A Four Cylinder Maytag

Maytag engines

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5166 S. Vine, Wichita, Kansas 67217

It seems that Maytag engines have been modified about every way possible. Richard Mueller's picture of a rotary Maytag in the April '91 issue of GEM prompted me to write about a Maytag I built. This project started several years ago, when I had a friend with a machine shop join two Maytag crankshafts for me. I was never satisfied with the joint between the two shafts, even though it was machined to my design. A couple of months ago, I gave enough Maytag pieces to my friend, Virgil Ewy, to complete one engine. Virgil assembled the engine, but could not get it running. We replaced the ignition coil two times without any success. The first two coils checked bad with an ohm-meter, but the third coil checked good, still no spark. Further investigation revealed somewhere in the coil changing process the ignition cam got reversed. After this was corrected we had a running engine.

While we were diagnosing the coil problem, Virgil and I discussed the four cylinder Maytag project. He urged me to complete the engine and suggested some ways to arrange the two engines. I took another look at the crankshaft joint and figured out a way to strengthen it using the original cranks. This joint is complex and I would not use it again. What I would do is cut both cranks off to the proper length, drill the front crank five-eighths of an inch diameter, one inch deep, and machine the back crank off to fit inside with a press fit. Then, I would drill two five-sixteenths diameter holes at right angles to each other, and use roll pins in the holes. If the engine is to work properly, the machine work must be done very accurately. I used roll pins to strengthen the original joint, but it is not as good as the joint described above. Nonetheless, the engine has run about two hours with no problems.

The rest of this project was fairly straight forward. I turned the exhaust up so all pipes would be the same length. This lets the exhaust sound smoother. A carburetor was used from a Briggs and Stratton with the throttle fixed open. Governors were left in both crankshafts. An intake manifold connects both inlets.

An extra set of points was taken from another Maytag and mounted where the coil used to be. Ignition coils are double ended motorcycle coils. Chie coil is used for the front cylinders, the other for the rear cylinders. Firing alternates between the front and rear cylinders, which sounds just like a four cylinder tractor engine.

I tried to make the frame as rigid as possible to keep the crankshafts in line. So far, the four cylinder Maytag has run very well. It must be loaded fairly heavy to fire evenly, but it really sounds good and pulls strong.