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Feb 6, 2015

Maintenance Issue with my Singer 15-91



Roughly four years ago, my friend Rain restored my vintage Singer 15-91.

Just to give you a sense of what it used to look like (below):



Would you believe it's the same machine?



Rain did a marvelous restoration job both inside and out, but one problem has surfaced: after a few projects, the stitch length lever begins to loosen until finally it moves up and down on its own, making it impossible to maintain a single stitch length.

I've managed to tighten the lever by removing the balance wheel and motor and tightening the screw holding the lever in place, but -- perhaps I haven't tightened it correctly -- after repeated use the lever loosens again.

Today, I tightened it once more only differently this time: I moved the lever up and down as I was tightening the screw and I seem to have found a place where screw will move but the lever won't loosen. We'll see, over time, if this proves successful.

It's not hard to remove the balance wheel and motor -- it all explained in a PDF I downloaded of the original manual.











This is the screw I tightened (below):



From the side, the whole mechanism looks like this.  The bit of the shiny screw is visible on the far left.




Removed from the housing, it would look like this:



I don't have the skill to take the whole machine apart and I'm hoping that's not what's needed.

I'm crossing my fingers.  I haven't heard from Rain in years and I'm not sure if he's still performing sewing machine maintenance (I believe he had recently taken Ray White's sewing machine maintenance class around the time he helped me).

I love my Singer 15-91 -- one of my early vintage sewing machine purchases -- and hope to have a long future with her.  In the worst case, I can just keep on tightening when necessary, or use her only for buttonholes (which wouldn't involve changing the stitch length) though that would be a shame.

Has this ever happened to any of you?  Any insights/ideas?

Have a great day, everybody!

19 comments:

  1. Hi Peter. Contact Cindy Peters. She is an expert. Stitchesintime@earthlink.net. Super lady!

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  2. I've found that the stitch length lever will slip unless I push it up against the screw before tightening the screw down. Don't know if that applies to your case or not.

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  3. You could try Locktite (http://www.amazon.ca/Henkel-01-24200-Loctite-6-Ml-Threadlocker/dp/B000I1RSNS0). I use it on my motorcycles for the same thing.

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  4. Until you find someone who can fix it you could try using tape beneath the leaver so it can't slide down while you're sewing. (If it moves and it shouldn't = Duck Tape. If it doesn't move and it should = WD-40)

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  5. Tiffany is right. Find that sweet spot and locktite it down. Fingernail polish works well too. Choose a pretty color.

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  6. think your stitch length roller is stuck needs some sewing machine oil to free it off once free the screw may not freely undo as it is now.
    machine looks very dry so oiling will help use less electric, machine will be smoother, and quieter.
    have fun
    J

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  7. Glad you are back (you are more missed than many of us will ever let on). With your "can do!" attitude, that machine will be humming before Monday.

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  8. I hope you fix her! I learned on one of those as a child, and it was probably a wedding present to my mother. What a lovely machine it was.

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  9. Have you looked at Tools for Self Reliance? Their mission - since 1979 - is to send refurbished vintage Singers to Africa. They have an amazing .pdf on refurbishment:

    http://www.tfsr.org/publications/technical_information/sewing_machine_manual/.

    The stitch length regulator is in the "machine top" section. Curiously, they would identify your 15-91 as a 201 - the curved slot on the stitch length regulator is the giveaway.

    It's a great resource, and I hope it helps you. Personally, I'd try a lock washer before I'd try locktite.

    Good luck!

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  10. Oh gosh - I have no idea! I hope you find a solution. It's such a beautiful machine.

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  11. Give it a good oiling. It is moving in the area of least resistance.

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  12. Be sure you oil the sliding part 'S' in the diagram as well as all places. From what you described I think you fixed it.

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  13. That is such a lovely machine! Such a shame that you're having problems with it. Hope you fix it!

    http://tonisewsclothes.blogspot.co.uk

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  14. Just some suggestions:
    1. Use Kerosene to clean it, I use a wire brush and kerosene for cleaning.
    2. Make sure the Lever parts are working as in the picture.
    3. LIGHTLY oil, don't over oil the machine.
    Good luck

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  15. If the problem is JUST the screw backing itself out, use Loctite BLUE. The red is permanent (well, it takes heat to remove it.) Blue just creates friction. I'm learning to sew, but I'm also a self taught hobby machinist. If the screw is not backing out, that's a whole different problem.

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  16. If the problem is JUST the screw backing itself out, use Loctite BLUE. The red is permanent (well, it takes heat to remove it.) Blue just creates friction. I'm learning to sew, but I'm also a self taught hobby machinist. If the screw is not backing out, that's a whole different problem.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi, Peter, I have been following you for some years now, I inherited my great-grandmother's 15-30, and recently acquired a 15-90 and a 15 clone, both of the newer ones developed the issue you are fighting against. Through the balance wheel you can see the axle of the lever in the form of a slotted screw, it has to tighten against something that moves around the axle, to make it there is a nut that has a little screw that puts everythint together that can be accessed upwards with a loooong screw driver, loosen it a bit, tighten through the balance wheel and secure again... BEST LUCK!!!
    Charles E. Capstick

    ReplyDelete

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