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The motor runs, but doesn't engage unless you turn it by hand

I don't use it very often, so I think the belt might be dry?

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  • Tamm
    Tamm Mar 20, 2014

    Problem solved! Sorry about that! the bobbin winding spool wasn't put back into place.



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  • Sewing Machines Master
  • 7,365 Answers

Thanks for the informaion

Posted on May 06, 2014


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I have a Kenmore 158-3500 sewing machine and cannot get the side plate off near the hand wheel I have removed the clutch wheel but the hand wheel and belt seem to keep the plate from coming off.

The machine has two belts, one from the motor to a transfer pulley and the second from that pulley to the handwheel. You have to loosen the motor mount (one large screw/bolt) to release tension on the transfer pulley which in turn releases tension on the handweel belt. You will have to take the belts off the transfer pulley to slide the handwheel off (assuming you have already removed knob in the center of the handwheel)
Don't forget to lubricate the shaft of the transfer pulley while you have the end cover off. If this runs dry you will have a problem.
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I have a pfaff 261 when the knee pressor is engaged the motor runs but the needle doesn't engage. If i turn the wheel by hand the needle will engage.

First, stop running the motor if the machine is not operating. Most likely the old oil has stuck things together. Continued operation of the motor in such condition could burn up the motor or break a gear.

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Kenmore sewing machine model 158-17031- motor runs well but think the clutch or something is stuck

Has it been oiled lately? If not, it could be seized. Old oil turns to glue and then varnish unless it is regularly maintained. Make sure to use only fresh, good quality sewing machine oil or liquid Tri Flow Synthetic Lube. Slowly rock the hand wheel and apply a couple drops every place where metal rubs against metal--no oil on belts, rubber, synthetic parts! If it is still resistant, direct hot air from a handheld hairdryer into the internal mechanism and repeat the process until things are loosened and moving smoothly again.

A sewing machine should be cleaned and lubed every 40 hrs of working time or every 6 months if not in use.


Oct 03, 2016 | Kenmore Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Needle is not moving

Of course I have to guess here--not seeing the machine, but it appears that your motor is working fine. That would leave two possibilities, I think. The first is a defective foot pedal. The second is, when you push the bobbin winder, it engages a clutch that diverts power from the needle shaft to the winder. It is possible that the clutch is stuck. To find out, disengage the bobbin winder and press the foot pedal, and see if the bobbin winder spindle is still spinning.

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Motor won't run.

The problem could be with the switch that powers the motor or the brushes on the motor itself may be worn. Also look for bad connection in the wiring.

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Balance wheel doesn't move needle

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.

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So it sounds like the motor is working but nothing happens? And the hand wheel works ok by hand but nothing when the motor is engaged.

You've broken a belt. I'm not familiar with the 930, but if it has an internal motor... take it in to have it done. It's way too easy to knock these out of time. Spend the extra cash and have it cleaned lubed and adjusted too.

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I am having a problem with the hand feed. It is slipping, and spins on it's own without engaging the main shaft. If I push in towards the shaft with my hand on the plastic hand feed, it will engage. But...

I think that you have a broken belt, or it slipped off of the shaft. Open your machine, by removing the screws and take a look. Belts are not hard to get.

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Hand wheel wont turn on my Kenmore sewing machine

it sounds like the belt to turn the wheel broke

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Kenmore 10 stitch needle won't move

hi there,
push or pull hand wheel clutch to engage
motion of needle and shutter.

if not check belt on downside of hand
wheel open cover motor,loosen bolt cover
see belt check if engage on pulley by
holding hand wheel move belt if
hand wheel move,if not tighten screw on
pulley from hand wheel and moter.
have a nice day and thanks

Apr 03, 2009 | Sewing Machines

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