Is sewing machine motor GREASE something special?

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Old 02-20-17, 07:58 AM
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Is sewing machine motor GREASE something special?

I bought my wife a vintage (1950) Singer Featherweight sewing machine as a Valentine's Day gift. It came in remarkably good condition but mechanically was stiff and needed a good clean & lube. Now everything spins freely "like a well-oiled machine" except the motor.
The motor seems to spin easily when disconnected and spins very fast--but has no torque once the belt is attached. The brushes look excellent and are long, with good arcs on the end. I peeked down the brush holder and the commutator is clean copper--not burnt.

The only thing left is motor lube. Singer has (had?) a special grease for these that was thin enough to wick into the felt packing the oil ports. I reamed out the old grease but I don't think I have anything proper in my lube arsenal. It's available online but maybe not locally. I'm not sure if shaft lubrication is my issue considering how fast the motor spins when unloaded.

So I'll put it to the "hive"--Is shaft lube my torque problem, or is there something else I should address?
 
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Old 02-20-17, 08:16 AM
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I would try any high temps grease, Wheel bearing grease should work.
 
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Old 02-20-17, 08:27 AM
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That "grease" you were removing was likely deteriorated oil or grease put there by mistake..
Oil cups that lead to a wick need 30 weight non-detergent oil.

You need to remove all of it and use oil to lube it.
If you can carefully dismantle the motor. clean the shaft and use a cotton swab with solvent to clean the inside of the bushings.
WD-40 makes an excellent cleaner for shafts and bushings but is too light to use to oil the packing.
 
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Old 02-20-17, 08:48 AM
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I have never heard of a grease being used on a sewing machine. Every one I have seen used a light weight mineral oil. I'm with GregH. If you have something like grease in yours it needs to be removed as it's likely gumming up the works.
 
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Old 02-20-17, 09:09 AM
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I only remember Singer Sewing Machine Oil and it smelled and looked exactly like 3in1 oil.
 
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Old 02-20-17, 09:30 AM
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I only use Lily White sewing machine oil. I have an old Singer, but not the one you have, and it did come with a tube of lubricant, but not for the motor. I'm not aware of having to put any kind of grease in the motor itself. I've had machines since I was a kid, and never have or had to. Don't know about fixing motors or what's wrong, but maybe the problem's with the belt or a gear running the belt?
 
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Old 02-20-17, 11:54 AM
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Found something else out. Could be the belt is too tight and needs to be loosened.

Here's a free service manual you can download as a pdf: https://singer-featherweight.com/blo...vicing-manuals
 
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Old 02-20-17, 01:00 PM
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Interesting, I just looked thru the repair manual, and I guess the Featherweight is in a class of it's own. It says not to use oil or ordinary gear grease but only motor lubricant sold by Singer. I suppose you could use a different brand, but I think I'd only use something specifically for sewing machines.
I think it would be worth it to buy it online rather than use any old stuff.
 
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Old 02-20-17, 01:40 PM
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Yes... that would be the Singer Sewing Sewing Machine oil. I have a few cans here. Very old red, white and green cans. Like I mentioned before .... smells just like the 3in 1 oil.

Needs to be thin non-detergent oil.

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Old 02-20-17, 01:45 PM
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Pete that might ruin this motor.
In the research I've done it's claimed to be "specially developed" LOW MELTING POINT grease. In use the motor heats up, the grease liquifies and wicks thru the felt and onto the shafts.
Using regular oil causes it to sling onto the commutator causing it to smoke and spark--and had caused the early death of many of this type motor.

I just wasnt sure if the "special grease" is really unique, or hype.
Is there a more common low melting point grease?
 
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Old 02-20-17, 02:02 PM
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A way to distinguish a grease cup from an oil well is that if it was meant to take any kind of grease the cap would screw down to force grease into the bearing.
Anything meant for oil would have a short tube leading to a fiber wick.

Pretty standard stuff.
 
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Old 02-20-17, 07:52 PM
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The owners and service manuals say to use Singer motor grease.

https://singer-featherweight.com/blo...otor-lubricant

I'm not questioning whether I should follow their instructions, just asking if the low-melt properties are common in other greases.
Most lubes I'm familiar with state high-temperature, high pressure and it would appear from the link that this would be bad for this motor.
 
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