With the foot in the down position, can you pull thread through without any hangups? And I'm assuming it's the top thread you're speaking of. The other obvious thing to look for is any burrs or deformations on the hook. Any needle strikes or other rough spots will cause thread to break quickly. Also look at the needle plate for rough spots.
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Not a technician, but I had same issue not long ago, it was old dried out thread. Once I replaced with new thread, no more issues. Something easy to try. Also might want to double check to make sure no thread is between the pressure plates. I use canned air to spray them out once in a while between annual cleaning.
Have you tried loosening the upper tension? Remove the upper thread, RAISE the presser foot and rethread from the beginning (make sure it follows the correct thread pathway). Sometimes the upper thread jumps out of a thread guide or wraps around something. Or try a different brand of thread? Avoid old or bargain bin threads--use good quality thread. Could also be the incorrect needle for the thread/fabric, ie thread too large for the needle eye.
The needle thread breaks
1. The needle thread is not threaded properly
2. The needle thread tension is too tight
3.the needle is bent or blunt
4. The needle is incorrectly inserted into the needle holder
5. The needle thread and the bobbin thread are not set under the presser foot when starting sewing
6. The threads were not drawn to the rear after sewing
7. The thread is either too heavy or too fine for the needle
Bobbin thread breaks
1. The bobbin thread is not threaded properly in the bobbin holder
2. Lint has collected in the bobbin holder
3. The bobbin is damaged and doesn't turn smoothly
The needle thread breaks
1. the needle thread is not threaded properly
2. The needle thread tension is to tight
3. The needle is bent or blunt
4. The needle is incorrectly inserted
5. The needle thread & the bobbin thread are not set under the presser foot when starting to sew
6. the threads were not drawn to the rear after sewing
7. The thread is either to heavy or to fine for the needle
Where does it break? You change tension at the top via the tension discs the thread passed through, and at the bottom by adjusting the small screw on the bobbin case - the screw on the front part of the spring. Thread size matters as well as needle size. For everyday upholstery I use #69 nylon thread, and "G" bobbins.
If the thread's breaking at the hook you may need to adjust timing. But most commonly thread breaks because of improper tension, threading, needle or thread size.
It doesn't matter so much the thickness of the stabilizer but more a matter of it being taut like a drum and the proper stabilizer for the fabric you're using. Couple of reasons the thread breaks...the thread gets caught on the edge of the spool in the crack where the thread originally starts, you're not using the right size spool cap or the upper thread is wrapping around the spool pin. When I use my 170 for embroidering I always use the vertical spool pin to eliminate this problem. Try it and let me know how you make out.