Pfaff 1197 sewing machine - hard to turn over


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Old 10-20-13, 06:55 AM
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Question Pfaff 1197 sewing machine - hard to turn over

I have a Pfaff 1197 sewing machine that my wife recently bought used -- I think it's about as old as I am, but when we first got it, it was running pretty well! The construction is solid as a rock, really brings to mind the old saw about "they don't make 'em like they used to".

Anyway, a few weeks ago, she started having tension issues, and couldn't adjust the tension to get it exactly where she wanted to. She fiddled with the bobbin tension, and eventually it started to run really poorly, breaking thread and getting the top thread stuck around the bobbin case.

I tried to sort it out, and noticed that the bobbin wasn't spinning freely in the case. I replaced the metal bobbin with a plastic one, which seemed to help greatly with the tension issues. It seems like the metal one may have been a fraction of a millimeter too big.

Unfortunately, now we have a new problem: it's hard to get the mechanism to run. It has so much resistance, in fact, that the motor won't drive it anymore, and I can barely turn it by hand.

I've opened the case and checked for tangled threads, stray lint, etc -- nothing is visible. I removed the plate from the feed dogs (once I had a machine where they were grinding against the plate so hard it made the motor stall O_O) and ran it without the bobbin case installed; no help.

I also removed the main drive belt and tried turning the shafts independently. The top shaft (needle mechanism) spins freely, so it's not that. The bottom shaft, on the other hand, I can barely turn at all.


That's where I left it alone. If it's not the feed dogs, and it's not the bobbin/case, I don't know what could be making the bottom shaft so hard to turn. Nothing looks bent or worn, but it definitely shouldn't feel like this. I'm hesitant to start disconnecting gears, because I feel certain I'll make things worse rather than better.

Is there a common problem with the "bottom half" that I should be looking for here? I really want to try to avoid taking this in for service if I can -- repair shops are *expensive* here in Germany, and I think we'd likely be spending half again what we paid for this in the first place just to get it in a serviceable condition.

Any suggestions are most welcome!
 
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Old 10-20-13, 08:53 AM
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Hello and welcome to the forum!
I have a Pfaff 1222, so it's similar to yours.
Altho I'm not exactly sure what you mean by bottom shaft, since the needlebar is basically one long shaft, there's a couple of things that come to mind.
First thing is, have you oiled it? They only get oiled in the rotary hook, which is in the bobbin case. If you haven't oiled it, it might just be really dry and gunked up.
Try putting a few drops (or actually more, if it hasn't been oiled) in there, and just try running it with some scrap fabric.
The Stopmatic lever (the black one in the back) could be broke or breaking.
While these machines are mostly metal, they have a couple of plastic gears that can break.
Is it threaded correctly? Seems silly but if it's not threaded right, that can cause it to jam up.

Sorry I can't help more. Mine has a broken Stopmatic lever, and we're still trying to figure out how to replace it. Not easy and sometimes you really have to give in and take it to a SM repairman.
Btw, it's from the 70's and they don't make them the same!
 

Last edited by Shadeladie; 10-20-13 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 10-20-13, 11:05 AM
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I had a Kenmore that did the same thing. I took lower cover off and some of the bobbin gears and oiled it up. Works like a champ now before I could not even turn it by hand.
 
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Old 10-20-13, 12:33 PM
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When I say "bottom shaft", I mean the main drive shaft that runs the feed dogs and rotary hook. I took off the right-side cover and disengaged the belt that looks like it's covered in staples, which lets you operate the needle bar separately from the rest of it. The crazy gearbox assembly that drives the needle spins really smoothly, almost no effort, which is why I say I think it's "something" on the bottom.


I downloaded the service manual from a post in another forum. I think it might have been this one. I also got the instruction manual direct from Pfaff.

The instruction manual didn't mention oiling the hook (that I could see) and the service manual didn't have anything about lubrication. I also couldn't find any instructions for removing the bobbin housing / rotary hook, so I guess I'll have to either wing it or just lubricate the thing in-place.

As for the Stopmatic, I saw a lot about it in the manual but I'm not positive mine has one -- the 1197 is missing some features in the 12XX series, but I'm not sewing-literate enough to know what they are


Thanks for the quick response!
 
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Old 10-20-13, 12:38 PM
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Yes..... oiling is mentioned on the last page of the owners manual.

6. Machine works heavily. Thread ends in hook raceway.

Remove thread ends and put a drop of oil into hook raceway
 
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Old 10-20-13, 12:42 PM
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Thanks, PJ. I just looked again and somehow I hadn't seen that one the first time. I need to find my oil, then I can give it a shot.
 
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Old 10-20-13, 01:40 PM
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Light machine oil or Three-in-one oil is good.
 
 

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