Getting A Stuck Maytag Unstuck

By Staff

R.R. 2, Box 20 Heron Lake, Minnesota 56137

I am writing about my experience of getting a stuck Maytag
unstuck. It all started when I recently acquired one Maytag engine
and numerous parts from a friend of mine. Well, the engine and
parts had been sitting in a grove for about 20 years and the engine
was badly stuck. The parts that were sitting in the grove included
a cylinder, piston, connecting rod (all stuck together), kick
start, base plate, and a flywheel.

As I disassembled the engine I noticed that it was unlike any of
my Maytags, including such things as a different kick pedal, pedal
cover, and the tag was mounted on the side instead of being mounted
on the carburetor. I called Bob’s Small Engine Repair in
Marion, Iowa, and told him of these unusual things. He told me that
I had a rare Model 19 with side tag and a two piece kick pedal.
Boy, I was excited! Now, all I had to do was get it unstuck, Ha,

Well, I finally got it apart and found that water had puffed out
the gas tank on the bottom and totally ruined the base plate. I
bought some cast iron rods and started welding. By the time I was
done, I had a good (leaky) gas tank and a warped base plate.
(Nothing a little gasket sealer won’t fix.)

Now, the hard part, to find a good piston and cylinder. I call
Bob up again and ordered a piston, ring set, cylinder, point set,
and mag plate (which I broke). On the phone he mentioned to me that
on that day they were breaking stuck pistons loose. I asked how in
the world he was able to do that and he told me that they heated up
the cylinders red-hot, then quickly dunked them in cold water and
the expanding and contracting of the metal breaks them loose every

Now I told my grandpa about this and he said someday he would go
out and try it out on the cylinder that was sitting in the shop
(the one that was buried in a grove with no spark plug in it and no
crankcase attached to the other end). It just so happens that I was
there the day that he tried it. He heated up the cylinder red-hot
and quickly dunked it in a snowdrift. He then locked the connecting
rod into the vise and lightly tapped on the cylinder. I think it
moved. A few more taps, and yes, it did move. With a pot of
patience and some careful taps on the cylinder, we had the piston
out in a half hour.

Now I am 100% sure that if we could break this piston loose,
then I think that any stuck Maytag piston can be broken loose
without harming the cylinder or the piston.

Also, one final note: using this method along with a good
soaking in penetrating oil, I was even able to free the stuck
piston rings.

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