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Thread: Singer 500 Rocketeer Rescue

  1. #1
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Singer 500 Rocketeer Rescue

    Singer 500 Rescue


    Last month I picked up three sewing machines and a box of cams and attachments from forum member Hedy. For the life of me I cant remember her forum name. I posted about this somewhere, probably in the Vintage Sewing Machine Shop and cant find it.
    One of the machines was a Singer 500. She was in New Mexico and spotted a box of cams and posted about them in a thread about did anyone want cams or something like that. I piped up and said yes Id take them. Get them if you can and Ill buy them from you. So she did. Turns out that a Singer 500 sewing machine went with the cams. The machine was missing pieces and the top was off but what the heck Id wanted to mess with one and here it was basically free.


    After she returned to IL it took several weeks and a couple reschedulings for us to get together. We ended up having a good visit and buying two machines besides the 500.

    When we got home I looked the 500 over and wondered if it would ever run again. It was a mess inside. There was grease and old oil everywhere. One of the missing parts was the outer stitch selector knob set screw; E in the pic below.
    The nob had been turned 180 from where it was supposed to be. You can see this in Hedy's picture above.

    The bobbin winder assembly B was missing as was the spring clip G that holds the cam on top of the stack.
    The face plate A, presser foot H, needle clamp screw F, light bulb J, one of the two spool pins C and both spool pin springs D were also missing.

    I came up with a substitute set screw to lock down the stitch control knob and took the foot from my parts box and tried it out. Surprisingly it sewed. I was really amazed. It had some tension problems so I had to take the top tension apart to clean and adjust it, and also clean the bottom a couple times to get all the junk out.
    Turns out the springy part that holds the bobbin case in was adjusted too far away and that was allowing the thread to wind around the case and jam up.

    After getting that squared away, I set to and started cleaning. By the time I got it clean enough to satisfy me Id used a half box of q-tips and quite a bit of denatured alcohol. But it was much better. I gave it good oiling and greasing with Tri-Flow, and then waited till Monday to get the parts.

    I had the presser foot, the bulb and the extra spool pin I and had to get all the rest from my LSMG. For all those things he only charged me $25.00.
    It didnt take long at all to install the replacement parts, less than a half hour really. I oiled it some more and made sure that all the gears were greased. Then we started sewing for real.

    Here are some more pics to make the text shorter.

    Before:


    Parts replaced:



    After:


    Testing the patterns and cams:


    Whacky bag:


    While sewing on the Whacky Bag I kept hearing the unmistakable sound of a bearing howling. So I might have to replace the motor shaft upper bearing. Ill check with the LSMG first and if hes got it Ill get it from him. If not then Sew-Classic has them. And I might have to do a bit of fine tuning with the presser foot shaft and ZZ adjustments. But for the most part the old girl is up and running again. One more rescued machine.


    Joe

  2. #2
    Senior Member harrishs's Avatar
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    Joe, you amaze me---good job!

  3. #3
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    Looks great, they're out there.

  4. #4
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    Joe,

    A screaming bearing on those motor many times only means the bearing is dried out. Try dripping a few drops of a heavy motor oil into the well that is at the base of the gear on top of the motor. With luck this heavy oil will soften the dried lube in the bearing after running it for a few minutes. I have used this method several times and have never had to replace the bearing.

    Cathy


    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Singer 500 Rescue
    While sewing on the Whacky Bag I kept hearing the unmistakable sound of a bearing howling. So I might have to replace the motor shaft upper bearing. I’ll check with the LSMG first and if he’s got it I’ll get it from him. If not then Sew-Classic has them. And I might have to do a bit of fine tuning with the presser foot shaft and ZZ adjustments. But for the most part the old girl is up and running again. One more rescued machine.


    Joe
    Cathy

    "Most sewing machine problems are due to the carbon based unit in the chair in front of the machine"

  5. #5
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mizkaki View Post
    Joe,

    A screaming bearing on those motor many times only means the bearing is dried out. Try dripping a few drops of a heavy motor oil into the well that is at the base of the gear on top of the motor. With luck this heavy oil will soften the dried lube in the bearing after running it for a few minutes. I have used this method several times and have never had to replace the bearing.

    Cathy

    Thanks for the tip. I did put a few drops of Tri-Flow down there and that seems to have helped. A couple more drops of motor oil might do the trick.

    Joe

  6. #6
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    If that doesn't quiet her down she may need motor brushes.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  7. #7
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    If I have to pull the motor to put in a bearing I'll be sure to check the brushes and springs and clean it real good while I'm at it.

    I've seen brushes for the potted motor machines and the FWs, but I've not seen any for the internal motors such as this 500 uses.
    Where would I look for them?

    Joe

  8. #8
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    I've seen brushes for the potted motor machines and the FWs, but I've not seen any for the internal motors such as this 500 uses.
    Where would I look for them?

    Joe
    Miriam and I discussed that here:
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...ml#post5662188

    ETA: Assuming the 500 uses the same motor as the 400,... can you confirm?

  9. #9
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    no 401 has a different top gear - 500 and the T&S 600 are the same
    try sew-classic brushes - worked on the 401 we just rebuilt
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  10. #10
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    I was only referring to the brushes. I haven't had a motor bushing in my hands yet.

    Which brushes worked on the 401? When I googled the part number ( in the other thread) the brushes were the FW / 201-2 brushes,... Are those the ones you used? Is the motor the same in the 500? I don't think I have a chart for it, and I'm stiff today so I don't know when I'll get into the sewing room to flip some machines around.

  11. #11
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Yes we used the brushes sew-classic has on her website - worked fine - looked just like the ones we took out
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  12. #12
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    ArchaicArcane, Miriam,
    I remember that thread, even looked for it. But I didn't find it. I'll bookmark it this time. Thanks.

    From the bottom, the motors on the 401 and 500 look pretty much the same. But removed and compared I have no idea.
    We have a 201-2, a 15-91 and a FW. So, if I bought a set of those brushes and they didn't fit the 500, I wouldn't be out any.

    However ...... Mizkakis idea of the motor oil down on top of the bearing seems to be working. I was sewing with it a bit ago after putting several drops of Penzzoil 30 WT motor oil on the bearing and it is quieting down. Got a couple projects to do with it later and then I'm going to do a felt stitch pattern sheet. That should give it a work out.

    Joe

  13. #13
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    ArchaicArcane, Miriam,
    I remember that thread, even looked for it. But I didn't find it. I'll bookmark it this time. Thanks.

    From the bottom, the motors on the 401 and 500 look pretty much the same. But removed and compared I have no idea.
    We have a 201-2, a 15-91 and a FW. So, if I bought a set of those brushes and they didn't fit the 500, I wouldn't be out any.

    However ...... Mizkakis idea of the motor oil down on top of the bearing seems to be working. I was sewing with it a bit ago after putting several drops of Penzzoil 30 WT motor oil on the bearing and it is quieting down. Got a couple projects to do with it later and then I'm going to do a felt stitch pattern sheet. That should give it a work out.

    Joe
    THe 401 and the 500 and the 600 motors ARE the same but the 500 and 600 have a different top gear on them.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  14. #14
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    THe 401 and the 500 and the 600 motors ARE the same but the 500 and 600 have a different top gear on them.
    Good to know. Thanks.

    Joe

  15. #15
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I'm thinking the gear on the 401 is a tad shorter - the 500 or 600 motor will work in the 401 but the bobbins won't wind in the 500 if you put the 401 in it.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  16. #16
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    I'm thinking the gear on the 401 is a tad shorter - the 500 or 600 motor will work in the 401 but the bobbins won't wind in the 500 if you put the 401 in it.
    Correcto Mundo. The 500 motor has a taller shaft with a spiral wound thing at the top to run the bobbin winder.
    I think the drive gear on the 401 might be slightly larger in diameter but without having them side by side I can't be sure.

    Joe

  17. #17
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    UPDATE: Fast forward to March 10th 2013. Since I posted this thread I have kept the 500 set up and ready for use. Both my wife and myself have used it quite a bit. Decorated many squares for my denim quilt, repaired clothes, made a Wacky Bag, plus other things. Not a hint of trouble.
    Mizkaki's tip about the motor oil on the top bearing worked. Not a squeal out of it since I put the oil in.

    So any one who finds a pathetic machine like this one and want's to try their hands at refurbing them, go for it.
    In this case, the results justified the effort and cost. It's one of my favorite machines and I'll not be parting with it any time soon.

    Joe

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    I was under the impression that there aren't many types of brushes, maybe two sizes or so. A OSMG told me to get the biggest and file them down if necessary.

  19. #19
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I just got a pathetic 301 working again! It needed a total make over. There was mold, mildew etc on the paint. Some scaring from that - blotches in the paint where that all was. The motor squealed but good, there was rust on the shuttle, the tension had to be rebuilt, the whole thing had to have the grease and oil cleaned up. The balance wheel had a lot of dried up oil in there - the machine would not stop running when I took my foot off the pedal. Now it works just fine. Took several hours though.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  20. #20
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    LOVED this one! wow, what a beauty . . . you do great work, Joe. wish you lived closer to me!! lol ;0))

  21. #21
    Super Member Mrs. SewNSew's Avatar
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    Then there IS hope! I took in a 500 in similar condition yesterday. I need to get photos today and get an idea of what is missing. Right off I know I am missing the face for the tension, the spool pins, the upper lid and the side lid needs work to stay on. The machine desperately needs cleaning and oiling but the motor was making a horrible growl when the poor woman tried to demonstrate it for me.

    This one is going to need donors to live.

    I will keep the motor oil tip in mind. This "screaming" sound...is it truly a higher pitched scream? or does growling qualify?
    Christy
    Starting the year out fresh

  22. #22
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Christy,

    I got parts for mine from Sew-Classic and my LSMG. The motor noise was a bearing howl. Not a scream really but not a growl either. The oil on top did fix it.

    I started by making a list of what I needed, then tore it apart and started cleaning it. As the parts came in I cleaned them too and reassembled it. Then some adjusting and it's a keeper.

    Joe
    I love the old iron and wood machines. They're solid and reliable.
    Founder of IAAA - I Am An Anachronism .

  23. #23
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Oh, there was a thread here just last week I think where the poster ( I forget who that was ) detailed how he replaced the nose piece pins with small 4D nails. It might be easy to find.

    Joe
    I love the old iron and wood machines. They're solid and reliable.
    Founder of IAAA - I Am An Anachronism .

  24. #24
    Super Member Mrs. SewNSew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Oh, there was a thread here just last week I think where the poster ( I forget who that was ) detailed how he replaced the nose piece pins with small 4D nails. It might be easy to find.

    Joe
    Joe, My plan of attack will be basically the same. Make notes of the missing or damaged parts while I clean and oil and then add them in as I can. I SAW that thread on the hinge pin too, so I'll be looking for that. Luckily that part looks intact, it's just missing the pin.
    Christy
    Starting the year out fresh

  25. #25
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Christy,

    I just found that Sew-Classic actually stocks those nose door pins:
    { http://www.shop.sew-classic.com/PIN-...900-170032.htm }
    That would be easier than making one.

    Joe
    I love the old iron and wood machines. They're solid and reliable.
    Founder of IAAA - I Am An Anachronism .

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