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Trouble with Pfaff Ambition 1.0
eliisa
eliisa
FINLAND
Member since 3/29/07
Posts: 3
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Date: 3/11/14 6:26 PM

Hello,

I'm writing this hoping someone here might have encountered a similar issue, since I haven't really been able to find much informatio online or locally. I live in Finland nowadays, but found Patternreview some years back while living in Redmond, WA.

I purchased my Ambition 1.0 from a local dealer here in Finland three months ago. I chose Pfaff mainly because of IDT and good reputation. I tried out both Ambition 1.0 and Select 3.0, the extra features in Ambition as well as the overall sewing experience won me over. Initially the machine worked just fine, though I sewed only a couple of projects before Christmas. About a month ago the machine began having issues with top thread tension by making a randomly spaced loose loop with top thread during straight stitch, spaced anywhere from four inches to one yard apart.

I tried changing the thread, changing the needle, changing the bobbin, re-checking the threading and making sure the thread was properly set between the tension discs etc. Finally I took it back to the store to get looked at and was told that the thread I was using might be the culprit (Coats Duet polyester thread, which is most the commonly available thread around here. Gutermann thread is harder to find and often color selection is quite limited). When I went to pick up the machine I was told that it was just some issue with the top thread tension settings which they had adjusted.

Unfortunately once I got home and tried sewing the problem occurred again. So I took the machine back for the second time and they replaced the bobbin case and stitch plate. This time I asked to test the machine before taking it home even though they assured me that they had tested it thoroughly. I tried the straight stitch on three layers of a slightly thicker cotton fabric with the same outcome as before. The main difference was probably in the manner of sewing, they tested the machine by sewing at full speed without stopping in between whereas I tried to emulate normal sewing where you have to stop every now and then to adjust the fabric. So the machine stayed there and they did some adjustments with top thread guides and tension. When I picked up the machine it was agreed that I would test it at home and let them know if the problem persists, in which case it would be time to think about replacing the machine.

As you might already guess the problem hasn't been fixed. When the needle is in the center position the stitching looks ok, but when I change the needle position the problem occurs on and off. Now I've been told by the dealer that I should switch to a completely different brand (Brother, Bernina etc). The dealer's mechanic said that the machine sews beautifully with Gutermann thread but shouldn't be so sensitive that it has problems with any other thread. He went on to say that maybe the thread path in Ambition is somehow narrower and the Coats sewing thread is just slightly thicker. I agree that Gutermann is a good quality thread, but Coats Duet available here is also a good thread (in my opinion better than Coats dual duty or some such poly/cotton blend that I remember being available in the US). It just seems highly unlikely that all the Pfaff Ambition owners here would be using exclusively Gutermann thread and not doing any topstitching with thicker threads (since this shouldn't be achievable if the machine only accomodates thin thread, I haven't tried thicker threads on this machine myself). I did do a test with some regular Gutermann thread and didn't get loose loops on the top but rather the top thread made loops on the reverse side even while the top thread tension was set at 6...

Even though I've been repeatedly told that this is a mechanical issue and not in any way related to electronic/computerised functions I still wonder whether the machine could somehow momentarily release the tension discs while sewing. There's also been some trouble with the needle up/down function not engaging and basically pressing the needle up setting releases the tension discs at the end of sewing so fabric can be removed. Sometimes even though needle down function has been selected the needle stays up when I stop during sewing, and I'm wondering if that could trigger the loops somehow.

So to sum it up, the dealer is reluctant to replace my machine with another Ambition, and is suggesting switching to Brother Innov-is SE-350 or Bernina. I'm feeling quite confused at this point, disappointed in the fact that my machine can't be fixed and that in the dealers opinion the problems would happen even with another Ambition machine. Previously I had considered Pfaff machines to be sturdy and reliable, and now I just don't know. There is of course the option of switching to Pfaff Select, but it doesn't have adjustable presser foot pressure, which I'd prefer for delicate knits etc. And I really liked the fact that Ambition has several buttonhole designs. I really wanted a machine with IDT, but now I'm steered towards a machine without it. I think Bernina is out of my price range, or I would have to give up on lot of the features I'd like to have in a sewing machine. The Brother Innov-is SE-350 sounds good, but I had never considered Brother before because I had mostly encountered the very affordable and unimpressive models sold in most department stores. Sorry for posting such a long story here, this has just been a really frustrating experience, I'd really appreciate any comments or advice you might have for me.

Sincerely,
Eliisa

LindaBee58
LindaBee58
ITALY
Member since 7/10/09
Posts: 375
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Date: 3/11/14 7:18 PM

Do you thread your machine with the sewing foot in the up position? This is important.
If you do, then it sounds as if your machine might need new tension discs.

I can't and I won't believe what the dealer is telling you about the brand of thread not being right for this machine. This is non sense for me. I would not accept this excuse.
Has your dealer got another Pfaff in his shop to try your thread on? If it is due to the Brand of thread then all his Pfaff machines should give this problem.
The machine has deco stitches too, so what will happen if you use embroidery thread then?

Don't be afraid to insist on getting this faulty machine replaced. You gave good money to the dealer for a good working machine and not a faulty one.
I had similar problems with a Pfaff Creative Vision 5.0 and I didn't give up till my dealer replaced it. It took 9 months of a battle but in the end I got a new machine.

There are also some Bernina and Brother machines that are faulty just out of the box so changing brand is not a sure way of getting a good machine.

Good luck.

PortlandMaine
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PortlandMaine  Friend of PR
Advanced Beginner
Maine USA
Member since 1/29/11
Posts: 2275
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Date: 3/11/14 8:12 PM



Another guess--

Check out how you are putting on the thread, it should roll over the top of the spool and you should used the thread cap.. maybe there is a random snag that makes a skipped stitch?

I had that machine and did not have that problem.

------
Quilting up a storm!

pinemeadows

pinemeadows
Intermediate
Texas USA
Member since 10/30/03
Posts: 149
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In reply to PortlandMaine <<


Date: 3/11/14 8:47 PM

I have the Pfaff Sensation and it did not sew nicely if I moved the needle at all. I have had nothing but issues with this machine for 2 whole years. It is now on the Pfaff workbench.

My reason for posting here is that just recently I read on some board or forum that some of the Ambitions also cannot sew properly if the needle is moved. This may not be just a thread issue (actually, I would not even consider that!) but something more serious.

After taking mine in to the dealer because of THAT problem, it came back worse - and the next morning when I sat down to try it again, it wouldn't form a stitch at all.

I've sewn on Pfaff machines for decades. Never in all those years did I have any issues with a new machine...but this Sensation is apparently going to make up for all that.

kcurtis
kcurtis  Friend of PR
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Colorado USA
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Date: 3/11/14 11:34 PM

I would share your story with Pfaff directly. I have a friend that has a Pfaff Ambition 1.0 and uses Coats and Clark Dual Duty almost exclusively.

I also played around with that machine a couple of months ago at my local dealer and had zero problems with it. I can't remember what thread they were using but I know it wasn't Gutermann because they use some cheep off brand in all of their floor models. The owner seems to be too cheep to even provide them with Coats and Clark thread.

------
Just a hack that sews for a living. ;)

Connie F
Connie F
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North Carolina USA
Member since 4/8/13
Posts: 572
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Date: 3/11/14 11:43 PM

I have a Ambition Essential and my friend has the Ambition 1.5. Neither one of us has problems with the stitch quality. (I do have a Creative Performance that has had issues out the wazoo!) As far as the needle up/down thing goes I had that issue too (as did my friend until I helped her) All it was is that the machine has the ability to raise or lower the needle with a tap of the foot pedal. If the machine is in needle down and you tap the pedal, it will raise the needle every time you stop sewing it will stop in the up position (even though the needle down is indicated) until you tap the foot pedal to reset it back in the fabric. I hope that makes sense to you.

Billylynnb
Billylynnb  Friend of PR
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USA
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In reply to eliisa <<
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Date: 3/12/14 2:45 PM

I have had a Pfaff Ambition 1.0 since July and have not experienced the thread looping as you describe. I have never used Coats and Clark but I tried some last night.

Used: Coats and Clark Dual Duty with 2 layers of quilting cotton
New 80/12 Schmetz Microtex needle - stitch length 2.5 (default) - tension 4 (default 3-5)
The spool was parallel wound so I wound the bobbin and threaded the machine with the spool pin in the vertical position and the thread coming off the spool counterclockwise.
Stitching was fine. I then stitched with the needle at -1.0 and +1.0 positions and there was no change in the stitch quality. I have experienced the same stitch consistency in further positions when sewing but with different threads.

I have used Aurifil, Madeira, Guterman, So-Fine, Bottom Line, Masterpiece, Isacord, Mettler Metrosene, And Presencia successfully. All are 40-60 weight poly or cotton threads. If I need to adjust to balance a stitch I find that adjusting the spool pin position and checking the bobbin wind take care of it most of the time and I usually can leave the tension setting alone.

Hope this helps. My Ambition has more than met my expectations and I love the IDT.

eliisa
eliisa
FINLAND
Member since 3/29/07
Posts: 3
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Date: 3/12/14 4:24 PM

Thank you all for sharing your experiences. I always thread the machine with the presser foot up and also check that the thread is properly set between the tension discs. When using the spool pin in horizontal position I always use a spool cap so that no space is left between the cap and the spool (as instructed in the user manual) and I make sure the thead rolls over the top of the spool. I have also tried using the spool pin in a vertical position (with the small piece of felt underneath the spool and without spool cap) but the looping happens in both cases. Have also considered a random snag somewhere along the path the top thread travels along, but can't really check for this because of the way the machine is constructed. The stitching is otherwise even except for the loop which is at least 1/8" high or more with stitch length 3,5.

I'm going to see the dealer tomorrow in order to try out other machines. They should have another Ambition machine, hopefully I can test it as well with the Coats thread. I will try to keep an open mind, since I wouldn't like to make a decision on another machine just yet. I'm wondering whether the dealer has been in any contact with a Pfaff representative, at least they haven't mentioned anything along those lines, I'll ask them about it tomorrow.

Sincerely,
Eliisa

hese61

hese61
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FINLAND
Member since 9/21/05
Posts: 59
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Date: 3/12/14 5:14 PM

I have never had problems to find GŁtermann threads (I live in Tampere). Coats sewing threads, both polyester and cotton, are typical "super market quality"

pfaffphorever
pfaffphorever
Intermediate
Member since 2/12/14
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Date: 3/13/14 8:24 AM

Oh My, I'm sorry your having such troubles....
I've owned this machine for just over a year now, and It's used about 6-10 hours a week. I've not had any issues with it's performance...
It stitches beautifully for me...
I've used all different types of thread in my machine....From: Sulky, Gutterman, Coats/clark, Maderia, Maxi-Lock Serger Thread.... I've never had to change the tension when using the different threads

all were used with NO problems what so ever...I would talk to your dealer, So sorry to say, but it sounds like yours might be defective

Good Luck!! And please let us know what happens! :o)

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