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Singer 301 clicking and "sticky" handwheel

Singer 301 clicking and "sticky" handwheel

Old 10-22-2020, 10:16 PM
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Default Singer 301 clicking and "sticky" handwheel

I just picked up a 301 on craigslist. It's in fairly good condition, but hasn't seen maintenance in a while. I oiled it up and gave it a test run. It makes a clicking sound once per stitch. I think it's coming from the bobbin area, but it's hard to tell. When I turn the handwheel, I encounter resistance at a certain point in the turn, right as the thread lever is coming back up. It's easy to push past it, but there is a slight "grinding" feel. The click doesn't happen when I turn the handwheel by hand, so I don't know if the resistance and the click happen at the same time.

The stitch formation is not good, I was getting big clumps of thread on the bottom of the fabric. I don't want to try and fix that by adjusting the tension, since I'm reluctant to sew on it in case the clicking and grinding feel could damage something.

I know I have the correct threading/needle/bobbin etc., since I grew up sewing on 301s and am familiar with how to use it.

Any ideas what's going on? I'd like to try and fix it myself before paying someone else to do it.

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Old 10-23-2020, 04:28 AM
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First, did you remember that you need to hold the thread tails when you start to sew? Either that, or start off your seam after putting the needle into the fabric. Either one will stop the thread nest on the bottom.

Did you grease the gears that the manual says to grease? I use tri-flow grease, but vaseline is a decent alternative. I got tri-flow at the local bike shop, but it's available on Amazon.

An old "trick" that I was recently reminded of is to put drop of 30 wt. motor oil on the upright gear that is just inside the hand wheel. The friend sent me a photo and I'll see if I can retrieve it. If so, I will post it later today. I've had a 301 for a few months, but just started to work on it/sew with it. It was either "whining" or "roaring" in that area. I oiled the area near that I guessed was causing the oil and it stopped. Meanwhile, a friend emailed me about the 30 wt. oil. I thought she might be wrong, as the noise stopped. I have not sewed anything in a week or so, but the noise came back. I used the 30 wt. drop of oil a couple of days ago. I have not had time to sew, so I don't know if it solved the problem or not. It certainly won't hurt. I had greased that gear with tri-flow, and it didn't stop the noise permanently. I will see the results later today.

bkay



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Old 10-23-2020, 05:31 AM
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There should not be any resistance when cycling the machine. Keep oiling, any moving metal on metal, and not just the oil points in the manual. You might have to do this multiple times and let the machine sit in between oilings.
Regarding the clicking, have you run the machine without thread (but keeping cloth between the feed dogs and the presser feet)? Or run it without a needle (and no thread), and see if it clicks. Have you changed the needle? It could be bent slightly and hitting something it shouldn't hit.
Try a new needle and tighten up the tension. Your birds nest underneath could be contributing to the noise problem.
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Old 10-23-2020, 07:23 AM
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Welcome, Quousque. My first impression while reading your post, was the possibility of thread stuck somewhere along the line. Possibly, in the bobbin area. I have a Featherweight that it took a while to get to the actual problem. There was some thread that was in the bobbin case. When I finally got it out and realized that the problem was the hook shaft and assembly was not set correctly. I thought it was okay, but when I took a video and realized that there was a tick. I thought it might just be the "nature of the beast" but then adjusted some more as it was the needle hitting the hook.

Before, messing with the "timing" or tension, I would verify there is not some thread stuck somewhere it doesn't belong. This is particularly true in the bobbin area. I would go through oiling and lubricating/greasing the points in the manual. The manual can be found at https://res.cloudinary.com/singer-se...ng_Machine.pdf it isn't the best, but will work. I hope bkay can get a picture of the 30W oiling point. As you don't want to put it on the spiral gears, but on the bearing for the gears (I think).

I will sometimes think that I've got the threading and needle positioned correctly, but when I have problems, I go back to basics - usually reviewing the manual. It can be something like having the needle in wrong, the bobbin thread not going the right direction.or upper thread not through one of the guides or tension discs correctly. Oh, I just remembered, another simple thing that has caught me off guard, is that the pressure for the presser bar had been released.

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Old 10-23-2020, 09:35 AM
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There are normal oiling points and then there are two areas that need grease, not oil. One is the gear(s) inside the machine near the handwheel. The other is on the underside of the machine. The bottom cover comes off easily.
Because you are familiar with a 301, you know it threads from right to left. I have three machines set up in my family room. One threads R to L, one L to R and the Elna from the front.
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Old 10-23-2020, 02:36 PM
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Hi, I was able to find the email. Cari-in-Oly sent this to me when I posted about my 301 noise.
The place you put the 30 wt. oil is where the green arrow points.
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Attached Thumbnails slant-whine2-.jpg  
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Old 10-23-2020, 03:36 PM
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In the above post, I failed to mention that the photo is of a 401, not a 301. However, they are similar in their design. The 401 has a built-in cam stack, but the configuration of the gears is the same.

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Old 10-23-2020, 05:33 PM
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Thank you, bkay for clarifying. I did remember the "401" discussion for adding 30W motor oil. It has been quite a while since I had either of my 301s out so didn't remember the spiral gears.

Quousque. unless you have an old tube of Singer Lubricant, I would suggest either petroleum jelly or Tri-Flow Grease.as the formula has changed over the years. As for oil, either sewing machine oil (not 3-in-1) or Tri-Flow oil.

Some links that might be helpful, mainly dealing with Featherweight bobbins, but similar to the 301 can be found at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrR1lcn84Oc
https://www.quiltingboard.com/5944478-post7.html
https://singer-featherweight.com/blo...machine-jammed

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Old 10-23-2020, 05:58 PM
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Thank you everyone for the information! I figured out the problem- the bobbin tension was absurdly high! The sticky "grinding" feeling was the machine struggling to pull the thread from the bobbin, and the "click" was when the thread "released", as it were.
I'm surprised it didn't break! I had to turn the tension screw on the bobbin case almost a full turn to loosen it up so somewhere resembling "correct". I don't have any way to measure bobbin tension, but I was able to get it approximately right by comparing how hard it was to tug the bobbin thread through my bobbin case, and through the bobbin case from my mom's machine (same model). Then I had to re-calibrate the top tension, which wasn't too hard to figure out. Now she sews beautifully, no clicking or grinding or any worrying noises!
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Old 10-23-2020, 06:06 PM
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Good, glad you got it figured out and fairly simple fix.

A would of caution to others trying this - those tension screws are really tiny and easily lost.

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