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Thread knots up in reverse

Started by timtheboatguy, June 21, 2016, 04:29:18 am

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Hello all, it's been a while since I have been on here. Way too busy, and I have a frustrating problem with my Highlead GC0618. I believe it's a timing issue, however the owners manual is in Chinese English and not easy to understand. 

Whenever I push the reverse lever down the thread bunches up on the bottom. If I reverse very slow and easy it will not bunch up as bad. Also, the upper thread keeps getting thrown off the thread controller.

This machine has had a lot of use the last five years and has been trouble free until now. I am thinking about upgrading to a Japanese or German built machine. Any recommendations?

Any input here much appreciated,


We are not retreating - we are advancing in another direction.
Douglas MacArthur


I've never owned one but always heard good things about Highlead machines. Why not fix what you have if its been good for 5 yrs. I'm looking at a 1541 from either Consew. Juki or Typical. All basicly the same machines and sew well.
Minichillo's Upholstery


Copied below is a list of problems and causes and solutions from a 25 page trouble shooting chart that seems no longer to be available on the Web.

Loops or Knots on the Underside of the Fabric
The lower thread lies straight on the underside of fabric and the upper thread appears there in form of loops or small knots.
1.Cause: The tension of the upper thread is too weak or the tension of the lower thread is too tight.
Solution: Tighten the tension of the upper thread, or loosen the tension of the lower thread, until the tensions of both threads are correctly balanced.
2.Cause: There are dirt, lint or pieces of thread between the Tension Discs.
Solution: Take apart the upper tension, clean the Tension Discs thoroughly, then replace the upper tension and adjust it correctly.
3.Cause: The upper thread has cut deep grooves into the Tension Discs.
Solution: Replace the defective Tension Discs with new ones.
4.Cause: The Bobbin Case is not threaded correctly. The Bobbin unwinds itself in the wrong direction.
Solution: Thread the Bobbin Case correctly.
5.Cause: The head of the Tension Adjusting Screw of the Bobbin Case protrudes too much and catches and retards the upper thread.
Solution: Adjust this screw correctly. If this condition continues to persist, smoothen the head of this screw with fine emery cloth or replace the defective screw with a new one.
6.Cause: The stitch hole in the Throat Plate or Feed Dog is too small.
Solution: Replace the Throat Plate or Feed Dog with one that has a larger stitch hole.
7.Cause: The point of the Needle is bent over ("hooked point").
Solution: Replace the defective Needle with a new one.
8.Cause: The Bobbin is not evenly wound. It unwinds itself irregularly.
Solution: Replace the Bobbin with one that is wound evenly.
9.Cause: The Bobbin is damaged or bent and does not revolve freely and evenly.
Solution: Replace the defective Bobbin with a new one.
10.Cause: Lint or dirt in the Bobbin Case prevents the Bobbin from revolving freely.
Solution: With a pointed pin remove all dirt from this part. Clean with kerosene and dry thoroughly before replacing in the machine.
11.Cause: The needle is not correctly timed in relation to the Loop Taker (Hook).
Solution: Make certain that the Needle is pushed all the way up into the Needle Bar and held there firmly. Adjust the point of the Loop Taker in relation to the Needle. For "Timing" follow this general rule: The Needle must have risen about 3/32 of an inch from its lowest position at the moment the point of the Loop Taker is just at the center of the rising Needle. At this moment the point of the Loop Taker must be about 1/16 of an inch above the eye of the Needle.
12.Cause: There is insufficient clearance between the Bobbin Case Holder and the Bobbin Case Holder Position Bracket in horizontal axis Rotary Hook Machines. On vertical axis rotating hook types may be insufficient clearance
between tab extending from Bobbin Case to the left and the notch at the underside of the Throat Plate.
Solution: Turn the machine by hand and observe where the upper thread gets caught.
Increase the clearance, where required, by carefully removing material from the component parts of the machine (by means of fine emery cloth). Smoothen the repaired portions with crocus cloth. The heaviest thread to be used must pass freely between these parts.
13.Cause: The mechanism for releasing the upper thread tension is incorrectly adjusted. It releases the tension of the upper thread too early.
Solution: Adjust this mechanism so that the tension of the upper thread is released only during the last moment of the upward motion of the Presser Bar Lifter.
14.Cause: The upper thread gets caught somewhere below the Throat Plate.
Solution: Examine Hook and Bobbin Case with regard to rough spots which may catch the upper thread and retard it, thus causing the loops on the underside of the fabric. Eliminate all rough spots with the aid of an oilstone or with fine emery cloth, and then polish these portions with crocus cloth or on a buffing wheel.
15.Cause: The Thread Take-up Spring (Check Spring) is not adjusted and does not work properly.
Solution: Adjust the Thread Take-up Spring until it has the correct tension and its upward motion is just finished at the moment the Needle enters the fabric.

Juki 1508; Bernina 217 with CAM Reader


Thanks! that list is a big help. :)

We are not retreating - we are advancing in another direction.
Douglas MacArthur


Great stuff - what was the name of the Guide ?  or  key word to search ? 



Quote from: SteveA on June 21, 2016, 04:58:39 pm
... what was the name of the Guide ?  or  key word to search ?

The name of the file is (was) sewing_troubleshooting_chart.pdf. The URL was:

The printed name in the file is "Sewing Machine Troubleshooting Chart"

The file disappeared from the Web about a year ago. I've searched for the file several ways and cannot find even a cached version. Actually, I think I recall that another section of the file was posted on this forum several years ago and I was able to find the full version then and saved the file

Anyone can send a PM and I'll email the file.

Juki 1508; Bernina 217 with CAM Reader



As for timing the machine, here are some videos that although not precisely your machine might be helpful.

Consew 225 Hook Timing:

Needle-guard Adjustment:

Adjusting Juki LU-563 class machines:
•   Change stitch length
•   Set stitch length indicator
•   Adjust foot lift height, balance and timing
•   Adjust rocker arm position
•   Center needle position in feed dog hole
•   Adjust feed dog height
•   Adjust maximum possible stitch length
•   Adjust for equal Forward/Reverse stitch length

BTW, Uwe has made several other really helpful videos.

Juki 1508; Bernina 217 with CAM Reader


Tim is changing out the bobbin case an option here, just curious.
Possibly if another needle brand was purchased lately and maybe turned a bit the loop could be advanced to much, also does that one have the safety clutch.

good day there


Thanks, I have tried a new bobbin case and needle. The problem all started with a thread jam in the rotating hook assembly. I have messed with the adjustment and made it better and worse but haven't been able to get everything timed and set up properly yet.

We are not retreating - we are advancing in another direction.
Douglas MacArthur


Great input and knowing about your checks as you search would be most interesting.Nothing is simple is it....I sort of went through a similar check out on one of my Pfaff's,   I learned that trying to understand it all as the test goes is very good in helping to understand what we work with.

Yep, nothing is simple in spite of how simple it sounds.  One of the other things I learned is don't over look anything..........down to the thread size.

Let us know about your experience Tim,

welcome back, been a while - you were missed.



I have a machine a Consew 205RB that if it inst threaded perfectly the bobbin thread goes crazy. Top looks great bottom look loose I meen real loose. It will be just off a peg along the way in the threading. Or if someone puts the bobbin in backwards same thing.
Minichillo's Upholstery


Well I got the Highlead working. The biggest problem is the stupid manual that is like reading something written by an intoxicated sailor. When your already frustrated to the point of not being able to see straight it only compounds the situation!

I actually cheated as I own two of these machines and the one I use the most and had the problem with is at my home (air conditioned). So I brought the head from my other machine home from my shop today and parked it right next to the problem child.

The needle bar height was off about 3/16" and the feed dog and needle plate was out of adjustment too. After resetting these items, I retimed the needle to hook setting and presto!

Thanks for all the replies, I definitely feel more confident to handle future machine woes.

We are not retreating - we are advancing in another direction.
Douglas MacArthur