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all Sergers are usually set up so that the "normal" thread tension is 5 on all the dials, however you then adjust these slightly to achieve the stitch format you you want. Stitch length (dial on the side) is usually around 2.5. If your machine has differential feed, then start with this on zero.
Overlocks are different to sewing machines, the stitch forms differently depending on the fabric weight and where the blade is cutting so you usually do a little test on scraps and finesse by adjusting the looper thread tensions so the stitch forms evenly on both sides. If its tunnelling, ie pulling the fabric in, then release the two loopers or move the blade to the left to trim closer, or do a little of both.
Generally, the lighter the fabric weight, the heavier the presser foot pressure. Yes, feed dogs do wear with use. Do not run the machine without fabric between the presser foot and the feed dogs--the feed dogs constantly rubbing against the presser foot will quickly wear the feed dog points. Store the machine with the presser foot down with a pad between the presser foot and feed dogs (even a scrap piece of fabric will do). Also, be sure to clean the feed dogs of any gunky build-up. If the feed dog points are worn, it may be worthwhile to have them replaced.
Not quite sure what you are asking. The upper tension is governed by the tension disk. Higher number is tighter, lower number is looser. Usually, the mid-range is a good place to start. Tension is correct when upper and bobbin threads meet in the middle of the fabric.
NOTE--ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot when threading so the thread will seat in the tension disk!
thread looping on the underside is a symptom of no tension on the top thread so you need to look at the top threading path and the tension dial, is it set to 5? and is the thread pulled fully into the tension disc? Also always thread the top thread with the presser foot raised as this opens up the tension discs so the thread can bed in correctly. If you can see the feed dogs rising up and down above the needle plate during their cycle then they should be gripping and moving the fabric forward. Is there presser foot coming down firmly onto the fabric when you release the presser foot bar? This part does have a big spring inside which applies pressure downwards, maybe this is what the mechanic meant was broken. Was he a sewing machine technician? Maybe try to locate an old school Elna technician, start with www.elna.com and go to your country, then search for a local dealer.
Feed dog lever should lower the feed dogs, these are the teeth that grip and move the fabric foward and backwards as the needle goes up and down, they are under the needle plate.
Only time you would lower the feed dogs is if you want to do free motion embroidery or darning perhaps.
So no, don't touch for normal seam stitching. If you are sewing very heavy fabric you may want to lessen the pressure on the presser foot a little (if your machine has this adjustment it will be a knob on top of the head above the pressure foot area).
You may find that your machine doesn't really like very thick fabrics. Sewing something like upholstery weight with a domestic machine is pretty ambitious; an industrial strength machine is best bet.
I have an Elna 2005 machine and had a similar but opposite problem whereby the tension up top was too tight - thread wouldn't pull smoothly. I found adjusting the feed dog lever slightly helped the stitches a lot, even though the needle tension up top is no better. Hope that helps! :-s