Question about Montgomery Ward Sewing Machines

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Balance wheel doesn't move needle

When I manually rotate the balance wheel, the balanace wheel will turn, however the needle does not move up and down accordingly. I have just recently taken this out of storage, and it probably hasn't been used for a few decades at the least. I've oiled all the poinant parts, however the needle doesn't seem to be engaged with the balance wheel mechanism. Any thoughts??!? I'd love to get this thing up and running! I am SOOO close!

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  • Montgomery Ward Master
  • 1,564 Answers

You really should clean and oil/grease the entire thing. Dust, lint, old oil and grease can harden making your machine not run properly. Another thing that may be causing you issues is dried up and gunked up grease on some inner gears. Take off as many access panels as you can and use a tooth brush to remove yellowed dry grease from gears, replace the grease with one made for sewing machines. Lightly grease... just a little dab will do it. Turn the machine by hand to work the grease around the gears.

Make sure it's out of bobbin winding mode. Do you remember if you had had to replace the motor belt or had to take the hand wheel off for some reason?

Take the hand wheel off and look for a funny looking lock washer (typically has ears on the outside of the washer and two fingers pointing toward the center of the washer that fits into two grooves) The two fingers are slightly angled... the angled fingers should be pointing OUTWARD when you put it on. This seems counter intuitive but it must be inserted this way for your machine to work correctly. Put it back together and see if it works.

I like to use Liquid Wrench for especially stubborn machines that have been sitting. Don't use WD40 it will free up rusty things but you have to wipe it down well and re-oil. Liquid Wrench is petroleum spirits (kerosene) and graphite, much better for the machine in the long run.

Good luck.

Posted on Nov 07, 2012

  • Savanna-Jack Hennessey
    Savanna-Jack Hennessey Mar 15, 2014

    This was the most helpful thing I've found today, I had the washer in backwards. Thank you!!

  • sylviaivie Mar 16, 2014

    You are welcome. Yeah, I did that too. I've since learned to take pictures when I disassemble something. :) I love old machines and attachments, such fascinating engineering.



6 Suggested Answers

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

  • 1 Answer

SOURCE: The motor runs but the needle won't go up and

It sounds like the bobbin winder is engaged. On the top of the machine on the right hand side is a spindle that you can put your bobbin on to wind it. Make sure this spindle is pushed to the left when you want to sew and pushed to the right when you want to wind a bobbin.

Posted on Oct 14, 2009

  • 1388 Answers

SOURCE: Sears Kenmore 1168280 (Old machine not used much)

Untangle any mess under and around the needleplate very gingerly trimming threads as you go if necessary....remove and clear.

Undo the needle clamp and remove the remains of the needle.

Open the door for the bobbin and bobbin case and undo the clips holding the hook in place......don't force anything, just ease any tangle loose slowly.

You may want to take a photo of how it goes back together if unfamiliar, or lay the bits out sensibly, so you can replace easily later.

Inside the bobbin/hook area is the most likely region for thread jamming the motion of everything, so make sure all is clear and clean, then.......

Without replacing the bobbin or hook, test the handwheel after cleaning before re-assembly.

You may also want to check the take-up crank for thread jams........the small arm in the top cover that moves up/down to "take-up" the top thread has a cam attached to the top shaft and often tangles thread around the shaft, open the L side cover to access.......remove thread by unwinding handwheel manually ....again be patient and careful not to break threads.

Best Wishes

Posted on Jun 08, 2008

  • 46 Answers

SOURCE: the bobbin is getting caught and needle is jamming

This sounds like there is cotton stuck in the bobbin holder. Check it thoroughly. Take the bobbin out and turn the wheel to lower the needle a few times. This will show up any thread caught. Pull it out gently. You may have to perservere to get it all out.

Posted on Oct 24, 2008

  • 5603 Answers

SOURCE: I have a simplicity fashion

There is a problem in timing. Something probably has slipped in the adjustment. I would recommend you take this to a repair shop as adjusting the timing can be tricky. With no needle or bobbin the problem has to be buried fairly deep in the linkage and hardware near the selector. You might be able to observe the operation by taking the cover off and watching for what is jamming. Look at the cams that control the different stitches as the likely problem. Sometimes there is wear or breakage associated with this part of the machine.

Posted on Apr 29, 2011

  • 233 Answers

SOURCE: I've just bought a Pfaff

Do you have a bunch of material and thread stuck in the feed dog? Sounds like. This will sometimes happen. I'm afraid the only thing you can do is carefully work with a seam ripper or small scissors to get it all out. Be careful working. You will damage this part of your fabric, but you can take the seam allowance in a small bit. You will probably have to remove fabric & thread from underneath, through the bobbin area, too.

Once you have all of this cleared, the needle and wheel will turn. I suggest you try and take the needle out of the shaft and try pulling it out of the fabric before you start your work, too. That way, you won't risk breaking it and have a piece fly off at you.

It's frustrating and will probably make you curse at the machine-it's happened to everyone who sews at one time or another, and will happen again, I'm afraid.

Posted on May 11, 2011

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