Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ball Bearings

Those of us who know and love the Vintage Singers, realize that when you turn the silver knob in the handwheel this releases the stop motion washer and the hand wheel spins freely.  This enables us to wind the bobbin without running the needle bar up and down.  That is not how the Kenmore 158.1814 works. 

You pull the handwheel out and that releases the motor from working the machine and allows the bobbin winder to work.  BUT if you turn the hand wheel the needle bar still moves 

Well I was in Singer mode when I was servicing this Kenmore 158.1814.  And since the needle bar still moved up and down after releasing the clutch, I figured it was gummed up in there......
So I took apart the hand wheel as outlined in my previous post.

 I was inspecting the function of this part.  I pulled the hand wheel up and pushed it down several times to see what was what when all of a sudden I heard this BOING!!!!!  and the sound of a little beebee ricocheting around the shop.  OOPS.  If you look closely at the end of the blue arrow on the left (above) you can just see a little ball bearing in there.  I did not know it was there until its brother shot out.

Well I was smart enough by then to put a piece of tape over the other one and I gently pulled the hand wheel up again to retrieve it.  I also had marked with white tape where the spring belongs.
 I loosened and removed the center screw which enabled me to remove the handwheel from the machine ( I put that little beebee in there for some reason maybe to show where it goes.  Like I didn't know NOW! )

I spent the next hour or so honing the center part of this mechanism so that I could get it back together.  It was pretty snug and I knew that I would never be able to force it back in there AND hold down two ball bearings on springs at the same time.  I figured that I could just buy a ball bearing somewhere to replace the one lost in the shop somewhere.
It was tedious and I just couldn't figure any of it out.  Why it was so tight, why it was designed like that, why I was such a moron.
By then it was lunch time.  But just before taking a break, I swept the shop and there it was.  Sometimes morons get lucky

Let me tell you, I worked and worked and  struggled  trying to get those ball bearings positioned JUST SO in order to squeeze them back home.  Finally I took a look at the original photo and remembered the grease on the gizmos.
 I stuck some Tri flow grease on the ends of the springs to keep them in position inside and stuck some grease on the gizmos and stuck the ball bearings on them and tried that.  No go.  I then propped the gizmos up a little bit out of their housing using more grease and shoved the bearings and springs into their housing and held tight.  I was really TEED OFF at this point.  SUCCESS.  Finally.  But because I am a moron I put the whole thing back on the machine and lifted the mechanism up and down again and released one of the bearings.  Computer geniuses call this an I D ten T error (ID10T)

It took some more effort and more grease but I was finally successful.  The sucker is back together now and I am wiser. 

I neglected to add above, that one of the ball bearings managed to ricochet around the shop one more time.  I found it on the floor.  Lucky again. 

So that's the story of the ball bearings.  I am an idiot and I have no business taking apart machines when I know nothing about them. 

Do you think it will stop me?


  1. Stop you? I hope not.

  2. Thanks for the heads up. If I see a machine with a pull out release, I will LEAVE IT WHERE IT IS, because this one SCARED me! You are a wise woman, and you prevailed. SCORE!!!!

    It is good to learn from our adventures though, isn't it?

    Have a great weekend and stay cool!

  3. Stop you? Heavens no. How else will you learn? If you learn by screwing it up, you will remember far more about it than if you read it in a book.

  4. LOL, if you were the Lone Ranger you might have room to be self-critial (like I know that might make a difference :-) ). Along with machines I volunteer at a self-help bicycle COOP and often tell patrons two things:
    1) Experience is what you wish you had 10 seconds earlier.
    2) Sometimes we have to pay for our lessons.

    No one gets a free education.


  5. Not really wiser. I just did this exact same thing to another Kenmore. Me memory sucks.