A Boy and His Maytag

Maytag engine

Courtesy of H. B. Upshur, 290 Appletree Drive, Media, Pennsylvania 19063

H. B. Upshur

Content Tools

290 Appletree Drive, Media, Pennsylvania 19063

Some people say that the younger generation doesn't care about the old engines we like to hear popping. I don't think that's totally true because although my 12-year-old boy, Tom, likes sports, ten-speed bikes and motorcycles, it took a rusty old Maytag motor to really get him down to some enjoyable work in the garage.

Back in June of '73 I repaired, and got running, a model horizontal gasoline engine for Marvin Klair. Marvin has his own Gas Engine Meet near Wilmington each year. I enjoy working on small engines and didn't want anything for the job, but Marvin would not hear of it and he said 'How about an old Maytag washer engine since I have two or three?' He scrounged around his garage and produced a pretty rough example, but it wasn't stuck. Naturally, I was glad to have it and told him my boy would probably love to take it apart.

Well, Tom jumped for joy at the thought of having his own engine to run at the meets and he lit into taking it apart the next day. I had to help him in some places, like getting the flywheel off which was rusted on the taper. Tom worked on the clean up of parts for most of the summer between swimming and other activities. He used lots of gunk, gasoline, wire brushing and naval jelly to remove rust. Twelve-year-old boys tend to goof off on the elbow work and frequently when he brought a part to me for inspection I would tell him to go back and hit it some more. In due time he did it right and also did a good paint job on the external parts. The cylinder is red, crankcase silver and remaining frame green.

Tom Upshur and his Maytag engine.

Sometimes, the garage floor looked like a disaster area and Tom's mother was nearly frantic because his favorite way to work was to sit, bare to the waist, right in the middle of his parts, grease scrapings and junk. You can imagine her cries of, 'Stay off my good chairs and rugs and get to the shower!' when he entered the house.

I set the magneto for him and when everything was properly reassembled, the Maytag fired off with a couple of kicks. Tom finished it just in time to display it at the Arcadia, Maryland Meet and he sure enjoyed that. He is looking forward to running it at a lot of meets in 1974.