Thread Number: 79441  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Maytag a608 transmission?
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Post# 1033550   5/24/2019 at 18:07 (415 days old) by imaguitargod (Willits, CA)        

Hi folks! I'm the VERY proud owner of a vintage Maytag a608 washing machine. After building our house and farm (off-grid up here in Mendocino County in Willits, California), we finally got to the point where we could hook up the washer again and run a load on it for the first time in 3 years. First load went great. Second load not so much.

It got to the final drain and spin cycle and went "WRRRRrrrrrrrr...." and did nothing. I'm going to bail out the water and drain it then look at the pump to see if it's jammed. HOWEVER it has been leaking transmission oil since we got it. I can't find a replacement transmission online (repair clinic only had a case gasket for the tranny). Anyone have any advice? If the transmission is dead then it may not be worth replacing the pump, right?

We've got a new baby (two month old) and are doing cloths by hand and don't want to go back to the laundry mat and would love to keep this jem of a washer.

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Post# 1033554 , Reply# 1   5/24/2019 at 18:59 (415 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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Welcome to the forum!
A little more diagnosis, and you should know what you are dealing with.

Can you be more specific with this statement:
ďIt got to the final drain and spin cycle and went "WRRRRrrrrrrrr...." and did nothing.Ē

Specifically, was the sound a squeal?
Did it sound labored, like it was working hard? Or did it sound like the motor was just running free with no load?
When itís making the noise and you lift the lid quickly, is the tub turning at all, or is it stationary?
Does it still agitate fine in wash, just not drain?

Donít worry too much about the transmission or pump availability yet, they might not be what you need!

Post# 1033564 , Reply# 2   5/24/2019 at 20:30 (415 days old) by pdub (Portland, Oregon)        
No extension cords!

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Not sure if you were running it like I see in the picture but Maytag's do not like to be plugged into extension cords. They draw a lot of power when going into spin so need to be plugged directly into an outlet.

First lift up the machine and see if both belts are still on their pulley's.

If so, what happens when you start the machine? Does it fill? After fill does it agitate? Is there a hot rubber smell if machine is running? Is the problem only in spin?

If no power at all when turning on you might check to see if you've tripped a circuit breaker.

These are just starters on troubleshooting. Good Luck

Post# 1033586 , Reply# 3   5/25/2019 at 05:55 (415 days old) by Combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Maytag two belt washers, spin start problems

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As Patrick mentioned above may tags donít like any voltage drop at spin start. Itís a crude system the way that use the belt slipping to try to let the motor start at the beginning of spin. They always had problems with this design either not slipping enough going into spin or slipping too much during agitation, it shouldíve had an idler pulley or a pivoting motor.

If you continue to have trouble with it you can add a start capacitor which helps a great deal.


Post# 1033613 , Reply# 4   5/25/2019 at 19:11 (414 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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I suppose it depends on how you describe the sound...
I would say a buzzing sound, definitely could be a motor failing to start. But a "WRRRRrrrrrrrr...."?

Post# 1033633 , Reply# 5   5/25/2019 at 23:07 (414 days old) by good-shepherd (New Jersey)        
leaking transmission oil since we got it

Common issue for Maytags to leak some oil from the lower o-ring seal, but they can run a long time like that.

The tub stem seal or bearing will often fail long before the transmission.

Post# 1033739 , Reply# 6   5/27/2019 at 14:00 (412 days old) by imaguitargod (Willits, CA)        

Thank you everyone for your comments and warm welcome!! I'll try my best to answer everyone's diagnostic questions. As for describing the sound, it sounded like the motor kicked on briefly and slowly faded out over about 5 seconds like it wasn't getting enough power (kind of like when a Walkman tape player runs out of batteries). No squealing or high pitched sounds. While I didn't attempt to open the lid during the spin/drain cycle, I did switch it back over to the agitate cycle and it was agitating just fine. The problem seems to be on the drain/spin cycle only.

I will get to checking the belts tonight. As for the extension chord issue, We live off grid. I have a very small solar system which connects to the house via extension chord (we don't have outlets as of yet). The solar system isn't large enough to run the washing machine so I have my 5,000 watt diesel generator fired up and connected to the washing machine through two extension chords (heavy duty chord). The washing machine worked fine the first time we ran it this way but didn't work the second time (only a week later)

Post# 1033771 , Reply# 7   5/27/2019 at 22:54 (412 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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If you have a chance, try the spin cycle again, opening the lid quickly to check a few seconds after you hear the motor start.
Just knowing if the tub is actually turning will help significantly in making the diagnosis.

Post# 1033838 , Reply# 8   5/28/2019 at 21:05 (411 days old) by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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Or just leave the lid open and stick something in the switch so you can monitor the whole thing.  I used to stick half of a wood clothes pin in my mother's.  She used to take a piece of a Tide box and fold it thick enough to press in on the switch so I could watch the washer when I was little.

Post# 1033961 , Reply# 9   5/30/2019 at 12:00 (409 days old) by imaguitargod (Willits, CA)        

Sorry for the late reply, got busy with the newborn. I'll check the belts and spin cycle this weekend and report back!

Post# 1034999 , Reply# 10   6/10/2019 at 15:21 (398 days old) by imaguitargod (Willits, CA)        

Ok. So I finally got to the washer yesterday. I checked the belts and while they are all there, one belt is starting to break so that will need to be replaced. I kept the lid open and ran the washer. I discovered that it functions pefectly right up until the last 3/4 of the cycle. The timer/knob doesn't move and there's an electrical hum coming from the solenoid. I changed it from the "delicate" cycle to the "knits" cycle and same thing happened 3/4 the way through. Any thoughts. Also, ton of oil down there too (as someone pointed out that could be from the lower o-ring)! Pictures are attached.

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Post# 1035000 , Reply# 11   6/10/2019 at 15:43 (398 days old) by good-shepherd (New Jersey)        
Also, ton of oil down there

Thats about an average amount of oil sling for what looks to be a high mileage washer and unrelated to the other issue. On the plus side, no worries about the base plate rusting.

Just clean it up with some degreaser.

Post# 1035001 , Reply# 12   6/10/2019 at 16:20 (398 days old) by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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Just to say ... the "Knits" cycle is just a starting point for shorter wash time (4 mins) in the Permanent Press cycle.† There's otherwise no difference in the machine functions during the PP cycle vs. starting at 8 mins or any other labeled time on it.† Likewise the "Delicate" designation is just a shorter wash time (4, 3, or 2 mins) in the Regular cycle.

The bracketed areas on the Regular cycle are (smaller) the spray rinse during the first spin (after wash) and (larger) the agitated rinse period.† Has the machine filled with water for the rinse at that point?† The timer won't move further until it fills to the selected water level.

Post# 1035008 , Reply# 13   6/10/2019 at 17:20 (398 days old) by imaguitargod (Willits, CA)        

good-shepherd, thanks for that info! I'll get the degreaser out!

DADoES, ok, I think I read that right. I had all the hoses disconnected when I ran the last part of the cycle so if there's no water flowing then it would stand to reason that the cycle wouldn't continue?

Post# 1035009 , Reply# 14   6/10/2019 at 17:34 (398 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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>> so if there's no water flowing then it would stand to reason that the cycle wouldn't continue?

That's correct! It will just wait, forever, with the water fill valve energized...

Post# 1035015 , Reply# 15   6/10/2019 at 18:32 (398 days old) by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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Where in the cycle(s) did you start the test runs?† The timer also won't advance during the wash portion until the selected fill level is reached.† If you started at the first spin (after the wash period), then it'll run (spin) until it gets to the rinse fill.

Post# 1035172 , Reply# 16   6/12/2019 at 15:13 (396 days old) by imaguitargod (Willits, CA)        

Ok, looks like I've got to hook it back up to water and run another test wash.

Post# 1037870 , Reply# 17   7/11/2019 at 12:34 (367 days old) by imaguitargod (Willits, CA)        

Sorry for the delay on getting to the new tests. In-laws came into town and time got sucked into a parallel dimension. I hooked the water back up and kept the lid open for the entire time. The washer fills up and agitates no problem. Then, when it comes to the drain and spin cycle, the motor clicks on, starts to move very slowly and after about 3-5 seconds shuts off. It waits a minute and tries this again with the same results.

It never gets anywhere near full speed and stops over and over again. Thoughts?

Post# 1037873 , Reply# 18   7/11/2019 at 12:53 (367 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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Ok, that's the motor's overload protection kicking in. One possibility is that a piece of clothing is stuck between the inner and outer tubs, preventing the inner tub from being able to turn freely.

I had a similar issue with my A209 - here is my thread about it.
Jump ahead to reply #21 for my diagnosis and remedy:

Post# 1037889 , Reply# 19   7/11/2019 at 15:36 (367 days old) by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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The transmission internal gearing and function does not come into play for spin.

As stated above, something is putting an excessive load on the motor during spin ... either a stray piece of clothing gone overboard and binding the basket from turning freely, a problem with the brake, worn/seizing tub/spin bearing, motor carriage not moving freely, and it can also be caused by running the machine on an extension cord of too-small capacity to provide the required current draw.

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