Thread Number: 71246  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Maytag Wringer Washer
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Post# 942972   6/11/2017 at 01:34 (377 days old) by tarantulae (Colorado)        

Picked up a maytag wringer washer off craigslist today with the intention of using it for cloth diapers for my daughter who is just over a month old.

I read quite a few threads on here, and knew what I was looking for, but it was free, and "worked" so hard to argue. It has a lot of rust, and at first the motor stalled when I plugged it in. I realized the wringer was stalling it out, and after moving it around some, it was able to run.

The wringers are stuck turning in one direction, no matter which way the lever is pointed (at wringer, away from wringer, toward tub, away from tub).

I felt pretty good about diving into it to try to find what was seized up or causing the selector to not function. I took the wringer apart, and seperated the lower half from the drive head. The grease or oil that had been in there was solidified in a pancake at the bottom, with dry crusty bits along the bevel gears.

I'm in the process of cleaning it out, but wanted to know what kind of grease or oil to replace once I have the rust and gunk cleaned out. I read somewhere the wringer head gets 1/2 lb of some kind of heavy grease, while the lower transmission for the agitator takes something like transmission fluid.

I do plan to remove the lower transmission as well and replace the seal to the tub, as I suspect that failed, causing water to fill the transmission and oil to leak out. The back left leg is caked in oil. I'd like to know how much to refill the transmission with, what weight, and what to fill the wringer head with.

For gaskets, can I use RTV silicone when i reseat the wringer head? Is there an off the shelf seal that will work for the tub seal?

Thank you for any advice, I will work on getting some pictures tomorrow with daylight. I'd post the CL pictures but he was quick in taking the post down and I didn't think to save them in advance.

Post# 942974 , Reply# 1   6/11/2017 at 02:19 (377 days old) by washdaddy (Baltimore)        

washdaddy's profile picture
Duncan- First off...WELCOME TO AW.ORG!!

You will find out that the people here are willing to give you advice and aid you with your appliances whenever they have the knowledge. This website is worldwide and you can find people all over the globe who will too offer advice whether it's from personal experience or they have the answer you seek.

You can also find a lot of information in the "manuals & literature" tab that's at the top of the page. If you check it you'll find they do have Maytag service manual for wringers that will probably match to your machine. There is a small charge to download the info if you choose to use it. But the price you pay for that manual compared to a service call is definitely worth it.

Once you figure out the details just post your questions in the correct forum here on the site and someone will offer advice or assist. Best of luck with your new toy..

Washdaddy (Rick)

Post# 942978 , Reply# 2   6/11/2017 at 03:11 (377 days old) by Stan (Napa CA)        
Maytag Service manual

stan's profile picture
Says to use Center seal grease 5616 (whatever that is) for most everthing with regards to wringer, and it's moving parts...Except it says to fill wringer head with 1lb of grease.. Says to use 56078 ?
Larry will probably stop by here and give you details on your questions for the power unit (transmission) and what kind of oil he used, can't remember off hand.
3 1/2 oz of power unit oil are supposed to be used in the cavity of the wringer post where the bevel gears mate.
Hang on help is on the way

Post# 943013 , Reply# 3   6/11/2017 at 11:04 (376 days old) by tarantulae (Colorado)        

Thanks for the welcome Rick.

Do the service manuals say what the grease is or just have part numbers like Stan posted? I can figure out how to take apart/put things back together, but if it doesn't tell me the weight of oil or type of grease then there isn't any point in getting one.

Says to use Center seal grease 5616 (whatever that is) for most everthing with regards to wringer, and it's moving parts...Except it says to fill wringer head with 1lb of grease.. Says to use 56078 ?
Larry will probably stop by here and give you details on your questions for the power unit (transmission) and what kind of oil he used, can't remember off hand.
3 1/2 oz of power unit oil are supposed to be used in the cavity of the wringer post where the bevel gears mate.

I can find a center seal grease for sale in 4oz tubes, but it doesn't say what its made of. I'd rather find something usable that is commonly available from an auto store or something instead of special ordering things.

As for terminology, can you explain what you mean by wringer head, and wringer post?

I know the owners manual says to put a drop of oil in the bearings for the upper wringer every month. gearbox for the wringer which has the selector lever on top looks like it was packed with grease before, so I'm thinking that is the "wringer head".

But then you say the wringer post is where the bevel gears mate. It is a large area which would take more than 3.5oz of oil to properly lubricate. I'll grab pictures in a bit and maybe that will help with the terminology.

Post# 943026 , Reply# 4   6/11/2017 at 14:27 (376 days old) by tarantulae (Colorado)        

As promised, here's some pictures.

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Post# 943116 , Reply# 5   6/11/2017 at 22:41 (376 days old) by Stan (Napa CA)        

stan's profile picture
You may be able to get most of what you need at the auto store or the auto section of WalMart, with maybe one exception
(the power unit) not sure if you can use 85 90 gear oil or not. The 3 1/2 oz mentioned in the service manual, may be the equivalent to the 1/4 lb soft grease mentioned below.
Hope this helps
Keep us posted

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Post# 943131 , Reply# 6   6/11/2017 at 23:23 (376 days old) by tarantulae (Colorado)        

Thanks Stan.

I managed to get the tub removed today. Those old gulmite bolts sure pack a punch. 3 of the heads sheared off. (I was using a bolt extractor as I don't have the wrench for them, I plan to replace with 1/2 hex heads like the newer models have). I'll be removing all the rust from where the enamel chipped and then primer and repainting it all to get a nice seal again. I'm also planning to teardown the power unit and all the transmission to the wringer to clean up the rust and oil it all. While I'm doing that, I'll disassemble and clean the whole thing and repaint (I got inspired by e2l-arry (He happens to be in lakewood, not far from where I am, what a coincidence!)

Do you know if RTV silicone will be a sufficient gasket replacement instead of buying the kits? I'd like to special order as little as I need to.

I will use 90 gear oil for the power unit, and synthetic bearing grease for the wringer.

If I understand correctly, the 3.5oz oil goes in where the horizontal and vertical bevel gears mate. The 1/4 lb grease is packed in the wringer head. Does that sound right?

I'm still trying to find out what model I have exactly. My guess is post 55 as it had the black agitator, and it looks like my flywheel would support a pump if I wanted to add one? Do people sell those via the forums here or should I be looking at ebay and craigslist still?

K1428 is stamped on my power unit. GE 1/4hp motor. Red release handle, steel tub with enamel coating. Ideas on year/model?

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Post# 943186 , Reply# 7   6/12/2017 at 13:48 (375 days old) by Stan (Napa CA)        
I'm glad

stan's profile picture
You found Larry and that thread! He will be a great source of info for you. (Good move with the bolts)
If you've read his entire thread.. It's long but worth the read, youl find that he ordered gaskets, I think you should too. If I remember correctly there was some adjustment he made to get everything to fit right and not leak during reassembly. I believe your right about the 3 1/2 oz of grease, and packing grease for the wringer head.. But double check with Larry or Geoff or recheck Larry's thread (info is in there)
Yes yours will accommodate a pump. Youl most like find one one on eBay, and mostl likely it will be Phil from Ovid NY that has them, and offers them through eBay, as well as the correct gaskets, Think Larry added a pump as well when he restored his. Maytag pumps will make short work out of draining the water out. If you get one youl see what I mean. And if you have a sink or stand pipe for it to drain to, much easier.
I'd say 55 would be the year of manufacture for yours.. If you post your serial number, We'l decode it and find the month and year.
Take pics for us if you can, during your restore, we love pics.. Cuz we all want to be there to have our hands in it! Pics are the next best thing! I'm particularly interested in how you clean those gunked up parts.

Post# 943188 , Reply# 8   6/12/2017 at 14:33 (375 days old) by tarantulae (Colorado)        

Thanks Stan.

I can't find a serial number. Where would it be located? I posted all the stamped numbers I could find.

I'll double check Larry's thread and see what I can find on ebay for pumps. Good to know I have the right flywheel.

As you can see in my picture, 3 bolt heads broke off, so I am working on removing the remainder of the bolts and then its time to start cleaning!

Post# 943248 , Reply# 9   6/13/2017 at 02:42 (375 days old) by Stan (Napa CA)        
Not sure

stan's profile picture
Where the serial # is located on a model N. On a model E, it stamped just below the crown on th back of the machine. So with your N I'd stand behind the wringer post and look to the left near the top of the body.
Someone who has a N may come by?
By looking at pic 3, I think I can see the pre drilled holes in the crossbar that will accommodate the pump assembly.

Post# 943250 , Reply# 10   6/13/2017 at 03:07 (375 days old) by Stan (Napa CA)        
Forgot to mention

stan's profile picture
that if you ad a pump, youl need a lint screen that goes under the agitator. (Protects pump)

Post# 943281 , Reply# 11   6/13/2017 at 11:30 (374 days old) by tarantulae (Colorado)        

It has a lint screen (a little rusty, but what isn't on this one!) Its what made me think it had a pump originally.

I found the serial number. Stamped in the back at the top of the skirt.

Post# 943283 , Reply# 12   6/13/2017 at 11:56 (374 days old) by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        

ken's profile picture
Check out the info listed in this thread for serial number date info.

Sorry...Looks like yours wouldn't be covered because its later than 1952. Didn't realize until after I posted.

Post# 943291 , Reply# 13   6/13/2017 at 13:08 (374 days old) by tarantulae (Colorado)        

Bad news

I think I'm out of luck now. In trying to remove the broken brass bolts, the centerplate has broken. No chance of making a seal now is there?

Is the centerplate replaceable or am I going to need a whole new power unit now anyway?

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Post# 943296 , Reply# 14   6/13/2017 at 14:02 (374 days old) by stan (Napa CA)        
Think it's replaceable

stan's profile picture
P.U is separate. This old girl is being difficult!
Are you sure there's not a letter in that serial number?

Post# 943299 , Reply# 15   6/13/2017 at 14:24 (374 days old) by tarantulae (Colorado)        

2 bolts broken still, one with a bolt extractor in it. Both go to the PU so the center plate won't come off. I'm not going to have machine shop EDM it out.

If I had started with quality extractors instead of trying to use the ones I already had, I would have had no problem. Once I got good extractors all the other bolts came out easy. Its just these 2 which I started with my old extractor that have problems.

Here's the picture of the serial number.

I'm going to look at another one on CL tomorrow. It costs money, but he says there's no rust in the tub and it all works. If thats true, I think I'll bring it home and wait for something to break before I ruin another washer.

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Post# 943303 , Reply# 16   6/13/2017 at 14:53 (374 days old) by stan (Napa CA)        

stan's profile picture
Could contact Phil fir that part.. You would have anyway to get the gaskets ect. Or Dave at Dave's Repair he might have one. There are other source for parts ..

Post# 943311 , Reply# 17   6/13/2017 at 15:30 (374 days old) by tarantulae (Colorado)        

It won't come off. The bolts broke below the surface of the center plate but is still holding onto the PU. One of them has a bolt extractor broken in it too. I can't take the center plate off the PU.

Post# 943383 , Reply# 18   6/13/2017 at 21:47 (374 days old) by Stan (Napa CA)        
At least

stan's profile picture
The price was right for it! And it may come in handy for parts.
What model is the one your going to see (square tub, round tub)
When you look at the one tomorrow.. There's a check list..
Make sure the agitator comes off and isn't stuck.
Look for holes in the tub
Look for think grease coming out of the breather hole in top of the right angle drive
Look for oil running down one leg
Make sure wringer turns and locks into position
If possible plug in and check operation of agitator (that it starts and stops when knob is pulled in and out)
If possible fill with water and check for leaks.
If equipt with a pump, engage it to see.
While running check to see if wringer rolls move in both directions

I'm I forgetting anything,
HTH and let us know

Post# 943397 , Reply# 19   6/14/2017 at 00:18 (374 days old) by tarantulae (Colorado)        

Thanks Stan.

This one had some oil running down the back leg. The main thing I wanted to fix was to remove the tub and clean up all the rust and get it painted so it wouldn't rust in the future. Unfortunately removing the tub is where I encountered those annoying bolts. Advice for anyone dealing with them in the future: get the wrench, if you can't, make sure you are using quality bolt extractors. Use a center punch to ensure you're centered on the bolt too. Very easy to wander off when drilling.

As for what I'm looking at tomorrow, all I know is "it works and the tub is clean". I don't even know what make it is. I'll make sure to check the agitator, grease/oil leaks, and wringer. I'll let you know how it turns out.

For now I plan to hold onto this one too. On the off chance I decide to drill out and retap the tub mounts, I could still get a new center plate and have a functional washer from it. Last sale I saw a center plate was for $125, and that is what this new washer is asking for. I figure, why get 1 piece that I need when I can get an entire machine that already is working.

Post# 943419 , Reply# 20   6/14/2017 at 10:03 (373 days old) by e2l-arry (LAKEWOOD COLORADO)        
Hi Duncan,

Looks like I'm a little late to this party! I haven't seen someone have so much trouble since - - - - - ME!

Your center plate is hopeless. I have one but it needs new bearings. It was leaking into the power unit which caused me to tear everything down many times before I figured that out. I replaced mine with a cheap but good used one I found on Ebay. You can have my old one if you want. Maybe get Phil to quote rebuilding it for you? Also I bought a gulmite wrench. You can borrow that too since you live close by.

Don't give up! I almost did but now, almost 5 years later, I'm glad I stuck it out. I had no idea mine was as sorry shape as it was when I bought it for $25.00. The lady I bought it from said she used it for diapers until 1983. They're great for that. Too bad that I think the last time she used it in '83 she forgot to drain it and it corroded right through!

Post# 943439 , Reply# 21   6/14/2017 at 13:09 (373 days old) by tarantulae (Colorado)        

Good to hear from you larry! Oh man, I wish I knew you had a wrench before!

No good to me now, the remaining 2 bolts heads broke off anyway.

Good news, I picked up another wringer today off craigslist. No rust inside the tub (some on the wringer) and it has a pump that seems to be frozen. Other than that, its in pretty good shape.

Its a Thor wringer. Never heard of that in the last week of searching I've been doing. It has a knob on top of the agitator but when I loosen that I still can't easily remove the agitator. Anyone know the process for a thor wringer?

Here's some pictures, maybe you guys can give me some Thor tips too?

Since it has a pump, I think I may steal the hose from my maytag and put it on, because it has the threaded connection to put a hose on and drain farther from the house. I'm going to keep the maytag around for the time being, not sure if its worth it for parts or what though. I wonder if I could pull my bearings out of my center plate and put it in yours Larry. Isn't that basically what rebuilding one would do? Even still, I'll have to drill out and retap all the bolts, and that may be a project for the future.

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Post# 943448 , Reply# 22   6/14/2017 at 14:46 (373 days old) by tarantulae (Colorado)        

It works. Looks like the pump wheel has flat spots from it rubbing on the drive wheel. Any idea where I can get replacements? Takes forever to gravity drain.

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Post# 943484 , Reply# 23   6/14/2017 at 19:12 (373 days old) by abcomatic (Bradford, Illinois)        

It says, Meadows Division. The first Meadows washers were made in Pontiac, Il in the early 20th Cent. on north Main street. They had 2 wooden tubs and the wringer was on a sort of track that traveled to each tub and not between them. Each tub was equipped with a dolly sort of affair that washed the clothes.
Thor was originally from Chicago and the washing machine division was made in Bloomington, Il including the merger with Meadows. My aunt's father was one of the foremen in Bloomington,IL that made Thor washing machines.
Eureka vacuums were made in Bloomington too in the Eureka-Williams plant on the south side of Bloomington.

Post# 943493 , Reply# 24   6/14/2017 at 20:09 (373 days old) by tarantulae (Colorado)        

Thanks for the info. I was able to do one load of laundry as a test, and then a load of cloth diapers. I also got the pump working by boiling a pot of water and letting it sit, then turning the pump wheel until it was free.

The pump works, but makes a racket because of all the flat spots worn into it. Any ideas how to repair/replace that wheel?

As for the washer/wringer. The wringer often gets jammed up. It seems like the Thor has a different mechanism than the maytag, as I don't see the big springs to keep a consistent pressure. Instead it seems like the drive roller slips when it encounters something too thick. Unfortunately that seems to be jeans, or even a diaper that doesn't go in perfectly flat. I'll probably try to pull apart the wringer section tomorrow and see what I can find.

Good news, the Thor power unit has an oil drain plug and takes 1 1/4 pints of SAE 40 auto oil. Easy oil changes! (Information from this ebay picture)

I also found this blow out diagram of the gearbox. Does anyone know how to identify which years my model might be? If this ebay auction is for my service manual it'd probably be worth grabbing.

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Post# 943518 , Reply# 25   6/14/2017 at 21:58 (373 days old) by Stan (Napa CA)        
If the manual

stan's profile picture
Is for your washer, I'd grab it, as info, parts, ect may be a little harder to get than the Maytag.
I'm not fimiler with Thor Wringers but I would think it would handle the jeans, diapers ect as good as the Maytag would? My Maytag handles a thick terry bathrobe without hesitation.
It might be that Maytags had the best wringers for that time?
Someone will come by that knows Thors
Keep us up to date.

Post# 943519 , Reply# 26   6/14/2017 at 22:00 (373 days old) by Stan (Napa CA)        

stan's profile picture
Some Bar Keppers Friend on that wringer.. works well for minor rust.

Post# 943534 , Reply# 27   6/15/2017 at 00:26 (373 days old) by tarantulae (Colorado)        

That's the thing, I don't know what model my washer is.

I would expect the same. I think I'll open the wringer up and give it a good cleaning/lubing/examination to see what the cause is. I wonder if the Thor's had some kind of slipper clutch for the wringer to avoid crushing fingers. I can stop the powered wringer by pressing on it with my hand (I tested with the tension released at first, but it is also easily stoppable with tension on). My maytag wringer I never put clothes through, but it turned very strongly, so I wonder if its a manufacturer difference or something I should look into fixing. Hopefully someone who knows more about the Thor machines can give me some insight.

Post# 943578 , Reply# 28   6/15/2017 at 10:39 (372 days old) by stan (Napa CA)        
You might try

stan's profile picture
Reposting with a title of "Thor Wringer Washer" maybe catch the attention of someone here that knows about, or possibly has one.
I'll go head and ask..just curious, what did you pay for the Thor

Post# 943584 , Reply# 29   6/15/2017 at 11:32 (372 days old) by tarantulae (Colorado)        

I paid 125. Less than what I was looking at for fixing up the maytag.

Post# 943607 , Reply# 30   6/15/2017 at 14:45 (372 days old) by stan (Napa CA)        
That's not bad

stan's profile picture
Keep us updated with how the wringer works out.

Post# 943768 , Reply# 31   6/16/2017 at 11:08 (371 days old) by bradross (New Westminster, BC., Canada)        
Shame about the Maytag - but nice you found a Thor...

bradross's profile picture
Duncan, if you lived closer, I'd sell you one of my wringer washers! I'm "overflowing" with 5 currently in my collection! And that's in an apartment! Can you imagine if I had a house - I'd start a wringer washer restoration business!

Best of success in rejuvenating the Thor. My mother and grandmother both had Thor machines from the late '30s. I've attached a couple of pics in case you'd like to see some older models. From what I know, they were very reliable machines. As you can see in the photos, the wringer assembly had two options for tension control - a screw or an automatic tension set/on-off lever (the type my mom had).

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