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  • Singer 404 - A Repair or Cleaning Problem?

  • Singer 404 - A Repair or Cleaning Problem?

    Old 07-21-2015, 04:42 AM
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    Default Singer 404 - A Repair or Cleaning Problem?

    Hello, All! I just purchased a 1959 Singer 404 straight stitch for $30 from a thrift store today. The motor runs but the hand wheel won't turn after engaging the clutch, so it will not sew, it seems frozen. I've read that the vintage machines are easy to maintain and repair at home but I'm not sure it's something I myself can fix. as my talents are few when it comes to fixing mechanical items. It appears to have been sitting stored for some time, as it is rather dirty around the outside seams of the machine, and after removing it from a cabinet at the store, I could see that it has very heavy "dirty" dust around the bottom. I opened the front top face plate and it looked pretty clean inside there, i.e., no rust at all. I watched an on-line video about removing the face plate from the bottom of the machine to look at the mechanics inside there, but I have not done that because I thought I would ask you folks if this is a simple matter of oiling or cleaning, or did I buy something that cannot be fixed at all? Thank you in advance for any advice you may be able to give me.
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    Old 07-21-2015, 07:30 AM
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    Oil turns gummy or even into a varnish like substance when it sits long enough. Take the top and bottom covers off the machine and oil everything where two pieces of metal move against each other. Use Tri Flo synthetic oil or sewing machine oil. Wiggle the machine every time you pass by it. Eventually the oil will soften up the dried oil and your machine will start turning. Be patient. It took a long time for the old oil to dry up. It will take a while to free up again.
    Rodney
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    Old 07-21-2015, 12:45 PM
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    Thank you Rodney! Sounds like a worktable project out in the garage, lol! So if I understand correctly, I would oil a lot more places than just the indicated oil holes, etc. shown in the instruction book.
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    Old 07-21-2015, 04:58 PM
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    A few years ago I bought out a school's old 404s. They had been stored for years and most of them were frozen up like you say. I learned a lot from messing with those machines. Rodney is right old oil will need to be dissolved. But most of those machines had 'frozen' motors. What worked best was to remove the motor and put one drop of oil on the bearings, then rock the shaft back and forth until it turns real sweet. You might do well to locate a service manual so you can feel more confident about pulling the motor. It is a very easy job.
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    Old 07-21-2015, 05:06 PM
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    Alcohol is wonderful for dissolving old oil BUT keep it away from any old black machines. It dissolves shellac too and will quickly destroy the finish and decals if it comes into contact with them. Most newer non-black finishes are fine. Test it where it doesn't show first or just remove easy-to-get-to parts to clean them.
    Rodney
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    Old 07-21-2015, 05:25 PM
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    Naptha works, too.
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    Old 07-21-2015, 09:06 PM
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    Check for thread wound around the hand wheel and the bobbin shaft. I got 6' of black thread out of my FW, in 3 places that had it bound up. The black thread was almost invisible until I found the end of it with a pin and teased it out where I could pull it away. Tri-Flow oil is the best and can be obtained from sew-classic.com and good bicycle shops. Get their grease also.
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    Old 07-22-2015, 10:12 PM
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    Thank you all for your advice and help. I've ordered the Tri-Flow oil and grease from sew-classic.com and can hardly wait to start this project!
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    Old 07-24-2015, 09:03 AM
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    Default 404

    Shirley,

    I just received a 404 yesterday and a quick inspection had a lot of fluff and thread around the bobbin case and apparently someone in the distant pass used an automotive grease gun to grease it up. Looks like graphite grease. I might need to bring it to a car wash to hose it out. I will have a lot of degreasing before I can reapply the correct lube/grease. Otherwise it's in great shape and will be an asset to the herd.

    Soman2

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    Old 07-24-2015, 06:49 PM
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    I have a 404 that I keep at at my church so I don't have to transport a machine every month. It sews fine, though for a while the tension would loosen for no reason. With regular use, it has recovered.
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