Welcome to the Quilting Board!

Already a member? Login above
loginabove
OR
To post questions, help other quilters and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our quilting community. It's free!

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13

Thread: 401 questions

  1. #1
    Senior Member GEMRM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    South West Ontario
    Posts
    610

    401 questions

    I have two 401's, my own and my mothers. My questions:
    1. Where do I find the serial number on them?
    2. Each of them has jammed with needles down, can't move it up, can't move centre stitch pattern selection dials either. One had just come back the previous day from servicing by a Singer dealer, so this is very frustrating. I had planned to donate one to a friend who was looking for a machine to give to someone. Trying to sell one around here is nearly hopeless, might as well give where it will be appreciated and used.

    As my DH is maintenance oriented, I intend to have him take a look, and see if we can problem solve this ourselves, when he's not busy trying to get away snowmobiling!

    I would appreciate any assistance,
    Thanks,
    GEMRM

  2. #2
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    6,865
    GEMRM

    I can't help with the needle down problem, but the serial number is under the lip at the left side of the bed.
    As far as the one that just came back from the dealer I'd take it right back and ask what the heck is going on.



    Joe

  3. #3
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Outer Space
    Posts
    9,616
    Why wouldn't you take it back in to who serviced it? I've never had that problem with mine.

  4. #4
    Senior Member GEMRM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    South West Ontario
    Posts
    610
    Taking it back is over an hour away, and the whole time, the guy was ragging on how the person who previously did a general cleaning (and recommended this guy for servicing), didn't know what he was doing and shouldn't be touching machines etc. He charged way to much to fix a small tension adjustment that I had been unable to diagnose and I really did not have a good feeling about him. The next closest person is 1 1/5 hours away. I used to have a really nice old fellow, who was a perfectionist and knew the older machines inside out. Unfortunately, it's virtually impossible to get him to work on anything anymore, as his wife doesn't want him doing it. He really enjoys the machines, and talking to people, but I have made appointments to drop off a machine, gotten there, and then no one would answer the door, but people were home. He was on my way to town too! Oh well, we will persevere one way or another.
    Thanks to all who have responded, including the advice on finding the serial number.
    GEMRM

  5. #5
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    6,865
    GEMRM,

    OK, I'm not a sewing machine tech nor do I play one on the net so this is just going to be a question and lets see what happens thing. I do work on our own machines and haven't ruined one yet. Actually have gotten a couple up and running that wouldn't otherwise run.


    Problem = Both machines are jammed needle down.

    Question = What were you doing at the time they jammed?
    Question = Do you have an owners manual?

    Thoughts and comments= The control dials work one at a time. To move the inner dial you grasp it and pull it out away from the machine, then turn it to where you want it, then push it back to it's rest position if it doesn't snap in on it's own.
    To move the outer dial you push it in, then turn it to where you want it, then return it to it's rest position if it doesn't go on it's own. Normally they will snap into their rest positions when the latches click into the shafts. Sometimes they need a bit of help.

    The nobs work one at a time. If you turn both of them at the same time they can bind up.

    Carefully work with the dials until you can set the outer one at "A" and the inner one at "K". This will set the machine at straight stitch. You might need to put some oil on the mechanism to help it. As you do this open the trap door that covers the cam stack and if there is a cam there, remove it. You can watch all the gizmos inside move around too.

    If there is a cam present and you set the dials anywhere except Outer = "A-B-C", inner = "SPECIAL" the machine will try to run off of the cam stack and the removable cam at the same time. Ours doesn't work well when it does that.

    You can't, or shouldn't move the needle position lever while the needle is down. I can bind up and maybe bend or break the needle. Make sure the hand wheel clutch is tight, then try to rock the main shaft back and forth by hand. If it moves enough then set the needle position lever in the center position.

    Next question is; are the machines jammed at the top, or from underneath? Open the bobbin cover, is there a lot of thread jammed in there? Lint, anything that doesn't look right?
    Release the needle lock screw and then see if the needle bar moves or not.

    Basically it's a mechanical device and you have two that malfunctioned in the exact same way. That flies in the face of reason. You need to back track what you were doing at the time they jammed. Back track your way out of this.

    There is no plastic gears inside to break. Only the big drive gear on the back of the hand wheel is non metal, and it's a fiber type material.

    I don't know if this helps or not, but it's just a machine, you're smarter than it is.

    Joe
    Last edited by J Miller; 02-29-2012 at 01:13 PM.

  6. #6
    Super Member SewExtremeSeams's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Washington, playing with my fabric stash!
    Posts
    6,622
    Blog Entries
    44
    GEM, go to this link here on the board... Vintage Sewing Machine Shop.....Come on in and sit a spell

    and then click on the last page and pose your question. Many of the regulars on this thread can help you, and I bet they will help you by the end of the day.

  7. #7
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Posts
    12,655
    Blog Entries
    2
    Differences between the Singer 500 and the Singer 503 machines
    Toward the end I posted something about cleaning the zig zag parts #14 window. If you have questions feel free to ask. Right now for the life of me I can't remember how to reduce the pictures to get them posted on here. If you want to pm with your email, I'll send a pic of what you need to look for. It is possible you have a bent needle bar shaft. I had a machine did that - someone must have pulled something really heavy through there. I changed out the needle bar and it works great. It could be that your needle bar just needs some adjustment. I could not see that my needle bar was bent until I got it out of the machine. I figure if I can follow a pattern, I can follow instructions in a repair manual. If some of the dodos out there working on machines can occasionally repair a machine I can too.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

  8. #8
    Senior Member GEMRM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    South West Ontario
    Posts
    610
    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    GEMRM,

    OK, I'm not a sewing machine tech nor do I play one on the net so this is just going to be a question and lets see what happens thing. I do work on our own machines and haven't ruined one yet. Actually have gotten a couple up and running that wouldn't otherwise run.


    Problem = Both machines are jammed needle down.

    Question = What were you doing at the time they jammed?
    Question = Do you have an owners manual?

    Thoughts and comments= The control dials work one at a time. To move the inner dial you grasp it and pull it out away from the machine, then turn it to where you want it, then push it back to it's rest position if it doesn't snap in on it's own.
    To move the outer dial you push it in, then turn it to where you want it, then return it to it's rest position if it doesn't go on it's own. Normally they will snap into their rest positions when the latches click into the shafts. Sometimes they need a bit of help.

    The nobs work one at a time. If you turn both of them at the same time they can bind up.

    Carefully work with the dials until you can set the outer one at "A" and the inner one at "K". This will set the machine at straight stitch. You might need to put some oil on the mechanism to help it. As you do this open the trap door that covers the cam stack and if there is a cam there, remove it. You can watch all the gizmos inside move around too.

    If there is a cam present and you set the dials anywhere except Outer = "A-B-C", inner = "SPECIAL" the machine will try to run off of the cam stack and the removable cam at the same time. Ours doesn't work well when it does that.

    You can't, or shouldn't move the needle position lever while the needle is down. I can bind up and maybe bend or break the needle. Make sure the hand wheel clutch is tight, then try to rock the main shaft back and forth by hand. If it moves enough then set the needle position lever in the center position.

    Next question is; are the machines jammed at the top, or from underneath? Open the bobbin cover, is there a lot of thread jammed in there? Lint, anything that doesn't look right?
    Release the needle lock screw and then see if the needle bar moves or not.

    Basically it's a mechanical device and you have two that malfunctioned in the exact same way. That flies in the face of reason. You need to back track what you were doing at the time they jammed. Back track your way out of this.

    There is no plastic gears inside to break. Only the big drive gear on the back of the hand wheel is non metal, and it's a fiber type material.

    I don't know if this helps or not, but it's just a machine, you're smarter than it is.

    Joe
    Joe (and others too) thanks for the responses. I was aware of how to adjust the dials on the 401, as I have sewn on mine for over 40 years, and my mother's before that. I had loaned my mothers, with the owner 's manual. The person I loaned it to returned it after quite awhile, and said she was having tension problems with it. Nothing about the needle jammed down etc., but that's how it was on return. Mine, I was sewing, stopped to cut thread, went to put needle down to draw up bobbin thread after changing colours and it jammed.
    Your descriptions of how the machines work is excellent, and while I already knew, if I didn't, it's picture perfect directions you've provided.
    I think I will pull out the owner's manual, screwdrivers etc and get looking with hubby when he gets some time to do more than a quick look. As you say, they are machines, we're smarter, and it's just gears and levers right?
    GERMRM

  9. #9
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    6,865
    GERMRM,

    Please accept my apology. I didn't mean to come off in a condescending manner. I read your posts and couldn't really tell how much you knew about these machines so I went into a very long dissertation on what I thought.

    My wife has been sewing for a very long time (over 50 years) and she's never experienced a machine jammed like that.
    I've watched her and my mother sew for as long as I have memories, and have never seen one jammed like that. So, I just went into "overkill mode" and started typing.

    As a matter of fact the only machine I have had jam with the needle down had bobbin tension problems caused by a bent spring on the hook. The spring was grabbing the thread and not allowing it to pass through the assembly and it tied the machine up big time. Once the spring was straightened out the machine sews properly.

    I hope you get those machines figured out and that they are not damaged.

    Joe

  10. #10
    Senior Member GEMRM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    South West Ontario
    Posts
    610
    Joe - my apologies if you thought I was upset with your answer to me, I really appreciated the detail you went into, because it was so precise, that anyone not familiar with the machine would be able to follow along. I meant it as a compliment, truly, so please accept my deepest apologies. I think I was trying to convey my frustration, as I know this machine and have never had this sort of problem.
    What I like so much about the people on this board is how helpful they are, and you very much have shown this not only in this instance, but in other posts where I have seen your responses. No offense was meant,
    GEMRM

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.