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samiamaquilter

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Reply with quote  #1 
I am looking for a manual for either of these machines or at least where the recommended oiling places are. This is a super high, free arm, top loading machine that has a metal plate on the bottom that won't allow easy access to its guts. I also would like to know how to remove the bobbin case for cleaning there. It seems to be one of the first Kenmore's that can't be easily maintained by its owners. Any info or thoughts about these models would be appreciated. I have taken plenty of pictures as I dismantled what I could that I will share if anyone needs them. 

Sammie quilter in NC DSCN9347.jpeg

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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #2 
You can usually find a manual by googling Kenmore and the model number.  Those ones usually are on the back and start with 158.

To remove the bobbin case you use a pin or small flat head screw driver to pull tabs in towards where the bobbin would sit and then the bobbin case will lift out.  Some of those tabs have a dot of red paint, some are just white plastic.  Some you will need to turn the handwheel to get the stitch hook in the right position for the bobbin case to come out. 

When they are working they are fairly solid working machines!  A little TLC and they will usually come back to life.  

As far as a service manual, I haven't been successful.  But you can usually find a schematic on Sears' website.  But a good general rule of thumb: turn the handwheel, if you see metal moving against metal; put a single drop of oil.  More is not always better..... unless we are talking about ice cream!!!  More ice cream is always welcome!  If the machine has been sitting a long time without an oiling, then you will need to oil it again at all the main points of movement along the main shafts. 


Feel free to message me with any questions!  I work as a sewing machine repair tech.  I have been doing it for almost 3 years now. 

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samiamaquilter

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Reply with quote  #3 
Here are two pictures that will show the areas that I am asking about. The first is the metal plate over the bottom guts once you remove the outer shell. The feed dog mechanism is that wing shaped thing circled. The old oil covered white lever (cleaned now) at bottom left is what the wing thing pushes back and forth, making the dogs do their thing. The dogs are, at their highest, less than half a dimes's thickness and the machine is not feeding the fabric as they should. I feel they should be higher. How do I raise the dogs on this machine without removing this metal piece. I feel like that would be like opening a can of worms if I remove it and that there should be some eccentric screw on the bottom to do that.

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The 2nd picture (before cleaning) shows the bobbin case which I can't figure out how to remove. Removing black arm with the black screw on left doesn't do it but I found that you must have that in proper position so the upper thread can be released as it makes it trip in making a stitch. I have been told that I should not mess with the two silver screws because they are on springs but it would seem they would be the only way to remove the case if it was ever damaged or to clean under it. Elna's bobbin case is kinda like this on one I replaced the black case on.  I feel that the black lever and those screws would have to be removed to remove the case. I need some opinions on this. There are only 3 models made like this I think. They are the 158.1580, 1680 & 1980 which was Sears Best when made from '78-80. The other two just had lesser features.
Sammie quilter in NC

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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #4 
I definitely would NOT remove that plate.  When you have all the body panels off, you can air that out with an air compressor.  The panels MUST be off, or you will end up putting fuzz in places it can do damage.  That bobbin case is a bit different than I have seen recently..... Let me think about that one.  You will want to replace any grease you removed with a dab of grease.  Feed dogs are best measured by looking to see that they raise to the bottom of the "V".  If the tops feel dull, they may need replaced.  Usually, we adjust the height of feed dogs when we replace them because as they get dull they still will not pull the fabric threw as well as a set will when they are sharp.  Sometimes, on old machines when a replacement set can't be found, I have carefully ran a tiny file threw the teeth to sharpen them and then I will raise the feed dogs.  I have even ran into a machine we had to put a very thin washer under the feed dogs in order to raise them as there was no adjustment available.  I too am having trouble finding a manual.... It hard to do this without the machine in hand.  That bobbin case I have only seen once and I am trying to remember how to get it out..... 
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samiamaquilter

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Reply with quote  #5 
I have a copy of the oiling instructions from the owner of the 1780 but it really did not tell me anything I did not know. No mention of taking out that bobbin case. My 1680 sews fine but am helping a lady by e-mail with her 1780 that does not feed well. I had already suggested to her to shim up the dogs but they did not have the right size torx driver to get the dogs off. Still waiting on that. Hard for me to diagnose without my hands on the machine.

Thanks for getting back with me.

Sammie
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Guy Montana

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I understand.  If they can get the right torx, stainless steel washers are of a more consistent thickness than a typical punched steel washer.  I wonder if those silver screws push down?  They might have a swing arm rather than an actual screw.... If that makes sense?  They are shaped kinda like a "L".  
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OurWorkbench

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Reply with quote  #7 
I don't know if either of these links would help.

https://sewconsult.com/product/kenmore-158-1980-158-1981-service-manual/
https://pdfslide.net/documents/kenmore-1581980-manual.html

Janey

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samiamaquilter

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Reply with quote  #8 
Eureka! that manual on the 1980 that Janey sent shows how to get the bobbin case out and you do unscrew those two screws that are on springs. I plan to do that on my 1680 today. Thanks so much. I will wait until I'm on free time to look at the others you sent. I'm on metered time and just looking at that one sent my daily usage up high.

Sammie
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samiamaquilter

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Reply with quote  #9 
That makes sense and they do push down like on springs. The manual for the 1980 shows taking the BC out with those screws so I will experiment.

I would think a plastic or nylon washer would be thinner. It doesn't need a lot to make them a bit higher. I think a metal one would make them too high. She will just have to experiment but first she has got to get the torx screws removed. I've told her to let them sit with penetrate on them until they find the right size torx driver. Sure there must be a way to raise the dogs from the bottom from one of those many screws on that plate.
I'm just scared to turn a screw that I don't know what it does. If my 1680 was not sewing perfectly, I would be more adventurous turning screws just to see what they do. I've torn cheap Brothers apart just to see how they work. I was amazed to see what they have done to the modern sewing machine inside its guts. No wonder they fail.
Sammie
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samiamaquilter

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Reply with quote  #10 
I got the bobbin case out but would not have had the courage to do so without the thing that Janey sent me. Pictures will follow of me doing it after I get them into my Mac and adjusted. Those two silver screws were tight but finally yielded. I had to open the nose of the machine, remove the foot and needle to give me room for my short screw driver. You have to push down on the screws while unscrewing them. They will not come all the way out so don't worry about losing them which is good. When putting everything back in, you have to get it all lined up. You have to push down on the screws while putting them in. Will work on the pictures later and I may wait until my free data time tomorrow morning to put in another e-mail for all to see.

Thank you for all your help. It was dirty down there but not filthy as some machines I've cleaned. You'll see the before cleaning in my pictures.

Sammie quilt in NC
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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #11 
Your right the cheap Brothers are a bit of a joke!  I have an old Singer 1879 that sews better than most of today's units.  Please send pics of how that bobbin case comes out.  I am glad I was able to help you help your friend!
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samiamaquilter

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Reply with quote  #12 
I will add some pictures while in my free data time. Please feel free to ask questions. First picture shows the two screws that you must push down to turn. They will not come out all the way so don't worry about losing them. They have C clamps on their backs.DSCN2289.jpeg 
Pull toward you and up and manipulate it out. A little difficult but it can be done. I released the black screw on the black lever as well but have to make sure I get it back in its proper place because it allows the thread to escape when it makes its trip around the case. This picture actually shows me replacing it but same thing is done. Notice the white lines at the back. They have to be in line with each other when reinserting.
DSCN2287.jpeg 
Here is the top. Was dirty but not bad. Machine had not been used a lot. You probably can remove those screws at the top to get under that part but they were pretty tight so I did not.
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Here is the back of the top showing the screw holes
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Here is the back of the 2nd bottom section. Just manipulate it out as well.
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This is me manipulating the bottom piece out in picture above. See the screw holes and that white line that you have to get lined up when reinserting it.
  DSCN2279.jpeg 
Here is the empty area, lint and all. Reverse the removal, making sure you have the white line and screw holes in line. I pull it all forward with my finger like one of the top pictures and after several tries, it all fits and the screws go back in.
Sammie
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