Removing the light switch from a Featherweight for replacement or painting of the machine

Posted by Dave McCallum on May 4th 2013

I’ve had several emails lately, asking how to remove the light switch from a Featherweight so I thought I’d bring that subject to you today. The reasons for these people wanting to remove the switch replacing the switch were a simple failure of the switch (as in “it don’t do nothin'”) to a broken off toggle. If you need to know all about this, here it is. It is a great subject for those moments at a wedding reception where small talk fails and you want to impress people.

If you are painting your machine you will also want to remove the switch.

The drip pan will need to be removed from the bottom of the machine. The electrical receptacle/plug needs to be removed to gain access to the wire that goes to the light switch.

The electrical receptacle has one screw holding it in place. There are three electrical posts inside the opening of the receptacle and the screw securing the receptacle is directly above the center post of the three, by about an inch. Remove the screw. The receptacle will only pulls out about an inch and to loosen the wire from the switch, roll the receptacle onto its open face so it’s back side is up. There are three thumb-nuts on the back side of the receptacle. Just beside the thumb-nuts is a number that identifies the threaded electrical post by number, Remove the thumb nut at post number 3 and take the two wires off of the threaded post. Use the tip of a pair of pliers to loosen the thumb nut if need be and then finish by finger.

The switch is held in place by by two nuts or at least should be. One is a black plastic decorative cap that doesn’t hold anything in place. this plastic cap rests on top of a steel hex-nut that lays right on the painted surface of the machine’s deck. The black plastic decorative nut is removed by hand and don’t use pliers or the like as the cap is somewhat delicate. The risk in removing the steel hex nut under the cap in the stack-up is the chance that you might scratch the paint of your machine with the tool you use.
The So many of these tools that can be used to remove this nut get scratched in use on the family car and such. The wrench you use has to laid the flat side of its jaw on the painted surface to loosen the hex nut. I take my tools for this use (a six inch adjustable wrench or 9/16ths open end wrench) and lay the flat side of the wrench, the jaw portion, on a piece of sand paper of about 120 grit and all this laying on a hard flat surface and rub it in until the side of the wrench is smooth and “toothless”.

Remove the hex-nut and the switch can now be poked down through the hole in the base of the machine.

Not quite done yet. There is another wire that attaches to the switch with a screw into the side of the switch. Remove that screw and set it aside. The switch is free now to remove. Attached to the switch will be a wire that is soldered to a terminal of the switch, it goes away with the switch as a unit. There is a heavy black piece of rigid paper that serves as an insulator so nothing within the machine’s base can touch the switch’s wires and short things out. It’s a pain, but put the paper piece back in when the time comes.

Reverse the process to put things back together. The screw threads for the hex nut and plastic cap should have a little oil used on them and do not tighten either one very much. The hex nut will/can scratch the paint under it and the black plastic cap can break. Apply a little oil to the threads of the switch before the hex or plastic cap are screwed on.

Source: Dave’s Blog