57 comments on “Singer 401, 403, & 404 Service Manual

  1. Thank you for sharing the manual. It is much appreciated. My mother bought this machine just one year after it came out. She bought it second handed for $200. Many years later I use it quite frequently. We have been looking for a manual to give it the tune up it deserves. Once again, Thank You!

  2. Thank you so much. I have had this machine for years but have never tried the cams or the specialty stitches. They don’t appear to work even though the dials SEEM to be moving. I bought a second machine at a garage sale for spare parts so I guess I am going to have to try it and if it works then I will have to open them up. I am a little weary. Maybe I can talk my son into looking at it.

  3. Wow, it’s wonderful to find that you’re offering this manual. With this and all the YouTube videos out there, I’m feeling good about tuning up my new (old) machine. Thanks!

  4. Pingback: Online resources | Singer 422G

  5. Thanks for the manual. It chaps me to no end that people get the manuals on the Singer site and then charge for them on eBay. I set up a wix site that I use to direct folks to FREE copies of the ones I have found or scanned. Keep up the good work. Thanks for the idea of the red “Not for Resale”.

  6. This is great. I have a 401A from the year I was born. I invested the money to get it running properly and it is a wonderful machine. I am so greatful to have this manual provided to help me keep it running great. You have provided a real blessing. Thank you.

  7. Hello, I love my 401A but am not into servicing it myself. Not sure I am mechanically enclined that wasy. But I was wondering if you know the secret to inserting two needles to sew with? Thank you,

  8. I have just been bitten by the sewing machine, which is shouldering through the chainsaws for attention. Since I sidelined my old Elna carina by stripping a gear, I have been reworking and using a thousand-pound Rikkkar portable, late sixties maybe, and a Jaguar Kenmore 1345. They are much cleaner that the saws, I must say.
    Now I found a Singer 401a in a table, complete, in good condition. I looked on ebay and found this very manual for sale, paper photo copy, $12 +$3 shipping.

    So Thank You. Spending a dollar on a free machine is like a dillion percent increase in cost.

    I am a donald too but I go by Don.

    Have fun. dude.

  9. I want to thank your mother for raising you wonderfully! I have a 401a and I haven’t used it in awhile and it was not working properly.. I knew it needed a tune up, but you just don’t run across singer repair men like you used too. My husband is extremely handy and I knew he would be able to tackle it. I’m grateful for this manual. I thank you for your sharing!

  10. Thank you so much for your generous sharing of this manual. I find it to be so valuable. You are the best! THANK YOU!!!!

  11. Thank you Sewing Dude! I have just finished working on the Singer 403a that I picked up from a thrift store. Boy did it need help. I had to centre the needle, adjust the needle bar height, and adjust the hook assembly. It now works like a charm.

    If Santa is watching…you will indeed receive great gifts! Is there a provision to donate money to your website?

    Without this service manual, I would not have been able to get the machine stitching again.

    Thanks Again!


    • I have a 403a and we love the straight stitch. Got it used.
      The zig zag does not work even with the special discs – none of them work.
      It appears that the needle does not translate in any way with any disc?

      We are in the process of cleaning the machine – the manual didn’t have any troubleshooting ideas.
      Any thoughts would be great.
      Kind regards – Allen

      • People used to use 3-in-1 oil, and other non-sewing machine oils to lubricate their machines. Over decades a sticky varnish will develop that gums up the mechanisms.

        If you take off the covers of your machine, the moving parts should be grey, silver or greasy black. If they are covered in a brown shellac-looking gunk, you have a varnish problem.

        Patience, time, heat (blow dryer), and tri-flow lubricant (or other high-quality oil) applied to the sticky parts are your best cure. Apply oil, warm with the blow dryer, work the mechanisms, more oil, wait, repeat, repeat, repeat, etc. Patience is vital. It may take several days to loosen up something that hasn’t moved in 30 years.

        Avoid the temptation to use strong solvents, or to take apart any of the finely-synchronized mechanisms, unless you are absolutely sure you know how to set the timing on your sewing machine again.

  12. Thank you for sharing! I had no idea before I started looking for one of these manuals for my newly bought 401a that this dirty practice was happening. Well done for trying. I would have felt pretty displeased if someone was trying to make a buck off my family keepsakes. My machine and I thank you!

  13. Thank you Santa! I recently obtained a 401a from an Estate sale and it had been unused in a shed since 1968. Rita, the prior owner, was apparently quite a smoker. My friend and I have been Rehabing this machine and stripping away the tar and nicotine stains with Hoppes no 9 gun cleaner- which, by the way, works like a DREAM without damaging any of the painted or metal surfaces in any way! When I saw it in their garage, it was covered with a layer of felted grime from years of disuse after being in a heavy smoker’s home. the inside had gummed up with old grease which had turned green. after degreasing and re-lubing the inside it’s now running, whereas before it had not been able to turn any gears with power to the unit. I still need to take apart the tensioner and other adjustment parts on the machine to clean each metal part to remove the grime and tar. but now it’s running and I have a COMPLETE 401a with attachments and a Cabinet. I can’t wait to finish digging in to clean her up and eventually- SEW on it! But without this manual It would have been a lot of trial and error. (mostly error I suspect.)

    I really really appreciate your posting these resources and hope to one day soon repay your kindness with a scanned touch and sew machine manual that came with an attachment set as a bonus part of the auction! See that! eBay CAN sometimes be helpful! Now all I need is access to a scanner and my EVIL plan will be … semi… complete! Wah hah hah! –Adeline

  14. I have just purchased the 404 and you have that manual listed here but I don’t see a download link for it… just the 401… do you have one for the 404?

    Thanks so much,

  15. I wanted a manual for the 403 & 404 myself. I gather from going through this and from looking inside my mint 401A to 403G they work similar in the lower end and most of the top end so thankx as well for the neat find. The 404 looks very simple up top with little differences on lower end.

    I could really use any help or links to the Singer 750 Golden Touch & Sew & 776 / 778 Stylist.

  16. Thank you VERY MUCH for making this service manual available online! By the way, I loved reading your blog. Informative and timely advice is available here! Thank you for sharing!

  17. THANK YOU! I printed out your 401 service manual yesterday. It is awesome. Better than most that I’ve paid for! I totally forgive you your tasteless women jokes.

  18. I am a 75 year old granny who loves to sew and collect old machines to fix up. I prefer singer and give them to my grandkids to learn to sew on. I bought this 401at a garage sale and all I had to do was buy a new power plug and clean it up. However, the other day I jammed it and now the hook is out of time. I would like a copy of the repair and maintenance manual to keep this machine going, as it is one I intend to keep. Thanks for info.

  19. Thanks for being so sharing but I need a manual on how to use all the stuff on it. It is such a heavy duty machine but I know it does more cause I have parts I dont know what the do.

  20. Hi: Have a 401A, great machine, Thanks for service manual
    My problem is stitch length lever moves up on its own when I start sewing, so won’t stay on selected length even when dial is screwed in tight
    Nothing in manual showing how to fix
    Any advice will be appreciated

  21. Thanks so much for your kindness to us fellow vintage machine enthusiasts. I do believe that what goes around, comes around. Bless you!

  22. First thanks VERY VERY much for the service manual for the 401. This machine really has all the basics. New sewing machines, up-to-day models, really don’t add much, after almost fifty years.

    Btw i plan to stitch me up a parachute to do base jumping, like of 300 foot buildings.. i wanna do all skyscrapers in the neighborhood.

    Where can i scoop up a good manual for that ?

    Like is it better to use cotton or should i use nylon, for my parachute?


  23. Thanks very much for your efforts (uploaded manuals).





  24. Thank you for sharing the information on this old machine. I got my mother-in-law old Singer 401 and it is in need of maintenance since it hasn’t been used for a very long time.

  25. Thank you for providing the manual. Having learnt to sew using a 401 in the late 70’s, i got a 403 in good shape today for $35. Chuffed to bits to start sewing again. Been a long time coming,

  26. Hello I have a 401A sewing Machine can I am not sure what plugs into the bottom side of the machine so it will sew. I have the one on the top side for the foot pedal. Can you please help. Thanks so much.

  27. Hello I have a 401A that I am not sure how to get to sew. I am not sure what plugs in the bottom side of the machine. I have the top side for the foot pedal but not a plug for the one on the side bottom.
    Thanks for your help.

    • There is a separate electrical cord for the power and that is what you need to plug into the bottom left area. You might find one on Ebay or SEWINGPARTSONLINE.

  28. Thanks so much! I have 401a I bought in 1958! Just found one for parts for $20. Don’t need parts yet but thought I couldn’t pass it up! Maybe see if I can get the $20 one running………

  29. Thanks for the service manual. I just bought a 401A model and I look forward to bringing it back to life.

  30. I recently acquired a lovely 401A that needed a few things and your site has been invaluable to working some things out for my newly loved machine. Thank you so much! Andrea

  31. Thank you, I just picked this up at an estate sale and was hoping to be able to use it. Thank you for the service manual!

  32. Ah, a lucky find this site. I recently picked up a 1963 Singer 411g from Gumtree for £40. It ran quite well, just needing a clean and lube.

    Foolishly I decided to take the gear off which turns the rotating hook, to remove some trapped fluff and get the machine clean and lubed. I certainly got the machine nice and clean, shame the timing was all to pot once I reassembled it. This service manual looks just the thing so I can get her back in action again. A local sewing machine shop would charge nearly £60 for a service, so I’d like to try using this service manual first…

    Fingers crossed!!

  33. HUGE HUGE THANKS!!! You’ve sharing the service manual has truly saved me from pulling out my hair, cursing like a sailor at an inanimate object … and hundreds of dollars, on what I’ve figured out after downloading the free manual!

  34. Thank you for manual but it begins at page 125… I’m specifically needing to clean the part under the bobbin case. Does this come out and return easily. That area is hard-caked and needs soaking. Need recommendations.

  35. Thanks! My husband’s machine is a SInger 404. It holds up to the canvas, denim, and lightweight leather he sews.

  36. i was very happy to find your site and an easy to use Manule But i still can not set the timming on the 403A do you have a u tube on just the 403 and timing or any help you can give me would be great


  37. GOD BLESS YOU!! I have been struggling with the 401 a and this repair manual helped me see how the gear that slipped off actually went on and I was able to repair it in a few minutes and I have already spent over nine hours just trying to put the one part back. This was a money-saving stress saving download!

  38. Thank you Donald, I just found you after receiving my Ebay Service Manual on a disk – but I’m STILL appreciating you! Just thought I’d leave the info for Andy Tube, a YouTuber. Of course, a lot of you people have found him, but he has a complete clean up series for the Singer 404. He takes it apart and goes through all the assemblies, each with their own video. He takes the machine apart slowly and cleans the old varnished oil and grease with Krud Cutter Concentrated Cleaner and Degreaser with stain Remover, then puts ’em back together. He has a video from, Shelly, a woman who cleaned her own machine the same way. I plan to do it too to one I picked up on Craigslist last week – and it is a mess. Andy Tube’s favorite machine is the 404, but he has MANY machines that he teaches. Make sure you watch his videos as he has some guidelines upon using the Krud Cutter and he also uses Tri Flo oil with PDFE and Tri Flo synthetic Clear Grease – instead of sewing machine oil/greases. Check out Andy, he’s the greatest!

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