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Thread: Rookie...might be...definitely in over my head!

  1. #1
    Junior Member tjk829's Avatar
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    Rookie...might be...definitely in over my head!

    I recently came into possession of a vintage singer that is listed as a model 18 on the website database. I think that means it is a 66-18 but I'm not sure...sigh. It was completely seized and I started trying to clean it up and get it moving but I took the balance wheel off and when I tried to put it back on to move the needle it just spins and doesn't engage the drive and for the life of me I can't figure out why? Most of the pretty metal pieces cleaned up great but the needle plates were so corroded that they have bad pits and burrs on them even though the rust and dirt are gone.. what now? The paint and decals on the machine itself were in such bad shape that I decided to strip it and repaint it and replace the decals, ( I know that's controversial, but it would go to the scrap heap otherwise) even if I can't get it to work I plan to use it as a decorative piece in my sewing room but I would like to try to get it working any advice is much appreciated, since I already belly-flopped into the deep end of the pool..

  2. #2
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    Like Cari mentions; the stop motion washer has two points protruding outwards, that's the correct way when assembling. The triangular placed points on its' outer circumferance can go on two different ways, and it's mostly a trial and error of getting them right. Here's a blog post on the subject.

    Fixing up a 66 is well within doable for a beginner, it's always a lot of work when you have to go for a full refinish of the shellac. I hope you found nice decals. A new bobbin cover and needle plate (aka throat plate) can easily be found on the web, both brand new and good used condition. The needle and presser bar shines up like new with the right stuff. I found something called Quick-Glo and it did a very good job on the steel and chromed bits on my 201. Generally I find paste polishes for chrome and steel does a better job than liquid polishes. There's loads of brands and some are better than others.

    Detect all oil pionts and add a bit of oil every day for a while, let it seep in, wiggle the handwheel now and then and it will eventually free up. Keep on oiling and test sewing, it takes a bit of time and effort to dissolve and flush out grime and rust. If you have stripped and repainted the body already, the rest will come a long much easier. It's a nice model, if you aren't familar with machines like this, I'm sure it will surprise you in a good way. They are very smooth, capable and well behaved. I have added a few accessories to my 201, particularly I like the buttonholer and a walking foot.
    Last edited by Mickey2; 01-06-2019 at 04:51 PM.

  3. #3
    Junior Member tjk829's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure the washer is in right, I have tried it every possible way..lol. The set screw inserts all the way and it "unlocks" like it's supposed to but the whole assembly turns when I try to move the wheel. It is burnishing the metal where it contacts the back side of the balance wheel, maybe it is just too seized up to budge? I have attached pictures but the machine has already been stripped...I didn't take any before pictures.Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #4
    Junior Member tjk829's Avatar
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    I did notice that the two points on the stop motion washer are really worn, it is really hard to tell which way they are pointing since they are worn so much. Could that mean they are not catching like they are supposed to? Maybe I need to replace the washer..

  5. #5
    Junior Member tjk829's Avatar
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    Thanks for confirming it is a 66, I had that right at least.. the needle bar didn't move at all even before I disassembled it. I had hoped that all the cleaning and oiling might have loosened it up enough to move a little bit like I said after I put the balance wheel back on, nothing budges except the balance wheel. I suspect that unless I am willing to completely disassemble and troubleshoot, this poor lady is bound to stay frozen...but she's going to look fantastic! I am not ready to take a machine completely apart and even if I was brave enough to try it, I don't have the expertise to accomplish it.

  6. #6
    Junior Member tjk829's Avatar
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    It has a side clamp presser foot and spoked hand wheel. Good point about really taking the big guns to the innards since there is no chance of damaging the finish...lol.I found this picture from before I took it apart, not sure it is very helpful though.
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  7. #7
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    The worn stop motion washer is a concern, but you should be able to turn the horizontal top rod by hand with out the hand wheel in place. It's probably in need of more oil and clever rust loosing products. Spray can oils can speed things up, sometimes the basic oil and just letting it seep in for a few days does the trick. It's hard to know which link in the chain of parts is stuck and the trick is to keep adding oil to all joints, hinges, turn knobs, where metal moves against metal. I'm sure you are onto it already. There's a cam like part that moves the feed dogs, it looks a bit like a wrench, inside there is a roller that should turn like a wheel. It often needs a bit of extra attention to free up. The machine will run and stitch, but runs noticeably smoother when it's free.

  8. #8
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    Some times standing it on the nose, oil and wait a few days to seep in. I prop up it up with books, towels, pieces of wood, etc. One of mine took a week to loosen up.

  9. #9
    Junior Member tjk829's Avatar
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    Whoo Whoo Happy Dance! We got her loosened up and can spin the wheel with a fingertip! Used a product called "Free it All" and then brought in the big guns...my husband. We took apart some more stuff, cleaned out a lot of really nasty gunk and then, slowly started rocking the wheel back and forth and within a couple of hours, she was freewheeling...this is so cool! Thanks for the advice and encouragement, I wouldn't have been brave enough to take much more apart...lol You guys rock! I will continue with the paint prep and will definitely post after pics.

  10. #10
    Super Member leonf's Avatar
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    I consier a 66 well loosened if I can spin it 3-5 revolutions with a quick turn to the handwheel. Glad you know the joy of success.
    "Sacrifices must be made." Otto Lilienthal

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