Thread Number: 85726  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Slow, long stroke agitation versus short, fast stroke
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Post# 1102736   1/1/2021 at 11:03 (1,206 days old) by marky_mark (From Liverpool. Now living in Palm Springs and Dublin)        

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I know most of us prefer the traditional long, slower stroke agitation.  But why?  Is this preference mostly due to nostalgic reasons or does the slower, longer stroke wash better and more gently etc?


Whirlpool direct drives can be shreadmores if not used wisely.

But what about others like Maytag?

This post was last edited 01/01/2021 at 11:20

Post# 1102738 , Reply# 1   1/1/2021 at 11:19 (1,206 days old) by ozzie908 (Lincoln UK)        

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Have you not seen a Servis washer that has the long slow stroke it stirs up a lot of current, Compare it to the Hotpoint which has a shorter faster stroke that washes in a totally different way it still stirs up the water but it makes the clothes go back and forth where as the service moves them all around the tub.


Post# 1102743 , Reply# 2   1/1/2021 at 12:10 (1,206 days old) by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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I have no specific concerns about the arc of agitation.† All items catch sufficient action through the course of the cycle, wash and rinse period, I'm happy.

Post# 1102747 , Reply# 3   1/1/2021 at 12:52 (1,206 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Long Stroke Vs Shorter Stroke Agitation

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Hi Mark, Either type has worked well in different washer and agitator designs.


The LS in BD WP built Washers was never really a problem for example due to good agitator designs.


Likewise the SS agitation of Frigidaire pulsator agitation, GE FF washers, Philco washers of the 60s and of course WP DD washers of the larger capacity design generally worked well.


Maytag offers a good comparison because they used two different transmission designs in the same washer design.


The BIG problem with MT LS washers was the two different agitators used were ill designed for such a narrow tub, the original bakelite and the Power-Finn both will grab clothing and just repeatedly drag the item back and forth through the water, this is especially pronounced with high speed agitation on lower water levels.

[ Note MT sold more 1 speed washers than about anyone else ]


In the 1970s CRs decided to test the premise of whether consumers needed to buy a 2 speed washer or whether a 1 speed machine was adequate. To test they bough all the leading US washers in their basic 1 speed versions and washed sheer curtains in the machines, ONLY the MT with a PF agitator ruined in one washing the sheer curtain panels, not even the very aggressive agitation of a 1 speed Norge damaged the curtain panels.


The best thing MT ever did to the DC washer line was the Two-Way Load Sensor with the faster shorter stroke agitation, I was still working around my friends that had a Maytag Store and they said that virtually all the complaints about clothing damage went away after  the LSA became standard in the domestic lineup.



Post# 1102764 , Reply# 4   1/1/2021 at 13:48 (1,206 days old) by Marky_mark (From Liverpool. Now living in Palm Springs and Dublin)        

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That’s very interesting. Thank you for the replies and info.  I’m learning so much here!

What about the interim period where Maytag went over to the orbital transmission with the short, fast stroke but did not yet have the Load Sensor agitator, such as the photo below?

  View Full Size
Post# 1102767 , Reply# 5   1/1/2021 at 14:01 (1,206 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Early Short Stroke MTs

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This design with a smaller agitator reduced clothing wear, however if loaded heavily the clothing at the bottom  tended to get pretty beat up witch is why the Load-Sensor was such an improvement.



Post# 1102800 , Reply# 6   1/1/2021 at 18:41 (1,206 days old) by super32 (Blackstone Massachusetts)        

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Currently have the best of both worlds. I was faced with only keeping 1 of the washers for a moment but ended up keeping both. 1 short/fast and 1 long/slow. I actually like the short/fast a bit better. Both work, seem to wash ok, spin is the same of course. I have found that the short/fast seems to roll a larger load just a tad bit better.

  View Full Size
Post# 1102801 , Reply# 7   1/1/2021 at 18:59 (1,206 days old) by Marky_mark (From Liverpool. Now living in Palm Springs and Dublin)        

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That’s a nice set up, Scott.  I notice you have the Maytag electric dryer with electronic moisture sensing.  How do you find it in terms of accuracy and general results?  I imagine it’s fairly similar to the Kenmore 27” dryers. 

Post# 1102802 , Reply# 8   1/1/2021 at 19:15 (1,206 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, Thereīs a Lady on Stage)        

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If Maytag could have found a way to produce same results using agitator from wringer washers and that square tub in automatics, they would have cornered the market.

When properly loaded even large items like sheets move down and around by powerful currents of water. This instead of merely being dragged about bottom of tub.

Post# 1102804 , Reply# 9   1/1/2021 at 19:23 (1,206 days old) by super32 (Blackstone Massachusetts)        
Reply #8

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The electronic dry seems to do a nice job. 95% of the loads I dry come out perfect. As with most dryers, the only exception is heavy and dense items like bath rugs that may need a little extra time.

Post# 1102806 , Reply# 10   1/1/2021 at 19:26 (1,206 days old) by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        

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Perfectly happy with the washing action and turn over in my Ď63 RCA Whirlpool Imperial Mark XII washer. When slightly under loaded, it manages to turn the load over at least 10 to 12 times a minute and I counted how many times the red t-shirt turned over, it turned over at least 12 times.


Post# 1102810 , Reply# 11   1/1/2021 at 19:42 (1,206 days old) by Sudster ()        

I loved that video of your RCA.  I should make a sound loop and sleep to it for therapy .What a  great machine.


What about guys like me who have jeans and heavy wear fabrics? My Maytag may beat the clothing,as you say, but cleaning the grease from my jeans is imperative. I'll take the beating instead of the massaging as I haven't the time to treat,brush and scrub before washing.

Post# 1102821 , Reply# 12   1/1/2021 at 20:37 (1,206 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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actually if Maytag gave their automatics the same belt drive as the wringers, they would have won hands down....

but that slipping clutch/belt is the true reason behind the cut-all-power lid switch, it wasn't about was so people switching from a wringer could not see the sluggish wash action pf the automatic compared to the wringer....which they thought they were getting...

standard size tubs which formed an "O" offered better turnover...versus the oval taller shape of the larger capacity...if the tub for the larger capacity was made equally taller and wider, and the agitators size compensated as well, they wouldn't have had the issues that they did...

this is where the Load Sensor helped out a lot....

the 50hz pulley upgrade is a nice touch for the pitman trans, a kick up in action these machines always needed...

Post# 1102823 , Reply# 13   1/1/2021 at 21:05 (1,206 days old) by Sudster ()        



         So the world should have ceased washer technical advancement at the wringer? Was the the Maytag automatic a step down? I don't understand.


 Maytag engineer's couldn't figure this out also?


It's a washing machine

Post# 1102828 , Reply# 14   1/1/2021 at 21:57 (1,206 days old) by robbinsandmyers (Conn)        
50Hz pulley

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Would that put undue stress on the motor and shorten its life?

Post# 1102858 , Reply# 15   1/2/2021 at 05:38 (1,206 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
50 Hz Motor Pulleys

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Hi John, Would a 50Hz pulley shorten the life of a motor ?


It would be very unlikely to do much to the motor, the two things that are likely to ruin an older washer motor at this point are lubrication failures and moisture damage that degrades the motor windings, within reason working a motor a little harder does not do any real harm.


John L.

Post# 1102869 , Reply# 16   1/2/2021 at 08:47 (1,206 days old) by kenwashesmonday (Carlstadt, NJ)        

I've been running a 1972 Maytag A606 long-stroke high capacity machine, with the stock pulley, for 16 years.  I have the lid switch by-passed for two reasons, I want to see what's going on, and I like to add bleach while it's agitating.


I find that the clothes get cleaner when the machine is loaded nice and full, turning the clothes over slowly.  When it's under-loaded and flipping the clothes over quickly, grease spots from my sloppy chef are sometimes left behind.  As far as anything made of a sheer fabric, such as silk long johns, I simply put them in a mesh laundry bag, and throw them in.  I have never witnessed the clothes "merely being dragged about the bottom of the tub".


Post# 1102877 , Reply# 17   1/2/2021 at 09:39 (1,206 days old) by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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Rapid-fire rollover on an underload situation reasonably doesn't clean as well as more leisurely rollover that provides items more time in the lower "action zone."

Some would chastise that this load of four jeans needs more water (and faster agitation) ... it does not.

Or, that this is an overload ... it's not.† Or should been on high speed ... maybe, but not necessary, although max 16 mins wash time could been done instead of 14 mins.

Post# 1102891 , Reply# 18   1/2/2021 at 12:53 (1,205 days old) by RP2813 (Sannazay)        
Long Slow Stroking RULES (but men already know that)

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The agitation on the Whirlpool Catalyst & Gold looks entirely lame to me.   I would never own either machine.

Post# 1102895 , Reply# 19   1/2/2021 at 14:13 (1,205 days old) by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        
Direct-drive agitation

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Those models are the same action as any direct drive from 1981 through 2010-ish.† Millions produced under various brand labels so the design apparently was successful enough to continue for the duration of the timeframe.

Post# 1102896 , Reply# 20   1/2/2021 at 14:36 (1,205 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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What I appreciate about my 2017 Speed Queen is that its long/slow agitation stroke makes it a truly vintage-style washer. Ditto for the spin-drain.

Having said that, mid-1960 GEs had the fastest agitation of any machine I'd seen up to that point. Don't know the actual strokes-per minute, but it had to be 100 or better. Frigidaires pulsated faster than that, but utilized the unique up-and-down pulsation rather than traditional agitation, so I didn't include it in the strokes-per-minute count.

I had a middle-of-the-line 1989 KitchenAid as a daily driver for about sixth months. Its fastest speed was the same as the middle speed on Kenmores and Whirlpools, which had smaller fins on the agitator. Those dual-action agitators in direct drive machines could really turn over huge loads well.

If I recall correctly, back in the 1980s CR looked for three complete turnovers of a maximum capacity load during the wash portion of the cycle. As Glenn mentioned, this allowed for more clothes-to-clothes friction and a little more time at the bottom of the tub, improving cleaning ability.

This post was last edited 01/02/2021 at 17:48
Post# 1102933 , Reply# 21   1/2/2021 at 20:06 (1,205 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        
RE: Reply # 13

Typed by someone who does not show interaction with a Maytag Wringer washer and never compared the wide tub and rolling action set up by the water currents of those machines versus the piss poor circulation set up by the same Gyrator, not the Power Fin, in the narrow tub of the automatics, especially the situation in the narrow tubs of Maytag's first automatics. Maytag had good reason for not wanting users to be able to watch the  automatic's washing action by putting that stupid lid switch in to measure the water level when it would have been much cheaper to use a timed fill.

Post# 1103003 , Reply# 22   1/3/2021 at 12:08 (1,204 days old) by robbinsandmyers (Conn)        

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Thanks John I'll look into picking one up along with the right belt.

Post# 1103109 , Reply# 23   1/4/2021 at 10:42 (1,204 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
short vs. long?

^U^ ^u^ ioi IoI -_ While the long provides more torque, the short allows more r.p.m.'s without stressing the crank's as much. It's leverage over force. People tugging one behind each other can pull or push more than ones standing at angles from one another.

Post# 1130309 , Reply# 24   10/4/2021 at 04:32 (931 days old) by GELaundry4ever (Nacogdoches, TX, USA)        
GE washers

I have had GE washers with the short fast stroke which did a great job cleaning clothes. I especially noticed it in my post filter-flo pair. At full speed agitation, you could hear splashing of water, even with a full load of laundry.

Post# 1130345 , Reply# 25   10/4/2021 at 12:00 (930 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I think

The comments about a square tub Maytag wringer vs a Maytag automatic are spot on, the Maytag automatics DID last forever but the reason was, they really dont do too much, everyone seems to think they are the end all washer, but if you load the exact same full load in one that you load in a Norge or Whirlpool, it will not turn it over where as the Norge or Whirlpool will, As for those thrashomatic DD Whirlpools im of the opinion they are the worst machines ever built

Post# 1130351 , Reply# 26   10/4/2021 at 12:35 (930 days old) by kenwashesmonday (Carlstadt, NJ)        

My 1972 Maytag A606 washes up a storm.  No, it won't hold as much as the large Whirlpool, but it doesn't use as much water either.  


I'd have to guess that every time I read "they really don't do much" or "they last so long because they don't do anything", it must be posted by someone who never used one regularly.  I've had GE Filter-Flo washers, Whirlpool belt drive, Whirlpool direct drive, and a Frigidaire 1-18, and none got my filthy work clothes any cleaner than my Maytag A606 does.

Post# 1130360 , Reply# 27   10/4/2021 at 14:06 (930 days old) by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        

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Maytags do well if you donít overload them or use too much detergent and same rule applies to the Whirlpool belt drive washers and you can usually get away with using more detergent in a Whirlpool belt drive washer but if you really over do it youíll suds lock the machine and Iíve had that happen before with my Ď63 Whirlpool when I first washed a small load of towels in it since it kicked up a bunch of suds.

Post# 1130362 , Reply# 28   10/4/2021 at 15:11 (930 days old) by Good-Shepherd (New Jersey)        
or use too much detergent

How much is too much?

I've used 50% more than recommended dosages in an A712 and have very little sudsing.

Although we are on private well water.

Post# 1130421 , Reply# 29   10/5/2021 at 06:11 (930 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

I remember the cover of the early 70s Consumer Reports issue reporting on the tests of automatic washers. They had a Maytag and a Whirlpool side by side. The Whirlpool had two full laundry baskets stacked beside it and there were three full laundry baskets sitting beside the Maytag indicating that the WP could wash in two loads what it took the Maytag three loads. Someone who had not been indoctrinated that Maytag washers ALWAYS had to win had purchased the standard tub (16 gallon) tub model. Horrors! This prejudice for Maytags went back decades. It might have been Consumer's Research Bulletin that opined that the capacity of the AMP was 5 pounds of dry fabrics, but there was an issue in the early 60s when the "capacity wars" were in full swing when I think it was Consumer's Research Bulletin tried washing 12 pound loads in the machines of that period which were still the standard tubs. The most galling, I mean surprising, finding was that a standard tub Maytag could handle the load, but the Kenmore was overloaded with the same load. I don't know which agitator was in the Kenmore.

Post# 1130453 , Reply# 30   10/5/2021 at 12:54 (929 days old) by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        

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Iíve washed fairly large loads in my 1963 Whirlpool before but never even dare think about overloading that machine since Iíve literally seen no others like it around plus I never have issues with things not getting cleaned in that machine when I load it properly. When lightly loaded, the load turns over a good 12 to 14 times a minute which is similar-ish to the Frigidaires of the era.

Post# 1197440 , Reply# 31   1/20/2024 at 02:00 by GELaundry4ever (Nacogdoches, TX, USA)        

I remember when GE had that short/fast stroke agitation. They copied Whirlpool.

Post# 1197459 , Reply# 32   1/20/2024 at 10:24 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
mid-1990s "plastic" GE

The transmission could be made smaller using a short stroke design-shorter rack and smaller gears.Like the WP DD,GE coupled the short fast stroke with a 1/2 HP motor that was closer to 3/4 HP actual output by amp rating.Though not a copy at all,no doubt GE had a couple DDs in their R&D department when the plastoid machines were developed :)


Post# 1197461 , Reply# 33   1/20/2024 at 11:29 by rinso (Meridian Idaho)        

As a person with OCD and Asperger's, I couldn't resist bypassing the lid switch on my DE806 washer. It was supposed to hold an 18 pound load, but when I did that, it would barely roll over once or twice. A load of sheets would hardly roll over at all, as sections of them would stay above the water level, especially during rinse. Jeans, which I wore for work, wouldn't roll over at all. I think it's true that the "Dependable Maytag" back then was due to the fact that it didn't have to work very hard.

Post# 1197478 , Reply# 34   1/20/2024 at 14:53 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        
Reply #33

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I believe the large capacity Maytags were rated for 14 pounds of laundry or so. Since I put the dual action Load Sensor in, easily can squeeze a bit more in without putting too much strain on the brake and transmission.

Hereís my Maytag A806 washing an extra large load of shorts with the dual action load sensor agitator.


Post# 1197522 , Reply# 35   1/20/2024 at 19:50 by GELaundry4ever (Nacogdoches, TX, USA)        
cfz2882 regarding GE

When I say copycat, I mean the agitation of the GE and Whirlpool direct drive washers. they're similar to each other. I believe GE made a smaller transmission and decreased the oil capacity when the filter-flo was discontinued. I would assume GE used a different oil as they did in their filter-flo transmission to reduce wear. I believe it was very lightweight so the gears can mesh. Maybe it's what causes that knocking noise during agitation.

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