Thread Number: 81325  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Pulley Modification - Risks?
[Down to Last]'s exclusive eBay Watch:
scroll >>> for more items
Post# 1053490   12/7/2019 at 23:25 (209 days old) by coreyare (Dullsville, Washington)        


Hello all,

I have a desire to obtain a WP/Kenmore belt drive washer-ma-gig, likely just some generic common model to avoid the guilt trip of wrecking a work of art model, but I wish to do a little butchering of the stock motor pulley and place a pulley of the same diameter as the clutch to get some extreme spin speed...well maybe not...

Given that it works and the wiggy-waggy solenoids and other bits don't obstruct the spin-a-ma-thingin motor pulley, what are the risks of doing such a mod? There was one 'tuber who used a VFD on one of these machines and was able to replicate agitation oscillation speed the equivalent of a WP DD, plus some unmeasured fast sounding spin speeds, but he did express some concern of frying center-post seals, would this be the case? The whole point for doing the mod would be to enjoy the nostalgic performance with a bit of enhancement, but it would bite to have to replace the unit if the modification would smoke the drive train bits...

I have done this mod to a GE/HITACHI 70's/80's portable washer, while it did make a good spin dryer, it would just take the clothes for a crazy whirlpool water ride...likely shredding them if I did a real load...

Blab note: Im a stickler for belt drive WP/Kenmore Washer boomergiggers due in part to their nostalgic charm they have, being that it was a favorite past time watching the mid-late 60's archaic machine do its job upon our move in to the home built in 54...what safety switch?

Thanks all!

Post# 1053575 , Reply# 1   12/8/2019 at 09:50 (209 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

Hi Coreyare, I have done this on two machines using a VFD, here are the threads I created about them:

1958 General Electric Filter-Flo
1978 Maytag Washer Soup-up

I have heard that the Whirlpool belt-drive's suspension can't handle the higher spin speeds like a GE or Maytag can, so it will take some experimentation. Also remember if just you just change the motor pulley the agitation speed will greatly increase which may be too harsh on the clothing.

Post# 1053623 , Reply# 2   12/8/2019 at 18:43 (208 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

yogitunes's profile picture
just for an extra boost....change the belt from 1/2 to a 5/8 x 49"....

this will ride on the outter parts of the pulley and give a nice increase to the wash and spin with out going overboard....

you could change the pulley also, but I wouldn't go above 2 1/4".....

Post# 1053654 , Reply# 3   12/9/2019 at 05:42 (208 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Unlike a Maytag, the WP-built belt drive machines have that big platform on which the tub assembly sits. There is not much room between it and the cabinet for sideways movement for unbalanced loads so you want to be careful about how fast the spin speed is. Kenmores used the off balance switch while WP machines did not. If you do speed up the spin, make sure that the off balance switch is working.

Post# 1053657 , Reply# 4   12/9/2019 at 07:02 (208 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Speeding Up A WP BD Washer

combo52's profile picture

I stepped up the spin speed of a 1968 super capacity WP built washer to 700 RPM spin speed by changing only the clutch pulley around 30 years ago and used this washer as my daily driver for around 25 years.


The problems, The machine  wanted to walk if the load was only slightly unbalanced, we put up with it and were able to continue using the washer but had to wash loads of similar weight clothing etc.


It is not so much the suspension system that makes this speed increase difficult of a WP BD washer. It is other factors like there is no really effective damper, there is no ballast ring on the wash basket and the way the bearing are mounted high above the bottom of the basket allows too much flex in the basket post and the center post and the the base-plate it self.


Having an out-of-balance switch or not will make little or no difference as 1/2 of all WP BD machines were built without them [ including all commercial versions ] as the vibration issues do not occur till the basket is over 500 RPMs and there is never any real swinging of the mechaisim at that speed or the machine would already be in the next room. The OOB switch was only on about 3/4 of the KM versions of these washer just to give Mrs. Homemaker something to do, it never severed any purpose, we must have removed at least a few thousand of them back when these washers were in about every other home.


John L.

Post# 1054156 , Reply# 5   12/12/2019 at 22:42 (204 days old) by coreyare (Dullsville, Washington)        
combo52....and yall...

Wowza John that post was a trip! Awesome insight and information!

DARN THO! I was really aching to make it! Ill give it a shot though when one comes my way, but ill take heed to yar warnings and TTM's saftey precautions c:

But really them off balance switches were just a hassle for them housekeepers? Well we never had the direct drive model go off balance that much, the BD one did often...

Guess ill have to gander Rob's souped up "VFD just kicked in yo!" washer topics, the do offer quite the insight!

Thanks all!

Forum Index:       Other Forums:                      

Comes to the Rescue!

The Discuss-o-Mat has stopped, buzzer is sounding!!!
If you would like to reply to this thread please log-in...

Discuss-O-MAT Log-In

New Members
Click Here To Sign Up.

Discuss-o-Mat Forums
Vintage Brochures, Service and Owners Manuals
Fun Vintage Washer Ephemera
See It Wash!
Video Downloads
Audio Downloads
Picture of the Day
Patent of the Day
Photos of our Collections
The Old Aberdeen Farm
Vintage Service Manuals
Vintage washer/dryer/dishwasher to sell?
Technical/service questions?
Looking for Parts?
Website related questions?
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy
Our Privacy Policy