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 3 1 2 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 24

Thread: 401 smoking? Help please.

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    108

    401 smoking? Help please.

    Help! I just inherited my grandmother's 401. It has been sitting for probably 20 years or so. I oiled it last night with triflow, and greased the gears. This morning I plugged it in for the first time, and sewed a few straight lines. The stitch was beautiful, but I noticed a small amount of smoke rising up from the machine I took the top off, and watched it while sewing. The smoke seems to be rising up from middle hole of the cam stack. I didn't notice much of a smell.

    I took the bottom cover off, removed the black metal guard, and looked at the wiring that was visible. It seems okay. The wiring that I could see at the top looks alright too.

    I am scared to sew with it anymore, until I can get this figured out. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    PNW (I wish it was the Ozarks!)
    Posts
    6,510
    Blog Entries
    6
    that happened with my Kenmore....I called Guy Baker to ask about a new motor, he reassured me that it was NOT going to catch fire, that if the motor was going to burn out it would simply smoke til the motor stopped working and said it was most likely dust that was burning out of the motor. Told me to keep sewing with it until the motor quit and refused to sell me a new one until it did. I did, it didn't take long for the smoke to quit, and I have a wonderful machine with a strong motor.
    I'm guessing that if you're not seeing "melt" of any kind that you too, are burning off dust....especially if it's been sitting for 20 years!
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Kentucky - Live in Iowa
    Posts
    1,020
    Quote Originally Posted by Charlee View Post
    that happened with my Kenmore....I called Guy Baker to ask about a new motor, he reassured me that it was NOT going to catch fire, that if the motor was going to burn out it would simply smoke til the motor stopped working and said it was most likely dust that was burning out of the motor. Told me to keep sewing with it until the motor quit and refused to sell me a new one until it did. I did, it didn't take long for the smoke to quit, and I have a wonderful machine with a strong motor.
    I'm guessing that if you're not seeing "melt" of any kind that you too, are burning off dust....especially if it's been sitting for 20 years!
    Charlee, you always give such helpful and good information, this will help me with my old machines. Thank You!
    Aronel aka Lee

  4. #4
    Senior Member shnnn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    nevada
    Posts
    832
    Have you tried the patch? sorry couldn't help myself.
    If it's an electrical problem that is causing the smoke there is a very distinct odor to electrical fire. I'd bet Charlee is right.

  5. #5
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Frederick, OK
    Posts
    1,465
    Quote Originally Posted by janeite View Post
    ...The smoke seems to be rising up from middle hole of the cam stack.
    I would suspect that smoke coming up in that location may be associated with the light bulb.

    CD in Oklahoma
    "I sew, I sew, so it's off to work I go!!!"
    ThayerRags Fabric Center
    http://thayerrags.com/

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    western NC
    Posts
    489
    As usual, I agree with Charlee. Have experienced this myself a few times.

    Pat

  7. #7
    Junior Member beaniekins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Alberta
    Posts
    248
    I was wondering the same thing about my 401, which had also been sitting for years before I got it. I haven't tried running it for awhile, and this has encouraged me to try it again soon.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    108
    Charlee, I love you! You are always so helpful. I sewed it for a few more minutes after you posted, and the smoke started clearing in about a minute. It got less and less, and then just stopped. So that issue is gone.

    But, now that I have had a chance to play with it more, I have discovered other problems. She skips stitches and does not sew the special stitches. Straight stitch does the best, with only a skipped stitch in maybe 25 stitches. Zig zag is awful with skips, and the decorative stitches just appear as zig zag.

    Another thing, which I have never seen before with any machine, is the needle thread is continuously stripped. By that I mean that I will notice the thread going through the needle hole suddenly appears as a tiny thread, and further up the thread there will be thread bunched up. I hope I am explaining this right, I don't have the manual with me right now to say the official name of things.

    I tried changing the needle, the thread, the fabric, the tension, and still the same problems. I also took out the bobbin holder (case?) and cleaned under it. I am confident that I replaced it correctly, but maybe I am wrong.

    I had cleaned the cam stack and removed a bunch of crud, and also taken apart the tension unit before I discovered all these problems. I did notice on the tension unit that the little round circle with the finger thing sticking out was turned so that the finger was pointing towards the machine. In the 301 I have it points away from the machine, so I assumed it was on there wrong and turned it when I replaced it. Was I wrong?

    I resisted having this machine serviced by a professional, but now I wonder if I am over my head with this. I want to learn how to fix my own machines, but I guess I need help and guidance right now My grandmother was a meticulous person in every way, so I know this machine was not abused. It was a one owner machine.

  9. #9
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    6,869
    Quote Originally Posted by janeite View Post
    Charlee, I love you! You are always so helpful. I sewed it for a few more minutes after you posted, and the smoke started clearing in about a minute. It got less and less, and then just stopped. So that issue is gone.

    But, now that I have had a chance to play with it more, I have discovered other problems. She skips stitches and does not sew the special stitches. Straight stitch does the best, with only a skipped stitch in maybe 25 stitches. Zig zag is awful with skips, and the decorative stitches just appear as zig zag.

    Another thing, which I have never seen before with any machine, is the needle thread is continuously stripped. By that I mean that I will notice the thread going through the needle hole suddenly appears as a tiny thread, and further up the thread there will be thread bunched up. I hope I am explaining this right, I don't have the manual with me right now to say the official name of things.

    I tried changing the needle, the thread, the fabric, the tension, and still the same problems. I also took out the bobbin holder (case?) and cleaned under it. I am confident that I replaced it correctly, but maybe I am wrong.

    I had cleaned the cam stack and removed a bunch of crud, and also taken apart the tension unit before I discovered all these problems. I did notice on the tension unit that the little round circle with the finger thing sticking out was turned so that the finger was pointing towards the machine. In the 301 I have it points away from the machine, so I assumed it was on there wrong and turned it when I replaced it. Was I wrong?

    I resisted having this machine serviced by a professional, but now I wonder if I am over my head with this. I want to learn how to fix my own machines, but I guess I need help and guidance right now My grandmother was a meticulous person in every way, so I know this machine was not abused. It was a one owner machine.
    I'll put in my 2 bits worth.

    I've had the thread strip and bunch up like you described. It only happened with new Coats thread. I thought it might be the needle so I changed that and didn't have that happen again until yesterday. Different machine, but Coats thread, a different spool of coats thread.
    I'd suggest trying a different brand of thread, not just a different roll.

    The bobbin carrier will only go in one way. So if it's in and not bound up, you're good to go.

    When we got our 401A it was FILTHY. Inside and out.
    The gears in the machine and the cam stack and it's mechanism were coated with what looked like chassis grease.
    Heavy brown gungy stuff. I had to clean it and clean it and clean it and clean it some more. I poured I don't know how much oil in and around the all the moving parts to the cam controls. They just did not want to move. When they finally began to move they'd bind up at the least effort. But I kept working them.

    According to the owners manual that you can download for free from Singer http://www.singerco.com/ you only use grease, lubricant as Singer calls it on the gears and only the gears. Everything else gets oil.

    The little finger on the washer in the tensioner points outward if it's curved. If straight or curved it usually points upwards as it prevents the numbered washer from going past "0".

    When I started sewing with it it would skip stitches in both straight and zig-zag. But since it hadn't been used in who knows how long I just kept working it. Pop the top off of it and oil everything again. Look at the chart under the trap door and put both knows into each and every position. Look for the fingers inside that actually ride on the cams. There is two of them. If they do not contact the cams oil 'em till they free up.

    That machine has sat for a long time and do you really know how much your grandmother used the extra stitches?

    Joe

  10. #10
    Junior Member tate_elliott's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Cary, NC
    Posts
    208
    janeite, you may want join the Vintage Singer group on Yahoo. There's lots of info there on slant machines. It's run by an "old sewing machine guy." Another good Yahoo group is the Slant Singer group.

    Both groups have plenty of posts with all kinds of problems (and solutions) you can search. They both also have many files online with manuals and helpful suggestions.

    Tate
    King of the Rocketeers!

Page 1 of 3 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.