Bernina 731

Old 07-10-2015, 07:53 AM
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Default Bernina 731

I have never owned a Bernina until now. I recently purchased a 70's Bernina 731. Sews beautifully, but it weighs a ton! The problem I am having is I can't turn the handwheel to release the pressure on the pressure foot when I am filling the bobbin. Does anyone know how I can remedy this situation? Any advice will be most appreciated!
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Old 07-10-2015, 08:16 AM
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I would check the trouble shoot page in the manual. If you don't have the manual, I'd certainly look for one and download if possible. I usually raise the presser foot then turn the handwheel to raise the needle if it isn't in upper position to change the bobbin. But I have 2 Singers. Not sure if that makes a difference.
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:39 AM
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Do you know when it was last serviced?? Bernina at least the 2 I bought in the late 80s and early 90s need to be taken in for servicing about every 12 to 18 months.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:01 PM
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Does the hand wheel have a setscrew in it? If it does you have to loosen that.
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Old 07-11-2015, 01:55 PM
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Could need oil around the hand wheel. I've found that oil solves a lot of problems!
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Old 07-11-2015, 02:30 PM
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That's a great machine! The clutch on the handwheel is gummed up. To get a better grip on the clutch knob, you can push the machine back against a counter, with the handwheel facing you. Loosen the set screw. Twist the center knob off, as you push against the counter. Sometimes I use a rubber gripper -- like you'd use to open a tight jar. If that doesn't work, I use those big plumbers adjustable wrenches, with the gripper still in place so the handwheel doesn't get damaged. When you get the knob off, there's a ring underneath it with nubs on the inside and nubs on the outside. When you put it back on, the nubs on the inside need to bump outward. If you're brave, you can loosen the belt with the hex screw below the lower pulley. Pull the handwheel off and clean the gummy stuff off. A squirt of WD-40 won't hurt the shaft, and works very well. Then I squirt some WD-40 on a flannel rag and clean the center of the handwheel with that. Also clean the washer (if it has one) and back of the center knob. Put 2 drops of oil on the shaft and put it back together. Remember that the ring goes on with the center nubs bumped outward. If, when you screw the center knob back on (and tighten the set screw), it doesn't loosen like it should, remove it and turn the ring one position. Try again. This machine has either 2 or 3 nubs in the middle -- don't have one here in front of me. It's a matter of trial and error to get the ring in the right position. Tighten the belt -- most of these with the hex screw are spring loaded, so you can't go wrong. Some others have the big screws behind the lower pulley that are a pain to get to.

Have fun with it!
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Old 07-11-2015, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by My time
I recently purchased a 70's Bernina 731.
Fantastic machines. Exactly the same as the 831 but heavier. Also the same as the legendary 730 record but with less stitch patterns (who uses these anyway? I only ever use blind stitch and zig-zag). Might be the only machine you'll need: My 730 (now sold on) and current 831 are two of the best machines I've used (and I've used a lot of machines).
You must have one of the very last of the 731s: They made them from 1963 until 1971. Biggest weakness is that the nylon cam gear tends to crack, although none of my machines have had this problem, fingers crossed.
I just Googled the problem and found this.
Enjoy your lovely machine. I suggest the name 'Teresa' or Tessie for short, as a reference to her weight
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Old 07-12-2015, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by quiltedsunshine
That's a great machine! The clutch on the handwheel is gummed up. To get a better grip on the clutch knob, you can push the machine back against a counter, with the handwheel facing you. Loosen the set screw. Twist the center knob off, as you push against the counter. Sometimes I use a rubber gripper -- like you'd use to open a tight jar. If that doesn't work, I use those big plumbers adjustable wrenches, with the gripper still in place so the handwheel doesn't get damaged. When you get the knob off, there's a ring underneath it with nubs on the inside and nubs on the outside. When you put it back on, the nubs on the inside need to bump outward. If you're brave, you can loosen the belt with the hex screw below the lower pulley. Pull the handwheel off and clean the gummy stuff off. A squirt of WD-40 won't hurt the shaft, and works very well. Then I squirt some WD-40 on a flannel rag and clean the center of the handwheel with that. Also clean the washer (if it has one) and back of the center knob. Put 2 drops of oil on the shaft and put it back together. Remember that the ring goes on with the center nubs bumped outward. If, when you screw the center knob back on (and tighten the set screw), it doesn't loosen like it should, remove it and turn the ring one position. Try again. This machine has either 2 or 3 nubs in the middle -- don't have one here in front of me. It's a matter of trial and error to get the ring in the right position. Tighten the belt -- most of these with the hex screw are spring loaded, so you can't go wrong. Some others have the big screws behind the lower pulley that are a pain to get to.

Have fun with it!

Thank you so very much for replying to my post! It sounds as though you have dealt with this before. I look forward to trying this later on today. Do you have or have had a sewing machine business?
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Old 07-12-2015, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by ManiacQuilter2
Do you know when it was last serviced?? Bernina at least the 2 I bought in the late 80s and early 90s need to be taken in for servicing about every 12 to 18 months.
No I have no idea when it was last serviced. I bought it from our local thrift store for five dollars.
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Old 07-12-2015, 07:32 AM
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[QUOTE=tessagin;7252857]I would check the trouble shoot page in the manual. If you don't have the manual, I'd certainly look for one and download if possible. I usually raise the presser foot then turn the handwheel to raise the needle if it isn't in upper position to change the bobbin. But I have 2 Singers. Not sure if that makes a difference.[/QUOTE

Thanks for your imput. Fortunately, the manuals are available online.
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