Pfixing the Pfaff

Last year, I did a post on Care of Your Older Sewing Machine, where I took apart several machines and went through how to clean and oil them yourself to save money.  Older machines, out of warranty, are easy to clean and this usually solves most stitch problems too.  A small stray thread can create all kinds of problems!  Unplug the machine before you start.

Pfaff machine

One thing that stymied me last year was getting the cover off my Pfaff 7550, which was running rough and skipping stitches.  I knew there had to be some trick to it, but I didn’t know what that was.  Thanks to Karen, a fellow Pfaff owner who recently came across the other article and emailed me, I now figured out all the steps to getting the covers off.  Karen said ‘after you flip up the lid and remove it…”, ah what?  That was the part I was stymied by!  The screws were obvious, but the cover wouldn’t budge with the flip lid in place.

Pfaff open

The clips seem to indicate that you move the flip lid towards the front of the machine but that didn’t work.  I didn’t want to break the lid, so I left it.

Pfixing the Pfaff 1

No amount of searching told me how to remove that flip lid.  But if Karen went by it that fast, it must be something reasonably easy. So I went back to it again, with a little more daring.   I looked again, tried this and it worked. Push the clip towards the left with your thumb, and the little pin will disengage.

Pfixing the Pfaff 2

Then lift the lid off.

Pfixing the Pfaff 3

Move the bobbin winder to the right.

Pfaff bobbin winder shift

Remove the two screws.  Do not remove the screw holding the bobbin check in place, it isn’t necessary and is a pain to get back in the right place.

Pfixing the Pfaff 4

Raise the handle.

Pfixing the Pfaff 5

Lift off the under cover.

Pfixing the Pfaff 6

Pfaff cleaning 2

Here are my tools for servicing a sewing machine.  Several screwdrivers, three flat and one Phillips head, a tiny bottle brush, a nylon stiff bristle brush, several kinds of tweezers, canned air, sewing machine oil. and (not pictured) blue gear grease.  New needles are good too.


Now, remove the needle and the presser foot.  Raise the presser bar.

Pfixing the Pfaff 10

Take out the bobbin case.  This will allow us to move the gears without damaging the bobbin case or the presser bar.  Blow out the bobbin case with air, remove any stray threads, and put a drop of oil on the mechanism where the parts slide over each other, keeping it out of the area where the bobbin sits.   Remove the throat plate to get to this area easier.  Clean out the area around the feed dogs.

Pfaff bobbin out

Back up top, look around for any obvious threads, and there was a big one here.

Pfaff cleaning 5

It was wrapped around one of the moving mechanisms, and deep in the workings.  I used a hemostat to clamp onto the thread and gently pull while moving the hand crank to loosen it and pull it out.

Pfaff cleaning 1

Pfixing the Pfaff 7

The thread must have been there for some time, it broke twice while trying to remove it.   I was able to pull some out, but there was a big loop left.  Eventually, I did get all of it.   Look for more fuzz and crud on the other moving parts and clean them.

Pfaff cleaning 7

Now look for gears and moving parts by rocking the hand crank back and forth.  They need to be cleaned off, and regreased or oiled.  All those spots where there are parts moving against each other need lubrication.  The hole between the orange circles is a receptor for the screw, it doesn’t allow oil to get to the piston. It won’t hurt anything if you put some oil in there, it just won’t do anything.

Pfaff cleaning 3

Pfixing the Pfaff 25

Clean off the rods, oil the parts that move.  There will likely be gunk in lots of places, so use a tiny bottle brush, and a nylon brush to get out the crud.  Moving the hand crank will show you this piston moving along its bar.

Pfixing the Pfaff 14

Pfixing the Pfaff 15

One caveat, do not get any oil on the belt from the motor to the first gear. That will cause the belt to slip and your machine will run but not make stitches. If you think you got oil on it, turn the hand crank while you thread a paper towel under the belt to soak up any oil. Look around for any other gears or moving parts, remembering to stay away from the motor belt.

Pfaff cleaning 4

Also, keep the oil off the electronic boards.

Pfixing the Pfaff 12

Using a six pointed metric allen wrench, take out the side cover screw. (Update, this screw is a Torx screw, mine is stripped so it looks like an allen screw.  See comments below.)  Be careful to use the right tool (update -a star screwdriver would be best), it isn’t a Phillips head and you can strip the points if you aren’t careful.  Be aware it may be metric and not US sizing.  Just another way that Pfaff wants to keep you out of the machine.  I removed it, but actually all you need to do is loosen it for the plate to slide off. (I replaced it later with a Phillips head screw).

Pfixing the Pfaff 11

I borrowed this set up from DH’s garage.

Pfixing the Pfaff 22

Pfixing the Pfaff 23

If you have removed this screw with a Phillips, and you don’t have metric allen wrenches, replace the screw with a Phillips head for the next time you need to remove it. Take the side cover off.

Pfixing the Pfaff 21

Clean the schmutz out here too, and then lubricate the gears and pistons in this area as well.

Pfixing the Pfaff 24

Now, look at the batteries. Just lay the machine on its back, and take the battery cover off.

Pfaff bottom

Oh, heavens!  Maybe this is why the screen keeps changing back to German.

Pfixing the Pfaff 18

Pfixing the Pfaff 19

Change the batteries if they are corroded.  Replace the cover and set the machine back up.

Pfixing the Pfaff 20

When you think you have all of it oiled, plug in the machine and turn it on.  Step lightly on the foot control to listen to it work.  If it sounds smooth, increase the speed.  If you hear a clunking noise, or a squealing, there is something you missed with the oil or grease.  Go back to the hand crank and follow all the moving parts to figure out where the noise is coming from.  Inspect it carefully and remove any gunk, then oil.  Then go back to the foot control, and increase the speed until you are pedal to the floor and the machine is running at its highest speed.  Don’t worry, this won’t hurt it, but it will be sure that all the oil is distributed.  If all sounds good, wipe off any excess oil inside and out so it won’t collect dust and become gunk in the future. Then, turn the machine off, replace the covers, place a paper towel under the presser bar, and let it sit for a day to allow any excess oil to drain out.

Pfixing the Pfaff 16

Replace the presser foot, insert a new needle, put the bobbin back in and you are ready to go.  When you are done, thread it with different colors of thread in the top and bobbin and check your stitches.  You can adjust the tensions to create perfect stitches if you know which one is the problem.


So, don’t be afraid to open up that out-of-warranty Pfaff machine and take a look.  That noise you hear, or the rough running is might be a bit of crud on a gear or a rod, a stray thread, or something else that you can easily take care of yourself.

Thank you for reading and commenting!

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84 thoughts on “Pfixing the Pfaff

  1. What a great tutorial! Makes me wish I still had my 7570! My mother board went out a few years ago and i was better off getting a new machine. I loved that machine to it’s “death”! LOL
    BTW, your machine looks great!!n

  2. Linda Martinez

    Thank you for this information. It will be possible to clean the machine better between professional care. Thanks again.

  3. Fabulous details and photos on cleaning a sewing machine. I always cleaned and oiled my old machines beginning 40+ years ago. But my newest one has white lubricant instead of simple machine oil, so I am hesitant to do anything but dust out the fuzzies under the bobbin case. I definitely want to learn how to keep my machine in top shape since it was more expensive than any I’ve ever had.

    1. Just a caution, don’t try this on a machine still under warranty, it may void your warranty. It is fine to try on a machine where you have nothing to lose by cleaning it yourself, just be sure your warranty period has passed.

  4. Deb

    Grest article, thank you for the photos, I’m will now be able to follow and do my own Pfaff. However, I don’t think being metric is Pfaffs way of keeping you out of the innards – most of the world apart from USA and a handful of other countries are metric, very few are still using imperial measurement system.

  5. Dianne Moerman

    Your tutorial was great! I have the 7570 and I hope you don’t mind if I save this for future reference. Do you know how I can find out how many hours and how many stitches my machine has been used? Thank you again for doing this.

  6. Dee Q

    Great tutorial! I also use a vacuum with the small electronics attachmentsto clean out lint. Never use compressed air, it can push the lint into places you can’t reach.

    1. Dee, the prohibition against canned air is a myth. If you have the machine apart like this, there is no where you cannot reach. I have used it for over 20 years successfully without ever having a problem. Having said that, the vacuum is a great tool if you have one.

  7. BethAnn J.

    Thanks for this tutorial but I have a PFAFF Creative 1475 CD and I can’t get the under cover off. The left side of my under cover is covered by a cover over the tension set wheel. If you can help me I would greatly appreciate it. I just had my serger serviced and it cost me $129.00.

    1. Teril Woodward

      BethAnn-I read this tutorial last night and I too have a Creative 1475. I did exactly as she said but had a lot of trouble on the left- just work it slowly and it will slide out toward the back. It will also slide back in a lot easier than it came out!

    2. Nigel Cox

      Thank you for your very informative instructions.

      My wife has the Pfaff Creative 1475 CD and it did not stop the needle working when winding a bobbin. Many months later the machine started making an awful grinding noise when sewing. Because it had already been serviced a few months ago we assumed that the problem was terminal so I had no reluctance in following your very clear instructions and took off the top cover to investigate (by the way I found that pressing the right hand clip that holds the hinged lid outwards helps release the top cover).

      I discovered that the fault was caused by the main drive shaft being stuck to the drive mechanism by the lack of oil and not releasing when the inner wheel of the bobbin release mechanism was turned – a shot of oil and all was better again.

      Thank you

      Nigel, England, UK

      1. Laura Ciampa

        Thank you Nigel, I’m having the same problem with my Pfaff 1471…. the drive won’t disengage when winding a bobbin…. dread taking it to the shop…. may try opening it….uggggh….nervous…. love my Pfaff, can’t afford a new one, had this one for over 30 years, can’t tell you how much sewing I’ve done…. amazing!

    3. luv2teachsped

      I too have a 1475 CD which I love. I took the 2 top screws off as Carole suggested then if you get a flashlight an look down between the top and side cover, you’ll see a screw that needs to be loosened, you don’t need to remove it, just loosen. top came off!

  8. Kate Balmer

    I just pulled my 1471 apart as the bobbin winder wouldn’t disengage the main wheel. A much needed maintenance and oiling and now it purrs. You didn’t mention this part in your tutorial but it worked like magic to put oil into the slots where the wheel engages. I am so happy to keep my old friend working. Took it on my sailboat, even. Not too happy running through the inverter as it is a square sign wave but it worked well enough. Thanks for all your help.

  9. Just ordered an LED light bulb for my 7570 –Googled and found you. The repair man I used retired so I am going to do the maintenance with your great instructions and photos. Thank you for sharing this knowledge with us. I am also having a problem with the bobbin winder. It takes off going unusually FAST. When I take my foot off the foot pedal, it continues to run for several seconds and makes an awful squealing noise. I’m thinking plastic gears? I can wind the bobbins on another machine so I might not try to fix that.

  10. Helena

    I’ve bought a 7570 today for a great price, but I no nothing about the machine. I think it is dire straight for a service as the lights turn on and that’s it. The screen turns on but nothing else. Any info would be appreciated and thank you for a service manual. This is such a great article and I’ve saved it

  11. Shelly Adams

    What a terrific tutorial! I just picked up my Pfaff 7550 at an estate sale at a great price. The presser foot does not seem to want to go down, so I started searching google for ideas on how to fix this problem. What I found most was people wondering how to get the case off. Voila! I found your tutorial with great pictures and nearly cried with joy!!! Thank you for doing this for all of us out here!

  12. Carol Sutherland

    Thank you for this tutorial. I opened up my 1475Cd as per these instructions. The closest Pfaff dealer is now 25 miles away so I’m reluctant to take my machine in for something I can do myself! Only problem is, my presser bar won’t go down (the reason I started taking the machine apart to begin with). Is this something I actually need a technician to fix? Any advice?


    1. Hi Carol,
      Without looking at it directly and piddling with it, I can’t really advise you. But presser feet are generally just mechanical levers, and maybe it is stuck with gunk on the bar itself. Give it a good clean and see what happens. You have nothing to lose by trying if it is an older machine out of warranty. Good luck!

  13. Hi Carole, I just purchased my 1st Pfaff 7550 at a Pawn shop. It has everything imaginable with it , also the tote pull along case. It looks brand new , but the reciepts said it was purchased in 1995 for $ 4,395.00 . I am paying 139.99 plus a 6mon. warranty all for a great price. I am not sure what to do with it all so I will stay in contact with your page incase I need to look things up. Thank You so much for your cleaning the machine post.

  14. Sally Olsen

    I inherited my Aunt’s Pfaff 1475CD 3 years ago and haven’t used it yet. My local sewing shop recommended bringing it in for service. I’ve always serviced my own Singer 401A (the instructions are in the manual!) so I couldn’t imagine that servicing the Pfaff would be any more complicated. Your post has given me confidence to tackle it! Thank you!

  15. Michelle Field

    Finally found the directions for maintenance.thanks. however I’m afraid I really messed up. I was unable to get my 1475cd to fill the bobbin. Like others I had trouble removing the front left corner ,but concentrated on the bobbin winder. When I noticed something fly out of the top. I found a very small round pice of white plastic the broke off of something and now the bobbin holder flops around. My Pfaff dealer has shut down and I’m in a pickle. Can you give me any advise?

  16. Anne

    Excellent tutorial. My Pfaff 7550 was putting big loops on the bottom. I was pretty sure there could be thread in the top tension disks, but couldn’t get to it, or even see it. This showed us how to get the top off and see and remove the thread. Thank you so much!

  17. Ronald schmidt

    pfaff 1473cd zig zag is broke goes back and forth sideways and now nothing works I turn machine on and a little motor runs and needle viberates sideways makes lot of noise

  18. Grandmomof7

    I have a 1981 Pfaff Hibbymatic 809. Love my machine, they don’t make parts for it any longer.
    Was sewing and foot pedal quit working. Called Pfaff parts, didn’t have new one for me but they found company that did.
    New one arrived still doesn’t work. I pray the dealer repair ship can fix my machine.
    Of course they just want to sell me a new one.

  19. Shirley

    what does it mean when my PFAFF 7570 won’t display the stitches on the display screen ?? I keep the machine clean and have changed the batteries but the needle just stays to the far left side and the display screen is yellow with black lines on it….has my machine been worked to death ????

      1. Danni Hart

        Awwww…my screen display on my 7570 is okay until it has been on awhile, then it kind of ‘darkens’ but I can still see the stitch info and everything else works. Drat! Looks like it may be starting to fade. I love that machine. Thank you so much for the tutorial!!!

  20. I’m feeling frustrated w my Pfaff 7550:
    Not consistently but it is looping terribly on the bottom.

    I thought it was me using a cone thread feeder but no difference…
    Tried rethreading and new needle.
    The only thing that helps is if I go really really slowly.

    Recently had issues w the foot control working, think it’s a speed/timing thing?
    Tension seems fine when I lower foot and pull top thread it’s nice and tight (mid level tension set.)

    Going to take it in next week but wondering if anyone here may have advice.

  21. Thank-you so much for putting this tutorial together .. I had a piece of cotton break off inside my 7570 and being both broke and 3hrs drive from the nearest town, sending it in for repair was totally out of the question, but now it’s removed, cleaned, oiled and running great 😀

  22. This is fantastic but I still do not know how to take the sewing hook off. There’s a piece of thread stuck that I can see but it hangs on for dear life. Surely the must be a button or something like that there? I have the Pfaff 1475cd.

  23. Melinda Stopka

    Wonderful instructions. This saved me money but most importantly time in a crunch. My daughter wants to have a quilt done by Monday, not sure it is possible with a working machine but at least now we can try. My presser foot wasn’t going down properly. Cleaning and oiling it fixed the problem. I am very grateful to you! Happy sewing!

  24. Lee M

    Very nice tutorial. Thank you. I have a couple of comments that may help someone performing this maintenance procedure. Regarding your description, “Using a six pointed metric allen wrench, take out the side cover screw. Be careful to use the right tool, it isn’t a Phillips head”. Actually, that screw has a Torx head (neither metric nor SAE). Using a hex (Allen) bit or a Phillips screwdriver may strip the screw head. By the way, that screw on my 7550 was a Phillips #2, so I don’t know the Torx size of your original screw.

    To clean and lubricate the hook shaft and feed system you can take off the baseplate by resting the machine on its back and removing the four Torx screws (T25) underneath the machine at the base of the tower. Remove the baseplate slowly so as not to put stress on the ribbon cables. Rotate the baseplate 90 degrees clockwise and rest it against the machine. Remove two slotted screws from the bottom cover of the free arm, and gently remove this plastic cover observing where the ribbon cable goes. Clean and lubricate as needed and reassemble. This is also how you get to the hook assembly if you need to remove thread wrapped around the hook. To disassemble the hook assembly requires further procedures.

    I have the Pfaff 1471, 1475, and 7550 and with minor differences your tutorial is a good guide for all those models.

  25. Best illustrations. Thank you.
    Though I do have problem with the bobbin shuttle (holder).
    Would you plse be so kind to tell me how to replace it back into the machine.
    It is a Pfaff 7570.
    Trust you will be able to assist.
    Thanking you so much
    South Africa

    1. Sent you an email but it came back as undeliverable. I’m not sure what to tell you, as I have never taken the entire bobbin shuttle out of the machine. I only clean around it and from the top under the throat plate. If there is a sewing machine dealer near you, they may be able to help by looking at the machine and your pieces, but without having it in front of me I cannot be much help. Sorry!!

  26. Tim & Beth

    Dear Carole, You have motivated me to take the entire mechanics apart and soak them in solvents and oils. I’m also going to viddy the circuit board for failing parts (bad solder joints, bulging capacitors, etc)… However, the problem of the day is STITCH DENSITY. That is, I set the stitch length to 2.5 and get micro stitches. I set her to 4.0 and get much closer to 2.5 …

    New baby due in September and I”m getting way behind on all those projects 🙂

    1. Beverly Johnson

      I don’t know if you’ve solved your problem yet but when this happened to me it was because I had previously lowered my feed dogs to sew on a button and then when I lifted them back up, they were only partially raised. This allowed the fabric to feed but it didn’t feed well and caused the stitches to be shorter. The partially raised feed dogs couldn’t move the fabric at the proper pace to get the correct stitch length.

      I did not receive an error message so the machine must’ve thought the
      At the feed dogs were fully engaged. All I had to do was engage the feed dogs again and all was well.

  27. Bob

    Dear Carolre,
    Very impressed with your Pfixing the Pfaff. Perhaps you can help me: Our 20+-year old Pfaff 090A, looks very similar to yours; there is a problem – When I lift the Presser Foot with the lever, no problem, but when I release it, the foot doesn’t go down, I have to force it. I have oiled the verical conduite holding the shaft, but no improvement. If you can give me an email address, I can send photos showing the probleM.
    Thanks Bob (writing from France)

  28. Caroline Hall

    Thank you so much for your helpful instructions my pfaff is now running smoothly for the first time in years despite being “expertly” serviced 3 months ago.

  29. Laura A Geiger

    Thanks, I have an old 230 from my grandmother I have had serviced. Good to know I could work on it myself when next it needs some TLC!! Love Pfaffs.

  30. Cyndy Ro

    Dear Carole, Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience accessing the insides of your Pfaff machine. It gave me confidence to tackle removing the top of mine; after applying oil (on a very long skinny paintbrush), the stuck presser foot lifter mechanism works again. It has saved me a trip to a repair shop an hour drive away.

  31. Sheila Rae

    Fantastic tutorial. THANK YOU.
    I was just looking for instructions on how to remove the left side cover on my 7550 because the presser foot bar was sluggish, but this tutorial is so pertinent that I ended up following all the instructions. Surprising how many stray threads and how much felt-like lint was in there, despite doing the recommended “homesewing” cleaning/oiling all these years. Machine is now humming along quietly and smoothly again — I’d forgotten how quiet it was back in the old days.

    1. Mrs. Zog

      Try adjusting the contrast. There’s a small dial hidden in what looks like a vent (the rectangular openings) under the screen. 🙂

  32. luv2teachsped

    dear Carole: thanks for the awesome tutorial. First time in 30 years I serviced my Pfaff myself.One question…how do I know which gears/pistons to oil and which ones get the “grease”?

  33. Andrea

    Thank you for such an in depth tutorial. You were a life saver this morning when I got thread stuck in my machine and couldn’t figure out how to get the cover off

  34. Thanks so much for posting this with such clear pictures and instructions. I have a 1471 and one difference I found is that you have to take the side plate off first before you can remove the top. I found a video on youtube where the guy took the covers off of a 1471 but he did it really fast and didn’t really show how to do it. He was just trying to get inside to look at that.

    1. Maureen Knight

      I have a 1471 too and I’m looking for the proper way to remove side plate. The large plastic screw on the handwheel has broken and I have to remove the end somehow as it will stop me screwing in a new one

  35. This is an awesome tutorial. I’m trying to fix my 1475 CD because my newer machine has to go in for service. Being without my newer machine for 3 weeks is so traumatic. I thought if I could get this old thing running I might be able to survive. LOL! My issue occurs when releasing the presser foot lever the presser foot does not want to slide down by itself. Your turturoial shows how to take the machine apart…now if I can just figure out how to go from there I might be in business! 🙂

    1. Carol Sutherland

      I also have a 1475 and found this tutorial perfect for getting inside to lubricate it. I never could figure out how to get the gunk out of the pressure foot lever, which was failing to go down at all. I eventually took it in for service. Let me know if you can fix the pressure foot! I would love to know how you did it.

  36. Suzanne Rasmussen

    Just wanted to say thank you all these years later! My presser foot was not dropping properly and I had no idea how to fix it. Following your instructions for oiling, and now, all is well again. I especially appreciated the reminder that we are out of warranty. Made me more willing to take careful risks.

  37. My husband and I worked and worked at solving the machine issue. We finally threw in the towel. As it turned out the machine needed new parts. Now that my machine is back home it works like a charm.😊 Cost me $130+ to repair the presser foot issue, clean the machine and replace two corroded batteries. Good luck!

  38. Katherine

    My Pfaff is a bit older and definitely needs some maintenance! Your tutorial is so very helpful! Thank you for the very clear directions and pictures!!

  39. Charmaine

    Thank you for your tutorial! Could you please explain more about where you grease and where you oil the moving parts? How do you know which parts get the grease ? What type of grease is suitable?

    1. Use gear grease on the gears – the meshing parts that have interlocking teeth. Use oil everywhere else. Oil will work its way under pistons and sliding parts smoothing out the action. The grease tends to stay put, and is better for interlocking teeth on gears.

  40. Jan

    Wow! After spending a small fortune to get my Pfaff pfixed and it still doesn’t work, you have given me the courage to open it up myself.
    I love my machine!

  41. Carmen Strating

    I never used blue grease. If I google it can I buy any blue grease or one specifically for s.m.
    Can I buy that in a fabric store or Walmart?


  42. Sharon Rosendahl

    Thank you! I always cleaned my old Kenmore myself. I couldn’t figure out how to get into my Pfaff 6122. It was in storage for a couple of years and got gummed up. I spoke to the local shop but it would run about $200 to have them do it. You are a life saver!

  43. Booth Kittson

    Do you have any information on how to find the number of hours a machine has sewn. I’ve heard that some of the newer Pfaffs have a technician code that will display the hours.

  44. Laurie Dacus

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you……..I am now unafraid to open my beloved 7550 and maintain it!! Nearest shop is 50 miles away and they only want to sell new machines. I do have one problem that I don’t know how to fix. My machine is now sluggish to come up when I turn it on. It can take up to a full 30 seconds before it clicks rapidly and then the screen shows fine and it sews without a problem. Any ideas??

  45. Marilynne

    Thank you so much. I feel so empowered Also where can one find the programme paper fore my beloved 1475cd..The download from Pfaff is slightly smaller than my used original.
    Bless your little heart for you time

  46. Dave Duma

    I was trying to figure out how to lube my wife’s 7550 and found this with a Google search.

    Wow, I can only imagine the amount of effort it took to set up and edit all those photos. Thank you for your effort.


    Thank you so much for this post! I have a Pfaff 1151 and was having a horrible time getting into it to clean. I have done other mechanical machines before but this was a buzzard! It is now cleaned and oiled thanks to you! You just saved me $60. I really couldn’t afford to pay out right now and my machine is purring like a kitten!! I am so grateful to you Carole!

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