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Kenmore model 158-12392

The sewing machine will come on but it will not make a mechanical connection to run the sewing machine? The wheel turns and the belts are okay. I take off the wheel end and the wheel is turning properly but what ever makes the connection mechanically is not happening? lost

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It is a clutch issue.

If you can turn the handwheel manually and the motor belt is running OK but the needle will not move, you will need to check the clutch mechanism for the bobbin winder.

There are three ways for the clutch to engage, and as I do not know your machine, I offer all three for you to see which applies to yours.

Flick winder to the left to engage needle arm may activate automatically when the winder is set to wind a new bobbin and de-activate the needle arm


there may be a small wheel inside the larger handwheel....tighten the inner wheel to engage needle arm...


the handwheel may have a push/pull action ....push in to activate the clutch, pull out for bobbin winding.

If there is any more you need to ask or update your info to refine the question, just post back here, or drop a line through the "Contact Us" page at

Posted on Mar 14, 2008

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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

Model 385.1764180. How can I loosen tight hand wheel?

Be very careful if your machine is computerized as you don't want to get oil in the electronics. These instructions are for a Mechanical Machine only!

Revised--okay, if the needle mechanism is not moving, it needs oiling too. Open the top of your machine so you can see the mechanical insides. Gently and slowly wiggle the handwheel and watch what parts move where. Using good quality sewing machine oil (not 3-in-1, WD-40, cooking oil, or the old sewing machine oil from your grandmother's sewing box), drop ONLY one to two drops of oil each spot where metal moves against metal. Do NOT oil any metal Cams, belts, or plastic gears! Oil all the moving spots across your machine including the needle bar mechanism. (If possible, you will need to open the side cover to the left of the needle bar.) The needle bar needs to be able to move up and down and most likely it is stuck or it could be the take-up lever (the parts that look like knuckles that rotate round & round to move the needle bar). (WATCH Video Part 2 below, about 1 minute after the beginning.)

Look closely for oil ports (little round holes next to joints where things move) and apply a couple drops of oil in each port. (About 1.20 minutes into Video #2, you will briefly see an oil port on the top as she is rotating the take-up lever.) Those are the oil ports you will be looking for but they will be spread throughout your machine.

While you are at it, you might as well oil the moving parts in the bobbin area too. Most likely if the needle is stuck, parts in the bobbin area are also hanging up.

Now, to make the oil work faster, direct hot air from a handheld hairdryer at the mechanical interior of the machine. Get the metal warm to hot (don't get burned). Let it cool and try your machine. See if anything has loosened up. Are things moving better? If it is but the motor is still straining, you need to repeat the process until the sewing machine has a "happy" little sound.

IN THE FUTURE, clean and oil your machine every 8-10 hours of constant sewing or every six months if not in regular use. Doing some regular maintenance will keep your machine and you happy!

This is Part 1 (of 3 parts) of oiling a mechanical machine video that may help you. The machine is older than yours, but the idea is similar:

Part 2:

Part 3:


What exactly are you trying to accomplish? Is the handwheel difficult to turn (if it's a mechanical machine, it needs cleaning and oiling). This may help except you will need to concentrate of the handwheel mechanism:

Or is the handwheel not spinning freely because the belt is too tight?

Or are you unable to disengage the handwheel to wind a bobbin?

Here's a manual if you are need of one:


Aug 08, 2015 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Kenmore model # 11607090 older model, been setting up for several years, but has never been used-cannot unlock the hand wheel. we were able to wind bobbin, but wheel will not turn.

as for the hand wheel not not being able to turn, it's possible that something could be loose or broken

you said it's been sitting for several years,, I would suggest that the machine needs to be serviced
by a sewing machine repair shop, where they can check the handwheel & find out why it won't unlock, & that the gears & inside the machine can be checked & grease & oiled & the timing check also

Sep 05, 2011 | Kenmore 1667 Mechanical Sewing Machine

1 Answer

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Sound like you need to take it out of bobbin winder mode. Suggest looking for a way to engage the clutch. Turn the center knob on hand wheel and or move the bobbin winding post back to postion.

The center hand wheel should move about 1/3 turn towards you to look it back into place.

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Mary, just re-thread the upper and make sure the threaded is seated between the tension disc

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Check the features for bobbin winding and make sure they are not activated.

If this model has a smaller wheel in the center of the hand-wheel, make sure it is tight (turn to the right, or to the back of the machine).

Mar 06, 2010 | Kenmore 11101 Mechanical Sewing Machine

1 Answer

Where to oil a Kenmore 158-17600

Remove the top and bottom covers. Turn the wheel and put a drop of oil anyplace that moves and rubs.Also at the ends of each shaft. Open the side cover and oil the needle bar and all the parts inside that move and rub.Put a drop of oil on the hook.Do not put a good piece of fabric in the machine right after you've oiled it. Sew it off on some scraps that you can throw away.

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Make sure that the hand wheel is engaged by pushing it in. To disengage, pull it out.

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i have a kenmore10 model 1249180 ehwn i sew it squeeks i oil it i dont know where the squeek is coming from

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