43 comments on “Singer 500/503 Service Manual

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My 503 sews fine but won’t quilt. I have been trying to figure out how to adjust the tension for years. Now I can. I’ll make sure Santa hears about this. 😉

  2. I found the user manual to the Singer 500 series Rocketeer sewing machine. Would be glad to send you the PdF. Whoever copied it was kind enough to put 2 pages on one 8.5 x 11 sheet. Printed in duplex, the 100 page manual takes only 25 pages to print. Hooray.

  3. Hi Sewing Dude!

    I want to sell my Rocketeer, but before I do I have a question. My Singer repair guy, who has been in business for many years with Singer, says that he received an update some years ago about the threading of the 503. He says not to thread the part on the side that supposedly helps with the tension. He couldn’t find the paper when I asked him about it. He has my machine in perfect working order and it sews beautifully without that “side part in the front” being threaded. He says that these machine when threaded that way many times have a loopy bobbin thread. I was wondering if you might know or have this instruction update. Thanks jane

      • WOW!! Thank you so much!! I am going to print this out and give it to my Singer Repair guy who lost this bulletin some time ago. Also, it was very interesting to know the “why” of that tension doohicky. This is the kind of service that is so much appreciated. Thanks, Donald.

    • Jane, you just put the thread into the the little peg that holds the tensioner to the machine.

      from the spool, go to the one on the top of the machine, then over the top of the machine down, then around that peg on the tensioner (thats the bypass) then thru the disks, then up over the check spring, then to the take up lever, and so on.

  4. Wow! is right. Thank you so much for uploading the service manual. I just found my Rocketeer at a thrift store (!!!), and although it seems to be in pretty good shape now I know the service manual will come in handy. Much appreciated!

  5. This would be so helpful. I have also been trying to figure out how to adjust the tension. This sewing machine is very special to me. It’s my grandmother’s. I Love sewing on it but the tension issue keeps me from using it a often as I want.

  6. I have issues with my 503a nesting thread under the plate. I have changed needles, threads, tension and tried both plastic and metal class 66 bobbins. It is clean and well oiled and lubricated, Will run well for a while then jam up. The stitches are perfect. Very frustrating. I am an experienced sewer but this one has me stumped. I would be grateful for any suggestions. Thanks! Donna in MA

  7. Can anyone tell me the difference between a 500 and 500A?. I bought an old sewing cabinet and this machine was in it. I took it apart, cleaned, oiled and greasd and it runs perfectly. When I tried to run the serial number the get the model number, I was unable to get model number.i needed a heavy duty machine and all the new ones have terrible reviews.

  8. Much appreciated!!!! I have 2 Rocketteer’s (wouldn’t trade them for anything) and after 22 year’s of sewing with one of them have a repair. Thanks to you…I can do it myself!

  9. Thank you so much. I was thisclose to buying a copy of the 500a service manual on eBay but I figured it must be somewhere “out there” on the net for free. It’s very kind of you to do this. The 500 Rocketeer mesmerized me at first sight…I’m hooked, but good!

  10. this is awsome! I have a 503 and a 403 and love love love them,I also have a slew of attachments for them including a monogrammer (not the deluxe one ) would anyone happen to know where you can download a manual for that ? its crazy but you cant seem to find them anywhere lol thanks in advance is anyone knows:)

  11. I brought a Singer 500 last sumer at a garage sale. When i went to use it bthis winter found it had no manual. I keep trying to download one so I can use my machine. It keeps coming up my adope isn’T WORKING. I am not a great computer user. But sure would like to sew my granddaughter is going to have a baby. Sorry I can go on and on. Can you help me figure out how to downlad your manual?

  12. I am missing a piece on my Rocketeer, the side piece that covers the tension dial and such, I guess you would call it the “fin” end of the machine. I am also looking for the additional discs. I have looked all over and can not seem to find a place where I might be able to purchase these pieces. I am the most interested in the door.

  13. thank you so much for your generosity in sharing these resources… love my vintage Singers and appreciate knowing more about how to take care of them myself!!!!

  14. Thank you for sharing this. I’m wanting to purchase a 500a at a reasonable cost. Most that are within my price range don’t have a manual let alone the repair manual. Thanks again!

  15. I DID IT! I bought a 500a today as a birthday present to myself. I owe this in part to your manual. I’ve read it through and I feel that I can maintain it myself. I can’t wait until it gets here. Thanks again!

  16. Thank you so much for posting this. I’m glad that not everyone is trying to be a”parasite”. I have been working on my new to me rocketeer for a week cleaning lubing etc and was flying blind until now. I just got it to actually sew today but my bobbin won’t work with polyester thread. I don’t know if it’s the bobbin itself but its on plastic. The metal one i got it to work with has i believe cotton. The polyester feeds and works fine up top…any suggestions ?

  17. Just downloaded the repair manual for my 500a which is having problems with the B cam. Sews a lovely straight stitch and some of the other combinations work but B is out of commission. Such a solid machine, I hate to part with it. Sailing into unknown waters! Thank you for making this available.

  18. Wow, thanks for posting the service manual! Went to visit my mom, saw my late dad’s sewing machine and had to try to bring it back to life. So I oiled, lubed and got it stitching. Now mom’s going to send it to me. It will be wonderful to have this as a guide to bring him up to snuff. Can’t wait to get it!

  19. Thanks just got a 500, and was advised to get a manual I really appreciate you doing this. Now after reading all the comments I’m even more excited. I will be able to maintain it and have many years of sewing and quilting ahead. Thank you again!

  20. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I just gave my daughter my mom’s Singer 500 Slant-O-Matic. It runs fine, but when she tried to disengage the hand wheels to wind the bobbin, they wouldn’t disengage and the needle kept going up and down. She lives in GA and I live in FL, we tried to FaceTime to no avail. I’m sure the service manual will be the ticket to correcting the problem! What a wonderful site.

  21. Hi thank you so much for the manual and your site. I just picked a 503A the motor works but the rest of the machine won’t turn with using the hand wheel. I lubricated the parts and tried adjusting the outer hand wheel seems to bind up and won’t turn rest of machine. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you again. The other guy that sew’s

    • Time, penetrating oil and heat (hair dryer) are the best method to get a frozen machine unstuck. Machines that were oiled with the dreaded “3-in-1” decades ago oil often have varnish and congealed junk that will cause problems. Eyeball to ensure nothing is overtly broken, and then start oiling, gently heating and subtly working the mechanism. Be patient, brute force will likely leave you with broken, possibly irreplaceable parts. Be especially wary of over stressing the spiral gear on the motor that connects to the handwheel on a 500 series — those parts are not as robust as the earlier units.

  22. Hi! My rather rambunctious kitten parkoured off the fold-down stitch chart on my 503 and knocked it off. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get it back on. Any insight is greatly appreciated.

    • The best source on the internet to answer your question is the Vintage Singer Yahoo Group:


      Several of those guys (a few in their 70s and 80s) formerly worked at factory techs for Singer, and can probably tell you the Singer part number for every screw in your machine off the top of their heads. A veritable encyclopedia of knowledge on Vintage Singers, of which fewer and fewer guys remain each year.

      (Be sure to search the forum for your question first, as many common problems have been asked time and again, and sometimes people get cranky answering them AGAIN.)

  23. Thank you so much for providing the service manuals for the old Singers. I recently got a 503 in a cabinet that was loaded with STUFF. One of the boxes said it was attachments for a 625 but it looks like stuff for the 503 and the owner used that box because it was nice and sturdy. Also, the machine hadn’t been cleaned in so long that it had matted dust jack-slopes! I needed to do a lot more cleaning than the user manual shows. The service manual really helped!

  24. Thank you so much for offering this manual. I just bought this sewing machine at a garage sale. Thank you!!!

  25. Thank you so much!! I looked all over how to replace the tension assembly and was ready to just take it into the Singer shop!! Thanks again!!

  26. I got a rocketeer and dont know a thing about sewing, but , that manaul is sure technical and thats what I like. Yeah, I need to sew my jeans, and some shirts, thanks for manual!!

  27. Hi there Donald, Thank you, thank you, thank you! for including the 503A Slant-O-Matic Rocketeer Manuals in your free manuals. I really appreciate it a lot. I love the design of this vintage machine and I’ve read many many happy owners who love sewing with this classic vintage sewing machine. Thank you again! Your email address is not working please send me an email when you can as I have a question about this sewing machine. Thanks again! Kathy

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