Thread Number: 81493  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Maytag "Filter-Flo" Conversion
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Post# 1055287   12/23/2019 at 20:22 (196 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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Hey folks. I've been doing some brainstorming, and would appreciate your thoughts.

Our center-dial Maytags have been working great, but one thing that could be improved is the lint filtering. I know everyone has opinions on the usefulness of Maytag's agitator-mounted filter, and that's fine. In our case, they work plenty well enough for normal washes - the only problem is the limited capacity. When we wash loads of animal bedding, it will completely fill the column filter several times over within a single wash cycle, so you have to keep coming back and emptying it while it runs.

I have an idea in my head of a sort of Filter-Flo-esque supplementary filter conversion for the Maytag. It would be an electric pump of moderate capacity, plumbed into the tub in the front left corner in place of the bleach dispenser system which we don't use. The bleach funnel piece under the lid would change to a waterfall spout, providing top fill access to the tub center without any cutting or permanent modifications, and neatly hiding in the corner and fully under the lid. The intake for the pump would either be the base of the tub where the bleach originally entered, or a Tee off of the main drain hose before the pump. The bleach dispenser system has comparatively small openings, so the pump flow would need to be somewhat moderate to not turn into a firehose blast. The new pump would be wired to run as a circulation pump any time the main motor was running in the "wash" direction.

The filter itself could either be a moving agitator-mounted perforated pan like the GE design, or something as simple as a small stationary basket hanging over the edge under the spout. Neither would necessarily replace the original Maytag filter in the agitator column, it would be more of a supplement. (For loads at the small water level, where the Maytag doesn't fill enough to make good use of the agitator filter, the secondary filter might be even more beneficial.) Theoretically you could make a mini-basket too if you wanted.

Any thoughts? I'm all ears.
Figuring out which pump to use would probably be my starting point.

Post# 1055290 , Reply# 1   12/23/2019 at 20:29 (196 days old) by rickr (.)        

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I would simply watch for a Filter Flo machine in your area, and use it for the doggy bedding.

Post# 1055291 , Reply# 2   12/23/2019 at 20:32 (196 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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I'm too sentimental to Maytags to do that, even if it does make more sense.

Post# 1055311 , Reply# 3   12/23/2019 at 22:15 (196 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Improving MT DC Washer Lint Filtering

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I have thought about this for years, I am going to use a side mount self-cleaning filter from a KM BD washer, the only real problem is the basket holes are too small to allow much lint to get out of the wash basket, so I have thought about drilling all the basket holes a little larger and repainting the basket with epoxy paint afterwards.

John L.

Post# 1055442 , Reply# 4   12/24/2019 at 22:48 (195 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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Well, I am sentimental about authenticity, myself...

A Maytag with a GE agitator and its pan or sieve mounted up on top makes more sense in a GE just as much as a filter-flo shouldn’t be caught dead sporting a power-fin...

However, lots of luck here, and post us these results, as well with showing everyone skeptical your every step of the way...

— Dave

Post# 1055501 , Reply# 5   12/25/2019 at 10:57 (194 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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Dave- Keeping it low-key would be the goal. I wouldn't switch agitators, or use any GE parts in the conversion. If I followed through it would retain the power-fin for sure. It would be great if it looked like a factory Maytag accessory in the end, but we will see what happens...

John- Two thoughts - one, on a later model DC with those filter screens under the agitator, I wonder how much water you could pull through the bottom of the tub before you started sucking clothing under the agitator? Those two pop-out filter screens could be filled and then perforated with larger holes. It wouldn't be perfect, but it might allow at least some of the larger debris to escape?

Another option might be swapping the tub for a stainless tub from a Wilkins Servis? It looks like the holes might be *slightly* larger... but even if not, you might be able to get away without painting if you drilled your holes cleanly enough? (Still somewhat of a project either way...)

Post# 1055504 , Reply# 6   12/25/2019 at 11:27 (194 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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As part of the brainstorming, I'd also be interested if anyone has any suggestions on the pump.

Ideally it would be something with standard hose fittings, and a motor/pump as one unit. It would need to be lower flow, so most of the standard washer "drain pumps" would be out I think.

I've done some basic eBay/Google parts searching for circulation pumps, but most of those that I'm finding have some very clear duty cycle limits that wouldn't work - ie, 15 minutes on / 45 minutes off, 5 minutes on / 30 minutes off, etc. Perhaps fine for one load, but not two back-to-back.

Brand doesn't matter, but it would be good if it was something standard/common enough that I'd have good availability into the future.

If it was compact enough, I could mount it alongside the tub (above the tub bottom) and avoid stale water trapping easily. Otherwise, I would have to mount it below the tub and plumb it such that water could be drained from the circulation loop by the main drain pump to avoid this...

Post# 1055507 , Reply# 7   12/25/2019 at 12:27 (194 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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how about a little prep in before washing said items....

take pet items/blankets/beds outside and shake them out....

I even have used the vacuum with the hand-held beaterbar over the comforters to remove as much fur as possible....

once through the machine and the dryer....there ain't a speck of fur left....and those filters are not overpacked with fur at the end of the cycle...

further maintenance of the pet itself with constant brushing is part of their care....

I have a Siberian....with a top coat and undercoat....they are HIGH maintenance for keeping fur under control...

Post# 1055520 , Reply# 8   12/25/2019 at 14:54 (194 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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Thanks Martin, all good advice.

In our case, this is in fact after both vacuuming and knocking off anything loose. I should have mentioned that they are guinea pigs... so it's large sheets of fleece and felted shredded denim fabric, which become embedded with billions of microscopic hairs, tiny hay slivers, and bits of shredded paper/cellulose bedding. The Maytag does an excellent job of beating this out of the fabric, just not the best at removing all of it once it is loose in the water. The agitator-mounted filter works great at catching these bits, it just can't handle the volume without being emptied several times.

Post# 1055584 , Reply# 9   12/26/2019 at 01:54 (193 days old) by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
Over-fantasizing about filter-flos

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Just my two cents but, having three filter-flos and a Maytag, the agitator filter catches far more hair than any filter-flo. Small hair and any other remnants in your wash water will still be very much present with a recirculating filter setup. You’re essentially trying to run 40 gallons of water through a 1/2 inch sized opening somewhere in the side of the outer tub with a minimal amount of suction. I just don’t see how you’d see much improvement. I’m a huge filter-flo fan but Maytags always catch far more hair than any filter pan.

Post# 1055632 , Reply# 10   12/26/2019 at 14:03 (193 days old) by bradfordwhite (space coast)        

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If you are washing "loads of animal bedding"  it sounds like you're running an animal shelter or farm.  If so, I'd suggest getting a proper commercial washer that will have the capacity and filtering ability to handle all that.


Perhaps something used would be more affordable.



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Post# 1055721 , Reply# 11   12/27/2019 at 13:53 (192 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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Keith - It's just household pets, so one full load a week, two on occasion. A farm would be great someday though!

Jon, thanks for the insight. It would definitely be an experiment, without any guarantee of success. I might be able to improve my chances by trying different materials, sizes, or designs for the pan? Overall flow (and how many gallons get circulated per wash) is definitely a TBD, but presumably could be increased if one was willing to cut into the sheet metal on the top of the cabinet. I too am happy with the Maytag agitator filter, which is why I'd try to keep that in place if possible.

Post# 1055727 , Reply# 12   12/27/2019 at 15:57 (192 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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think physics first when it comes to altering and/or adding a filter flo application to a machine....

a few thoughts......if you tapping into the existing tub to pump hose....keep in mind, as long as there is water there, if a pump should be operating, it will pump water over the load as it is trying to spin...

if the pump is will suck air and cause cavitation while trying to pump out during draining...

just keep things like this in your design to watch out for...

ashame the port on top of the Maytags pump used for the bleach dispenser is not big enough, at least then you could take advantage of the motors direction to pump water as needed for agitation or draining...

Post# 1055982 , Reply# 13   12/30/2019 at 15:26 (189 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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Martin, I'm still thinking through your post... I'll draw up a diagram when I have time, and see if I can work through that concern. (Thanks).

In the mean time, I actually have some good news, and that is that I was INCORRECT earlier in my memory of how the bleach dispenser funnel portion is constructed! I had mis-remembered the funnel as being a small triangular tray sitting predominantly on top of the steel, with a small side hole in the back of the steel for the neck to exit. Instead, it looks like the entire triangular shape is stamped out, and the tray sits "through" the steel, suspended by the perimeter instead of sitting on top. (See photos attached.)

This means that the actual opening isn't just a 1" round hole, but rather closer to 4" wide on the long side of the triangle. Combined with a vertical clearance of a bit over an inch, this means that the spout could be considerably larger than I was thinking.

With this correction of my error, I would think that the flow could be quite a bit higher, meaning that the main drain hose is probably a more appropriate place for the circulation pump to pull water from.

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Post# 1056002 , Reply# 14   12/30/2019 at 18:46 (189 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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another thought....

what about changing out the tub for one with the self clean filter built in....

add in the combination of that and the agitator barrel filter....

Post# 1056072 , Reply# 15   12/31/2019 at 17:19 (188 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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Hadn't considered that... That would require an agitator swap as well, right? (Doesn't the DC agitator have ribs under the skirt to pump that water through the self-clean filters?) I'm not sure if those two screens would add enough extra filtering capacity to be worth it... but it's a good thought!

Post# 1056078 , Reply# 16   12/31/2019 at 18:15 (188 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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I also had some ideas on how to be a little scientific in answering some of the practicality questions.

One thought is that for any filter screen material I choose, I can test the viability of the concept by making a simple holder over our utility sink (with the drain temporarily plugged), and moving the washer drain hose over to drain through it instead of the standpipe. That would tell me several things:

1) Whether the crud I'm looking to catch is small enough to get through the tub basket holes (John's comment). Anything that makes it through the drain hose would by definition have been small enough to have made it through the basket holes and have been pumped through the modified filter system.

2) Whether the filter screen material I have in mind will even catch that debris. (Since the utility sink drain would be plugged, I would be able to tell if anything passed through that filter material.)

3) What kind of flow rate the filter screen supports. If it passes enough water for a given size, then the flow calculation is easy (tub gallons, divided by number of minutes to empty), and I can pick any pump equal to or slower than that in GPM rating.

That one test would answer quite a few of the questions, without having made a single change to the washer.

Post# 1057655 , Reply# 17   1/15/2020 at 12:09 by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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Ok, I've done enough tests to feel comfortable moving forward. The pump choice, however, is still a problem. It seems as though everything I'm finding that was made for the purpose, is severely limited by its duty cycle.

Take for example these two Whirlpool washer pumps - one a circulate pump, one a drain pump. They look great in terms of packaging, fittings, etc, and are easy to find... but the circulate pump has a duty cycle of 5 minutes ON / 30 minutes OFF... and the drain pump a duty cycle of 10 minutes ON, 50 minutes OFF. Same with the pictured GE pump - otherwise perfect for mounting, but only 15 minutes ON, 45 minutes OFF rating.

Some of these pumps would be past their ratings for a single wash load... and any back-to-back loads would double that. How are these even workable in their intended machines? Just software limited to sparingly small amounts of run time?

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Post# 1057715 , Reply# 18   1/15/2020 at 19:49 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Newer Washer Drain Pumps

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These pumps basically have no real cooling system, so depending on the room temperature and the temperature of the water being pumped they will only run so long before tripping their internal thermal Cut-Out.


I all likely hood they will probably run much longer than stated if temperature conditions are not severe.


John L.

Post# 1061325 , Reply# 19   2/23/2020 at 06:58 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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you might even do better with a maximum offers of filtering like in this Norge....

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