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Thread: Universal Model 5510

  1. #1
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    Universal Model 5510

    I'm new here and am not sure if I'm posting in the right place. If not please move me.

    My wife recently dragged home what appears to me to be a '60s or '70 sewing machine that "needs work" from the thrift store.

    The label on the front reads: Universal Standard Sewing Equipment, Model 5510
    The end plate: Custom Designed and Manufactured for Standard Sewing Equipment Corp., Made in Japan
    The bottom plate: 334492

    I don't anything about sewing machines, but am a pretty handy fix-it guy and am fascinated by this machine. It looks like it is very well made. It is all metal construction and is in very good condition. It was pretty cool to open it up and see all the metal gears and levers that look like they'll last forever. It came with a lot of spare parts and the manual. I took off the covers to clean and lubricate it and found little cleaning necessary. A few well placed drops of oil did wonders. Everything operates smoothly and with no scary noises. So far, so good.

    The problem I am having is that the fabric won't feed. I checked all the settings and took a look at the adjustment on the dogs and how the dogs move and it all seems to be working fine. So, my question is, can the dogs wear out enough that they won't feed the fabric at all? I can pull the fabric through and it sews nicely, but just sits in one place if I don't pull it. From what I can tell, I just need to replace the dogs and my wife will have a great $10 back-up machine. Does my diagnosis sound right? If so, anyone have any idea where I can find new dogs?

  2. #2
    Super Member amyjo's Avatar
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    pictures please. can't tell by your description. Sounds like a good machine.

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    Wow! That was a quick response. I guess I came to the right place. My wife is the photographer. I'll have her takes some pics and post them up later today.

  4. #4
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    Does it have a little knob on the bed in front of the pillar to raise and lower the feed dogs? My Universal does. The fabric won't feed if they are lowered.

  5. #5
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishrose View Post
    Does it have a little knob on the bed in front of the pillar to raise and lower the feed dogs? My Universal does. The fabric won't feed if they are lowered.
    I had the same thought, feed dog knob in the darning position. Yes, Noel, we all welcome new vintage sewing machine addicts and love to see pictures.
    Sweet Caroline

  6. #6
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    It has a lever that switches between up or down. It looks like it raises and lowers the dogs correctly. They are definitely above the plate in the up position.

  7. #7
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    WOW! I just fixed it! It was the reverse button. I knew it was gummed up and stuck, but thought I had it pulled out to the full forward position. Apparently, it was still pushed in just enough to keep the dogs from biting. I shot the whole area where the button pushes inside the machine with one of my favorite products, PB Blaster, a penetrating oil, and force worked the button in and out for several minutes until it loosened up and self-retracted. When it did, I heard one little click that I hadn't heard before. Voila!

    Thanks for the encouragement. I think I would have given up without it.

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    Well, maybe I spoke too soon. The dogs will now feed the fabric, but only with the foot pressure set to the very lightest position. As soon as I tighten it the least amount, it stops feeding. Is that how it's supposed to work? If not, any ideas for what to try next would be much appreciated.

  9. #9
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    If the machine does not feed properly

    Instructions from my Universa​l AZZ manual:

    a. The stitch regulator dial is set at '0', make sure the dial is not set at '0' position
    b. The feed dog is dropped, raise the drop feed knob
    c. The pressure of the presser foot is insufficient, increase the pressure by pushing the head of the darner

    It appears that "c" may be your problem. But without seeing a picture of your machine I will again quote my AZZ manual. The pressure regulator knob is called a darner in my manual.

    "Depending on the weight of the material a change in the presser foot may be indicated. To reduce the pressure, place index finger on the left hand of the round base of the darner in order to control its rise. At the same time, with the index of your finger of your right hand turn the head of the darner to raise either partly or fully depending on the material and operation".

    Keep playing with it Noel. You will get er done!
    Sweet Caroline

  10. #10
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    Thanks Caroline,

    But, something strange is going on here. What you sent me suggests that the problem is insufficient pressure on the presser foot.
    "The pressure of the presser foot is insufficient, increase the pressure by pushing the head of the darner" What I have is just the opposite. I can adjust the foot pressure easily with a knob on top. With no pressure on the foot, it self feeds but the stitch length is way too short, regardless of the length setting. When I put even the slightest pressure on the foot, it stops feeding. I can pull it through with a gentle pull, but it won't feed. That suggests to me that the friction from the foot is enough to stop the dog from feeding. Is the dog just worn out?

  11. #11
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    Here are a couple of pics...
    Pretty simple, basic machine.


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    Last edited by Noel; 03-23-2013 at 02:44 PM.

  12. #12
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Good Noel, we now have pictures. Have you removed the top from the machine? It looks as if there are two screws that hold the top on. Can you take pics of the innards after removing the top? If there are plastic gears inside I would give them a touch of sewing machine grease. Your machine is much younger than my Universal. I come to a grinding halt with the newer machines with plastic gears. Have you figured out the presser foot pressure issue yet?
    Sweet Caroline

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    I'll ask my wife to take a pic of the gears (all metal) and the dogs.

  14. #14
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    More pics. Still trying to figure out the feed. If it's the dogs, anyone have a suggestion for sourcing a new one?

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  15. #15
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    The feed dogs look very high. Are the slightly below the bed of the machine when they are on the down stroke of the cycle? Could there an adjusting screw for the height of the feed dogs somewhere underneath?

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    Yeah, the dogs are below the plate on the return. I looked for an adjusting screw and didn't see anything that looked like it would do it.

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    If anyone is interested in following this, I started a new topic in the stickied "shop" section above.

  18. #18
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    Noel,

    If the dogs can feed with light pressure, then they do work and should not need replacement. I suspect from what you have said that when they are in the up position can you push them down below the bed with your finger. You should not be able to move dogs by finger pressure. Follow the path of all that connects to the dogs to find what is moving.
    It may be in the feeddog lowering knob/ lever. If that does not them lock securely in the up position they won't work
    under pressure.

    Cathy
    Cathy

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

  19. #19
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    Thanks Cathy --

    This machine sat for many years and all the works got pretty gummed up. It turned out that the dog wasn't fully retracting under motor power. What made it so difficult to diagnose is that it looked fine when I was operating it manually and checking everything, but would only get hung up at higher speed. Some penetrating oil on the works took care of the problem. (Kaki=persimmon?)

  20. #20
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    Noel,

    Glad I could help some.

    No. Your question was curious so I googled Kaki, persimmon. Interesting!
    My Dad called me Kaki. I don't know where he got the name.

    Cathy



    Quote Originally Posted by Noel View Post
    (Kaki=persimmon?)
    Cathy

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

  21. #21
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Whooo Hoooo! Success, congrats. I am doing the happy dance for you.
    Sweet Caroline

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    Thanks for the encouragement and the happy dance!

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    So, I got that problem solved and a bunch of others too. I'm now down to what I am hoping is the final step, getting the needle centered. It has a three position switch, R-M_L. In all positions it is a bit to the right, nearly hitting the presser foot on the right and with a sizeable gap on the left. I've looked everywhere for an adjustment screw and can't find anything. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

  24. #24
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    When you push to the right on the needle bar is it sticky? Look and see what the needle bar connects to. Do you see any kind of thing that goes in and out of a sleeve or pin? check to see if it is gummed up. Then you will need to lift the top lid and when you push on the needle bar see what moves under there - cleaning out the gunky oil will do some good there too. You will need to go over every moving part on the machine and free it up with the oil. Avoid 3-in-1 oil like the plague - it may be what is in there now.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  25. #25
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    Thanks Miriam -- I did all that and everything moves freely. Even "snaps" back and forth where it barely moved before. The odd thing is that the needle was perfectly centered before I started cleaning it up. After I got everything working, I thought I was done, but then noticed the off-center needle.

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