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I just got this Kobalt router and router table combo from Lowe's. Since I am new to using a router, I thought this would be a good place to start. When I started using it to made some rails and stiles, everything worked great, but now there is an issue with the depth adjustment and I am not sure how to fix it.

There is a hex wrench that you can drop into a hole on the table that lines up with the depth adjustment screw so you can raise and lower the bit. When I turn it to lower, it goes down smoothly, but when I turn it to raise, there is a lot of resistance, and when you get a quarter turn done, it skips, then falls down more than it was raised. Does that mean the router or the housing is defective, or is there something that I can adjust to get it to work again?

Here is a video if the description I gave isn't doing it for you.

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There are gears that the adjustment carriage rides on, and you have loosened things too much and the gears aren't properly engaged, and they are slipping.

Because the entire mass of the router is riding on these gears it is typical with routers mounted upside-down like this that you have to support the body of the router by hand when adjusting up. And the adjustment isn't quite a binary locked/unlocked arrangement. I suspect you have to back off the lock enough to allow free movement of the gears, but not so loose that they skip teeth. Some routers have a positive lock that you engage after you've adjusted the depth with or without an adjustable gear arrangement.

Also, note that there is a different between coarse and fine adjustment. You would adjust your coarse depth to a "0", and then use the fine adjustment to get your final depth. I suspect the coarse adjustment is the one that needs that sweet spot between locked and loose enough to turn without skipping gear teeth. Check your owner's manual to be sure.

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I had the same issue. It was not the worm gears. My plunge was getting into a bind and caused some wear marks on the router which was causing the issue. I used my Dremel and lightly sanded down some of the groves caused from the plunge. Then used white grease to lubricate the router and works great again.

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  • Hi, welcome to StackExchange. I've edited your Answer to make it about your router (is to was) and +1 on that basis. You can't know that the same thing underlies the OPs similar issue as this sort of thing can have multiple causes, but your experience is a valuable contribution either way.
    – Graphus
    Dec 11, 2020 at 9:14
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This seems to be a common issue with the Kobalt router the OP purchased. When you press the course adjustment you compress a spring which releases the interlocking gears connecting the worm gear of the fine adjustment knob and the linear gear on the router. When you are not pressing the button the spring keeps the two locked. What happens is that the friction between the router and base (you can probably see wear marks on the machined router barrel), becomes too much and overcomes the spring, causing it to give and the router to drop a small amount. As it drops the pressure is relieved and the spring reengages the two gears.

As suggested, you can lubricate the portion of the router that is sliding against the base to reduce fiction and resolve the issue. Instead of using white grease I would recommend a dry lube spray as this is a wood working tool. I use 3-In-One RV care Window and Track Dry Lube.

Just for reference the router/table model is #K11RTA-03, and the model of the router is 1311.3. This is Kobalt item #0857432.

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    Your explanation seems to match up with what others have said and adds detail, thanks for providing that. It seem sad, though, that this much wear seems to have happened on what was, essentially, a brand new router that the OP had purchased. It seemed that this happened to him nearly right out of the box.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 14 at 12:30
  • They certainly have a bit of a flawed design. With all the lift/support during fine adjustment being provided by a single point by what I called a linear gear (the correct name is rack and pinion) the router is inevitably going to tilt slightly and drag on the opposite side. Luckily the wear on the router body appears to only be cosmetic, and lubrication seems to restore the height adjustment function.
    – denver
    Jan 14 at 14:26

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