thanks for the tips. i will check out the bobbin casing. however, just had the thing tuned up. meanwhile, i bought a used Pfaff 2170 - very good deal - and i have absolutely no complaints. guess i can get them both embroidering at the same time and really get productive!
for those who want an emb machine on a budget, i really recommend a used model. the 2170 is a good one. the new ones are sooooooo expensive. my babylock was used also. course with the price of the two i could have almost bought one new one! oh well, love to sew is my excuse.