Fixing my Sewing Machine

By Tiffany - Sunday, March 02, 2014

I was able to fix my broken Singer 533. If you recall, my feed dogs suddenly stopped working. When I opened up my machine, I discovered that I had a broken feed dog gear. I also found out that a good indication of the condition of the gears is by taking a look at the bottom cover.

This cover is right underneath the bobbin area. You will see lots of black plastic filings on the right of the case. This is right under the feed dog gears. There is also a bit of black plastic showing up on the left, which is under the bobbin hook drive gears. It is likely that my hook drive gears will soon break, too.

I found many places online that sold parts and ordered a set of hook drive gears and a set of feed dog gears. They still haven't arrived, but I was super lucky. My husband was shopping in a second hand store and found this Singer 522 (for $5.00!). It was missing the foot pedal, but was otherwise in okay shape.

I feel doubly lucky that I was able to get this machine and to have such a great husband, who is actively interested in what I do.

The only difference I could find between this Singer 522 and my Singer 533 is that my Singer 533 has the Flexi stitch option and the 522 does not.

Singer 533 (above) and Singer 522 (below)
I checked the parts manuals for both (available on the Singer website) and sure enough, most of the parts are the same.

So, I took apart the Singer 522 sewing machine. I checked the bottom cover to see if there were any signs of wear with the gears.

The previous owner did not take good care of their machine. The cover is full of lint and dirt. Luckily, there were no signs of plastic filings. The gears also looked in good shape. There were no broken or worn teeth.

I took the gears out of the Singer 522 using the directions from this video made by Sewing Parts Online. The video is very good, so I won't go through all the steps they show. But, there are some important things to note:

  • Always replace both gears in a set, not just the broken one. Gears wear out and the teeth get misshapen with age. Your gears will wear out faster if you pair an old one with a new one (if they even work together at all). 
  • I think there is a mistake in the above video. He makes the mistake of putting the hook drive gear with two set screws on the top shaft. I believe the hook drive gear with the two set screws goes on the bottom and not the top. At the very beginning of the video and near the end of the video when he is setting timing, it looks like the gears are in the proper positions with the gear with the two set screws on the bottom.
  • It's a good idea to take pictures or even video of where your needle is in relation to the hook before you take everything apart (if your timing is right to begin with). It will make it easier to put it back in the right place and time your machine.

My hook is just starting to go under the left
feed dog as my needle comes up. The needle eye is lined up
with the hook inside edge.

  • As suggested in the video, use a good helping of grease on the gears when you are done. This will keep the plastic from drying out and cracking. It also makes everything sound nice and smooth. Just make sure that the grease is safe on nylon (which is what the gears are usually made of).
Greased up hook drive gears (left)
and feed dog gears (right).
That's it. The Singer 522 will be my parts machine. And when I finally get my other gears in the mail, they will be ready to go if and when these gears die.

My machine works again and sounds very lovely. Now, I can get back to sewing. Hurrah!

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