Thread Number: 94157  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
need motor switch for maytag
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Post# 1188493   8/25/2023 at 15:35 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

I have a harvest gold Maytag ga310. It was making a burning smell during the spin cycle. The repair guy replaced the belts and said a part in the motor was bad. He keeps stringing me along saying he ordered the part but it's been weeks, so I asked him what the part was and he texted me the "centripetal" switch. I assume he means the centrifugal switch. Anyone know where I can get a hold of one?

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Post# 1188494 , Reply# 1   8/25/2023 at 15:55 by qsd-dan (West)        

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They have been obsoleted since Whirlpool took over Maytag in 2006. I have opened these up and fixed them by cleaning up the contacts, sometimes adding a bit of solder to worn contacts, in both washers and dryers.

Post# 1188509 , Reply# 2   8/25/2023 at 17:53 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

qsd-dan, can you tell me how to open it?

Post# 1188517 , Reply# 3   8/25/2023 at 18:45 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

alright I got it open. Are those worn out looking dots the issue?

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Post# 1188521 , Reply# 4   8/25/2023 at 20:21 by qsd-dan (West)        

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The contacts that I can see look more pitted than worn. Use a small file (even a fingernail file will work) to clean them up and file them flat. Worth a try.

Post# 1188526 , Reply# 5   8/25/2023 at 22:40 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

well, before you wrote about the nail file I sanded it with some 300 grit sandpaper and ran a load and now I realize that it won't even drain. It starts draining for a split second but then it makes that burning smell and stops working.

Post# 1188527 , Reply# 6   8/25/2023 at 23:21 by qsd-dan (West)        

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It sounds like the overload protection circuit is engaging. Could be a faulty start switch but here's some things that will also cause that which are worth looking into.


No extension cords! The power cord needs to be plugged directly from the washer to the electrical outlet.


Check the belts and make sure they're genuine Maytag/Whirlpool, particularly the transmission belt. The belts used in these washers are fabric wrapped and transmission belt is designed to slip during the spin cycle as there's no clutch in a Maytag helical washer. Using a standard belt will cause the motor to grip instead of slip, putting too much strain on the motor which will cycle the motor protection switch.


Make sure the motor carriage tracks are clean, properly lubed, and the rollers are in good condition. Check the both springs are in place and not broken. Any problems here will cause spin issues.


Remove the belt from the pump and twist the pulley. Is should rotate very smooth with virtually no effort. If it's hard to turn or has rough spots, the pump needs replacing.


If a piece of clothing, like a sock, went over the inner tub, it might be jammed between the tubs, in the pump hose, in the pump, or in the drain hose. This will cause draining issues.


If water contamination made its way to the tub bearing, it could be seizing up. The washer would be noisy for quite sometime during the spin cycle before locking up though.

Post# 1188571 , Reply# 7   8/26/2023 at 15:43 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

I notice the lights flicker when this happens. Does that narrow it down any? Both the new and the old belt feel like rubber with a slightly rough texture. Any link to what the genuine ones look like? I got most of the water out with a pitcher and put it on a final spin cycle and the last drops drained out fine. I saw water moving through the pump.

Post# 1188601 , Reply# 8   8/26/2023 at 23:05 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

The pump pulley turns fine. I notice the pulley underneath the motor is a bit difficult to turn. Is that normal?

Post# 1188604 , Reply# 9   8/26/2023 at 23:34 by qsd-dan (West)        

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I notice the pulley underneath the motor is a bit difficult to turn.


The commutator is quite heavy so it makes it a little harder to to turn but it should spin pretty easily. If not, the bearings may have gone dry and it's seizing up. It may actually may be time for another motor. A seizing motor can smoke the start switch if it gets bad enough.

Post# 1188607 , Reply# 10   8/27/2023 at 00:08 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

But if the motor were seizing would it spin fine? It doesn't malfunction until it's time to drain. Then the motor switch clicks open for a second, closes again, I hear a buzz sound, the lights flicker, then the burning smell comes and it stops draining. It did the final spin cycle fine but by that time I had removed the water with a pitcher so I didn't get a chance to see if it would drain. Though if I pour some water into it now it does go down the pipe.

Post# 1188619 , Reply# 11   8/27/2023 at 08:13 by gizmo (Victoria, Australia)        

It does sound like the issue is the motor isn't slipping on the drive belt as it needs to when draining.

With these machines, the design is that, when draining, the motor drives the pump strongly and the pulley for spinning the tub weakly. If the belt from motor to transmission pulley can't slip under load, the motor will try to spin the whole drum full of water and that overloads the motor. The design is that once the drum is empty of nearly all its water and the tub can spin easily, the slippage will reduce and the spin will get up to speed.


I'm not familiar with this particular machine, but in Australia we had a Simpson machine that used a similar system, but a bit more basic mechanism than the Maytag. If the spring tension is adjusted too strong (not sure if Maytags have a similar tensioner spring) then the belt can't slip when it needs to, the motor overheats quickly and goes up in smoke.


As I understand it, the Maytag motor moves on a sliding "carriage" referred to above, if the carriage is sticky, jammed or not adjusted right, the motor won't move back enough to let the belt slip when needed. You need to check this and get it adjusted right before trying to spin it again. Do NOT keep trying to make it spin without finding and fixing the fault - you will burn out the motor. The motor has two windings, start and run. The start winding only operated for a second or two to accelerate the motor up to speed quickly. If something is preventing the motor reaching full speed in one or two seconds, the start winding will burn out - the start winding pulls a lot of amps and can only run for a few seconds, once the motor gets up to full speed the centrifugal switch disconnects the start winding and it cools down again, with the motor continuing on just the run winding.


The information you have given leads me to think this is the issue - the smell and dimming lights in the house indicates that the motor is overloading and overheating, and the fact that it gets up to speed OK once you have baled out the excess water suggests the motor works OK once it isn't being overloaded. (So I don't think the motor is burned out...yet...)

Post# 1188628 , Reply# 12   8/27/2023 at 10:39 by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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Motor/Pump, left.

Motor/Transmission, right.

Another point to perhaps check is that the motor pulley is clean and belt tension (which is adjusted via the pump) is correct.† The pump belt should be somewhat alarmingly loose compared to what's normally expected.† Proper tension is determined by squeezing the pump belt loop together at the halfway point (with the machine in normal position, not leaned back).† The motor shouldn't move against the carriage springs until 1/4" space on the pump belt loop.

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Post# 1188640 , Reply# 13   8/27/2023 at 13:48 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

hmm, I tried pinching the belt and it touches without the motor moving. Seems like it's too loose? Here's a pic of my belt. Doesn't feel like fabric to me, just rubber with a pebbled finish. So you don't think it's the pitted contacts on that switch after all?

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Post# 1188645 , Reply# 14   8/27/2023 at 15:05 by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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>> well, before you wrote about the nail file I sanded it with some 300 grit sandpaper

Electrical contacts should always be filed, not sanded. Sanding runs the risk of embedding non-conductive abrasive grit particles into the metal, which actually hold the switch contacts apart, contributing to further arcing issues.

>> The commutator is quite heavy so it makes it a little harder to to turn but it should spin pretty easily. If not, the
>> bearings may have gone dry and it's seizing up. It may actually may be time for another motor. A seizing motor
>> can smoke the start switch if it gets bad enough.

I'll second this. Now would be a good opportunity to oil the motor - Even if it's not "the issue", it would still help. The motor in our A408 was showing the same symptoms (tripping the thermal switch during spin) - ultimately we found that the motor bearings were so gummed up that it could barely be turned by hand. I had to use a penetrating solvent, followed by a generous wait for the solvents to evaporate, and then a thorough re-oiling. That motor has been trouble free for years now after the maintenance!

Post# 1188651 , Reply# 15   8/27/2023 at 16:29 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

Where are the motor bearings located?

Post# 1188664 , Reply# 16   8/27/2023 at 17:37 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

Alright I have another Maytag that won't agitate, but it spins. Repair Guy said it was the belts which I replaced but still won't agitate. How do I remove the agitator? I feel something down in there but I can't get a socket driver to get hold of it.

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Post# 1188682 , Reply# 17   8/27/2023 at 21:48 by stuftrock1 (Kentucky)        
Reply 16

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just loosen the hex head screw on the side and the agitator should pull right out. I don't remember the size of the screw off the top of my head, I think maybe 3/16"? If not then 1/4".

I don't understand how a bad belt will allow a spin but not an agitate. What exactly happens when it tries to agitate?

Post# 1188747 , Reply# 18   8/28/2023 at 13:51 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

well now the motor on the other one is burning up too. Repair guy came over and couldn't do anything. They're always in a rush to leave. So I have 2 maytags with smoked motors. We went and bought a used whirlpool.

Post# 1188755 , Reply# 19   8/28/2023 at 15:39 by stuftrock1 (Kentucky)        
Donít give up on them yet

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A smoking motor doesnít necessarily mean the motor is bad. I remember when I was rebuilding my A512 I bought new cheap belts and they were too tight so the drive belt couldnít slip when it went into spin. Smoked that motor real good. Put the old belt back on it and worked just fine. If your other washer spins just fine but smokes when it tries to agitate, Iím thinking itís something wrong with the transmission. Possibly a seized agitator shaft. Not that difficult of a fix if you know what youíre doing.

As for your GA310, I think the belts are just not tensioned properly. I ended up not being able to use the new belt I bought for my A512 because it was too small to allow the motor to slide enough on the carriage. Told the washer backwards so the weight of the motor pulls it towards the center and loosens all the tension on the belts, then hold the motor pulley in place while trying to turn the transmission pulley. If the belt cannot slip on the motor pulley, then thereís your problem and you canít use the new belt.

To properly tension the belts. Loosen the screws to the pump so that it slides freely back and forth. Push the pump as far to the right as you can, then pull the motor as far to the left as you can to fully tighten the tension. This should pull the pump a little to the left. Then pinch the pump belt in the middle with your finger in the middle to act as a spacer to pull the pump even closer to the left. Once your finger in the middle meet both sides of the belt, let go of everything and tighten the pump screws exactly where the pump is. It is very important the pump doesnít move again after squeezing the belt. This should have the belts properly tensioned.

Post# 1188813 , Reply# 20   8/29/2023 at 11:12 by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Removing a Maytag Agitator

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Itís either a quarter inch head screw or a torx screw.

The one that wonít agitate probably has it locked up transmission, take the motor off that one and put it on the other machine.

The first machine is a 1982 machine so itís got some age on it so you may have to do some fairly serious repairs on it,


Post# 1188817 , Reply# 21   8/29/2023 at 12:15 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

the one that won't agitate is a LAT8650AAW extra large capacity. Do you think the motor is interchangeable? Also this one was in a flood, 3 feet of water, so I'm sure that has something to do with it. For all I know the ga310 may have been in a flood too, this being Louisiana. I got it on craigslist a few years ago, pretty clean looking.

Post# 1188828 , Reply# 22   8/29/2023 at 16:20 by stuftrock1 (Kentucky)        

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Take the front panel off the LAT8650 and see how much rust is inside it. The flood probably rusted and seized up the lower transmission shaft. I would personally do a full teardown of this machine and clean/repaint all the rust I find. I'm surprised the motor still works at all to be honest.

But to answer your question, yes, the motors are interchangeable. Maytag kept the same basic design for like 50 years, and they are very easy and intuitive to completely disassemble. Think you could post some more pictures of your LAT8650?

Post# 1188830 , Reply# 23   8/29/2023 at 16:51 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

I'll post some pics later. Yeah it's pretty dirty in the one that got flooded. So what do you mean when you say the belt should slip? What does that look like?

Post# 1188837 , Reply# 24   8/29/2023 at 17:41 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

here's some pics of the flood victim lat8650. I can turn the transmission pulley counterclockwise if I try hard but the agitator doesn't move. I might take the start switch from this one and put it on the ga310, since that's what the repair guy originally said was wrong. The ga310 motor slides fine with the belts removed, the belt tension to the pump might be teeny bit loose. Would a belt slightly loose cause motor tripping? I don't know what the ideal tension is from the motor to the transmission pulley.

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Post# 1188838 , Reply# 25   8/29/2023 at 17:42 by stuftrock1 (Kentucky)        
Belt slipping

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The motor is on a carriage that moves back and forth with springs keeping tension on the belt. This isn't just to keep the belt properly tensioned, it also acts as a clutch to protect the motor from being overloaded. When the washer goes into spin, the motor needs to get up to full speed as quickly as possible to avoid burning out the starter coil, but a big tub full of water and clothes cannot accelerate to 618 rpm that quickly, therefor there needs to be something to serve as a clutch between the motor and tub to allow the tub to slowly ramp up speed with the motor already at full rpm.

What happens is the motor will start and immediately go to full speed, but the belt will be unable to do so. This will pull the motor on its carriage closer to the center, loosening tension on the belt which allows the motor pulley to "slip" or spin freely while still applying a force on the belt. As the tub picks up speed, the force pulling the motor towards the center will weaken, allowing the springs on the carriage to pull the motor and tighten the tension on the belt, increasing the force applied to the belt and accelerating the tub even more. Eventually, the tub will reach full speed and the belt will stop slipping on the motor pulley.

This is how it's supposed to work, and it's quite ingenious actually because it gives the drive assembly the functionality of a clutch without using an individual clutch part. If you use cheap belts that aren't designed to slip like this, or the pump and drive belts aren't tensioned together properly, the drive belt will be unable to slip on the motor pulley like it is supposed to, and the motor will overload and smoke.

Hope this explanation helps.

Post# 1188839 , Reply# 26   8/29/2023 at 18:00 by stuftrock1 (Kentucky)        
Reply 24

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Does the tub turn at all when you turn the transmission pulley?

The inside of that LAT8650 honestly doesn't look nearly as bas as I thought it would. I would still clean it out as best you could though. I love old Maytags and I'd really hate to see one head to the scrap yard.

refer to replies 12 and 19 on how to properly tension the belts. And make sure the carriage can move back far enough for the drive belt to be loosened up enough to slip, because that's what went wrong on my A512. I bought cheap new belts and the drive belt was just too small, so it pulled the carriage too far back to give it any room to move any farther back to loosen the tension and slip, so I couldn't use the new belt at all.

After properly tensioning the belts, and cleaning up all the pulleys, put it on spin and watch the motor closely. Watch the rotor from the vent holes on the top. If the motor does not instantly reach full speed, then immediately turn the washer off. You cannot use the new belts. You'll need to order genuine Maytag brand belts, which are a bit more expensive but they're the only thing that'll actually work.

Post# 1188877 , Reply# 27   8/30/2023 at 11:18 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

I made a video of the drive belt turning. This is with the older belt. The new one the repair guy put on I could hardly turn it at all.

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Post# 1188880 , Reply# 28   8/30/2023 at 11:59 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

And the motor gets up to full speed immediately on spin. So I guess the belts are fine after all? Next I wanna try switching out the start switch from the other machine. I don't have it hooked up to water so I'm not sure how I'm gonna test the draining part after the first agitation. Could I just fill it up with a bucket or something?

Post# 1188884 , Reply# 29   8/30/2023 at 12:07 by stuftrock1 (Kentucky)        

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Yeah if you could barely turn it at all with the new belt then you canít use it. Just leave the old belt on for now. Get the belts properly tensioned and put the centrifugal switch on it from the LAT8650, then hopefully your GA310 will be working fine again.

These old Maytags very rarely need new belts. If it runs properly but feels a little sluggish (slow agitate, takes forever to reach full speed on spin), then order only genuine Maytag brand belts.

Post# 1188885 , Reply# 30   8/30/2023 at 12:10 by stuftrock1 (Kentucky)        
Could I just fill it with a bucket?

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Yes. When Iím working on a washer I donít have a separate washer hookup to use, so I just fill the tub manually with a garden hose.

Test it full of water before swapping the switch. If it works, then you may not need to swap it.

Post# 1188890 , Reply# 31   8/30/2023 at 13:11 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

wellp, the switch from the lat8650 doesn't fit onto this one. The little pegs don't match up to allow it to seat properly. I guess I could swap the motors but the other one is so dirty looking I'm scared it's gonna end up failing too. So is there a way to find out if the start switch is really bad? Would a multimeter reveal anything?

Post# 1188930 , Reply# 32   8/30/2023 at 17:31 by jacnorectangle (Robert, LA)        

ok looks like I got it working. All I did was tighten the belt from the pump to the motor. Hooked it up to a garden hose. It now drains after agitation, no motor tripping. Though I ran it without any clothes, set the load size to small. Perhaps a heavier load would make it trip.

Post# 1188936 , Reply# 33   8/30/2023 at 20:28 by stuftrock1 (Kentucky)        

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Ok thatís good. Fill it up full of water and make sure it works. If it does, then youíre all set.

As for your LAT8650, itís possible the nylon gears in the orbital transmission are stripped and need replacing. Pieces from the gears could be jamming up the shaft from turning. Try to turn the transmission pulley counter clockwise and see what happens.

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