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Junior Member
Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #1 
For the past month I have been trying to restore a Kenmore 117.840 in cabinet. I got the cam unstuck, oiled (triflow) machine, took out old grease from gear box and replaced with Triflow synthetic grease. Put in new needle. I have not done anything yet to clutch wheel which I cannot turn by hand. I have an impaired right hand but my 22 year old son was unable to loosen either. On my list to do and will put on new belt then. My problem is with feed dogs. They are not working to move fabric and needle just stays in one place stuck there sewing. Today the dogs were down (sometimes are up) so I gently pulled fabric through while sewing. It made nice stitches that way. I have removed all the bobbin parts underneath, cleaned lint, and replaced all parts. If our local sewing repair were open I would take out of cabinet and in for hopefully repair. But shop not open so would appreciate and specific tips about what to troubleshoot to get feed dogs working. Thank you. New member and first post.

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Senior Member
Posts: 2,386
Reply with quote  #2 
Screen Shot 2020-07-01 at 8.25.39 PM.jpg 

The area in blue is your most likely culprit when it comes to the feed dogs. Your best hint was that 'sometimes' they
are up and sometimes they are down. Well, that rod assembly is probably the issue. When you turn the feed dog drop
dial on the deck, that long 'pin' (red arrow is pointing at it)  is supposed to move in and out of those two different arms.
It's always in the first arm from the right, and sometimes in the second arm from the right. If the rod isn't clean, or well
lubricated, then the pin sticks, or it doesn't travel as it should and your feed dogs will sometimes be up, and sometimes be down.

You can try sewing machine oil on the rod itself, but also, tilt the machine a wee bit so you can get oil in both of
the cast holes that the pin travels through. If that isn't enough to loosen it up, then cut a strip of Emory cloth or
very high grit sandpaper (ala 400 or so) and wrap it around the shaft and clean it off, and re-oil it.

You 'should' be able to see the travel as you turn the dial. The pin should easily move in and out of both of those arms.
If it's not doing this, it can wander and cause the symptoms you stated.

Screen Shot 2020-07-01 at 8.25.39b PM.jpg 

Cleaning off and lubricating that pin often solves the issue. Rarely (but it happens) the two silvery arm assemblies that
the pin travels through... are sticking to each other. Make sure, since you're there, to add sewing machine oil to the
space in between the two arms. Just drizzle some so that it seeps around where the two arms pivot against each other.

The hand wheel. Remove the little lock screw (tiny little one on the chrome inside part of the wheel). Set that where it
won't get lost. Use a layer, or two of light cotton and wrap that inner wheel. Use channel locks to loosen it, being careful
not to mare the finish on the chrome. Sometimes you have to find a way to block travel to to do this. But try that and see.

(PS. I love my Kenmore 117.840 - great machine!)

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
There is grace within forgiveness, but it's so hard for me to find - Ben Gibbard
My adventures with VSM's:
*QuiltnNan and asshat may be synonymous...

Junior Member
Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you so much. Will try later today. 
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