Thread Number: 69334  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Advice on purchasing a Maytag A612 Washer
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Post# 921778   2/16/2017 at 12:27 (433 days old) by DangerBoy (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)        

Hello everyone,

This is my first post on this website/forum. I am thinking about replacing the 40 year old Sears Inglis washer and dryer set at my cabin with some nearly as old classic Maytags. The Inglis set is still working okay but I will need to give the dryer some servicing and already have the parts needed to do that.

My cabin is a long ways from any parts centers or repairmen so whatever I have in there I need to be able to get parts for and service myself. I'm an engineer and pretty mechanically capable having worked on cars and outboard motors all my life. I have done a few minor repairs to some washers and dryers in my life but I have to admit my experience working on them is quite limited.

The reason I am looking to replace my machine with Maytag 12 series machines is because I talked to a just about to retire life-long Maytag dealership owner and he told me the best and most reliable machines that Maytag ever made were the 12 series.

My goal is to get a pair of machines in there that I know will be reliable and not need much work for at least another 20 years. I'm hoping that if I can buy a pair of good condition 12 series machines, replace most of the consumable parts (i.e. belts, bearings and rollers, etc.) I will have something in there that I won't need to worry about for a long time. The good thing about my situation is that the machines only see light regular use for maybe 3 months a year, light sporadic use for maybe 3 months a year and then sit idle, drained and winterized for 6 months a year.

I have located a used A612 washer close to me that I can probably get for under $50 USD. At this point, I don't know too much about its condition and I am just at the stage of arranging to have a viewing. I don't know if I will be able to see it run when I get in to see it as they may already have their new machines in place.

What I would like to know from you experts is what questions should I ask, what should I be looking for and what sort of tests should I give on the washer to determine if there's a good chance the machine is sound and worth purchasing. I already know I should give the drum a shake to test the damper but what else should I be doing and keeping an eye out for? Assume that I will not be able to hook it up and see it run. If I can hook it up to water and power, what tests should I run and what should I look for that might be signs of trouble? Is there anything that I can test or look for that would be a clear sign to stay away from the machine?

The other thing I'd like to know is what parts do you think I should be looking to replace on it as a matter of course? I'm thinking the belts and glides for sure. How about the injector valve? What else?

I know I've asked a lot of questions here. Any useful advice/tips you can give me would be most welcome and appreciated. Thanks.

Post# 921786 , Reply# 1   2/16/2017 at 13:44 (433 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Sounds like you already have a pretty good grasp of what you are doing. The only "unknown" is the condition of the Maytag. You already know about your Inglis set. Sometimes it is hard to asses the level of previous use without taking things apart. I believe if it ain't broke leave it alone!

Post# 921797 , Reply# 2   2/16/2017 at 15:12 (433 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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I'm not sure why he would have told you the 12 series was the most reliable.  They are for all intents and purposes mechanically the same as Maytag washers made since the early '70s.  Perhaps there were improvements in materials used in the transmissions, such as seals, etc., or timers, or other components like solenoids, hoses/fittings, but the Maytag experts here will likely express their opinions soon enough.


$50 is a good price if the machine is in proper working order.

Post# 921865 , Reply# 3   2/16/2017 at 21:15 (432 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
12 Series MT Washers

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Were one of the better ones to get. When checking out a used one to buy check for


Oil leaks under the base plate


Dampers pads that are loose or black dust around the damper assembly


Machines with heavy mineral or black slimy build-ups have led a tougher life in the top of the tub and under the agitator, sometimes if they did not clean the agitator mounted lint filter you can get a good idea from that.


And of coarse heavy rust or other damage to the machine.


To get a washer like this ready for what you want it to do I would


Lubricate the motor rollers and damper pads.


Check the belts and replace if nessassary


Replace the inlet air-gap rubber and the inlet water valve.


Check and probably replace the hose from the outer tub to the pump and the bleach dispenser hose if your model has one IF THEY show any signs of getting hard.



All this said the best washer for the situation you describe would be a Whirlpool built Direct Drive washer built between the late 80s-around 2004. Whirlpool washers in this time period are not only more reliable, easier to fix but also do a much better job overall on you laundry, especially when you look ahead 10-20 years, a lot of parts for these MTs are already NLA and the WP DD washers are STILL in production.


If you get a WP machine in this time period I would look for any signs of oil leaks, and check the drive coupling between the motor and transmission and probably replace the inlet valve if it is on the older side of the time range I listed.

Post# 926133 , Reply# 4   3/10/2017 at 23:04 (410 days old) by DangerBoy (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)        

Thanks for your advice Combo52. I bought an A612, quite clean and in really nice shape and have some questions for you.

You say to lubricate the rollers and damper pads. What about just replacing them outright as a matter of course. Is that overkill? If I just do lubricate them, what should I lubricate them with?

On the belts, what should I check for? I only looked at them quickly when I laid the washer on its back and loaded into into the 4Runner (where it has been the last week or two) for transport but I seem to recall that they looked okay (i.e. not cracked or dry and not too worn). On the other hand, I remember thinking they looked kinda loose but I'm not real sure how tight they should be. On another thread, I read the pump belt when pinched halfway between the pulleys, the two sides of the belt should come within 1/4" of each other but not touch. Is that correct? What about the drive belt?

Even if those belts are still good I'm thinking I'll replace them and keep the used ones for emergency back-ups. In any case, I still need to know how to set them to the correct tension.

I'll replace the inlet water valve but what's the inlet air gap rubber exactly? I'm guessing it's a rubber bit inside one of the parts in the washer injector hose assembly. What's the part number for the rubber that needs to be changed?

Since I'm on a private drinking water supply and there's no risk of contaminated water from the washer backflowing into a public water supply, or even into my cabin's water system for that matter (it would have to flow up 4 or 5 feet into the ceiling piping against the pressure of the water system for that to happen), could I just bypass that whole air gap assembly altogether and simply connect the two halves of the injector hose together with a piece of pipe or something? I'm thinking there's less to go wrong if I just take that whole funky assembly out of the equation. Do you agree or not agree with my thinking there?

I'll check and replace any hoses that look like they're cracking or getting stiff. I read this thread with great interest ( and will use the worm style hose clamps jwpate used on his legendary rebuild or maybe an automotive type non-pinching clamp. The hose clamps they issue now as factory approved are not a very good design and are hard on the hoses IMO.

Anything else you suggest I do, clean or lube while I'm in there doing stuff?


Post# 929409 , Reply# 5   3/28/2017 at 12:19 (393 days old) by DangerBoy (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)        


Post# 929451 , Reply# 6   3/28/2017 at 17:28 (393 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

First make sure the rollers and tracks are clean and clear of dust and clumps of debris that may have gathered. Vacuum it out or use a jet of air. Then just use some Zoom Spout or light machine oil. Push on the motor a couple of times to work it and and make sure the carriage is moving freely.

Maytag belts of that vintage shouldn't be too tight or they won't work right. I look for signs of wear on the belts such as cracking or fraying. Also the telltale residue of black dust is a sign. You don't have to get involved in measuring tension. If the drive belt stays on the pulleys it's tight enough.
The new belts are pretty cheap insurance so you might as well assume the originals are on the machine and go ahead and swap them out for new. You have the right idea. Going forward every year or so give the belts a squirt of belt dressing to keep them pliable.

That air gap and injector hose should be ok unless someone squeezed the hell out of it and cracked it. Most of those hoses can use a rubdown with some kind of plastic and rubber conditioner and that helps to extend their life by restoring a bit of suppleness to them. Just saturate a shmatte with Armorall or similar product and wipe the hoses down.

I always use worm-gear clamps. I keep all different sizes of them. I replace compression clamps whenever I have to remove them.

I am no expert, there are plenty of them here, however, I have confronted all of these issues many times before. I hope I have been of help.

Best wishes!

Post# 929466 , Reply# 7   3/28/2017 at 19:19 (393 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Maintaining A A612 MT Washer

combo52's profile picture

The damper pads and motor slides can be lucubrated with any lubricant that is safe for polyester type plastic, which is about any lubricant including light motor oil.


If the belts look good save your money, you will be able to get belts for these washers for the next 30 years.


Yes replace the inlet valve and inlet hoses and any other internal hoses that are getting stiff-hard.


You can bypass the inlet air-gap rubber thing.


Remember replacing parts that are in good condition with new parts can make the washer worse, often new replacement parts are not as good as the orignal parts, and tearing apart a machine to install them may do more harm than good unless you are a real expert on these washers.


John L.

Post# 929508 , Reply# 8   3/29/2017 at 02:37 (392 days old) by beekeyknee (Columbia, MO)        

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Belt dressing? I've heard of it but what is it and isn't that more for cars? The drive belt on a Maytag is cloth covered. Would belt dressing mess that up?

I've been working on my A806 for the past few days, Replacing parts, removing parts, making adjustments; things I should have done three years ago. Guess I'll get it like I want some day....maybe.

This post was last edited 03/29/2017 at 03:19
Post# 929517 , Reply# 9   3/29/2017 at 06:33 (392 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

I've used automotive type belt-dressing spray for years with excellent results.

Post# 929522 , Reply# 10   3/29/2017 at 07:21 (392 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Belt Dressing

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Hi Brain, you diffidently DO NOT want to use any type of BD on the main drive belt of a MT washer as the belt needs to slip to allow the washer to drain and get up to spin speed properly.

Post# 929602 , Reply# 11   3/29/2017 at 18:19 (392 days old) by potatochips (Nova Scotia)        

I wouldn't use belt dressing. These are clutching belts on the main drive pulley. Clutching as in, like John said, allow for slip while the machine gets up to speed during spin. Brian is right though, they have a cloth like material in them to allow slip. If you're worried about the belts pliability, just run it on spin for say six to ten minutes.

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