Monday, September 8, 2014

Tighten Your Belt, again

Losing weight? That might happen to you and when you get to lower the notch on your belt it's a cause for celebration. But that is not so when it's on a sewing machine.

I was delighted to be able to pick up a Pfaff 332, known as one of the great ones, this weekend from a woman who was selling it for someone else (i.e. she knew nothing about sewing machines). Besides a beautiful drive at sunset, I was filled with another beautiful sight when I entered their backyard where she would bring the sewing machine. The landscaping was an experience all by itself with a large rock formation with a stream running through it and plantings galore. I was a bit distracted but still got a good deal on a classic sewing machine from Germany :

Pfaff 332 with full extension table
She wasn't moving, at all, only a hum from the motor but she went home with me anyway since it seems I'm hooked on rescuing old sewing machines. Once I got it home and onto the table, I could look inside the hood. It looked like it might be rust:

Thank goodness it was only very dirty so a liberal dose of oil and cleaning got her moving again. More cleaning and moving of dials revealed a stitch width dial solidly stuck so out came the hair dryer to work it's magic. This time I watched the clock, not wanting to damage the plastic dial, so it was about 3 minutes before it was moving pretty freely. Now I could see how the other levers worked together to give the variety of stitches with an all metal camstack, just like the Berninas:

I started to see how the stitches were forming when I heard a thunk. That's never a good sign. I had to open up the side to see what happened:

Can you see all the dirt and cracked plug end?
Note the belt on the left? It was making no contact with the idler pulley in the center, to the right of the lower belt wheel. When putting it back on I moved it over to the right of the idler pulley. It was a tight fit, too tight. I started up the machine and it didn't sound happy so I knew something was wrong.

There it was, right in the manual: an illustration of the belt under "Adjusting the motor belt". It was not to be stretched over the pulley but just to run along the side of it. Wait a minute, mine is way too long for that. Way, way too long. Did I stretch it out? Miracle of miracles, another belt came with this sewing machine so I got it out only to find it was exactly the same size. How could this be? I tried lowering the motor where the lower pulley was connected but it still was not low enough. I ended up raising the motor and putting the belt back over the right side of the idler pulley. It sounds much better but I'm not happy with this situation.

Now to try the variety of stitches but the cams are not shifting and giving me the patterns I'm looking for. This is not uncommon but it will take some time and possibly the hair dryer again to get everything working as it should. She will have to sit for another week since I'm getting ready for the Elk River Craft Fair this weekend and I hate when that happens; I want to finish what I start! She might be a classic but she's a dirty girl and even cleaning her up will not cover up that she past middle age. We all have to admit to that at some time or another but let's hope it's not her time yet.


Joe Monterrosa said...

Hi, I just got Pfaff 332 in fairly good condition.
The foot pedal and wires are missing and I'm having a hard time finding an original to replace it.You were so lucky when you got yours.

Whenever I get an old machine , first thing I do is to open her up to expose the mechanism and then I take a spray bottle loaded with Paint thinner and spray a wet coat on everything inside, let it soak for a couple of minutes and then blow it all out with compressed air. Afterwards I begin to apply a drop of oil in every place where is needed,plus a little grease on any gears.
Then I remove the needle, plates, feed dog and remove all the collected lint that is usually hidden under there, put it all back together and only then I start thinking about plugging her up.

With the needle removed , I turn it by hand and then press the foot pedal gently, it is so exciting to get this old machines humming again, with me it has become a very enjoyable hobby.

Karen said...

Paint thinner? You are braver than I am but if it's working for you that is great. Just check to see, over time, if there's any kind of residue that harms your sewing machine. Thanks for your comment and methodology!

Un4givenone said...

on these old machines, I'm told that they used a mix of vasiline and gas to prevent rusting during shipping and over time becomes glue. I picked up a 332 for free on craigslist. It has a cabnet and tons of attackments and looks close to new. But it to was seized. I took a can of wd40 and started spraying all metal to metal contact points and slowly worked the wheel while reapllying the wd40 until it was free. Then I took gun oil and soaked the oil points and a light grease to the gears. Now it runs great with no other work needing to be done. you will want to be sure to remove the wd40 and replace it with oil.