Quiltingboard Forums

Quiltingboard Forums (https://www.quiltingboard.com/)
-   For Vintage & Antique Machine Enthusiasts (https://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage-antique-machine-enthusiasts-f22/)
-   -   Frozen 201 Singer sewing machine? (https://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage-antique-machine-enthusiasts-f22/frozen-201-singer-sewing-machine-t316895.html)

Christine- 11-23-2021 06:56 AM

1.41, the gears on the handwheel are really needing cleaning. Do you recommend taking them off? Or would the spring/parts be too fragile?

Originally Posted by 1.41 (Post 8521325)
My first recommendation is this: do not force the handwheel. Move it very gently. These machines are not entirely made out of metal as some people believe. There is a “Textolite” gear under the handwheel that’s made out of a combination of Bakelite plastic and I believe cotton fabric. This gear is spring loaded to prevent damage to the motor if the machine jams. Remove the handwheel and take a look at the Textolite gear. It may be jammed or the spring may be jammed. If the gear is broken the machine won’t move. The liklihood that the gear is damaged is remote, but you don't want to be the person who does damage it by forcing the wheel. I do not know whether that gear can be safely cleaned with kerosene. Look at page 27 of the Adjusters Manual.

1.41 11-23-2021 10:12 AM

If it were me, I would take it apart. Before you decide whether to dismantle or clean in place, take a look here for full instructions complete with pictures. After looking over this webpage you'll be in a better position to decide whether you want to take this on.


The man who runs this site, Lee, is a retired engineer who regularly takes vintage sewing machines apart, restores all the parts and puts them back together. He is someone who is happy to share his knowledge. An altogether extraordinary individual. If you can't get the 201 up and running with the suggestions you've seen here, it can't hurt to send Lee a message and see if he has any suggestions.

Lee has also posted a step-by-step "record" (I hesitate to say "instructions" but it's close to a that) showing a full restoration of a 201 here:


leonf 11-23-2021 12:07 PM

don't forget heat. pull out a hair dryer and hit where old oil and grease can turn to varnish. It can do wonders.

FoggyButFocused 11-24-2021 03:08 PM

I am not familiar with the 201, I am familiar with the 301. I bought a 301 that was "jammed" and exhibited the same symptom. The hand wheel would move the needle just a smidge, back and forth.

It was because the machine was set up to wind a bobbin, which meant the needle diddn't go up and down. I would double check this before I started taking things apart.

Good luck!!

Christine- 11-25-2021 06:33 AM

5 Attachment(s)
I'm fairly certain the cause of the frozen 201-2 is mechanical, not gummed up parts. Here are photos of the gears as they are, I didn't bother cleaning because they are already clean. All I did was add oil to them. The machine jiggles in place and I hear a metallic click when I jiggle it. I've checked every mechanical setting I can think of and I'm coming up with a big fat nothing on why this machine is frozen up. It has me stumped. I have removed the motor and handwheel so the machine should rotate on it's own! Does anyone have a suggestion as to what mechanical might be wrong?

Christine- 11-25-2021 06:38 AM

P.S.: I have done all of the following...

Originally Posted by 1.41 (Post 8521325)
Check the bobbin area for jammed up thread. clean it carefully with kerosene and oil the race. This is a delicate mechanism that can get jammed up and freeze a machine.

Check both ends of the feed dog connecting rod. Page 58 of the Adjusters Manual. If there's any rust or corrosion at either end that could freeze the machine. Some rust remover and kerosene and even 3-in-1 oil to clean rust inside the connectors would work. If you use anything other than kerosene, make sure to flush the area with kerosene to get rid of whatever you use..

Check whether the stitch length lever moves. Take a look at whether the sliding block connected to the lever is jammed. If so, it can be unscrewed from the side and cleaned.

Check whether you have thread jammed up, wound up between the shaft and the handwheel.

Remember that the most important tool in the tool chest is patience. Use lots of it.

I'm sure you'll succeed in getting this machine working fine. Good luck.

JoeJr 11-26-2021 08:20 AM

Have you checked under the face plate to see if anything is amiss there? Might be a long shot but I would look.

I would want to be as certain as I could be that it was a mechanical problem and not a cleaning problem. If it was my machine I would be spraying kerosene or some kerosene cleaner in the oil holes and on all moving metal on metal spots I could identify. If this didn't fix it then I would have to look at isolating the top main shaft from the bottom main shaft, which means disconnecting the rod running through the pillar. I've not done this on a 201, only on machines with a removable top cover. Disconnecting the top from the bottom would allow you to pin down which isn't moving freely. This would be fairly involved and others may have better ideas or warnings as to not trying this.

Christine- 11-26-2021 08:26 AM

Thanks Joe! I have checked under the faceplate, all is well there. I took the hook shaft out today, thinking the problem was there in the gears but all is well there. I'm at a loss. I'm not experienced enough to do anything with the main shaft or the gears there. So I'm not going to touch those. I'll have to find someone in my area who works on 201s. I live in the Raleigh area of NC and I'm sure I can find someone. It's worth it to me, this is a nice machine which has had little use.

Thank you everyone for your words of wisdom! I appreciate your help!

1.41 11-26-2021 09:06 AM

Well it looks to me like you've gone some distance to eliminate the likelihood that the problem is under the machine, that leads me to think that it's more likely something at the top. The most delicate parts at the top are the mechanisms that move the needle bar and take up lever. It might be the problem will be found in there.

1.41 11-26-2021 04:27 PM

Look here: .


At 9:32 Bob Fowler explains how to loosen a pushed in stop motion bushing. I don't think one needs the tool he uses. A $10 plumber's faucet remover might do, a few small taps with a hammer all around the bushing would also be something I would try if it were me. He also welcomes emails with questions about machine repairs. Use "My Worst Nightmare" in the subject line.

Also, if you haven't removed the hook assembly, I would certainly do that to look at whether a piece of a broken needle or a entire needle has slipped inside the assembly.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:39 PM.