Some experience of dismantling cameras is assumed and some details may not be included.
Some of the pictures on this page were taken out of sequence so may not show the same state of the camera as mentioned in the text.
Dismantling the T981 isn't difficult - certainly in comparison to some other cameras. There are only two main assemblies - the main chassis with the shutter and the film advance mechanism and the front plate with the lens mount and rangefinder assembly. The top cover is in two parts and then the bottom cover and one front plate complete the covers.
The two main assemblies
The top cover parts
The top cover can either be removed as one assembly or just the rangefinder cover can be removed separately if access to the rangefinder is all that's required. To remove just the rangefinder cover, start by removing the film rewind knob. To do this, open the back of the camera and place something into the fork on the bottom of the rewind shaft to stop it rotating. Then unscrew the knob from the top of the shaft by rotating it clockwise (the knob uses a left hand thread). Note: The rewind shaft is made up of two short shafts geared together in the middle to create an offset. If the knob is very tight, pull the knob up to expose the top shaft then grip the shaft with a pair of grips. If you apply a lot of force to the knob with something in the fork at the bottom of the lower shaft, you will damage the gears that link the upper and lower shafts together.
Next remove the two screws at the top edge of the bezel surrounding the front viewfinder and rangefinder windows.
Then remove the screw that was under the rewind knob and the screw next to the flash shoe. The rangefinder cover can now be lifted off.
If you want to remove the complete top cover, remove the rewind knob as above, remove the film advance lever by unscrewing the pin faced screw clockwise (another left hand thread) and then remove the collet underneath.
Remove the shutter speed knob by unscrewing the screw in the centre of the knob (note the order and position of the parts under the knob for refitting later). Remove the slotted screw in the back of the top cover just below and to the right of the viewfinder, also the two small cross-head screws in the back of the cover.
Now remove the two near the bottom edge of the front of the cover and the two screws in the rangefinder cover as previously mentioned.
The cover can now be removed. Watch for the shutter release button falling out.
The bottom cover comes off easily with the removal of the three retaining screws. The bottom cover has to be removed first if the front plate assembly is to be removed as one of the retaining screws is under the edge of it. Watch for the rewind release button falling out when the bottom cover is removed.
To separate the two main assemblies, with the top and bottom covers removed, remove the front plate to the left of the lens mount. There are two different types of screws so note where they go for reassembly.
Now place a mark on the gears that couple the shutter speed dial to the shutter so that the two gears can be correctly synchronised when reassembling. Then remove the three screws that hold the ISO base plate (the plate under the shutter speed dial with the ISO potentiometer mounted on it) to the chassis.
Look out for the shutter release rod (blue arrow above) coming out as it will now be loose and it has a spring on it that will launch it into space. Note how it is fitted and then remove it.
Then remove the three screws at the front and one at the back to separate the front plate and rangefinder assembly from the chassis.
Before the two assemblies can be completely separated, a few wires will need to be desoldered. One is the blue flash sync lead coming from the shutter to the PCB on top of the rangefinder assembly, another is a black wire going to the metering switch located under the ISO base plate and the last one is the red wire going to the battery holder.