.
Anyway, I decided to test with Standard 8 first, to see if my theory was finally correct. I figured I could re-adjust later for Super 8. So I put everything back together. I threaded up a film, and around the time it got to the gate, it stopped threading! What? You'll never guess what happened...the belt broke, lol. Just my luck. Well, I ordered a new one and will have to wait.
Now, I have received machines with broken belts, or belts that have turned to goo. On machines that I've had awhile, the worst that has happened was that the belt became too loose and the machine ran sluggishly. So I was surprised that this belt had just broke. Oh well.
At least I'm getting to know this machine better, and since Super 8 was running so smoothly (before my gate adjustments, of course), I'm optimistic that I can get this machine running in tip-top shape. So maybe it will live up to its reputation that I had heard about before I pruchased it. My priority for this machine is Standard 8mm, so I won't sweat it too much if I can't get both gauges to run properly.
It's kind of weird that although Standard 8mm has the larger sprocket holes, that it was this particular guage that was not running smoothly. You would think that it would have been Super 8 with the issues with its smaller sprocket holes. In other words, Super 8 requires tighter tolerances of the claw pin position than that of Standard 8mm in order to run correctly.