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Aug 7, 2014

"Serger Go Clunk" or How I Repaired My Brother 1034D



For the past month or so, my serger, a Brother 1034D that I bought refurbished more than four years ago and has been trouble-free from the get-go, started making a very disturbing clunking sound whenever I used it.

I noticed too that while it was operating, the socket where the plug attaches would vibrate more than usual.  The 1034D has always been a loud machine and, as anyone knows who owns one, rather plasticky, but still reliable and sturdy.  (It's also very easy to thread, as sergers go.)

The clunking wasn't affecting the quality of the stitches, but it worried me because a) the clunk was so loud, and b) it was becoming constant.  Something was loose inside the machine and hitting the insides.  If I couldn't repair it myself, I was going to have to buy a new serger: having a professional repair a four-year-old serger that cost less than $200 wouldn't make sense, not in New York City where labor is so costly.   Plus I don't know anybody who repairs sergers.

So today I removed the plug unit and the thread spools, turned the machine upside down, and looked for the best entry point into the machine's innards.  I decided that the best route was through the right side of the machine (with the machine facing you).  First I removed the lever that raises and lowers the presser foot (unscrew the screw and it pulls right off), and then unscrewed the two screws that hold the side piece on.  The side piece lifted off easily.



The first thing I noticed was how clean and simple the insides were.  There was nothing rattling around inside, and I couldn't figure out what could be causing that clunking sound.  But I noticed that the belt looked loose.  I pulled at it and sure enough -- loose.  I probably just needed a new belt.



But THEN I noticed that the belt felt loose only because the motor had shifted position -- it was the motor that was loose.  So -- and this was the sum total of the repair -- I picked up my screwdriver, positioned the motor so that the belt was taut but not too tight, and tightened the bolt holding the motor in place. 





It worked like a charm: no more clunking.  I also oiled any visible metal moving parts (NOT the belt), and removed the housing covering the light, so I could oil the moving parts there as well.

I am so glad I tackled this.  Naturally, on a machine as prone to vibrating as the Brother 1034D, pieces are going to loosen over time.  It's amazing what just a little of bit of tightening can accomplish!



Frankly, I've always preferred sewing machines with exterior motors and belts.  They are so much easier to maintain and a problem like a loose motor is immediately obvious and a cinch to repair.

Here's a helpful hint: when I got the 1034D, I wrote the basic steps for re-threading it directly onto the plastic cover, so I rarely have to hunt for the manual.  So easy.





In closing, have you ever had trouble with your Brother 1034D?  

If so, were you able to resolve it?

Have a great day, everybody!

57 comments:

  1. I don't have a Brother serger but had a similar problem with my sewing machine and fixed it in the same way. I have a Necchi serger and used to use it all the time but l've left it so long between uses that I can't get it to thread now even using the manual. Your tip is a great idea.

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  2. I have the same serger and I'm about to throw it out the window. The lower looper thread keeps breaking after a couple inches of running. Threading it and re- threading it all morning. I want a magic threading machine.

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    1. I had this problem too (albeit with a different brand of machine) and was about to fling it when the internet came to the rescue.

      In short, I pulled out all of the threads and re-threaded the machine in the CORRECT SEQUENCE. This did the trick and I haven't had a problem since.

      You'll find the explanation on many websites but here's one. I hope this helps.

      http://www.makeithandmade.com/2012/08/how-to-thread-your-serger-out-of-order.html

      Spud.

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    2. Thanks Spud, maybe this will do the trick with mine.

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    3. Try a Babylock! Thread in any order and once you try that air threading, your sewing life changes forever. I was a skeptic, but no longer.

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  3. I have the Brother 1034D and it likes to make a squealing noise when I sew fast. I'm assuming it might need oil someplace? It is obnoxious but only happens about 6 times a month (I do oil where I'm supposed to monthly so I'm not sure why she squeals at me). I'm glad you were able to fix your so easily and I'll remember that for the future :D

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    1. Mine has done the same since day one nearly 2 years ago. It sounds to me like a bushing that is spinning when it shouldn't be. Sound seems to be coming from the middle rear of the machine. I stripped off the entire case and still couldn't find the cause. I ended up oiling every moving part and put it back together. It still squeals and sews like a champ. I'll just live with it.

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    2. LOL, thanks for the info :) I'll just let her scream at me too - she does sew nicely.

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    3. I have the same model and it squeals when I sew too fast too. I just sew slower.

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    4. It's the be!t that has stretched and is slipping take the side off and tighten the belt . Mine was exactly the same

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    5. I have had this same Model for a few years, and always had that annoying squealing noise at high speed. I always oiled it in the placed indicated, but it didn’t help. Last month, in the middle of remodeling my sewing room, I decided to go beyond their “oil here” instructions. I removed the threads, laid it on its back, and removed the bottom cover. I blew the machine out, plugged it up, and ran it. I could not tell exactally where the squeal was coming from, so i looked at every moving part while I ran it. Some areas are in hard to reach places, so I took a long pipette, took the top off the Singer machine oil, filled the pipette with oil, and oiled EVERYTHING that moved! I sat it upright, on sever layers of paper towel, and ran it at high speed for a couple of minutes. I repeated this sequence about 6 times, and the last time I oiled each area profusely, ran it on its side for several minutes, oiled the heck out of it again, ran it for a few minutes, oiled it again, and sat it upright on paper towels, and let it sit for about 15 hours. The next day I laid it on it’s back, and noticed that a lot of the oil had drained on the paper towel. Some of the oil was black, and some looked greenish. I plugged it in and ran it for 5 minutes on its back, oiled the crap out of it again, and put it back upright on clean paper towels. I ran it for a couple of minutes, and then let it sit overnight again. The oil on the paper towel under it was cleaner than before. I ran it upright at full speed, and the squeal was GONE!!! I did put the machine onto its back, took an old cloth and cleaned all the excess oil out of the case, replaced the bottom cover, and put it in it’s place. I have put several hours on the machine over the last month, and haven’t heard a squeak!! Worth all the work, time, and oil to get it going. ��������

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  4. hmm, i believe i have the same machine (for more than 4 years), and i've not ever oiled it. its always been loud but still works very well! good job on the self repair, i will have something to refer to when mine acts up!

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  5. This weekend I'll write threading instructions on my machine's plastic cover - great idea

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  6. Well done Peter! Isn't it funny how when you're so used to how a machine works, you can tell something is up from how it sounds, how it behaves?

    Very similarly to yours, I got mine second hand and worked like a champ for about 3 years. It was beginning to make just a little more racket than usual, so I too opened it up and cleaned everywhere I could and oiled everywhere there was metal on metal, and it worked and sounded fantastic again. What a fantastic little machine that serger is :)

    I think using old mechanical machines has made me more fearless about opening up the plastic variety.

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  7. Thanks for this post. I was using my serger just like yours a lot last week making rolled hems on ruffles . It would be going along great and then BAM the lower looper thread would break. Turns out I have been threading in the right order but passing the lower looper thread UNDER the upper looper thread. This was not clear in the directions. I found the solution eventually and now I am extremely practiced at threading. I really should oil it too I guess.

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  8. I've been hearing the occasional CLUNK! in my 1034D lately... so I just busted mine open to see if there was any obvious issues. Unfortunately (or fortunately?!) I didn't see any issues. But this did prompt me to finally change the dead bulb in my machine... it died 2 weeks after getting it... several years ago... so I do thank ya for prompting me to put a screwdriver to my serger... I can see now as I serge. That's fancy business!

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  9. Feels great to figure out what ails our machinery and fix it ourselves, doesn't it? As for my Juki, well, I dusted it last week.

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  10. I just recently had to fix my little beast that I got at Goodwill last year for $12. It's always been a little noisy but it worked right up until it didn't. Consew Tuffylock circa 1982. Took the side off and all that was left of the belt was some shredded white cording tangled around the pulley and a big pile of orange chunks. I think who ever put the lug belt on it used one that was too wide. I sprung for the right V belt, now it runs and sounds like new.
    Cari

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  11. Love this!!! thanks for the detailed explanation of the fix... I've had no issues with my 1034D, but you never know when the need might arise....

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  12. So impressed with your resourceful solving of the situation!

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  13. Great fix Peter! I bet you were pleased as punch it was an easy repair.

    I've had serger envy for awhile now... until I remembered I had a serger stashed in a blanket chest. It's a kenmore I purchased new in about 1996. I got it out, spent about 45 minutes threading it and it sews like a dream. Quiet too! I would feel like an idiot for forgetting about it, except I'm enjoying it too much. It's a model 385.16642.

    I wonder if any of you or your readers know the reputation of this machine? An internet search doesn't reveal much.

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    1. My Kenmore serger is a little newer being purchased in 2007 but I love it! I have a Kenmore sewing machine that's 14 years old and they are both wonderful machines. I was pleasantly surprised to find out a few years ago that Kenmores and Janomie are made in the same factory. Go check out the price of a Janomie and you'll definitely feel good about your Kenmore.

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    2. Thank you for your feedback Lana! I also have an older Kenmore sewing machine my mother gave me many years ago. It's from the late 70's or early 80's. It is an awesome machine and a real workhorse. I've put that poor machine through its paces and it always pulls through for me. I need to do some maintenance on it though so I've been using my 2 year old Brother, which I like a lot too.

      Thanks again for the feedback!

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  14. I wrote my notes directly on the machine! I wanted to be sure I could find them.

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  15. Congratulations on fixing your machine.

    You just saved your save a heavy repair bill to fix it if you had taken it to some sewing machine repair shop.

    I have 3 sergers, older babylock, 2 janome sergers, they have been trouble free for many years and just keep on working. However, it is nice to know that you cay DIY repairs and would do my own repairs should it ever happen

    Excellent job Peter!
    -corey

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  16. I bought my Brother serger on the basis of your recommendation, and I've been happy with it from the beginning. Only one repair--a hidden pin hit the knife, so that had to be replaced. I clean and oil it regularly and it just chugs along.

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  17. "If it's already broken, I can't break it more right?" was how I started down the path to home repair, Ray White's classes and SMAD.

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    1. Me, too. My vacuum cleaner got worse and worse and then finally broke, and I needed it. I lost my temper and threw it across the room. Then I thought, if I'm willing to break it, shouldn't I be willing to break it while trying to fix it? So I took it apart, brought the broken internal fan to the shop and bought a new one and it was up and running that afternoon.

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    2. Been pondering the Ray White classes. Tell me more....

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    3. Yes, do tell of the Ray White experience, and give us a postmortem on your repair adventures, please.

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  18. I must comment that I admire you; not just your sewing ability, but your resourcefulness and ingenuity too.
    Excellent solution, :)

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  19. Love this! I have a Kenmore serger I bought from an online sale at Sears right after I got married 7 years ago. (Good gracious! 7 years!) I have a Kenmore sewing machine, basic mechanical that is 14 years old also purchased from a Sears store. All that to say I love my Kenmore serger because the threading diagram is on the inside cover that you flip down when you get ready to thread the machine! It's a simple, wonderful, workhorse machine and if something comes up I'll have to give it a go at trying to repair it. The inside of those machines looks surprisingly simple! Great post as always!

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    1. I love that the threading diagram is inside the front cover!

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  20. I have had my Brother 1034D for about 12 years and yes it's plasticky, and temperamental sometimes, but on the whole has more than earned it's keep over the years. A value for money machine for sure.

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  21. I have an industrial overlocker and when I want to put new colours on I cut the existing thread near the spool and tie in the new colour. Then unthread the needles only and pull the old thread through which then pulls the new thread through the machine's thread sequence, finishing by threading the needles. The upper and lower loopers pull through easily without undoing anything. This also works on a domestic overlocker. It saves having to completely rethread the machine whenever you want to change the thread colour. I thought everyone did it this way but no-one has mentioned it, so I thought I would.

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  22. Oh wow! My regular machine clunks really loudly. I had it tuned up, but I doubt that he went much further than cleaning and oiling. I'll have to try this, if I can get in. Last time I lost a screw and my bobbin stop in the machine and still didn't figure out how to get the panel off.

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  23. First I'm so happy to see such an accomplished sewer using the Brother 1034 D. I love mine, it's such a work horse! I had a problem about 1 month in, and it was covered by warranty. No problems since then. I hope mine lasts 4+ years!!!

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  24. My Brother 1034D also was making ratchety squeeling noises so I took it to my local (Bay Ridge) sew and vac repair guy. In the 3+ years that I've had it I never had it serviced so it was overdue for a tune up. Best $80 ever spent! It now runs like a hot knife through butter and purrs like a kitten.

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  25. I also have this model, but have only used it a couple of times. I am bookmarking for future reference! (Also brilliant to write the threading diagram on the cover!)

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  26. Please help!! I have a Singer Ultralock 14 U234.
    It has worked fine for many, many years. I've replaced the blade and needles, but all else has been fine. Suddenly it won't stich. It makes a chain but when I try to sew fabric it makes a couple looong stiches and then nothing. No loud noise. I have rethreaded, changed needles. Has anyone experienced this?

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  27. My bottom looper is misalligned on my 1134d, any suggestions?

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  28. Angelenahatfield@hotmail.comJanuary 25, 2016 at 9:48 AM

    I have the same machine the light turns on but when I press the peddle nothing happens, I've cleaned around it looked at insides turned it off over night nothing. I've only had it a few months I'm so sad it's not working. Please help

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    1. I have a new 1034D and the same problem. I have contacted brother support and because I lost my ticket they wont do anything. So I have a new machine that won't sew and am out of the money. Can anyone tell me a fix for this?

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    2. I have the same problem. (nothing happens when I press the peddle). Have you found the solution? A couple of times, when I went back to it the next day, it worked for a little while, then just quit. No clunking or laboring, just nothing. Anyone have any suggestions?

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  29. i made a noob move yesterday and sewed with the front panel open and pulled on the fabric and "broke" my lower looper. it's loose and flopped over to the left :( there are no videos that i have found yet for fixing this problem. i contacted the warranty company already and brother so maybe they can walk me through this... (thanks for your written tutorial)

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  30. I have a brother 1034D for some reason when I was untangling thread the needle guard has come off when I took off a knife. Can anyone tell me when I should be located.

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  31. The presser foot lifter lever stopped working, and, in fact, pulled right out of the machine. I am going to open up the case and see what broke. Thanks for the inspiration. I was going to throw it away. I still may - but first I will try to troubleshoot and fix the problem. Very nice for you to show a photo - it props up my courage.

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  32. My serger level is stuck , no movement. What can I do?

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  33. Hello blog peeps! I have a huge problem. The serger is making the chain, but it's not moving off the stitch finger! I have to pull it while im operating it (with force) and when i put fabric, it bunches up like crazy and i just broke a needle... Any clue anyone?? Here is a picture... https://goo.gl/fhqq15

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    1. I wish I could help but I just don't now. Maybe the tensions are all too tight? I'd check the manual the machine came with.

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    2. I know this is an old thread, but I'm wondering if Suzanka found a solution. I'm have the exact same problem. Stitches fine with the removable stitch finger removed though. It was fine until about 2 days ago : (

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    3. Hey Jen! So turns out that my specific problem was that the knife had broken and I didnt even know!! so everything was misaligned. Did you by any chance break your knife? Maybe by running a pin by accident? Thats what happened to me. I ordered a new knife on ebay for $7 and will have it installed soon!

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  34. omg thats the problem im having exactly that my knife broke so i jus took out both knife pieces ☹️ gonna order new ones.. but any who is that why it would do that? if i place the new knifes in will it be back to normal? did yours go back to normal? or what did you have to do

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  35. You're a genius, Peter! I googled "Brother serger knocking sound", found your blog, and did exactly what you said. Took 10 minutes and saved an hour round trip and $125 at the nearest repair shop. I have two of the same Brother 1034D's for Northern Virginia Days for Girls Non Profit. One worked perfectly, this one knocked from the beginning. And now they're both perfect. THANK YOU!!!!!!!

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