Ludwig Speed King repair


Junior Member
I have inherited an old Chicago style Ludwig Speed King that works well but I would like to know if it can be refurbished? I always liked how the springs compressed and there were two springs and not just one. Any help will be appreciated.


Senior Member
Do you know anyone that can make mine look like this? I watched some videos and I doubt that I can do the repairs myself.
Vincent Leef / Vitalizer Drums (formerly Polyphonic Drums) :

The above Blue Speed King was most likely done by him or Jesse Carraway / Drum Mechanix... the gentleman who previously did similar restorations and offered powder coating as an option.


Platinum Member
Do you know anyone that can make mine look like this? I watched some videos and I doubt that I can do the repairs myself.
Yeah ... Polyphonic/Vitalizer is the only one out there now, to my knowledge, doing the powder coating. Two other guys, on eBay right now, doing refurb. work.



Senior Member
I just wanted to share my photos and results from my Speed King Restore. I'll give the rundown of what I did:

-Took the foot board off and scrubbed it with a Gold (non-scratching) wire brush and CLR, rinsed with water, then did the same with Windex. Rinsed off again and towel dried. Surprisingly, the hinge at the base of the heel plate looked good, and the holes were not chewed or elongated.

-Took off the end caps (by using the rubber mallet trick) and the spring tension screws (with a lot of lube and strength!) and had to pry out the pistons/springs through the plaster (oops I mean old grease!) by inserting an awl at the piston hole where the axle is and tapping lightly with a hammer until they worked themselves out the bottom. I was able to finagle the bearings out was well, by tapping the "goalpost" with a rubber mallet until they worked themselves out. I put the end caps, bearings, pistons, springs and tension screws in a Snapple bottle filled with paint thinner and let it soak for 24 hours. I wiped away what gunk I could by hand first. Looked like Crisco shortening on the end caps at the axle!

-Took the "chassis" and poured Acetone (Nail Polish remover, but I made sure it was 100% Acetone with no weird ingredients) down the two empty piston shafts and chased it with a stiff bottle brush several times. I then soaked the entire chassis in a bucket of paint thinner, just enough to cover the whole thing and let it soak for 24 hours (yes, it's a lot of paint thinner, but well worth it). I did this and let it soak OUTSIDE! Nasty smelling stuff, and just a drop of paint thinner will make your whole house stink for days! Also, the freezing point of paint thinner is approximately -144 degrees Fahrenheit, so I didn't have to worry about it freezing.

-After 24 hours, I emptied the Snapple bottle into a wire/mesh strainer (like you would use for noodles) and meticulously scrubbed all parts with a wire brush, holding each part with needle nose pliers as I did so. Once they were all very clean, I refilled the Snapple bottle with fresh paint thinner and let them all soak again overnight. As far as the chassis goes, after 24 hours, I took it out, ran a bottle brush up and down the piston shafts several times, then put it back in the bucket to let it soak overnight.

-The next day, I drained the Snapple bottle and everything was very clean. I put them back in the bottle one more time with hot, soapy water, and then thoroughly rinsed and towel dried all the parts. I brushed the shafts of the chassis one more time for good measure and then took it out of the bucket and let it dry naturally outdoors. When it was dry, I brought it back in and used a small wire brush attachment for a Dremel or drill (See Photo 1 below) and ran that up and down the shafts a few times. I then thoroughly rinsed the chassis with hot, soapy water and towel dried it.

You can see from the photos how clean I was able to get everything, particularly the tops of the pistons. Re-assembly was easy. I put in the bearings, sprayed them with lubricant (I use Tri-Flow). I then put the pistons in, sprayed them liberally, put the springs in, sprayed them liberally, and then inserted the spring tension screws. Finally, I gave the bearings one last good spray and put the end caps back on. I then lubricated the heel plate of the foot board, and where the metal hook for the foot board attached to the chassis (anything that moves can eventually squeak!) and then worked it out like crazy. I wiped up the excess, put a brand new beater in, and she works like a dream. Amazing difference. I've always felt "meh" about Speed Kings in the past, but this one is now so smooth like butter, that I might enjoy playing this one! I'm letting sit on paper towels overnight to get any excess drainage, and then it will be gig worthy.

I'm glad I took the time to do this. It's 4000% better than it was when I got it a few weeks ago.

I hope this post helps you all in the future,



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