Thread Number: 85533  /  Tag: Wringer Washers
Maytag Type N smoking motor?
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Post# 1100869   12/16/2020 at 18:11 (1,219 days old) by Bradfordko (Dover)        

We bought our Maytag wringer washer a few weeks ago and have washed half a dozen loads. It looks likely used, very original parts on it, and does not leak. Everything functioned correctly until today when we were testing out the wringer mechanism and just after plugging it in and running one shirt through no problem we saw smoke coming from the bottom of the washer. We unplugged it immediately. It smelled like electrical type smoke and not the belt burning type smoke. After clearing the smoke from the bathroom we inspected the underside and found the belt to be perfectly cool to touch and remnants of smoke still seeping slightly from the motor. My first theory was that there might be a polarity requirement for our washer; you have to plug it in the right way or risk reversing the polarity of the motor. Our plug has two equal size prongs so you could plug it in either way. We looked at the plug and saw the UL marking and decided to plug it in again with the UL letters pointed upward. The motor and wringer ran smoothly, no weird sound, and now no smoke. I see the cord appears to have some drying cracks which were tapped just below the drum. The number on the drum shows K1401 and serial number 317054P and made in Newton, IOWA. Is there a problem switching polarity on these? Is this an early sign of a motor calling it quit? I know I will replace the electric cord due to the crack and will go with a cord that has updated polarity and even three prong. If it ain't broke don't fix it but what would cause that kind of smoke. I put my nose near the motor opening and can smell the electrical motor smell. Let me know what you recommend we do. We plan to use this in our Tennessee farm we are setting up. We live in Nebraska currently.

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Post# 1100879 , Reply# 1   12/16/2020 at 19:53 (1,219 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

unimatic1140's profile picture
Hi and welcome. It could be several things but my first guess would be the problem may be with internal centrifugal start switch inside the motor. The motor has two windings start and run. Both start and run are energized until the motor is up to full speed, then the centrifugal switch cuts out the start winding and the motor just uses the run winding. If the start switch is stuck and cannot cut the power to the start winding the motor will overheat. This usually happens within 60 seconds or so of the start winding being energized too long.

I would take that motor apart and look at the start switch inside. It may simply need to be cleaned and greased so the weights fly apart at top speed cutting the power to the start winding.

You can google "fixing an induction motor centrifugal start switch" for detailed help.

Polarity makes no difference what so ever on this vintage motor.

Post# 1100927 , Reply# 2   12/17/2020 at 10:01 (1,219 days old) by Bradfordko (Dover)        
Type 18 & 19 Washer?

Thank you so much for your quick response. Based on the Serial number and number on the tub I think we have a Maytag Type 18 + 19 and not a Type N.

I thought the polarity had nothing to do with the smoke we saw and felt the motor was burning out. We will go through the motor and check the internal centrifugal start switch. I hope the windings are not burned out too bad but might be. I need to go through and replace the cord, possibly motor, and regrease everything.

What would be a good source for a repair manual, gaskets, possible motor, recommended grease? I want to go through it thoroughly in the next month so it might give us many more years of service.

Post# 1100928 , Reply# 3   12/17/2020 at 10:06 (1,219 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

swestoyz's profile picture
Maytag 18/19 washers were an emerald green washer, with a porcelain tub and painted metal parts. IMO, the best looking of the pre-War machines.

Your model N shares many parts with the model E, of which the Amish have reproduced the majority of parts for. The difference in parts is the wringer head is unique to the N, where as the J and E share the same wringer head.

As for a service manual, you will find a copy, along with a parts list, out on automatic ephemera -

Good luck!


Post# 1100960 , Reply# 4   12/17/2020 at 15:43 (1,218 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

unimatic1140's profile picture
Yes I would use this service manual:

and this parts manual:

for your Maytag wringer washer.

Post# 1101039 , Reply# 5   12/18/2020 at 09:21 (1,218 days old) by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        
Smoking split-phase motors....

While I'm not familiar with the wringer washer its self, I can second Robert's advice to check the start switch inside the motor.

This type of motor has a two windings. One is designed for continuous use for running. It has low electrical resistance so current passes without producing much heat. This is the run winding.

The start winding has a lot of electrical resistance. It is designed for use for just a moment while the motor is picking up speed. The resistance is necessary for the motor to start; however this resistance causes the start winding to get very hot very quickly.

The motor has a mechanism to turn off the start winding once it's up to speed. This has mechanical moving parts which can get gummed up with old grease and dirt. If it is stuck, the start winding may stay powered on the whole time the motor is running. That will make the motor start smoking after a certain amount of time.

Normally if you power off the motor quickly enough at the first sign of smoke, it will be OK once the stuck parts are cleaned and relubricated. The initial smoke is usually oil and dirt avaporating from the winding; which would happen before the winding its self is damaged.

Here is a video where I have one smoke and find the problem.

Post# 1101164 , Reply# 6   12/19/2020 at 11:31 (1,216 days old) by Bradfordko (Dover)        
Awesome responses!

Thanks for clarify the model we have swestoyz.
I will download the manuals recommended by Unimatic1140.
The video was also very helpful from turbokinetic.

I might come back as I go through everything and refresh it for regular use hopefully!

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