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Repairing a Kenmore Sewing Machine Model 158.13201

I have been using my great-grandmother's sewing machine for years, and it is just now giving me a problem. When I begin sewing by pushing the foot pedal, it will sometimes start and it will sometimes not. If it does, I have to have the pedal to the floor to keep it going, so I can only sew very fast. If I let it slow down, the machine gets stuck.


When it is stuck, turning the hand wheel toward me while pushing the foot pedal gets it going again. When I turn the hand wheel or when it does stop on me, it is always stiff or stuck in the same spot in its rotation. Every time I push the pedal, the motor does run, but I can't always get the needle to move.

I have tried everything from cleaning it, disassembling what I can to check for problems, oiling it, and more. Am I most likely looking at a problem with the foot pedal, the motor, an internal belt or gear, or a timing issue?

By Jessica B.

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October 15, 20120 found this helpful

It does sound like a problem with the foot pedal (timing problems usually show up as the needle hitting the plate or bobbin-you'll hear a little clunk every time the needle goes down into the bobbin area).


It could be as simple as a worn wire in the pedal, or it could be something more serious. You can try opening the foot pedal housing and giving the interior a look over-take clear photos first and be sure to check the photos before you disassemble anything-you may see the trouble straight off.

If you can't see any obvious problems, put the housing back on, check the voltage (should be printed on the bottom of the pedal), and try a different foot pedal in the same voltage to see if that sorts the problem. Foot pedals do go bad over time so that may be the problem.

You can find a replacement either at the Sears parts site:

You can also check eBay for vintage Kenmore parts.

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November 16, 20150 found this helpful

I have a very similar problem with my Frister Rossmann 904, and I am in Scotland, so if Frugal Sunnie could pass on some tips that would be great! I've just stumbled on this site in search of an answer. I got the machine second hand, so don't know its history.


I find this quite a problem as I can't back stitch at the end of line of stitching, as I don't have three hands: one to guide the fabric, one to flick the wheel into action, and one to twist and hold up the back stitch toggle.

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January 29, 20130 found this helpful

Have someone check the brushes in the motor. I have found this to be a common problem in the older machines. If the brushes are ok the next thing I would look at is the foot pedal. It may need to be replaced.

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May 30, 20130 found this helpful

There is a pressure plate right below the knob that u twist to unlock to wind your bobbin, this is your problem. Yo can get more life out of your machine without spending money.


That that small plate and slighly bend it so it won't sit on there flush and it will work. I spent $285 to get mine fixed.

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February 13, 20160 found this helpful

disengage your bobbin. I had the very same problem. My grandbabies engaged the bobbin button. Until I noticed it, i had the very same problem you are having.

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