My Grandfather Clock has Stopped, Can I Fix It?
Posted on January 29, 2011 | By clockde | 79 responses
Everything was fine until we moved the grandfather clock, Now my Clock has Stopped.
While Grandfather clocks are misunderstood to be very fragile and delicate. Grandfather Clocks are actually very durable. When the grandfather clock is not working after a move, there are a few problems to look for that can be easily fixed.
1) Examine the dial on the grandfather clock and check to make sure the hands are not touching or hanging on any parts of the dial or second hand.
2) Check the leveling of the grandfather clock. There are 4 adjustable levelers on the bottom corner of most grandfather clocks.
3) Start the pendulum swinging with a mild push of the hand and make sure your pendulum is swinging freely and not touching the chime rods or weights.
4) Listen to the ticking of the grandfather clock to make sure you are hearing a very even “tick-tock”. Even space between the tick and the tock. If not, the clock is out of beat and needs to be corrected.
If your clock is a chain driven grandfather clock, the chains should be in the order as in the image.
If you listen to the clock just after you give the pendulum a push and notice that the clock is not tick tocking evenly, this means the clock is out of beat. The clock must have an even tick – tock – tick – tock.
If it is uneven, like tick/ tock — tick /tock — tick /tock … Read how to set your grandfather clock in beat to correct this. This is very common after a grandfather clock has been moved from one location to another.
If one of the above four steps do not seem to be the problem, It would be best to call in a pro. You may find a list of clock technicians at here.
If you are looking for new grandfather clocks, please click here.
79 responses on My Grandfather Clock has Stopped, Can I Fix It?
The grandfather clock weight chains should be in the order as seen in the image above.
It may be that your clock is not in beat. This happens often after moving a grandfather clock. After giving the pendulum a nice, wide swing, listen to the tick tock. It is probably uneven…like toc-tic……toc-tic, instead of tick–tock–tick–tock. If the clock is not level, this will also happen. You can find out how to make this adjustment at:
and also see the video:
This might do it for you.
Hi my clock starts ticking for a few minutes then stops after following your steps the only thing I notice is that the pendulum does start to twist round slightly when swinging which may be a problem I not sure if there is something missing as it doesn’t seem supported very well.
If your pendulum is swinging in an elliptical pattern, this can cause the clock to stop. Check your leveling first and if the leveling is good, it is probably a distorted suspension spring. It would need to be replaced. They are available at merritts.com.
This illistration was a great help to me. I purchased a herschede grandfather clock and the pendulum and extension was supplied but this illustration helped me to connect it all up correctly!!
THANK YOU FOR THIS!!!
My grandfather clock. Does’t chime any more but the clock is ok. I find the the middle hanging weight is going fast that the one the side ones. Even I notice the
The chime selection lever is too loose, and it does’t hold any more. It was fine all these years.The model #610-671.
Often times when the silencing option is enabled, the middle weight drops more quickly. It would seem that something has gone awry with this setting and I would recommend contacting a professional to take a further look.
I have a key wound grandfather clock it has a pendulum it stopped working after I wound it all the way up when i push the pendulum it only ticks on one side is there something we can do to fix it
If you clock is level and you are only hearing the tick on one side, setting the beat in the instructions about may solve your problem. You should start by moving the pendulum hanger in the direction where it should have ticked until you fell some resistance and then just a bit further in the direction…then try again. Sometimes it may take several times to get it right.
Two black wires like hanger thickness equidistant in length sticking out behind the pendulum. I hear one it might be clicking on one on the right. Our level showed level both front and side measures. It chimes at the qtr hour and ran about a minute or two and slowed and quit.
We moved it here from the warehouse where it was running for two weeks.
It chimed on the qtr when we first put it in our home yesterday, and ran a couple min. Tonight 24 hrs or more, it does the same thing.
It may be that your pendulum is hitting one of your chime rods on the right and stopping the pendulum. Look inside and see if the pendulum of your grandfather clock is moving without obstruction or possibly touching one of the chime rods. If it is, you might want to slightly increase the height of the back levelers and see if it will clear it. If it still touches the chime rod, the rod will be to be bent back to the pendulum may swing freely on your clock. Be careful not to break the chime rod. Hold the rod and slightly move it back and forth away from the pendulum area. The rods themselves do not bend as they are very brittle. They can snap off at the top if you are not careful.
I have a German grandfather clock from 1993. It stopped working 2 years ago and one of the hands is loose. What can I do? I have asked someone to check it and service it but he doesn’t show very much hope because it is so old.
Hi Kendra, If the grandfather clock was made around 1993, that is not really old for a grandfather clock. It should start working through making adjustments and not need rebuilding unless there is unusual excessive wear in the movement. You can go to:
and find a good tech in your area. The hands should tighten easily through a simple adjustment.
Good Luck, Robert.
I make the mistake of hold the weight up while winding the clock and now the is no tic-toc as the pendulum moves.
Hi Reggie..What has happened is your cable for the middle weight for your key wind grandfather clock is probably crossed. A crossed cable is where the cable is overlapping inside the cable drum and stopping the clock. You may get the clock to unwind by taking the pendulum off and letting it tick fast till the weight gets to the bottom. You might have to add about two finger pressure on the top of the middle weight to keep it going during this time. This usually takes a few hours for it to wind down. If it winds down all the way, you should be able to wind it up normally and place the pendulum back on and it may be fine. It not, you will need a technician to manually release to weight from inside.
Good Luck! Robert
Hi I just moved my clock in my suv, now the chime rods are in the way of the pendulum, it stops the pendulum from swinging, first are the chime rods suppose to be behind the pendulum or in front,
The pendulum swings between the chime rods and the weights. My guess is the grandfather clock is not level in its new home. The levelers on the bottom back need to extend to slightly raise the back so the pendulum will not touch the chime rods.
Just bought a reproduction wind up grandfather clock.
It was fully wound when bought .got it all leveled out .but pendulum swings for 5 to 20 minutes and stops.
Take pendulum off and clock tick-tocks.
Going mad here tried all sorts so disappointed
If the clock is running without the pendulum attached, it sounds like the pendulum is touching either the chime rods behind the pendulum or the weights in front of the pendulum. This might be caused by the front to back leveling of the grandfather clock. If the back is too high, the pendulum will drag on the weights and stop the clock. If the front is too high, it will drag on the chime rods. Also, check for an even tick tock with the pendulum attached.
I bet it is dragging on the weights or chime rods.
hello- my neighbor’s Rridgeway rod-chime grandfather clock stopped running after he accidentally pulled the weight up too tight. I ran the side weights down by manually exercising the minute hand around the dial to let it chime on the quarter hours and hour. After a few turns around the dial, the side weights are about 2” down and swing freely. I also took the pendulum off, and manually exercised the pendulum hanger enough so that the center weight is about 1/2″ down and it too swings freely. Regardless, the pendulum hanger will not run by itself even with the pendulum off. [Normally I would expect the pendulum hanger to tick tock back and forth rapidly without the pendulum attached.]
Pleas help; Any advice you can offer would be welcome.
Hi..this is really hard to determine without being in front of the grandfather clock. You were doing the right things to bring the weights down. My guess is that the clock is out of beat. If the clock is getting power from the weight, the hanger should move back and forth quickly. Try setting the beat with the pendulum off.
My Howard Miller Grandfather Clock, Model 610-317, No. 185 Triple Chime Cable Driven Movement, was purchased in 1990 and moved to my home in 2008. It has worked perfectly. Within the last month, the grandfather clock has stopped working with the pendulum is striking the weight on the right side. (Looking straight into the clock front.) The pendulum appears to be “warped” as only the right side is striking the right weight; the left side of the pendulum is missing the left weight by one inch. Nothing has changed, no one has bumped or hit the clock, temperatures are the same, etc. Can you gently bend the pendulum without breakage? Please advise. Thanks so much,
Hello Sandy…Something had to have physically caused the pendulum to change position. You can easily hold an upper section of the pendulum and with your other hand hold the pendulum “bob” (the round part) and it will easily twist back to the position where it should be. You want the pendulum bob to be about the same distance from each side to the back of the clock. Make sure the pendulum is not touching the weights or the chime rods. It is best to use two paper towels or gloves as not to handle the pendulum with your bare hands. This should work easily for you.
hi My clock will stop while I am away for two weeks (no one to look after it). Is it best to let the weight get to the bottom after its 8 day cycle, or am I best to stop the clock with the weights at the top and restart on my return. Obviously trying to avoid any damage to the mechanism.
The best practice when you find you are going to be away from the clock and not able to wind it is to stop the pendulum the morning when you leave. For example, stop the pendulum before you leave that given day say at 7:00 AM. The next morning after you return, simply start the pendulum at the same time as when you stopped it. 7:00 AM in this example. This way you will not have to reset the time and the clock will run as if you never left. If your clock does have a moon dial, you might want to advance the moondial the number of days you were gone if you wish to keep the lunar phase display accurate.
If one allows the weights to go all the way to the bottom and the clock stops it will not damage the clock, however, the hour count may count the wrong hour. If this happens:
This is a quick way to fix that incorrect hour count on your mechanical grandfather clock chimes the wrong hour.
For example, let’s say it is really 2:00 and your clock chimes 5 times to count the hour.
Your grandfather clock dial says it is one time but the grandfather clock chimes another hour?
There is a simple fix for this issue if your grandfather clock is striking the wrong hour.
1) When your grandfather clock strikes the next hour, count the number of strikes.
2) Move only the shorter hour hand to the number on the dial that you just counted when the clock chimed.
(If your hour hands don’t want to move, be careful as not to bend it. It is held on only by friction and if never moved before, it may be frozen on the shaft**)
The clock chime is now in sync with the hour count…but the time on the dial is now wrong.
3) Set the time on the grandfather clock using the minute hand to the correct time where you are located.
Now your clock is chiming properly indicating the correct hour.
If my clock stops working well could it be dust? If so can I clean it? I don’t want it moved.
Hi Jay….A good technician can remove the movement from the case and do a light cleaning on the premises. If the movement is gummed up with old oil, it probably will need an ultrasonic bath. The tech could take the movement and clean it at the shop without having to move the clock. Good Luck! Robert
Pulled pendulum chain weight too high and seems to be in a bind ?? Pendulum has stopped …… how can I release or get the chain/weight down to fix this issue.
You can try taking off the pendulum from the grandfather clock and gently moving the pendulum hanger where you removed the pendulum back and forth just enough to hear a tick at each side. If you do this a for a few minutes, the weigh may lower enough to run on its own.
I got my pendulum swinging in sync after a half hour of fiddling with it. So far so good, thanks for the great advice. Saved me $150.00 that my clock guy charges to come out here in the country.
I am glad this worked for you and saved you some money.
I’m at my wits end with my clock. It sat in my parents house, not running, for 10+ years.
We recently moved it to my house and upon inspecting it, I discovered that the suspension spring was broken.
I replaced the spring but the clock still won’t work. I’ve done some research and have walked myself through the basic repair steps to get it working again, to no avail.
Do you have any suggestions?
Thanks so much.:)
When a grandfather clock has not run for many years, the oils in the clock become very thick which will cause the clock not to run. It is hard to say what specifically is causiong the grandfather clock not to run without seeing the clock but I have seen many that would not run when they have been left unused for many years. I would suggest getting a tech to remove all the old oil and clean it…then oil it with a good clock oil.
We moved our grandfather clock cross the room ourselves the clock runs but it won’t chime and the only weight that moves is the center weight any suggestions
The weight in the middle runs the clock and the other two power the chimes. Either your chimes are turned off or they are jammed. When the chimes are turned off, the two outside weights are not used.
We double-checked and the chimes are turned on. How do we un-jam them?
You can sometimes free them up by taking the minute hand and go backwards for about 3 hours. If you hear any chimes stop and let them complete. Then move the minute hand forward and stop at each quarter-hour when you hear a click. Let the chime complete and proceed to the next quarter-hour until you arrive at the correct time. This may or may not work.
Also…if you took off your weights when you moved the clock, make sure they are back as they were. They are probably labeled on the bottom and the heaviest weight goes on the right to run the chimes. If this doesn’t work, it might be time to find a tech.
We moved an electric grandfather clock pendulum we swing it and it slows down and stops the weights are just for looks we put all new batteries in it. If we move the hands it will chime but the pendulum will not keep swinging so it does not keep time, any help will be much appreciated
Usually when the pendulum stops on a battery-operated clock after moving it is because of improper leveling in its new location. Most of the time it is a front to back leveling issue. Make sure your adjustable levers under each corner are fully retracted and then try it again. I bet it will work for you then.
Good Luck, Robert
Ref: my post on three weights at the same height-
Howard Miller did not return my call so I called another Clock service Company. This is what they suggested and it worked.
To bring the two side weight down, swing pendulum move minute hand every 15 minutes to 15, 30, 45 and 60 positions and by applying pressure to right weight make the clock chime making sure pendulum swings and even beat us heard. Continue doing about a dozen times. Both side weights keep coming down and finally, the mechanism takes over.
My clock will slow down after an hour or so then stop. The clock has not been move for many years and until the last 2 weeks has been running perfectly. What is wrong?
If your clock stops erratically or the same every time, on older grandfather clocks it is an indication of improper oiling / cleaning or a bent or jammed part inside. These are not user corrections as the hands, dial and other parts have to be removed to reach that area. There are two parts called a rack and snail which may also be bent, jammed or stuck that cause your issue.
You will need a technician to repair as it is not a user adjustment. You may find a list of technicians in your area at:
They will be able to fix this for you.
When looking the right and left weights on the grandfather clock in do you look at the grandfather clock from the front or the back.
The Left, Center and Right weights of the grandfather clock are identified looking at them from the front of the grandfather clock.
Facing the grandfather clock:
Left weight – Powers the Hour Count
Middle Weight – Powers the clock
Right Weight – Powers the Chime melody.
Thanks for the suggestion to listen to the ticking of the clock and make sure it’s even, since it needs to be corrected if it’s out of beat. My husband and I have an antique grandfather clock that we had to move to our new home recently, and we really want to keep it in good condition because it belonged to his parents. I’m glad I read your article because listening to the clock on a regular basis should give us a good idea of whether the clock needs to be repaired!
Hi Daphne…I am glad you found the information useful. It is still a good idea to have your grandfather clock cleaned and oiled at least every 5- 7 years. Reduce the friction by oiling and you will reduce the wear on the movement. Robert
I just purchased a grandfather clock with a Kieninger movement. The clock is leveled and runs but it stops about 25 of the hour. Any suggestions? In transporting it we lost the pendulum extender. Does this piece have to be replaced? Isn’t its purpose only to increase the length of the pendulum visually in the clock case? If this extender needs to be replaced I am having a difficult time finding a source. Thanks for any help.
The grandfather clock cannot run correctly without the pendulum hanger. This part is responsible for moving the first gear which makes everything else work. The length is important as well or your grandfather clock will never maintain the correct time. The longer the pendulum, the slower the clock will run. The shorter the pendulum, the faster the clock will run. I probably looked something like this:
It hangs from the top.
Look again in the very bottom of the clock and maybe it will be hiding in the bottom.
I need to replace my pendulum spring, who can point me in the right direction?
You can find just about every style of suspension spring for your grandfather clock at:
They offer all the parts for your grandfather clock. Be sure to go through the catalog and find what you need instead of calling. They will not know what will fit your clock by brand.
Hi, my grandfather clock works perfectly till the hour chime weight gets about halfway down then the hour chime stops, the quarter hour chime will continue till that weight gets to 3/4 down while the clock still continues. I have moved the large gear behind the cable drum by hand and the clock will chime as i put finger presure on the gear but the cable will not feed out as the clock chimes with my finger pressure moving the large gear. Any help appreciated.
Hi Mark, If this is a clock built in the last 30 or so years it sounds like there may be a “Crossed Cable”. This is where the cable is crossing another cable on the drum. Newer clocks have a “release” on the drum where you take off the weight, press the release and you can then pull the pulley down. I can
t explain where it is as it rotates around with the drum. Pocking around the drum while the weight is on could result in the weight falling through the floor of the clock. I would suggest a tech to fix it for you. It should not take a lot of time.
Hi I took off my pendulum to learn how to adjust it and now it stops after about 15 minutes.
This can easily happen when trying to re-attach the pendulum. It is probably “out of beat”. Please see the instructions at:
Thank you for your invaluable help – my clock kept stopping and just needed resetting and works perfectly now- brilliant
i moved my grandfather clock, the clock works well when i take the pendulum off, the beat is steady and it will run through the complete chain, the moon works, and the chimes are wonderful. But when i put the pendulum back on , it runs for a few but i can watch the swing reduce and then stop? any thoughts?
Hi Bradley..I would suggest taking a look at your leveling from front to back. Also, make sure your pendulum is straight from top to bottom. If the pendulum has a slight lean forward it can touch the weights and stop the clock. If it is slightly leaning backward it may touch the chime rods and also stop the pendulum. Make sure you are also getting an even tick-tock when the pendulum is moving. If it does not you may need to set the beat of the clock. Good Luck!
Followed the advice given really useful information mine stopped after moving no joy but then sprayed at top inside where pendulum starts it’s now working much to annoyince of my partner can’t thank you guys enough
I have a 1970s grandfather clock. The pendulum, dials, and chimes work, however the chimes are acting funny. When the clock strikes the hour the chimes do not count the hour, instead, the Westminster chime continues to repeat and play for 15 minutes (right before quarter-hour). Then it stops for about a minute and when the hand hits exactly on the quarter-hour mark it plays until right before the half-hour. Then on the half-hour, it continues to repeat for another fifteen minutes and the pattern continues. Why is this happening and why are the chimes playing the exact same thing on each quarter.
I have a similar issue with my 70’s Grandfather Clock. It’s keeping good time, chimes on the quarter hour but the hourly chime is triggered at 15 minutes after the hour….every time.
I have a Howard Miller Grand father Clock I bought new 30 yrs ago. The time gains 12 minutes a day, I have lowered the Pendulum so far down that it started to come apart . I replaced the suspension spring with a new one but it still gains about 10 to 15 minutes a day , can you help ?
It seems like the center weight is not moving down as it should. When I manually push the pendulam to start the clock, it runs well for apporximately 5 minutes then stops. I repeat this several times thru out the day and the weight doesn’t seem to go down at all Any suggestions? thx
I have a grandfather clock that sat for 15yrs. without working. I removed the movement and did a light cleaning and oiling. I got it working for a few days but it was slow even with the pendulum adjusted all the way up. Now it has stopped and won’t restart. It doesn’t tick and the top gear doesn’t turn even when I give the pendulum a good swing. Any ideas what could be wrong?
The Hermle works in my clock has started stopping after 6 to 7 minutes. The clock will run with the heavy weight (chime Wt) on the clock chain. Assume it needs to be cleaned. >25 yrs old> Will I damage the clock using the heavy weight for now?
hello my howard miller 1161-853 stops running after i hung the chime weight on it. i remove it then it runs for days on end without skipping a beat. any input would be helpfull
What can I do to get the minute hand unstuck? It won’t move forward to set the clock. It’s like stuck, which has stopped the clock. Thanks.
lots of good advice above as i read all of them. we have a Ridgeway that were were given for a Christmas present 45 years ago. the moon phase still works and so do the optional chime notes. the clock works flawlessly but runs fast now and has for just over a year. i turned the screw down to the very bottom and it helped but still runs fast. any suggestions?
I accidentally let my weights run all the way down and my pendulum stopped so the clock stopped. I rewinded the 3 weights , the clock is working but it no longer chimes? Not even when I move the minute hand clockwise. The clock is not in silence either. How do I get my chimes to start again?
If I apply pressure to the weight my clock will tick and run, when I let go it slowly stops ticking. (yes I have the weights in the correct order).
I have attempted to adjust the beat on my 50 year old Ridgeway grandfather clock. I have made sure the clock is plumb and level. I have followed the recommended process to get the beat correct. What I am finding once I get close to a proper beat the suspension goes into a high speed oscillation. This comes and goes. I have replaced the suspension spring with no change. Needless to say I still have been unable to get the clock going. I have lubricated the mechanism with the proper clock oil.
My grandfather clock works great until 12:00 then we have to restart it.
My grandfather clock which is at least 100 years old stops at 1.40 all the time I nudge the pendulum and it works perfectly again until 1.40 then stops I have used clock oil still stops .Any advice Thanks
I cannot say anything more than I have said
I have read all the problems put to you including but cannot see any advice from you ,don’t you give advice or solution tips
The Howard Miller grandfather clock I inherited has stopped ticking altogether. Previously the pendulum had been ticking unevenly, and that was addressed. Last week I accidentally nudged the pendulum while lifting the weights and now there is no “tick-tock” sound at all. Could this be something mechanical behind the face, such as a missed or broken connection between the pendulum’s support and the rest of the gears?
I have a Grandfather clock that has stopped and will not work, I removed the pendulum and still no tick tock, doesn’t work at all?
This may sound like a stupid question but when you recommend to move the hands of a grandfather clock(in my case it is a Howard Miller clock) can the hands be moved in either direction and does that apply to both hands?
Could you please point me in the direction of a Ramcraft G.father clock movement replacement .(purchad in TN. in the 1980’s.) Clock technician said it needs a new movement, but…..of course, Ramcraft, is no longer made. Please advise, as it it still has a lovely face, pendulums /chains look like new, and the ‘wormy’ chestnut casing is still looking lovely after all these years. Help, plesase!
My good friend and clock maker, Harry Pond, passed away this time last year. Harry and I invested much time, effort and money in restoring many time pieces. I’m looking for someone who still loves clocks as much as I do in the Charlottesville VA area and wants to share the love of clocks to all.
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