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Help with 503a, needle stuck in L position

Help with 503a, needle stuck in L position

Old 05-05-2019, 08:22 PM
  #1  
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Default Help with 503a, needle stuck in L position

Hi all, I've got a "new to me" Singer 503 that I'm passing along to a 5th grade girl that I work with at school. She's wanting to make Barbie clothes!

Brought it out tonight to make sure it was ready to give her tomorrow. The straight stitch is fine, but I tried changing the cams to make sure the decorative stitches were working, and I only got straight stitches. It won't zig-zag and it won't make any of the decorative stitches with the cams.

The lever that adjusts the needle L-C-R moves, but the needle isn't moving accordingly.

Any ideas before I take it in to get serviced? I'm not dying to pay a lot to get it fixed to give it away, but will if I have to.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Last edited by oregongirl; 05-05-2019 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 05-06-2019, 05:25 AM
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It sounds like there is some dried oil somewhere. I thought there was a picture of where on the needle bar that has a tendency to have the need to be cleaned better. I couldn't find it. I did find where Miriam wrote about it at https://www.quiltingboard.com/vintag...l-t179422.html

When I am working on slant shank machines, there are a couple of links that I refer to. They are https://www.quiltingboard.com/vintag...a-t271809.html and https://archaicarcane.com/stuck-in-t...lant-o-matics/

Janey - Neat people never make the exciting discoveries I do.
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Old 05-06-2019, 06:20 AM
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It's likely that, as Janey stated, it's just stuck somewhere. Start with pushing the needle bar back and forth and see if it moves easily. There are several oil spots in the "nose" of the machine. Then, take off the top of the machine and follow the path of movement from the needle bar to the spot where the cam sits and oil everything that moves (see third paragraph). Also, while you have the top off, look behind the lever to see if anything is moving when you move the lever on the front.

Also, the 401, 501, 503 and 403 are pretty much the same, so what applies to one usually applies to all. The cam stack on the 01 models is built in and just gives you more places to look for the "stuck" spot. Pretty much, the bobbin winder position on the 500 is the only change besides the looks. The 601 is pretty much the same, too.

If you have a bunch brown dried up oil in the "joints" of machine, you may have to go with clean and oil. If it's not too "brown", you may be able to get by with just oiling it a couple of times, a day or two apart. I didn't follow Janey's links, but there is a ton of information on how to get those 400 and 500 series machines moving correctly on this site. You will probably have to "refresh" the page to get anything to show up on the old posts. It's a long time glitch on QB that they haven't fixed.

Come back if you have a problem. It's unusual that anything is broken, but the "clean and oil" takes a few days, usually. It's not always instant gratification, but it usually works and is cheap, as opposed to a $100. or more shop charge.

bk

Last edited by bkay; 05-06-2019 at 06:25 AM.
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:24 PM
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Well, you guys are the best!! I knew someone here would know what to do.

I took off the top, oiled everything connected to the needle position lever and got it moving freely. The needle bar itself still didn't move, so I opened that side door, oiled everything there I could find, and then finally, I confess, I pushed the bar with my thumb as I moved the needle position lever. hehehe That broke the seal of whatever was holding it rigid, and now it's moving fine.

All the cams are working great now. Zig zag back on track too.

Many thanks to both of you for the suggestions! And for saving me $100!

(I bookmarked those links for the future, too.)
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Old 05-07-2019, 04:36 AM
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Be aware that if the machine is not used, it could get "stuck" again. (You just do the same thing again to fix it.)

bkay
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