Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ebay Elna 5000

I can be a sucker for a good brand so that is why I bought an Elna 5000 without its foot control. I've had great success with Elna's and think they are one of the fine vintage brands although they are not one of my favorites for personal use. I have a friend who absolutely loves her Elna 7000 and we have had several discussions about when and why you should take it to a technician. Because she has really bonded with this sewing machine she would pay a repair cost of almost a new one because it's that great to her. So when an Elna 5000 came up on my local Craigslist I jumped on it. It was missing a foot control, a very pricey item, but I knew I could borrow one from my friend to see if it was going to work. Imagine my surprise when it was Joyce who called to arrange the pick up of the Elna 5000. I  sold her a nice Singer 401A and now she has launched her own vintage sewing machine repair adventure. It was nice to catch up with her when I picked up the Elna; she was selling it for a friend of a friend so no guarantees but I was willing to take the chance.

Elna 5000 just arrived
With the borrowed foot control I put Elna 5000 through her paces: straight stitch in various lengths, zigzag in various lengths and widths, decorative and stretch stitches with their preset settings. It did okay but knew the stitch quality would take some fine tuning but it could stitch forward and backwards. One of the failures on this series of Elna's (5000-9000) is a step motor that is used to drive the feed dogs. When this goes it no longer can move the fabric as it should and this particular motor is no longer made. But the one in my hands didn't have this trouble so now I'm please with my take-a-chance purchase. Onto a new foot control.

Why are foot controls so pricey on some sewing machines? The one I need is over $120 so I try to find another way around this. Enter Ebay from the side stage, waiting for me to remember prior successful purchases. No great prices on the foot control but I do see another Elna 5000 for auction with a foot control that works. It's being sold for parts but it has the part I need plus some extras mine doesn't have. This time I'm patient and smart, or at least I've learned how to bid much better, and I get the sewing machine for a fair price, at least it's less than a new foot control. It comes in only four days and there is no damage! There are so many horror stories about machines bouncing around in boxes that I feel I have to hold my breath when I ask to have something shipped but this was a very positive experience.
Elna 5000 parts machine

Dinner was in the oven so I had time to play and I find out this machine works just fine. Why was it sold for parts? The seller didn't have to guarantee anything since it wasn't necessarily working...but it was. Foot control was great (I could return my friend's), the bobbin cover plate was switched (mine was missing the center plastic window), and there was a wonderful tray full of parts that slid under the free arm that would hold extra feet, bobbins, tools, etc.
Elna 5000 accessory tray fits under the free arm
New bobbins came in the mail, too, so I was all ready to go except for the bobbin winder. Mine had half of the plastic on the spindle cracked off and this was not going to be an easy fix. I opened up the parts machine but the bobbin winding assembly that can be removed would entail I pull apart my good machine to install it and I really don't want to open it up for fear I could accidentally damage the electronics. My husband did take a look at it again and thought the plastic part was being held with a small pin so maybe we could get the pin out of both and switch? I hope so. We purchase a two punches and he goes to work:
Pin removal on the bobbin winder
Success! The pin came out on both machines and we could put the good one on the first machine. Even though the parts machine isn't going to sew on its own again, I can still sell the power cord, electronic board, and the step motor, all in fine working condition. I work again on the stitches and this time they come out better, using the fine tuning button on the bottom of the selection panel:
Command central on Elna 5000

Nice work, huh?
There is an extension table that fits around the free arm for a nice work surface, a vinyl cover for storage, and a reproduced manual that is not bad for an Elna. I think she's ready to go! This is one good sewing machine and I think there will be someone out there who is missing their beloved Elna and will want another one. This one. There was an element of chance in this whole adventure but it turned out well this time. So what about those three Kenmores that won't backstitch? I'm afraid that's another post that doesn't have such a happy ending but I'm smiling today with my Elna 5000.


susan hawkes said...
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susan hawkes said...

How does one learn to repair these amazing machines? Any books you can recommend?
I have an Elna 5000 that will not catch the top thread when the needle goes down into bobbin area. Ordered Allen wrenches from Amazon to get the plate open, but am not sure what I should be looking for once I get it opened. I am hoping to find a mound of lint whose removal fixes everything, but life is never that simple.
Is it emotionally difficult to part with a machine you have brought back from the brink with your TLC? Sewing machines are wonderful devices worthy of being collected and admired in my opinion. Too bad indoor space is not infinite.

Karen said...

It takes time and patience to work on sewing machines and there is no one book but I can recommend the Yahoo groups for good advice and great resources in their files. There is a series of Sincere's sewing machine repair books that I like but are expensive reproductions and the Yahoo groups have portions of them posted for free.

It can be difficult to sell some of the machines and others were such a struggle I can't wait to get them out of the house!

Pat Stanley said...
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Anonymous said...

You have an excellent machine. I have the same one. Bought it new. I will never give up this machine. It sews beautifully. It is one of the first computer machines. I still use it.