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Repairing a Pfaff Sewing Machine

This is a guide about repairing a Pfaff sewing machine. Pfaff sewing machines are great machines. If repaired and maintained properly, they can last a very long time.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
November 30, 2015

A very small screw has dropped out of the needle clamp and I am not sure where it goes. Certainly the needle does not stay put without it. Does anyone have any ideas?
Many thanks.

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December 1, 20151 found this helpful
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My machine is a 1209, Denise, and possibly not much different than yours. I see 4 small screws in and around the needle: 2 to the right, 1 behind and the fourth directly above the last. The only one you might have trouble seeing is the one directly behind the needle as the face of it can only be seen when you're on the other, non-sewing side of the machine. Keep looking for the place from where the screw fell and - of course - if all else fails, take it in for service.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 30, 2015

The 360 has not been used for several years and needed cleaning and oiling. Before cleaning and oiling the machine worked, by hand, in forward nd reverse with no apparent problems. After cleaning and oiling with most, not all, stitch changes, etc. it seemed to work OK. However, at the respective adjusters the bobbin would not sync with the needle and in the forward direction struck the bobbin holder while working in the reverse direction.

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After further cleaning and oiling other newly discovered oil points the bobbin holder rotated freely in the stitch holder. The bobbin is placed in its case outside the machine and that case is placed into another holder on the shuttle shaft. It is the bobbin holder that rotates freely on the shaft without an ability to sync with the needle as it attempts to descend into the bobbin thread area striking the holder outside the proper slot area. At no time does the bobbin holder in the other case appear to be held in a synchronized position. By hand it just continues to rotate freely no matter the position of the needle holder (without the needle in the machine).

The 362 machine had been left exposed in a closet of an ocean area home for many, many years and was, in the beginning, completely locked up. After a preliminary cleaning and oiling it would operate by hand, with difficulty, with all moving parts, needle, bobbin housing, etc. working in both forward and reverse. As it was still very stiff further cleaning was done with additional oil points being dealt with. After reaching the point of being easily operated by hand a needle was installed only to find it to have the same problem.

No thread, or fluff, appears visible in any of the bobbin areas, yet two different machines that were only cleaned and oiled appear to have the same failure.

Any ideas would be very much appreciated. Pictures of both machines can be provided if that would help. BTW the 360 was purchased in 1960 and the 362 was purchased in 1965. My mom had an earlier similar model Pfaff purchased in the early 50s that she sewed my dad's welding leathers on, as well as, fine fabrics for dresses, etc. It's only failure was a fiber gear, that Pfaff replaced in about 1955 at no charge. It swelled under extended use jamming the machine causing her no end of distress when sewing the leather material. They are very tough machines.

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December 2, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

You really need to take this machine into a repair tech with experience on vintage Pfaffs. It sounds to me the timing is off and possibly a few gears have deteriorated.

Neither (and I could be wrong about either!) are home fixes. Re-timing a high-end machine like a Pfaff is best done by someone who has invested the time and money in training. I do repair-refurb on Singer and a few other vintage machine brands but wouldn't touch a Pfaff as these are very different no matter how similar they look to a Singer (not much really:). I also won't try working on a computerised model - I don't have the money for training and manuals and wouldn't dream of 'learning' on someone's sewing machine!

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RE what you will be charged...Service manuals cost in the high three digit figures, and tools to work on vintage electrics are costly as well (but not as costly as the manuals, ouchie!). To give you an example, I paid over $700USD for a Singer (500series) manual back in the late 90s. Pfaff service manuals are considerably more pricey which is why you should expect to be given an estimate that may well make your eyes water. To be clear - a low repair estimate should be viewed with suspicion as Pfaffs like you own are still considered high-end and working on one requires such specialised knowledge the cost should be eye-watering if done by a tech who knows what he/she is doing.

I cannot emphasis strongly enough the need to take these machines to a pro - your problem, while it does sound very much like a timing problem, may be instead a minuscule 'burr' of rust that you can't see at home and likely wouldn't know where to look for any road.

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I own so many vintage machines my husband wants me to sell them all or open a museum:) You have two very desirable machines well worth the cost of having them restored to sewing functionality, and I have to now confess to wishing you'd posted snaps, and to a HUGE machine envy, you lucky Pfaff owner, you!

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By 0 found this helpful
February 28, 2017

I just bought a beautiful Pfaff 2040 and I love it, but it won't backstitch. It only will do the tie off stitch it seems. I need it to be able to backstitch. Any idea why?

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March 1, 20170 found this helpful

If you just bought it, take it back to the store. It's their problem, not yours. I would even complain if I bought it used. When I do buy used,
I test the product before I buy.

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March 2, 20170 found this helpful

New machine? Take it back and make sure it works before picking it up. Get a demonstration. If returning it is not possible then you should email Pfaff and let them explain how to fix it.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 11, 2016

The thread is snapping on my Pfaff 138/115 industrial sewing machine. The top thread keeps on snapping when stitching. I have changed the needle and rethreaded. What can I adjust to resolve this? I desperately need help.

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June 11, 20160 found this helpful

I'd recommend undoing it all, Thaaniz. Remove the top thread as well as the bottom bobbin, rewind everything to ensure no thread has a small knot. Check the placement of the top thread spool to see there's nothing preventing it from uncoiling smoothly. Re-set your tensions to zero (upper and lower, although I suspect the problem may be with the upper tension being too tight). Double-check your threading instructions and re-thread your machine.

Safe to presume you're using a decent quality thread? No insult intended, but sometimes going in search of a bargain ends up in frustration.

If the foregoing hasn't helped and your thread is still breaking, remove all threads, again, and try running the machine with no thread. Listen to the sound of the motor. You know when it's running properly, right?

The only other thing I can think is that maybe the new needle is in at a bad angle or the screw holding it in place isn't tight enough?

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By 0 found this helpful
September 6, 2015

My machine was sewing fine till yesterday. But now when I switch it on, the display and other LEDs are not functioning. However, the machine bulb is working. Someone suggested to switch off the machine and put it on after 10 secs. The status is the same. It looks like a fuse has blown.

How do I open the machine and replace the 3A fuse. I need the procedure and service manual. I have searched on the Internet extensively for repair instructions, but I could not find anything for my machine.

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