Maytag Gas Engine Experiment

Massanutten Antique Tractor and Gasoline Engine Club Inc.'s 1991 show

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9565 Highway 63, Emmett, Kansas 66422

Because I wanted to find out how long a 92 Maytag gas engine would run on 50 gallons of gas and three gallons of oil, I put a float from a six cylinder carburetor in a short deep tank under a Maytag engine, and plumbed in a 55 gallon barrel. A mixture of 50 gallons of gasoline and three gallons of Walmart  50-to-1 two-cycle oil was poured into the barrel.

I started the 92 Maytag engine on Friday, November 15, at 9:00 a.m. It ran until Sunday, November 17, at 11:00 a.m., 50 hours, when it fouled the sparkplug and died. The engine was quickly restarted after a new sparkplug was inserted.

At that point, I decided the fuel was too rich, and cut it back about 40% by adjusting the carburetor. The first two days, the engine was burning about 41/2 gallons of fuel a day; but after it was adjusted down 40%, it burned about 31/2 gallons a day. The adjustment also cut the smoke down considerably. On Tuesday, November 19, I drained out five gallons of gas-oil mixture from the barrel, and replaced it with five gallons of straight gas to dilute the fuel a little more.  

The engine ran 125 hours more, then started missing and died. Luckily, I was there, put in another new plug and restarted it. The third spark plug ran 97 hours, then I put in another new one so it would be sure to run all the gas out of the barrel without stopping again.

Two weeks from when I started the engine, the barrel went dry at 9:25 p.m. on November 29. I stopped the engine with its tank full of fuel, as it was full when I started it. It had run 348 hours and 25 minutes. If the fuel had been properly adjusted the first few days, it would have run another 24 hours, I feel sure, and the first sparkplug would have lasted longer. It was firing at about 140 times a minute, which would mean it fired about three million times during this experiment.

The next day, I took the block off the engine to check the exhaust ports. One port was partly carboned up, but the rest were clean. The ignition points showed no wear. The connecting rod showed no wear due to less oil. From now on, I am going to mix the fuel for my Maytags at 20-to-1 rather than 16-to-1.

I've been told a number of times that a Maytag engine wouldn't keep running if you ever got it started. I think this Maytag engine disproved that theory.

Along with this engine, I have nearly 400 Maytag engines now. About 350 will run and have run one tank of fuel. I also have about 30 or so other small air cooled engines, including a Briggs Q, which runs real good. And I have about 40 flywheel engines-these I haven't worked on yet, but will sometime in the future.

I built a Maytag tractor with six two-cylinder Maytag engines in 1987-it was featured in January 1988 GEM.