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Thread: Question about Singer 338

  1. #1
    Member schuu6p's Avatar
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    Question about Singer 338

    I recently purchased a Singer 338 mostly for the cabinet it was in. I thought they had plastic gears. I was surprised to find mine is all metal inside. I didn't get any Fashion Discs with it and the needle bar won't move up and down. I notice that when I move the stitch width selector, the needle bar moves in and out. It has a belt on it, the motor works, and it spins the bobbin winder but when I try to straight stitch, nothing moves. I know you need a Fashion Disc for the zigzag feature but do you have to have one in it to straight stitch?
    MO Quilter

  2. #2
    Junior Member Kittywolf13's Avatar
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    If its like my touch and see my guess is yes. Mine needs a cam in it to sew. But I'm sure more experienced folks will giv you a definite answer.
    Proud owner of: Eleanor, a 1896 Willcox & Gibbs Chain Stitch Treadle; Tucci, a 1952 Singer Featherweight; my mothers Singer Touch & Sew 758; Brother XR 6060
    1910 Singer 66; Singer 99K Shadow, 1929 Singer 128 (currently w/hand crank)

  3. #3
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    schuu6p,

    First make sure the stop motion nob is tight ( the chrome one inside the hand wheel ), and the bobbin winder nob pushed to the left.
    If that doesn't make the needle bar move up and down then you'll need to remove the face plate and make sure nothing inside is broken or come loose.

    You can straight stitch without the cam in place, but if you move the needle position lever it will crunch the needle. The cam in place is the only thing that keeps the needle within it's limited travels.
    When you lift the trap door there should be a chrome nob about 1" in diameter on top of the cam drive. If not you'll need one of those too. And the ZZ cam you need is a #1.
    There are 30+ flat cams you can use in that machine so any cam can set on the cam drive to keep the needle safe.

    Also, since the 338 is an all metal machine it is worth the effort to get it working and procure the cams. It's a good simple machine that works.

    Joe
    Last edited by J Miller; 11-21-2012 at 06:01 AM.

  4. #4
    Member schuu6p's Avatar
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    The stop motion tab is tight and the bobbin winder knob is pushed to the left. I have the faceplate, the top plate and the plate hiding the belt off. I can't see anything broken or loose inside. I does have the chrome knob. Other suggestions?
    MO Quilter

  5. #5
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    There is a direct mechanical connection from the hand wheel to the needle bar.

    Since you have the face plate and top off, turn the hand wheel and watch the main shaft. Does it rotate? If not then the stop motion clutch or something isn't working right.
    If yes look over on the needle bar side. There is solid metal parts connecting the main shaft to the needle bar. Follow the motion and look at each piece until you find the one that isn't moving. There is no plastic in there to break.

    Joe

  6. #6
    Member schuu6p's Avatar
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    The main shaft does not turn when I turn the hand wheel. I have the manual and I am oiling everything--not the gears or motor, however. Where is the stop motion clutch? I have a parts list but it only gives me the numbers.
    MO Quilter

  7. #7
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    schuu6p,

    If the main shaft is not turning then the stop motion nob is disengaged. It might feel tight, but it's not locking the hand wheel to the main shaft. That's it, there's nothing else there to be the problem.

    Tighten the nob by turning it to the right or clockwise.

    What I would do is get a small screw driver and loosen the little screw just far enough that you can remove the stop motion nob.
    Then the clutch washer. Clean them then reinstall them. The washer goes on the main shaft with the two small prongs in the middle facing out towards the nob. It can go in two ways, so when you get the nob back on and the screw tightened, try it. It should rotate about a quarter turn or so then stop and at that point the hand wheel will free wheel. Turn it back to the right and it should tighten up. At that point the hand wheel should turn the main shaft.
    If it doesn't, then remove the nob again, and rotate the clutch washer 180. Reassemble it. It should work now.

    Joe

  8. #8
    Member schuu6p's Avatar
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    I removed the stop motion nob and the washer was there. I removed it, cleaned it and put it back with the little prongs up. The shaft will not move. I have other machines and when I take that stop motion nob off, I can turn the shaft by hand. This one won't move at all.
    MO Quilter

  9. #9
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Tri-Flow, everything especially the shaft bushings. It's probably gummed up.

    Joe

  10. #10
    Member schuu6p's Avatar
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    OK, I will do that. Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
    MO Quilter

  11. #11
    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    I might have a duplicate cam or two that I would be glad to send you. I will check after Thanksgiving. PM me if I don't get back to you on Fri. or Sat. I doubt I have a duplicate #1 cam, though - most of them were left in the machines and went with them.
    Keep your fingers crossed!
    Linda
    There may be times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

  12. #12
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    The #1 cam should remain with these machines always. Luckily our 338 came with it's #1 cam. We have others, but this is the only #1 we have so far.

    Joe

  13. #13
    Member schuu6p's Avatar
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    Thanks Linda. That's so nice of you. Crossing my fingers!
    MO Quilter

  14. #14
    Member schuu6p's Avatar
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    Joe,
    I finally got the machine working! After using penetrating oil, cleaning and waiting & coaxing, the main shaft finally turned loose! It is sewing but I think I will have to replace the belt as it is slipping. I am not sure how to take the belt off and I don’t want to break anything. Can you give me some instructions or point me to an adjuster’s manual? Thank you for all your advice and help.
    MO Quilter

  15. #15
    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    I have 3 duplicate cams: #5 - arrowhead; #6- domino; and #31- crescent (my favorite of all the stitches!). All 3 of these cams are part of the set of 8 that typically came with the accessory box for the machine. If you want them, PM me your address and I will get them in the mail to you.
    Linda
    Linda
    There may be times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

  16. #16
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    schuu6p,

    Great, I'm glad you got the machine freed up. Now float it in Tri-Flow oil to get the penetrating oil out and she should be good to go. Tri-Flow grease on the metal gears goes a long way to making it run better too. There is two sets of gears, the vertical shaft drive and driven, and the cam drive gears. They need grease, not oil.

    For the belt try this before replacing it. If the belt is not obviously cracked, frayed or defective, get a soft lint free cloth and some rubbing or denatured alcohol and clean the belt, hand wheel and drive pulley. There is a real good possibility they got oil on them as you were trying to get the machine freed up, or just from use in the past.
    The easiest way to do this is with the top and end plate around the hand wheel removed.

    To replace the belt here is how I do it:

    >Remove: the top, plate around the hand wheel, bottom drip pan. This gives you room to see and work.
    >Under the motor, facing the right side, you will see a white eccentric cam with a screw in the middle of it. Loosen the screw and rotate the cam so the motor is all the way up ^^ .
    >Remove the hand wheel. When you pull the hand wheel off the belt will come with it. You "might" be able to remove the belt with the hand wheel in place, but I've not been able to do that on one of our machines yet.
    >Clean the belt grove on the hand wheel and motor pulley with alcohol as suggested above and let it dry.
    >Clean the insides of the hand wheel shaft bore and the main shaft too.

    >Put one drop of SM oil or T-F on the shaft.
    >Put the new belt on the hand wheel, and then with the motor all the way up put the belt around the motor pulley and slide the hand wheel on the shaft.
    >Replace the stop motion clutch washer and knob.
    >Adjust the belt to just take the slack out of it. Do not make it tight. Even snug will put a excessive load on the motor and slow the whole machine down. Make it just tight enough to not slip.
    I test it buy holding the hand wheel with one hand, and turning the motor pulley with the other. If it doesn't slip, it's good to go.
    >Tighten the big screw in the eccentric cam, replace the top, end plate and drip pan and you should be ready to sew.

    There might be a simpler way to do this, but this is how I do it. I like to get everything out of my way when I work on machines and I like to get all the old belt residue that comes off as they wear cleaned out too.

    Your machine takes a SINGER 196386 belt.
    I have found quite a bit of variation in aftermarket belts. One I bought for our 413 was enough too short it wouldn't fit. Just an FYI on that. Try to find a Singer belt if you can. If not just be careful when you instal it as you don't want to bend and twist it. The cords inside can break easily.

    Hope this helps.

    Joe
    Last edited by J Miller; 11-23-2012 at 06:54 AM.

  17. #17
    Member schuu6p's Avatar
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    Thanks Joe. I will follow your instructions and get the belt off tomorrow. I oiled everything after it broke loose and I may have gotten some oil on the belt. I will clean the belt, the belt grove on the hand wheel and the motor pulley per your instructions, let it dry and put it back on and see if it works better. No need to replace it until I have to. I will also put some Singer grease on the metal gears. You have helped me a lot and I really appreciate it.
    MO Quilter

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