Fixing the Singer 367

This article is adapted from a post to The Sewing Forum. and Needle Bar

This was a fun filled afternoon!  I'm not sure whether it counts as fun in an irritating sort of a way, or irritating in a fun sort of a way!  This is one of the two machines Rita from my Weight Watcher's group gave me to re-home or use with the kids, or part out.

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This machine has a plastic bobbin case, and while it takes the standard type 66 bobbin, it works better with the plastic ones than the metal ones, which would wear the case.

The 367 makes the work we did on the Novum motor look easy-peasy... I plugged it in and turned it on, and the motor buzzed but nothing happened... Then there was a light whiff of cooked insulation, so I took me hoof off the pedal sharpish, as you do! As I sat and looked at it, frowning gently, it started up again, all by itself!  Erk! I yanked the connection out quickly and sat back.

Turns out the damned thing was seized solid, even after a drip or three of WD40 and a patient wait. So I rang Wilf, my trusty Old Sewing Machine Guy at JEM's in Canterbury...  His view was that it needed something a bit stronger than WD40, and if I couldn't fix it myself, it wasn't worth fixing! And to try getting it unseized before ordering a new foot pedal, if my Alan couldn't sort that.

Well, I turned the foot pedal over to the electrical person, and after a bit of fidgeting with it, Alan came back with it working: what had blown was a capacitor thingy that was acting as an electrical damper, just to stop it making radios and TVs buzz while it works. He removed that, and it worked perfectly well without it, but he managed to dig a replacement out of his stash of electrical bits...  so it won't make the radio buzz when I use it! The motor itself was just fine.

He also dug out some 3 in 1 for me,

(Tech note: by 3 in 1, Kate means 3-in-one Professional High Performance Lubricant, a "teflon" oil containing PTFE and in a spray can.  This is not your average light machine oil in a tin :-) AD)

and we turned to diagnosing which bit of the mechanism was the stuck bit, and sorting that. For this we needed to take the casing off. This turned out to be the skiddliest and most difficult part of the whole process, not least because it had never been done before! Curses rain down on those who do not get their machines serviced regularly! After poking and fiddling and fidgeting first this bit off and then that, we had a nekkid machine and could get at the problem.

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Once the casing was off, we could get at the problems: a liberal application of 3 in 1 to all the oiling points and round the swing needle mechanism soon had that moving again...  Once the 3 in 1 has done its work, you need to swab it all out again and oil generously.

One of the issues with this model is that it was a low end machine and has nylon gears and a plastic zigzag cam, and a nylon part to the take-up lever, so the very last thing we wanted to do was force any of it! They all look to be in good condition and the machine itself looks very little used, so with some TLC there is a chance that I might get a few years of light use out of it with the kids. It turned out that it was the main vertical drive that was the biggest problem, though the stitch width regulator was also somewhat stuck. A hefty doze of 3 in 1 at each sticking point and some waiting, followed by careful waggling of the drive shafts soon had it free! It took and hour to get the case off, and 20 minutes to free the shaft once we'd got in there!

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These pictures show the plastic zigzag cam, the nylon gear, and the bottom of the stuck shaft.  I've done very little cleaning of this machine: it looks hardly used!

I let it work for a while, wiped off all the 3 in 1, and replaced it with oil, greased any greased bits that looked in need (though the grease there was still in good nick, being pale yellow and greasy rather than dark brown or black and the consistency of a wax crayon!).


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The underside was very clean, and the shuttle moved freely when I took the belt off.  Once back together and timed, I tried winding a bobbin: this winder worked perfectly.  Here you can also see the bobbin inserted into the bobbin case.  Compare this 1970's model with that of the 1923 version in my Singer 66K.

In order to get the drive free, I had to take the hand wheel and motor belt off, and also the timing belt off the bottom. They all went back nicely, and then I had to time it!  It's the first time I've had to time a machine!  It was a bit of a fiddle getting it set exactly right, but now the machine makes a decent enough stitch.  I haven't fully made up my mind yet whether or not I'll keep this machine, but if it continues to work well while I complete a project on it, it'll make a useful addition to the flock I use with the kids.

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The front again, once it was all back together.  Getting the casing back ON was a lot easier than removing it to do the work!  The machine was made in Italy...  Not always a bad thing, but not Singer's brightest idea...

It's cost me an afternoon in which I had nothing better to do, a teaspoon or two of 3 in 1, some oil, and a skinned knuckle... And one or two mild 'technical terms'! Not bad!

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