Brother MFC-665CW Unable To Print 51 Error – Solved

The following article covers a fault found with the Brother MFC665CW that causes an Unable to Print 51 error.

After some quick Google research I discovered that no one seemed to have an idea of what causes this fault and a number of forums claiming that a purge counter reset would fix it. Seeing that the purge counter causes an Error 47 (from memory) that seemed unlikely. An Error 51 is a problem with the cleaning unit and can be caused by paper or foreign objects getting stuck in the path of the carriage or the cleaning unit itself.

So some good old fashioned tech work was required.  First off with all the covers, then I reconnected the scanner and keyboard in a way that allowed me to observe the printer and all moving parts during start-up. It was quickly apparent that the cleaning unit (right hand side) wasn’t getting drive. From there is was easy to trace the gears back to the cause of the problem.


As the picture shows, the gear that transfers the drive to the cleaning unit had split and was spinning on the shaft instead of providing drive. My easy fix was to use some high end hard plastics glue that also sticks to steel and glue the gear to the shaft. After the glue had dried for 30 mins – no more error 51.

I expect it would be possible to diagnose and perform this fix with out removing any covers.  JUST BE CAREFUL NOT TO GLUE THE GEAR TO ANY BUSHINGS OR OTHER GEARS.

This is likely to be similar to other Brother printer models that take the LC57 ink cartridge (DCP130C, DCP330C, DCP350C, DCP540CN, DCP560CN, MFC240C, MFC440C, MFC465CN, MFC5860CN, MFC685CW, MFC885CW).

Easyink Support has written 83 articles

27 thoughts on “Brother MFC-665CW Unable To Print 51 Error – Solved

  1. Dave G. says:

    Thank you for writing this article. The gear on my MFC-440cn was cracked just like yours. Gluing it to the shaft solved the problem.

    1. Andrea says:

      Hi, I also have the brother 440cn and I noticed I can slide off that same gear with no resistance. Must this be attached to the metal shaft, ie, NOT slide off? If that is the case, will gorilla glue help?


      1. Easyink Support says:

        Hi Dave

        Not sure with the 440cn but I would guess that it should be attached.
        If the gear is split that would be a good indicator that it is meant to be fixed to the shaft.

  2. Michael Arthur says:

    My MFC-440 had the same error message of unable to print 51. I tried all the other supposed solutions with no success. Even took it to the repairers. Your information was spot on. Once I applied the glue to the crack and let it dry, and switch the machine on, success. Thank you.

  3. yank23 says:

    Awesome post.. Kudos to you!! Was able to verify this was an issue with power off could move white gear ( gently ) with indexfinger and metal roller didnt move. worked like a charm on mfc-665cw without any deconstruction, just open cover, sloowwly slide white gear to right just a few millimeters to expose metal, few drops of krazyglue precision tip applicator, slide gear back, few minutes to set, power on –works! Note his warning to not get sloppy and glue together any other components. I’m sure this would be 75$ at a repairshop…thanks!

  4. Translation-Interpreter says:

    I too searched any possibility of repair options online before heading to a manufacturer endorsed service shop. I applaud your hard work in not only finding the root of the problem, but also how to repair and maintain it. Just cannot thank you enough for contributing to our daily work efficiency. 4 days of printing backlog recovered in a matter of minutes. For FREE. Priceless in every way. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  5. Pablo says:

    Thanks a lot, best regard from chile, i always try to repair those machines first, the printer has only 1300 copies , and brother technical service tells me it was not repairable and buy a new.

  6. John Corzine says:

    I worked for a week trying to solve my error 51 problem. Sure enough, my white gear was split. A little superglue on the shaft and push the gear over the glue and all is fixed. The MFC-240C is a great little all-in-one, and to have it scrapped for this simple problem is wrong. Thanks so much for finding it. by the way, upon first looking at this printer, I right away noticed the loose gear and never thought to look for a crack in it.

  7. Mark says:

    Many thanks for posting this. My MFC 440CN developed exactly this problem. The only thing was that it happened the night before I had to submit some very important paperwork, literally couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
    However your article saved the day and I was up and running again within 10 minutes of seeing your article. I had to use superglue as that was all I had, however I may go back with a more suitable glue.

    Many many thanks

  8. Paul says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. My Brother MFC 440CN — which has been a wonderful and reliable printer — wouldn’t print and gave me the Unable To Print 51 code. It turned out that my gear was cracked, just like yours. I was able to open up the crack with a jewelers screwdriver and drizzle super glue into the crack and onto the shaft. Then I used a needle nose pliers to hold it closed for 1 minute. I let it sit for 1/2 hour and NOW IT WORKS! Thank you again. I really needed it to work today!

      1. Easyink Support says:

        Hi Lissa

        To see if that is the fault you have you should be able to view the gear with out taking it apart. Just a torch will be required.

  9. Phil Simon says:

    Thank you so much for the info. My gear wasn’t cracked but was spinning on the shaft. One drop of superglue on the shaft then slid the gear over it fixed it.
    Thanks again for sharing!

  10. Bill says:

    I can see the gear. It’s off the shaft. But off with the cover? How? Can’t see any screws that holds the cover.
    Thanks much, Bill B.

    1. Easyink Support says:

      Hi Bill

      I can’t remember if there where any screws but there will be clips. It would be a case of carefully trying to work it out as I don’t have that printer to check anymore.
      For a not handy/techy person I would recomend trying to apply the fix with the covers on as they can be quite tricky to remove.

  11. TJ says:

    Vielen vielen Dank! I too, like the previous people thought I had to buy a new printer. (My MFC 240C is 11 yrs. old). With your help, I was able to find and fix the the problem.

If you found this information useful, or have a question or suggestion, please comment below...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>