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?
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!