Thread Number: 77934  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Maytag Model 90
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Post# 1019584   12/31/2018 at 10:29 by TexasSuds (Fort Worth, Texas)        


Howdy from Texas, y'all. I want to start off by saying I didn't want this project. But it's kind of chosen me, I'm afraid.

This was initially intended for a different kind of suds altogether. I bought this Maytag Model 90 this weekend with the idea I'd stick my beer in the tub in the summertime with some Sonic ice when I had company over, and it would be a cool old beer cooler. On wheels, too. I mean, hot damn, right? You can just push the party anywhere you want to go.

It might still serve that purpose. It would certainly be easy to drain when the ice melts. But the more I looked at it, and the more I researched what this was, found out how old it was and inspected what I had, the more I figured maybe instead of keeping this as/is for its "patina," maybe I should look into seeing about a full restoration.

Then I found the deal on Brad Ross, and his work...and I mean, I am not the kind of guy who necessarily digs appliances. But when I saw the before and after on his Model 30 and Model 90, I thought, well hell. That's pretty amazing. And it does the job. You know, I could put the rags and stuff in my garage in this, or the really dirty stuff that my wife yells at me for putting in her washing machine and do it in this, and it would do the job nicely, according to his videos.

And, I mean, how many Model 90s are left in this world, right?

The guy I bought this from for $40 said it was his grandfather's. It came from their place in Colorado, but his granddad brought it with him down to Houston (hence the pitting on the aluminum. I'm a little worried how close they were to the shore and how deep that pitting goes). Anyhow, he wanted to restore it, never did, then his dad was going to and never did. So he kept it on his back porch until he decided to move. Well, that's a cool story in itself, I guess. And then you've got that homemade leg out of scrap lumber and bailing wire. Pirate peg leg.

The more I looked it over, the more complete it appeared to me. I don't think I'm missing anything too major. I'm a little concerned about that rusted-through leg, but I thought, that might just be a matter of finding the right gauge steel pipe, popping that wheel out of the tetanus ranch it's currently residing in, cleaning it up and sticking it into a new pipe leg.

The handle on the mangle doesn't turn, and the on/off switch doesn't turn. I'm hoping a little Kroil will knock them loose. I'll be gentle, for sure.

Anyhow. I figured I'd reach out here, because obviously there are experts who are alive today who might could guide/encourage/assist with doing this right. I guess the first place to start would be replacing the power cord, lubing the electric motor and seeing if there's any life down below, right? I see that Mr. Ross changed it out with a three-prong plug for safety. Any hints on where I should put the ground wire?

I didn't need yet another thing to polish and paint. But...I pet the three-legged stray dogs in this life, and they always seem to follow me home. Maybe y'all can help me out as I try to get this thing to do something.

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Post# 1019602 , Reply# 1   12/31/2018 at 14:16 by TexasSuds (Fort Worth, Texas)        

One more shot. Still has the original plug and cord. I wouldn't dare plug it in unless I had a deathwish, but cool it still has it's original plug.

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Post# 1019627 , Reply# 2   12/31/2018 at 17:22 by jeb (Mansfield Ohiio)        
Maytag 90

New legs are available on line all the time. You have to push down on the handle to make the wringer turn to different positions. How does it look under the agitator?

Post# 1019631 , Reply# 3   12/31/2018 at 18:49 by TexasSuds (Fort Worth, Texas)        

Good question. Iíll have to check. How does one take the agitator off? Thereís some sort of cat litter or something in there now, that better come out soon. That probably draws moisture. Here is the serial number though.

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Post# 1019753 , Reply# 4   1/1/2019 at 18:22 by jeb (Mansfield Ohiio)        

The agitator should just put up and out

Post# 1019872 , Reply# 5   1/2/2019 at 20:06 by bradross (New Westminster, BC., Canada)        
The serial number...

bradross's profile picture
dates to October 1929. Total production of the Model 90 was 400,088 units, between Sept.1927 through Jan. 1930.

If the aluminum tub is not pitted too drastically, I would consider going ahead with the restoration! As mentioned, legs, hose, wringer rolls, and other parts appear on ebay periodically. Additionally, I have sources in Iowa and Nebraska, should you need something that you cannot find online. Don't hesitate to contact me by email -

Have fun with it!

Post# 1020611 , Reply# 6   1/8/2019 at 22:02 by TexasSuds (Fort Worth, Texas)        

Oh good! You replied, Mr Ross! Yes I will be in touch. Life has happened since I last posted, so sorry for the late reply. So oct. 1929, huh? Nearing end of production. Iím trying to figure out the agitator removal. It seems stuck. Any advice? Ports where I should spot a little Kroil?

Post# 1020743 , Reply# 7   1/10/2019 at 16:16 by bradross (New Westminster, BC., Canada)        
replied to your email...

bradross's profile picture
but in the interest of others following this thread --- there is a small hole about 1-1/2 inches from the top of the agitator. It's a breather hole, just below the drive block, to allow air to escape when filling the tub with water. Injecting some penetrating oil while the machine is upside down will allow the oil to seep around the drive block (listed as the "torque" in Maytag parts manual), allowing it to loosen up - hopefully! Some carefully applied heat from a torch can help also - but be careful not to over-heat and scorch the agitator.

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Post# 1023108 , Reply# 8   1/30/2019 at 20:57 by TexasSuds (Fort Worth, Texas)        
Taking apart motor.

While this isnít the original motor, itís the only one Iíve got to get me started. It is a Maytag/Delco A5540 with the correct RPMs though. I finally got it apart in three.The phenolic wafer that serves to hold the wire connection terminals experienced either extreme heat or a short, and one terminal is flopping around. That terminal appears to have a job closing that gyro switch. That switch is held on with two....what are those? Rivets? They correspond to two holes on the front side and appear to be the way forward to removing that phenolic wafer. Question: how do I get those rivet/screw/doohickeys loose without damaging the switch? Will they go back in? Are they toast if you remove them and have to find a substitute? Anyone know where to get a replacement phenolic wafer? Make my own?

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Post# 1023233 , Reply# 9   1/31/2019 at 21:00 by TexasSuds (Fort Worth, Texas)        
Got the switch undid

Got it figured, yíall. That centrifugal switch is held in with these doohickeys. A nail and some tapping set it free. Now to figure a new switch. Maybe this is helpful to someone else. Maybe Iíve screwed it up. Iíll know soon enough. :)

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Post# 1023243 , Reply# 10   1/31/2019 at 22:39 by RP2813 (Too many people know the way)        

rp2813's profile picture

Mr. Suds, you are a brave man!  Best of luck!

Post# 1025070 , Reply# 11   2/18/2019 at 23:13 by TexasSuds (Fort Worth, Texas)        
New motor to play with

Iím still working on the Maytag Delco motor. As luck would have it, I found the correct GE motor and mounting bracket for this thing too. Working on finishing up the new phenolic resin terminal plate and I finished painting both bell housings. Hopefully Iíll be able to plug it in in a week or so.

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Post# 1025388 , Reply# 12   2/22/2019 at 23:55 by Stan (Napa CA)        
Hi Mr Suds

stan's profile picture
Been following along here waiting to see how this goes.
Brad is the expert here with these pre war Maytags, as I'm sure you've figured by now.
I have a 1954 Maytag Wringer, but find the model 30s and 90s fascinating.
In reading your original post, you said the handle on the mangel won't turn. I'm curious about why that's stuck? And if Brad has made a suggestion concerning it?
Can't use the durn thing if it won't wring out water.
Keep us posed with your progress

Post# 1025566 , Reply# 13   2/25/2019 at 00:52 by TexasSuds (Fort Worth, Texas)        
Hi Stan.

Glad my experience is worth watching for you! Iím still plugging away on this motor that came with my machine. Iíve figured out why the center terminal was blackened. White and black were in contact. I thought this meant my initial test was a false positive on the windings and my time was wasted, but Iíve since discovered that theyíre still ok. Even if I donít use this replacement motor on the machine, it will work. And for now, it will probably be the motor I use to test as I go forward. I think the handle on the mangle is just frozen from sitting so long. I have a hunch once itís torn down, lubed and repainted, everything should be fine. The agitator is still stuck though. I canít seem to get it free.

Post# 1025656 , Reply# 14   2/25/2019 at 22:38 by Stan (Napa CA)        

stan's profile picture
Yes it's worth watching these machines get restored!
Have you turned it upside down and squirted peatrating oil in the breather hole on the agitator yet?
This may help.
Do you know if the tub holds water? Does the agitator turn freely back and fourth?
At some point after you get it running, you may be able to fill it with hot water, and let it agitate stop and soak..agitator may come off after.

Post# 1025800 , Reply# 15   2/27/2019 at 06:01 by TexasSuds (Fort Worth, Texas)        

I havenít done the upside down trick. I may also try the hot water trick. As of now, I think I did the breather hole trick and some gentle tapping on the fins with a rubber mallet to no avail. The agitator does not move. Yet.

Post# 1025808 , Reply# 16   2/27/2019 at 07:12 by TexasSuds (Fort Worth, Texas)        

Progress on the Maytag machine motor. I rebuilt the terminal plate, cleaned and filed the electromagnetic contacts on the centrifugal switch and reinstalled it onto a freshly sanded and painted bell housing. So I thought I was hosed. As you can see, white is touching black. That explains the charred terminal plate. So when I tested this with an ohmmeter, I got a signal-a false positive that the windings were good. In actuality, white was touching black here at the terminal rather than going through all the windings on this motor. That could have meant I wasted my time. After separating the wires, I found I still got a signal. So that means the windings didnít open when the motor shorted out. Unless thereís another problem somewhere, Iím still in binnis yíall! You can see where the shorting event pitted the metal electromagnetic contacts for the centrifugal switch plate. Thatís no good. I had to file them smooth. Reinstalled, it appears to operate correctly, and electromagnetic plates line up perfectly! Enjoy the before/after.

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Post# 1025871 , Reply# 17   2/27/2019 at 21:26 by Stan (Napa CA)        
Mighty fine

stan's profile picture
Looks great
So what's next!

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