This guide will help you to make a COMPLETE tune-up on your Singer 457. This APPLY also to the SINGER 413, 416, 418, 466, 477, 478. series. The PLASTIC GEARS on top of these machines require some particular attention in order to preserve them. These popular machines sold for around $100 were mass produced, their beds are made of cast iron but their internal mechanism remains fragile with 2 plastic gears on top and a narrow timing belt underneath.
Remove both the top cover (2 screws) and the left side cover (face plate) (1 screw).
Make a visual inspection to the 2 gears. The lowest (black color) gear which is the smallest and drives the bottom mechanism. This small plastic gear breaks often. Needless to say all these machines were NOT made to sew thick materials like jeans or canvas. They were made for cotton, silk and light to medium fabrics. The big (white color) horizontal gear on the main shaft was made of teflon and rarely breaks. Try to clean the teeth of the 2 gears with an old toothbrush and apply a small coat of SINGER 2129 LUBRICANT.
NEVER OIL any gears !
NEVER USE any other lubricant than SINGER 2129. Do not use some lithium based lubricant as they will ruin these gears very fast !
Check the bobbin winder rubber tire located on the right side of machine. Replace if you see cracks in it or excessive wear. This rubber tire is available at any sewing shop and is of standard size.
I recommend you SINGER SEWING MACHINE OIL (do not use 3 in 1 oil, WD-40, cooking oil or ANY kind of oil which is not marked "For Sewing Machines". Remember any oil contained in METAL CANS over 10 years old is CONTAMINATED. NEVER put such old oil in your machine. Oil contained in PLASTIC BOTTLES is good for lifetime.
Apply ONLY ONE DROP of oil, from right to left, in each hole located on top of the main shaft. The first hole is located near the hand wheel. Next, at right of the 2 gears, lubricate the hole and the fork metal cam. At the left, there is a counterweight close to the bushing, 2 drops of oil will be enough.
On the left side, remove any dust and lint accumulated. Check for pieces of thread around any moving parts, especially near the take-up lever (this is the part moving up and down where you thread the machine). Apply a drop of oil to the small holes of the left side mechanism. By moving slowly the hand wheel, you will be able to locate all the joints of the moving parts. Apply also one drop of oil to the needle bar (one drop on the upper part and one drop on the bottom part). Wipe any excess.
Remove the needle plate. Clean the feed dogs area and use a small instrument to remove any packed lint between the feed dogs. It could be an old needle, a tweezer or any THIN instrument. Next, you will have to remove the bobbin case. On some models (like this one), the bobbin case is made of metal and you will have to lift the bracket and move it to the right in order to remove the bobbin case.
This bobbin case has a groove around it which most of the time is packed with lint. By inserting a small screwdriver or thin instrument inside that groove, you will clean it fast. Apply a drop of oil inside the groove. Check the inside of the rotary hook while the bobbin case is outside. With a pair of tweezers, remove any accumulated lint. Replace the bobbin case and slide left the bracket. Install the needle plate.
On some newer models, you will find a plastic bobbin case. There is no groove in it to clean. To remove it, you will have to move the small closure located at the rear of bobbin case. This plastic bobbin case was named Apollo and is only deposited on the rotary hook. Check for cracked and/or missing part. This part is also available at any serious sewing shop. Check also the inside of the hook for lint accumulation. Clean if necessary.
Put the machine on the back to gain access to the bottom. Clean any dust, lint and thread debris everywhere. Apply one drop of oil to all the moving parts. By turning the handwheel slowly, you will see all the moving joints. DO NOT APPLY OIL TO THE BELT !!! This is a narrow timing belt, clean any dust or lint which may be accumulated.
With the presser foot up and no needle, plug the machine into the electrical outlet. Put the light on, in many case this switch is giving power to the motor also. Run the machine at full speed for one minute to equilibrate the oil. Hold the hand wheel, press the pedal to the maximum for a second ot two. If you feel something is slipping, the motor belt has to be readjusted. By loosing the motor belt cam screw located under the machine, you will be able to lower the motor (by adjusting the cam) and tighten the cam screw. Make another test for slipping and run the machine at full speed. It should start running right away, no slipping.
Replace the under cover.
You are now able to make a sewing test. These machines were not made to sew stretched fabrics but with the SINGER 2045 NEEDLE, this will help a lot and will avoid skipping stitches in such materials. If you ever need to sew something thicker than usual like jeans, please use the SINGER 2026 JEANS NEEDLE. But keep in mind these machines were definitely NOT made to sew anything thicker than light to medium fabrics.
Thank you for your time and please do not hesitate to e-mail me for any particular question. I will gladly put over 30 years of sewing machine experience at your service!
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Happy Sewing !!