I would recommend anyone who has not done so to obtain the reinforced extension rails if using either KG88 model, especially if trying out garter stitch and lace. It’s tedious when you have to keep removing and replacing the back rail, as the garter carriage and the lace carriage both lock into the drive belt. I recently tried a small sample of this and it looked super, well worth the hassle on a small area but not worth doing for the whole garment. However, I haven’t got the reinforced extension rails and the garter carriage looked a bit precarious when sitting on the normal rail! I think that later Brother machines came with these fitted as standard.
If the small magnets on the back rail sections come off, they can be glued back on with a small dot of superglue – and yes, this has happened to me! The point about the sponge bar cannot be emphasised enough. If it is completely dead then the garter carriage will stop at the first needle in WP as the needle is too high for the carriage to move over. The main carriage is more forgiving, so you may not notice the problem until you come to use the garter carriage. A simple test is if there is any vertical movement in the needles at the business end (that is, the hook) when in WP then the sponge bar needs checking.
Also a good idea is if you are resting the machine for any significant time is to remove the sponge bar from the machine until you go to knit with that machine again. No need to do this with the Passap and Pfaff of course, but here any damaged needles must have their hooks broken off before being removed or serious and expensive damage happens to the retaining spring. I wouldn’t be surprised if machine knitting sees something of a resurgence in the recession, making a one-off garment for a fraction of the cost of buying a designer label item is a strong incentive. Keep up the good work!