A Four Cylinder Maytag

By Staff
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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

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

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.

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