She's real fun, my 401...

Old 11-02-2015, 06:57 PM
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Default She's real fun, my 401...

Over the weekend, I decided enough! of waiting until I get the cabinet refinished. I pulled out the 401, set it in the 301 table, oiled it up (again) and started playing.

If you were wondering how I did on the cam stack (I took it apart months ago to clean it) - I DID put the cam stack back together in the right order. Thanks to the link shared here, I was also able to set the timing of the cam stack to the needle. (Should the cam gear have lube on it? It was totally dry, no sign of old grease, so I let it be.)

It took a bit for the oil to get into all the nooks & crannies, and she quieted nicely once it did. I am amazed at the difference in sound between the 401 and the 301. The 401 has a higher "geared/spin" sound, even with a straight stitch. (Race horse...ridden by a plow jockey!) I think she'll be pretty vocal about her oiling needs.

The 301 has a lower pitch, a solid, steady sound. Knows what she has to do and does it, at any speed from a walk to a canter. Not much bothers her. Her sound doesn't change much, but if she's thirsting for oil, she'll show it in thread snarling. One quirk I haven't figured out - If I don't have at least 5" of thread tail on the top thread to start a seam, she'll pull the thread out of the needle, even if I am holding the thread. Thoughts? By comparison, the 401 can start a seam with a 2" tail.

The 401 fancy stitches are pretty fun. I think I'll enjoy embellishing tiny quilts (mini wall hangings) with her. (No grand daughters to sew for yet.)
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Old 11-02-2015, 07:53 PM
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Make sure the take up lever is at/just over the top of its travel, as well as hanging on to your thread tails. These machines definitely have a "sound", the higher pitch of the 401 indicates to me that the upper motor bearing could use a drop of 30wt. oil. I keep a syringe of 30wt. just for these motors.

Cari

Last edited by Cari-in-Oly; 11-02-2015 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:56 AM
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Yes, the cam stack gears must be greased. That is covered in the owners manual in the oil / greasing section.

Glad you got that cam stack back together and timed.

Joe
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Old 11-03-2015, 05:31 AM
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Thanks, Joe. I have the manual open...did not recognize the cam gear in that drawing on page 89. I do have 2 gears greased, will go back and grease the cam gear.

Cari - the manual page 91 says "The motor requires no lubrication." ???
Of course, that machine is older than I am, and I do wish I could lube my knees sometimes!
How long/narrow is your syringe? Or did you buy it pre-loaded? DH probably has 30wt motor oil around somewhere, but I'm not sure that is the same as what you recommend. Would the TriFlow oil work?

Thanks!
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Old 11-03-2015, 06:28 AM
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Quick question regarding a 401A: Do you grease the fiber gear behind the handwheel?
Thanks,
Rodney
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Old 11-03-2015, 09:05 AM
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Yes, the fiber gear is also greased.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]534833[/ATTACH]
Here's a pic I did some time ago about lubing the top end of a 401a.


Joe
Attached Thumbnails under-top.jpg  
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Old 11-03-2015, 09:28 AM
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Wherever metal moves against metal, lubrication is called for. For spots that require grease, I like the synthetic Teflon version.

It's always nice to have a new congregant in the Church of the 401. It's my go-to machine. Even though I've been a long-time scoffer of decorative stitches, the plain zigzag is always handy, the blind stitch gets used regularly and for true decorative effect, my favorite is #11 Ribbon. To my eye, it's the most graceful of the options.
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Old 11-03-2015, 03:04 PM
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Thank you!
Rodney
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Old 11-03-2015, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by WIChix

Cari - the manual page 91 says "The motor requires no lubrication." ???
How long/narrow is your syringe? Or did you buy it pre-loaded? DH probably has 30wt motor oil around somewhere, but I'm not sure that is the same as what you recommend. Would the TriFlow oil work?

Thanks!
Lori, the oil isn't for the motor itself. Right below that top motor gear that the fiber gear meshes with is a sealed bearing with grease in it that now, after 50+ years has gotten hard. That's where the whine that's particular to these motors comes from. A syringe is the easiest way to get a drop or two of oil to this bearing to help loosen up that hardened grease. 30 wt. motor oil(yes, it's for cars) is perfect for this, regular sewing machine oil or Tri Flow is too thin. It will run right through the bearing and down to the motor without doing what it's supposed to do. I don't know what size my syringe is other than it's bigger than anything I've ever seen used for people. My neighbor gave it to me. I took it to an oil change business and explained what I needed the oil for so they filled it for me. Just a drop or two and let the machine run for a bit to allow the motor oil to soften the grease. It's taken anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes to hear the difference in the machines I've done this to. It really does work, and should last the machine another 25 years or so. The only other way to fix this issue is to replace that bearing and while it's not expensive to replace it, it's a lot more work than lubing it this way.

Cari

Last edited by Cari-in-Oly; 11-03-2015 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:21 AM
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Thank you, Cari. Your directions were very helpful. I'll do that and report back.
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