How to install the 1911 plunger spring enhancement - to fix FTE
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default How to install the 1911 plunger spring enhancement - to fix FTE

    This post is intended to describe one way to install the additional plunger spring to fix the FTE problems which some M series pistols experience. The details of the where and why of doing this and the good results obtained are scattered elsewhere throughout the club website - my intention is to document a method which I was finally successful using after much trial and error and error and error. The secret for me was clamping the slide in a vise so I could use both hands.

    Tools and setup -
    You will need smallish bladed screwdriver to remove the extractor. Additionally I found it useful to also have a very thin bladed jeweler's tool type screwdriver to leverage and compress the plunger assembly - the thinner it is the easier the job will be, but it cannot be too narrow or the rounded plunger will find a way to cam itself around. I also found it very useful to use a thin wedge of wood to push the extractor in during the end process - there is a lot of force needed and the skin on my poor old thumb just did not like trying to push on the sharp side of the ejector. I think perhaps a piece of dowel could serve the same purpose - the idea is to use something so you cano push with maximum effort without the pain of the extractor pushing back and digging into your skin. And finally, the real secret is to clamp the slide - be sure that your clamp is surrounded by a plastic bag because it is a matter of when, not if, the springs fly. So with the slide in a vise, in a bag - you are ready to go....

    1. Follow the tutorial instructions on how to remove the extractor. The plunger assembly sits behind the extractor.
    2. Clean the channel, spring, etc.
    3. Leaving the plunger/plunger spring together, insert the 1911 plunger spring into the existing factory plunger spring and note the amount the 1911 spring protrudes. You are going to remove whatever protrudes by cutting the 1911 spring so that it sits flush with the factory plunger spring.
    4. Before you re-insert the plunger assembly, play with the extractor and slide so you understand how these go together. Notice the angle of the face on the rear of the extractor. This will help you understand the proper angle to take when forcing the ejector.
    5. Using as thin a screwdriver as will do the job, compress the plunger assembly by leveraging the screwdriver into the hole in the slide where the ejector will eventually need to go. Compress the spring as much as you can.
    6. While holding the plunger assembly fully compressed begin inserting the ejector. The ejector will only go as far in the slot as the screwdriver will allow, since the screwdriver is being pushed by the plunger assembly toward the front.
    7. Align the ejector and PUSH the ejector into the hole with maximum effort using your thumb-saving tool. As you push the ejector towards the rear, you will need to slightly moderate the pressure of the compressing screwdriver so that the ejector will push into the retaining hole.
    8. Push the ejector very hard, holding the correct angle, and at the same time pull the screwdriver out so that the ejector will be holding the plunger compressed.
    9. If all your angles are right and your effort is sufficient the ejector will pop into place. If not, likely some springs are going to fly around. aren't you glad you used the bag..dust off and try it again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Daytona Beach FL


    good write up!

    Sent by an angry bird pecking on my Samsung Infuse.

    GB 9mm M9-A1 M40-A1 M357
    "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship."
    Alexander Fraser Tytler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Re: How to install the 1911 plunger spring enhancement - to fix FTE

    Excellent write-up!
    CZ 75B SA - .40
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    Sako Forrester .308

    Any government official who knowingly violates the first ten Amendments to the Constitution, or the 13th Amendment should be sentenced to life in prison, or death, if individuals are killed during the comission of the crime.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009


    Thanks for this post. I was researching this very topic last night.

    One of the questions I also had was which spring is it and where to get it? I found the link below in another thread. I saw other links to a kit, but I don't thing I need to buy a whole kit.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Re: How to install the 1911 plunger spring enhancement - to fix FTE

    I purchased the 1911 plunger spring from Midway - they had a 2 spring special and I thought since most of the cost was shipping anyway, and knowing my history of needing to do a reset should I bungle the spring shortening, it would be a better move to get 2.

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