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Reverse on kenmore sewing machine 385

The reverse button on the kenmore has stopped working when you push it and also the reverse on the button hole doesn't work.
thanks for any help

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  • Anonymous Sep 08, 2008

    The reverse on my machine also doesn't work, plus the zig-zag is stuck in zag (needle stuck on right hand zig-zag pattern) None of the decorative stitches work either. I feel lucky if I can get it to sew forward. I'm considering adjusting the machine with a sledge hammer.

  • nomokenmore Mar 04, 2009

    reverse on my kenmore 385 suddenly stopped working. the buttonholer works in reverse but pushing the reverse button does nothing

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1 Answer

I recommend that the machine be serviced by a professional but if you're handy it may simply need cleaning around the reverse cam. To do this place the machine on it's back. You'll need to access the rod that drives the feed dogs and cam mechanism by removing all screws holding the bottom plate of the machine. Remove the bottom plate. Note that when you push the reverse button, while turning the wheel a thin rod moves left which allows a plastic cam mounted to the cam rod to also move left and engages the feed dogs in reverse. If the cam is not moving enough or if too slow, it may be that the rod and cam need cleaning and lubrication. Clean out all lint and lubricate the cam where it moves on the shaft. Try to get it to move more freely without forcing it. When done replace the bottom plate. I just repaired my wifes machine and this solved the problem. Hope it helps.

Posted on Feb 17, 2008

  • 5 more comments 
  • mg48 Dec 13, 2011

    Glad to find this exact problem I have, and the clear directions. Thank you.

  • mg48 Dec 13, 2011

    And let me add that it fixed the problem and saved me a lot of time and money.

  • aga_lupa
    aga_lupa Aug 23, 2012

    Thank you! That helped solve my problem!

  • Thomas Witman
    Thomas Witman Oct 23, 2013

    That was right on! I could see the rod moving and releasing the spring loaded cam but the cam wouldn't move. I put some sewing machine oil on the shaft and pushed the cam left until it started to move. Then put some more oil on the newly exposed shaft and moved the cam back and forth until it now moves with the force of the spring only. Backwards works as well as the stretch stitching which didn't work before!

  • Sparkle4513 Apr 13, 2015

    This info was helpful but doesn't fix my problem. My reverse button just stopped engaging entirely. It's like it's not connected to the motor. I've opened the machine up and I can't find anything disconnected or broken so I'm completely stumped.

  • Sparkle4513 Apr 13, 2015

    This info was helpful but doesn't fix my problem. My reverse button just stopped engaging entirely. It's like it's not connected to the motor. I've opened the machine up and I can't find anything disconnected or broken so I'm completely stumped.

  • WillieCindy Jan 10, 2016

    I can't get mine to work either. I've opened the bottom and can see the hook on the shaft, oiled everything I can find but it's still not engaging. Any other comments that might help me find what's wrong? I am assuming the cam is the out of round thing on the shaft. The cam seems to slip and then catch up. The hook on the shaft looks like it should be holding the cam to the right and the reverse button releases the hook, then the hook grabs again when you let go of the reverse button. My hook isn't touching anything - it doesn't put pressure on anything. does that make sense?

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