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Forum > Sewing Machines > Singer 401 repair ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Singer 401 repair
Does anyone have some wisdom?
Kiawe
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Kiawe
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Date: 2/24/13 8:01 PM

My Singer 401a is great at centered straight-stitching. But it has trouble swinging the needle bar to zig-zag or sew in the off-set positions. I down-loaded a repair manual and I've been working on it for a while.

I think I've isolated the problem to the lower "bushing", where the needle bar goes through the bottom of the face/head/whatever-it's-called. (So that would be the chin?) The bushing seems to be wound in really tight and jammed up in the "chin". My trouble is that I can't find a way to get a grip on the bushing to loosen it up. The manual says use a 1/2 inch wrench but there's no space for that.

Does anyone have any advice? Have you ever tried to adjust the bushing?

karen149
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karen149  Friend of PR
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In reply to Kiawe <<


Date: 2/24/13 8:29 PM

Take the lid off, oil it, run it, and let it sit for a bit. Go back and manually work the piece that moves the needle. My 401 was "frozen" like that when I first got it but over time, oiling and sewing it now sews beautifully. Some of these older machines like regular use to keep everything moving like it should.
-- Edited on 2/24/13 8:30 PM --

GothDom
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GothDom  Friend of PR
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Date: 2/24/13 9:04 PM

oil the beejeesus out of it too

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Kiawe
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Kiawe
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Date: 2/25/13 3:04 PM

I've oiled it so much it's like a greased up greco-roman wrestler!

It's really not just dryness/stiffness. There's something wrong somewhere.

tateelliott

tateelliott
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Date: 2/25/13 8:44 PM

Have you oiled the part that's sometimes called "the plunger?" I'll try to describe it and where it is. Open the door to the needlebar. If you turn the handwheel, the thread takeup arm will move up and down. Just below the arm's lowest point, inside the door, is a hexagonal piece of metal that is connected to the needlebar. That is the plunger. The needlebar has a round piece that goes in and out of the plunger. By wiggling the top of the needlebar, the needle should move back and forth like when it zig zags. If it's difficult to wiggle, then the plunger may be gummed up and needs oiling.

If you need photos, go to Yahoo Groups and join the Vintage Singers Group. In their files there are photos of this called "401 plunger oiling point."

I hope this helps.

Tate
-- Edited on 2/25/13 8:45 PM --
-- Edited on 2/25/13 11:55 PM --

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tateelliott

tateelliott
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Date: 2/26/13 0:07 AM

I wasn't at home when I posted before. Now that I've looked at my 500, I need to correct something I wrote. The plunger is attached to both the needlebar and the mechanism that moves with, but below, the thread takeup arm. Also, it is not hexagonal.

I took a photo of the plunger. It is circled in red. There is an oiling hole in the top of it and the cylinder will probably need oiling too.

I hope this is all that is preventing your machine from running well.

Tate

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Kiawe
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Kiawe
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Date: 2/26/13 5:16 PM

Hi,

Thank you. Yes, I've oiled all those parts and taken them apart and reassembled them. I had earlier removed a ball of lint that was stuck inside the plunger. Now that everything is well-lubricated the side-to-side swing works beautifully----BUT only if the needle bar is out. As soon as it's back in, it does not want to budge.


-- Edited on 2/26/13 5:18 PM --

tateelliott

tateelliott
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Date: 2/26/13 7:14 PM

If you haven't already, join the Vintage Singer group and the Singer Slant group on Yahoo. There are OSMGs (Old Sewing Machine Guys) there that can help. Of course, before asking, you should search the posts to see if anyone else has had this problem.

Tate

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