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Wheel on right side that controls the needle up and down is very tight. Hard to turn.

Posted by Donna Jimmerson on


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R.A. Ellis

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Is your sewing machine mechanical (ie, not computerized)??? CAUTION--if your machine is computerized, do NOT proceed with the following suggestions.

If it is mechanical, have you cleaned and oiled your machine recently? Most mechanical sewing machine failures are because they have not been adequately and routinely oiled, the old oil has solidified and frozen the mechanics. I recommend Bernina oil, liquid Tri-Flow Synthetic Lube (or similar good quality sewing machine oil) for mechanical machines--do NOT use 3-in-1, cooking oil, WD-40, or the sewing machine oil from your grandmother's sewing basket. (I am not associated with any Bernina dealer, other than a customer.)

If it is in fact frozen, pick up a bottle of liquid Tri-Flow Synthetic Oil at the hardware store. Oil one or two drops in every oil hole (see your manual) and also every place where metal rubs on metal. But DO NOT oil any plastic gears, rubber, or belts. It is probably best to avoid oiling the metal cams. If it is still stiff or frozen, direct a hot handheld hair dryer into the top and bottom mechanism of your machine. See if that loosens it up. You may have to repeat.

Once your machine is working again, place a drop or two of good sewing machine oil as directed above. Be sure to use a small brush to clean the lint and dirt out of your machine, especially around the feed dogs and bobbin area. (Caution: Compressed air will sometimes force the dirt and lint into areas that cannot be cleaned.) And continue to use good quality sewing machine oil to keep it running. Recommendation: every time you change a bobbin, after 8 hours of sewing, or every six months if it is not in regular use.

To find a manual:
Search the internet for "Kenmore 158.12511 Manual" You'll probably find a downloadable pdf manual (or at least one similar to your machine). Be very CAREFUL that they are not scam web sites (one wanted me to upgrade Acrobat when I just did it a couple days ago!) Here's one for $5.95--

or one for $4.99--

Here's one currently on eBay for $8.94--

On the other hand, if you can find a manual from Sears, that is probably the most reliable (unless you can find a used manual on eBay, Etsy...) $15 isn't such a bad price if it helps you keep your machine running and reduces your frustration. You might also check Yahoo Groups for a Kenmore Users Group. Frequently, Group members will post those documents in the Group files or someone might have one that they no longer want.


Posted on Nov 01, 2015

  • 1 more comment 
  • Donna Jimmerson
    Donna Jimmerson Nov 05, 2015

    Do you know where I can get a manual for my machine? I'm not willing to pay $15-$20 for one. I have a Kenmore 10 Model# 158.12511 Thank you.

  • R.A. Ellis
    R.A. Ellis Jan 05, 2016

    A manual is available for ~$6 here:

    Sorry, I was not able to find any free manuals for your machine.

    Universal manual that covers your model. Most machines from the same era operate similarly. They usually just have some different options.

  • Kaarleiv Vaagslid Apr 22, 2018

    Thank you, R.A.Ellis. Now IT works just fine.



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