Quieting a Kenmore 158.xxxx

This is a Kenmore model 158.1430. The model number is irrelevant to this post because I have found that in general, the vintage Kenmore 158 series is a very high quality sewing machine. They feature powerful motors, good stitch selections, and probably the best button hole system on any machine of its vintage. In all regards, they are very capable, reliable, and consistent sewing machines. They are a very good value for anyone interested in a vintage sewing machine.

But… one comment I have heard fairly frequently is that there is a noticeable “knocking” noise when the machine is sewing. There is nothing wrong inside of the machine and I have found this to be consistent with most of the Kenmore 158 series. It is less noticeable in some machines than others, but it is still noticeable.

The cause of the noise is the thread spool moving up and down on the spool pin when the machine is sewing. The movement isn’t very noticeable, but if you watch closely, you will see it. Every time the thread spool drops back down, it will hit the top cover. Because the top cover is metal it causes a “knocking” sound, even if you are using a spool pin felt.

Looking at the underside of the top cover, you can imagine how this happens… the top transmits the sound like the head of a drum. To fix this, all that is required is something to insulate and dampen the sound. I have found that a small layer of packing foam (like the stuff used to pack china) is perfect… it is thin, it is soft, it does not degrade or shed fibers, and it is very easy to cut.

Place the top cover over the foam sheet, trace the outline, cut inside of the line so it fits inside the cover, and just lay it in place. If it is cut a little oversize, it will stay in place. No gluing is necessary.

If you look at the cam mechanism in the machine, you will see that there are no moving parts that will hit the foam, and the foam will lay safely on top of the mechanism without jamming any mechanism inside the machine.

The difference in the sound is noticeable. The knocking noise is eliminated, and the overall sewing experience is improved.

Easy fix… try this on your Kenmore

Published by pungoliving

First and foremost, I decided to share some of my experiences with vintage all metal sewing machines. It is a natural progression of my life experience exercising my hands and my mind. My background is a simple story... graduating High school, I wanted a trade. I landed an apprenticeship at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in welding. 5 years later after earning certification and working in many different environments, I decided to enroll in College and earn an Engineering. At the same time, I married a wonderful girl and started a new life. Graduating College with a degree in Structural Engineering, I began a 35 year career in the Federal Government. Along the way, we were blessed with 3 beautiful children. Earning a Masters degree in Engineering and registration as a Professional Engineer I worked for the benefit of my family and my Country. Over the years, I have pursued many different hobbies... woodworking, car mechanics, astronomy, and taking apart and putting together all sorts of things. Pretty much anything I could put my mind and my hands into. So now, many years later, I am retired and finally able to wile away my days at home with the love of my life. Her interests have always been in sync with mine, but spending so much free time with her, I realized how broad her talents are! One interest she is particularly fond of is sewing. It didn't take me long to put 2+2 together and realize that I could do something with this. So, acquiring, adjusting, servicing, and restoring sewing machines was a win-win. I have a hobby that is detailed, involves tinkering with precision engineered high quality manufactured machines, while she has an opportunity to sew on various different makes and models of sewing machines. While there are many that have information on line, and what I have to say more than likely has already been said, I wanted to contribute to that conversation and learning gleaned from my experience and research.

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