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Message Board > Sewing Machines > singer 401a - can't get it off straight stitch ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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singer 401a - can't get it off straight stitch
XoDiViAoX
XoDiViAoX
Member since 3/6/10
Posts: 3
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Date: 3/6/10 10:26 PM

i've recently obtained a singer 401a that belonged to an elderly woman that had to be put in an assisted living facility. It sews a beautiful straight stitch, but no matter what selector setting I use, I can't get it to change... I get a straight stitch every time, I've even tried changing cams... It has the manual with it, I tried following the instructions but still come up with the same thing.

Since I know there are some experienced users in here, does that mean something internal to do with the switch selector is probably broken, or could I be doing something wrong?

misschris
misschris
AUSTRALIA
Member since 2/3/06
Posts: 1503
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In reply to XoDiViAoX


Date: 3/6/10 11:00 PM

Are the selector knobs turning smoothly? The inside knob pulls out and the outer knob pushes in.
These machines sometimes jam up if they're not oiled. Try oiling it with sewing machine oil or tri flow, not WD40 or 3 in 1. Give it a day or two and if it still isn't working, oil again. You could try applying some heat (a hairdryer is good) to the area.

------
chris

Melbourne

Betakin
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Betakin
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AZ USA
Member since 4/22/04
Posts: 7282
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In reply to XoDiViAoX


Date: 3/6/10 11:20 PM

I don't know this machine but if it has different needle postions like left, middle and right..on some machines I found that selectors would not work unless the machine is set in the center or middle needle postion.
I hope you get it figured out.

Soolip
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Soolip
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CA USA
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Subject: singer 401a - cant get it off straight stitch Date: 3/6/10 11:55 PM

Sure it's a 401 and not a 403? Just checking.

XoDiViAoX
XoDiViAoX
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Posts: 3
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Date: 3/7/10 0:31 AM

I just got it today, I haven't oiled it yet, which was probably stupid since it probably hasn't been used in 15 years or so, I didn't sew on it too much, just testing it out for a few minutes, hopefully i didn't do any damage, but the selector knobs doesn't turn good at all, especially the one that selects the letters on the right side if your facing it, i have to turn the one on the left and wiggle it a lot before i can get the other one to move and vice versa, thanks for the advice i've got the manual and everything with it and it tells where to oil it so i'm going to take it apart and oil it tomorrow i hope i can get all the stitches working

it's not a 403, its a 401a

misschris
misschris
AUSTRALIA
Member since 2/3/06
Posts: 1503
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In reply to XoDiViAoX


Date: 3/7/10 1:50 AM

I've got a 411g and couldn't move the knobs at all when I first got it. It took about a week of oiling, heating and jiggling before I got any movement. Keep moving them without too much force, the oil will eventually work it's way through and free the mechanism up. Take the top off the machine so you can see where you need to oil, the recommended oiling spots won't give you enough in the right place to fix this.

------
chris

Melbourne

Betakin
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Betakin
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AZ USA
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In reply to XoDiViAoX


Date: 3/7/10 1:58 AM

Maybe try taking a blow dryer to the knob and warm it up a bit and see if it unsticks.

XoDiViAoX
XoDiViAoX
Member since 3/6/10
Posts: 3
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In reply to misschris


Date: 3/7/10 11:16 PM

thank you all, i oiled it today with some singer sewing machine oil and i finally got it to do some zig zag and stuff, but it only does the patterns if i adjust the knob on the right up towards "fine" ... if i set it down to "7" at the bottom is only does straight stitches no matter what i have the selector settings on, ... misschris, does yours do this as well, or will it do the patterns when it's adjusted as low as it will go on 7?

thanks

bigsis
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bigsis
Member since 7/19/06
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Date: 3/8/10 5:08 AM

If the machine has been sitting unused I recommend taking it in to have it "Professionally cleaned internally"
It definately sounds all gunked up and that has to go SOMEWHERE and you dont want to run it like that anyway, thats to hard on the brushes on the motor.
Once you have it cleaned/serviced you will be able to keep it oiled and running smooth and will have only invested a small amount for a lifetime machine!!! It is well worth it and very cheap really!!! Hope this helps!

ElizabethDee
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ElizabethDee
Advanced Beginner
NY USA
Member since 12/27/06
Posts: 710
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Date: 3/9/10 6:59 PM

I agree with BigSis that your 401a needs a good cleaning -- but let me add that you can do it yourself pretty easily. I would not consider myself very mechanical, and I got a semi-frozen, none-too-clean 401a purring and gleaming. Very rewarding!

One of the great things about the mechanical Singers is that you really can fix them yourself and maintain them pretty easily. These are machines that I don't mind lending or sharing, whereas I am the world's most selfish person when it comes to my Pfaff 2038.


If you have even the tiniest interest, check out the Vintage Singers group on Yahoo. You will find very complete information in the archives, and if you need any help, you will find the real experts.

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