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Thread: 1938 featherweight

  1. #1
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    1938 featherweight

    This is my first request for help and am confident that this the best place to get answers for my questions. My niece has acquired my grandmother's 1938 featherweight. The machine has been idle for a very long time but is free of rust and will run quietly for a few minutes. Then the motor starts to smoke. The local sewing macing repair shop will replace the motor with a generic but has no interest it trying to find out if the motor can be repaired or even cleaned. What does the smoking motor indicate? Is it dirty? I am not how to proceed with getting this operational. My niece and I are thinking we might take this on.
    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Personally ... I would take it on instead of letting a repair shop replace the motor ... especially if your repair shop is not a highly recommended vintage shop. I saw pic's of one where the repairman replaced a featherweight motor with a larger motor and had to use a hack saw to chop bits off the featherweight to fit the motor to it.

    The smoking motor COULD be an easy fix ... cleaning. It could be more.

    Follow this thread http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...r-t220993.html

    More information on this blog http://vssmb.blogspot.com/search/label/221 - use the links at the right for more information on motors.

    I would at least try it myself, the worst you can do is have to replace the motor anyway which is what the repair man said.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  3. #3
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Kittys,

    The smoking motor indicates it's full of dust, dirt, and lube that migrated to the armature.

    Scratch that local sewing machine shop off your list and do it yourself. Don't trust your machine(s) to them.

    "CAREFULLY" ( they can be replaced, but it's best not to break them ) remove the motor brush caps then work the brushes out of their tubes. Clean them, the tubes and the armature with a q-tip soaked in denatured alcohol to get the old lube off.
    If the brushes are too worn out, ( I've read they should be longer than they are square for best function ), you can get new ones at Sew-Classic.
    Inspect the wiring while your there and lube the motor. Use only the old amber Singer Motor Lube in the tube if you can find some, or petroleum jelly. Don't over do it, but it's been sitting so it will need some.

    Once the motor is cleaned and lubed, remove the belt and run it wide open till it cleans itself off. I doubt it will catch fire, but it will probably smoke for a while.
    When it gets warm add a bit more Motor Lube to the ports and then run it some more.
    That should take care of the motor.


    Then clean and oil the entire machine. Use Singer gear grease ( the white stuff they sell now or better yet Tri-Flow grease) for the gears under the spool peg plate.

    After that she should be good to go.

    OK, here's some info to study up on:
    { http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...t-t221641.html }

    { http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...t-t174236.html }

    { http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...s-t193635.html }

    I recommend Tri-Flow oil and grease for everything but the motor. For the motor I use only the old style Singer Motor Lube in the Tube, if you can still get it. If not then go to petroleum jelly. Supposedly the Singer Lube and petroleum jelly is indistinguishable from each other.

    Joe

  4. #4
    Super Member valleyquiltermo's Avatar
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    Yes what Joe said and study the links, I had 2 that the motors smoked and now they don't.
    I have 10 FW's and love them all.
    http://www.skillpages.com/DonnaValleyquiltermo
    Sweet Dreams come from under Cozy Quilts made with love.
    Life is short, take time to enjoy it. Play with your kids and g-kids,
    and do what you can for others.

  5. #5
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    We have the machine disassembled and the motor opened. It's dirty and greasy but I am not sure what the norm is. I have a question about the insulating tubes from the motor leads. Can it be replaced with electrical tape? Or can it be cleansed with denatured alcohol?

  6. #6
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    I just did this same procedure very recently on a 1937 featherweight. It worked out great and this was my first time working on any kind of motor. Here is a blog I read through that gave me a lot of help in showing me what to expect. It has lots of pictures. http://vssmb.blogspot.com/2011/12/ho...rt-1-wire.html Also the people on the board are the best!! I've asked so many questions. Everyone has been so helpful.

  7. #7
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    So, we have taken the motor apart, cleaned it, reassembled it, and plugged it in.. It works, but it still smokes. I let it run for about 4 minutes and the smoking increased.

    Any suggestions?

  8. #8
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    So, we have taken the motor apart, cleaned it, reassembled it, and plugged it in.. It works, but it still smokes. I let it run for about 4 minutes and the smoking increased.

    Any suggestions?

  9. #9
    Super Member manicmike's Avatar
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    Have a(nother) look at http://vssmb.blogspot.com.au/2012/01...ted-motor.html, it's the site QN suggested, but the entry for 1/1/12 has everything about the motor. It's an amazingly complete (and interesting) set of tutorials about re-wiring and motor assembly. I feel like I could become an expert in motors after reading it.
    You're probably near the end of your repair. Perhaps there was just a little lingering oil. What does the smoke look like (colour) and what does it smell like? What it smells like will tell you straight away whether it's the wiring or some oil that's still hanging around.
    Singers: model 12 MOP (1885) Improved Family 29k58 (1939) 44K11 (1921) 201K2, 201K23 206k11 (1950) 222k (1959) 320k2(1959), 15K90, Bernina 530, Pfaff:360 (1959) http://tailororfailure.blogspot.com

  10. #10
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    Just so ya know, i'm rooting for you and the machine. Good luck with getting her to quit her smoking habit. lol

  11. #11
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    The smoke smells a bit like the cleaning solvent. But that may be due to the fact that I have been at this most of the day and can only smell that any more. The motor housing is getting very hot after 10 mi utes of running. Hotter than it should I' m afraid.

  12. #12
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Kittys,

    Well, I would not have taken the motor completely apart, but since you did, I'm gonna suggest a couple things.

    First: Make sure it's back together so the armature shaft does not bind. It should turn effortlessly.

    Second: Make sure all the wiring is properly connected. A bad connection will reduce the current the motor is getting and can get hot.

    Third: Make double sure the bearings are greased. Getting too hot after 10 minutes sounds like a lube problem to me.

    Fourth: If none of this helps, you might have to take it back apart and start over. If all is well it should stop smoking.

    Joe

  13. #13
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    Is the smoke decreasing any? 10 minutes of all out running, no stop, smoking motor is too long. A minute is plenty going full steam for testing. Does the motor operate the FW properly under load or is it slow and sluggish? Good luck.

    Jon

  14. #14
    Super Member manicmike's Avatar
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    Hi Kittys. If it's getting hotter than it should, there isn't enough (or any) grease in the motor's bearings. If it smells like solvent, you probably didn't clean all of the solvent off.
    I'd be most concerned about the overheating: Solvent won't kill it but lack of grease will.
    Mike
    Singers: model 12 MOP (1885) Improved Family 29k58 (1939) 44K11 (1921) 201K2, 201K23 206k11 (1950) 222k (1959) 320k2(1959), 15K90, Bernina 530, Pfaff:360 (1959) http://tailororfailure.blogspot.com

  15. #15
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    Too all the newbies this is where it's at concerning anything about sewing machine repair. Can't beat it.

  16. #16
    Super Member caspharm's Avatar
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    You might look at this website: http://www.featherweight221.com/fwrx/index.html. I bought his book several years ago and he now has a DVD as well. It is very useful. The man's name is Dave McCallum.

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