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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to put a steel housing by Ed Brown into my 1991 Series 80. I'm handy and have a Browning main housing spring punch, and several small pin pushers for the pin that holds the spring in place. I've seen videos using a rubber band to hold the grip safety closed. Is this an easy fix or do I need a gunsmith?

Also, can I clean and regrease the spring and the inside of the housing?
 

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I have removed and/or replaced a number of the Mainspring Housings and the job is very easy.....IF the new Housing does fits correctly. Some of them I have to file the Slide portion of the Housing to get them to fit, but this is no major issue if you file correctly. Just be carefull with the little Pin that holds the Spring in; they tend to get lost easy. Don't ask now I know about losing small pins, LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have removed and/or replaced a number of the Mainspring Housings and the job is very easy.....IF the new Housing does fits correctly. Some of them I have to file the Slide portion of the Housing to get them to fit, but this is no major issue if you file correctly. Just be carefull with the little Pin that holds the Spring in; they tend to get lost easy. Don't ask now I know about losing small pins, LOL!
Thanks. I've noticed from several reviewers of the Ed Brown housing that it's truly drop-in.
 

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I installed an Ed Brown mainspring housing on a '76 manufacture Gold Cup I recently got. It's a pretty straightforward job. The Ed Brown housing is a quality piece and it fits perfectly.

You can clean the spring and inside the housing if you want.

The biggest thing is to be careful that the sear spring doesn't pop out of place and you make sure the hammer strut is properly centered in the cup.
 

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Thanks. I've noticed from several reviewers of the Ed Brown housing that it's truly drop-in.
One of the nicest ones available. I like the flat smooth one and they go in no fitting, which is more then I can say about Wilson Combat which needs some fitting to the grip safety. I bought a Les Baer mainspring housing and it was cast, required a lot of fitting and the hole didn't line up with the frame.
 

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Wilson Combat does make some nice stuff but rarely is it as drop-in as they say. Semi drop-in would be more accurate. There are so many 1911 pistols being made by so many companies that manufacturing tolerances aren't consistent...it's no mystery why so many parts aren't as drop-in as you might think.
 
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The change should be an easy job as stated above. It's getting the retaining pin in for the spring where you'll need a vice and possibly another hand. Assemble everything in a padded vice, push down compressing the spring and fit the pin to hold it together. They don't come assembled.
 

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The rubber band depressing the grip safety is a good tip, (though I use a velcro strap), if only changing the MSH.
Sounds like you're all set.
 

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Colt 1911 type pistols don't take grease. Use light oil. While it is of course, a matter of choice, the pistol was designed with oil in mind and Colt assembles them using oil. Not grease.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Colt 1911 type pistols don't take grease. Use light oil. While it is of course, a matter of choice, the pistol was designed with oil in mind and Colt assembles them using oil. Not grease.
Interesting to learn that. I use Mil-Comm grease on my pistols, an invisible film does the job everywhere, but I still oil springs and things that rotate. Will use oil on the spring.
 

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Wilson Combat does make some nice stuff but rarely is it as drop-in as they say. Semi drop-in would be more accurate. There are so many 1911 pistols being made by so many companies that manufacturing tolerances aren't consistent...it's no mystery why so many parts aren't as drop-in as you might think.
Most car guys laugh when an aftermarket part is advertised as "bolt on" (ever seen a set of exhaust headers that actually bolts right on?), and gun parts often need some tweaking as well. However, the problem is not necessarily the part, it can just as well be the gun being out of spec. Some custom part manufacturers take great pride in keeping the tolerances to a minimum, but if the gun manufacturer didn't you're screwed anyway. Also, many gunsmiths like to custom fit the parts, so some parts are purposely made to plus tolerances. These parts will almost always need some fitting, that's just the way they are made.
 

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I always used grease on the spring and top plunger of mainspring housings.
Oil works, but tends to dry out and run out the bottom, leaving the assembly dry.
Grease stays put and working for many years with no maintenance and gives smoother operation, and can actually lighten the trigger pull due to the smoother movement of the plunger and spring.

To change the housing is not complicated but it can be made easier as follows.......

Use a solvent to thoroughly clean the inside and out of the new housing. Use a toothbrush with a few drops of CLP Breakfree or another rust proofing lube to "scrub" the outside to prevent rusting. This will leave a thin coat of lube.

Get a small nail like a finishing nail and a block of wood.
Drive the nail into the block of wood so about 3/4 of an inch is sticking up and use a file to round off the nail head. Use a stone or wet or dry sand cloth to smooth the rounded head.

Remove the slide from the frame and lower the hammer ALL THE WAY down.
Wrap rubber bands or tape around the grip safety to keep it fully depressed.

Use a 1/8 inch punch to push out the housing retaining pin. You may need a light tap with a small hammer.
Remove the housing.

Put the old housing down over the nail with the nail entering the top of the housing.
Push down HARD to relieve the spring pressure and use a small punch or even a small nail to push out the plunder retaining pin.
Remove the two housing plungers and the spring.

Use a solvent to thoroughly clean the plungers and the spring.
Coat the spring and plungers with a very thin coat of CLP with the toothbrush to prevent rust. You want only the very thinnest coat.
Coat the spring and both plungers with a coat of a good grease.

Insert the new housing into the frame and check for correct fit. If fitting is needed use a fine cut file and do no more filing than absolutely needed to get a slip-fit into the frame.
Make sure the holes in the frame align with the hole in the housing. It's not unusual for cheaper housings not to have a hole bored straight and may not align with the frame holes.

Install the spring a plungers into the new housing and slide up and down a few times by hand to distribute the grease to the inside of the housing. Add a little more grease if you think it's needed.

Put the housing down over the nail in the block with the nail in the top plunger hollow and push down HARD.
Insert the small plunger retaining pin from the BACK (flat) side of the housing and push in fully with a small punch until the flanged end of the pin is flush with the housing.

Slide the housing into the frame and insert the housing retaining pin.
It makes no difference which side the hollowed end of the retaining pin is on which side, but the "default" is for the hollow end to be on the left side of the frame.
Push the retainer in fully until it's flush with the frame. Again, a tap with a small hammer may be needed to get it started in against spring pressure.

Remove the tape or rubber bands from the frame and check for full and free movement of the grip safety.
Cock the hammer and lower it slowly by hand a few times to check for proper and free movement of the hammer.

Reassemble the slide to the frame and do a full function check to insure everything is operating correctly and smoothly.
 
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