Jump to content

Nominations for Tractor of the Month
Garden Tractors and Parts on eBay



Photo
- - - - -

My Bolens Project - 850

bolens 850 191-02 tube frame wisconsin s8d tractor restoration 1969

  • Please log in to reply
95 replies to this topic

#1 MailmAn OFFLINE  

MailmAn
  • Senior Member
  • Member No: 10315
  • 292 Thanks
  • 723 posts
  • Location: Albany, NY

Posted June 26, 2012 - 08:28 AM

Hello all! I just found out about this forum and joined last night. I thought it would be a good place to find and offer help to other tractor enthusiasts. Before I tell you about my find, let me give you a little of my personal history (for those that might actually enjoy it). If you're not interested, please skip to the next paragraph...

When I was a kid growing up, my grandfather had an old Bolens tractor. Although now for the life of me, I can't remember what year or model it was. I want to say that it was a 1254, 1220, or G14 model? I thought it had a Wisconsin 14HP engine on it though, but I could be wrong and it could have actually been as low as 10-12HP? I know it was a single cylinder engine and it had the exhaust out the side that faced forward with the heat shield on it (looks like a machine gun sticking out of the side of the hood). It had a 6 speed manual with Hi/Lo range and had a 46" mower deck on it (that wouldn't fit in my dad's truck between the wheel wells). He also had the wheel weights, tire chains, snow blower attachment (although he NEVER used it!) and a plough! This thing was fully loaded for back in the day! I loved riding it around mowing his lawn for him when I came over to visit. It had some power to it and did a great job mowing. I always thought it was weird how slow (and quietly) the starter seemed to turn the engine over, but it would always start! Unfortunately, about 10 years ago, he got rid of it since it was becoming harder to work on and parts were getting hard to find. I think he had a problem with something on the deck breaking if I recall? The engine also might have been having troubles (points not working right, etc?) and was hard to start and lacked power it used to have. In any event, he traded it in on a new John Deere tractor that he's had since. It has been a good tractor for him and has been pretty maintenance-free, but I just don't like it as much as the old Bolens. It lacks character, I think!

So, I have been mowing lawns for people (mostly friends and neighbours) lately for some extra cash and it takes so long to do it with only a push mower, so I decided to look for a tractor to speed it up a bit. I searched my local Craigslist for some time, but mostly only found people selling newer (less than 20 years old) Craftsman tractors with the occasional John Deere or Cub Cadet or Murray or MTD/White, etc... Now my dad has had a Cub Cadet 1440 tractor since before I was in High School and that has been a good tractor for him. (My brother and I used to use it to mow lawns when we were kids too, so it has some mileage on it!) But Cubs and JD tractors always seem to go for so much money and I was looking for something cheap (especially since I figured if I bought a used tractor it was going to need work regardless - even if only belts and blades, etc...) But I finally came across in late May someone selling on old Bolens 850 about an hour south of Albany. It looked perfect, the price was right, and it reminded me of my grandfather's old Bolens... so I knew I had to have it! I went down to check it out and it was all complete. The battery in it was dead, but the owner had a jump-box he used to start it and it fired right up! I took it for a spin around and mowed some of his yard with it and it ran great! It didn't mow too great though and left streaks of unmowed grass, so I figured the blades were shot. The clutch also felt odd as it would disengage if you put the pedal to the floor, but wouldn't engage until the pedal was pretty much all the way up and then it just seemed to lurch forward like you just popped the clutch. The tires looked pretty new on it too. He told me he had to replace the back tires on it when he got it since they were all dry-rotted. He just bought it to use as a brush cutter in his back yard, but ended up buying a newer Kubota 24HP (or something huge) with a rear rotary mower on it. I paid $150 for the Bolens and the guy wouldn't go any lower on it since he said he paid $120 for the two rear tires on it.

Well, 4 weeks later, it is still sitting in my garage half torn apart and waiting for parts! lol... I figured it would be a project, but I didn't realize how much of one. All the belts on it were pretty shot. I mean, they worked, but were pretty ratty looking and I knew they were the first to go. Little did I know how hard it was to replace stupid belts on this tractor! You have to take half the tractor apart to get to them. The deck you literally have to take all apart to get to the deck belt as well. So, I figured the tractor was already all tore apart anyways at this point, so might as well go all out and do it right once. I stripped the deck down and washed all the crud off of it, put some rust converter on the underside, and primed and painted it. It was already painted white (with some of the original green showing through) and I always thought it looked weird with the original white/brown/red/green paint scheme, so I painted the deck white to match the hood and fenders. The closest match I could find was "IH White" at the local TSC (Tractor Supply), so I bought a couple spray cans and a quart of tractor and implement paint in that color. The deck is all done (just about) and starting to get it put back together. It looks great with the fresh paint on it! (Just have to see how long it will last for!)

The next big problem was that just about all the pulleys on it were cracked or damaged! The PTO pulley looked like it was broken off and re-welded on the shaft crooked. It "worked", but wobbled badly on the shaft. So, I had to hammer that off. Two out of the three deck drive pulleys were cracked and the belt tensioner wouldn't keep proper tension on the belt. The main drive pulley on the engine was cracked as well (the low range pulley was cracked in half). But, finding these pulleys was very difficult and they were expensive! Fortunately, Farmersville Equipment had them all. However, I had a MAJOR problem, which brings me to my first main question that I have (finally, right?)

I managed to get the engine pulley off with a prybar and some PB Blaster. The shaft key looked pretty beat up though, but I managed to get it back in the slot in the crankshaft. I got my new pulley in the mail last week and tried putting it on. It was a total pain trying to get it to go back on though! I even used some steel wool to try and clean the shaft off and sprayed it down with some more PB Blaster to help the pulley go on easier. It was still tight. I tried to fit a piece of wood in there between the pulley and hammer, but there wasn't enough room, really. So, I just used the side of the hammer and tried to gently tap it on. It went on about 1/4 of an inch then seemed to just stop. So, I pulled it off, greased up the shaft and pulley a bit more, and tried again. It went on about the same amount, then seemed to get stuck again. I gave it a few more taps and then the pulley cracked on me! The low range pulley sheared right off - $100 down the drain!!! I was so pissed!!! Fortunately again, Farmersville happened to have another pulley - but it is his LAST ONE. I still haven't gotten it yet, but I have to be SUPER CAREFUL with this one and treat it like a delicate porcelain tea cup (since evidently it is for some reason...) If this one breaks on me, I'm SOL without a main drive pulley to run the tractor! Does anyone know a good way to get this pulley on without breaking it? I bought a rubber mallet this time instead of trying to use a nailing hammer, so IDK if that will help? Why is this pulley so hard to go on? Is it supposed to be a tight fit? It has allen set screws to hold it on the shaft, so IDK why it has to fit on so tight that you have to practically break the pulley to get it on! (BTW - YES, I did take the set screws out of it before I put the pulley on. It didn't even get far enough on the shaft where it would have hit the screws anyways...) Could the shaft key be an issue? I tried again (after breaking the pulley) to put it on without the key in place and it was still hard to go on and got stuck in about the same spot. My only other thought would be to get a very small wire brush on a drill to try and clean out the inside of the pulley before I try to put it on. I'm just really at a loss here and can't afford to break another pulley trying to get it on the engine! I'm so close to getting this tractor functional again, I'd hate to have to scrap it or something.


-Thanks,

-Kevin

Edited by MailmAn, December 18, 2012 - 08:05 AM.


#2 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

Bolens 1000

    DR. Bolens

  • Staff Admin
  • Staff
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 7
  • 12,701 Thanks
  • 17,208 posts
  • Location: Western NY

Posted June 26, 2012 - 08:45 AM

Welcome to GTT!
We would love to see some pictures of your Bolens, Pictures would also help us know what were dealing with(pulley's ect.)
These Bolens are tough machines and are fairly easy to work on once you get accustomed to them.
Have you printed out a partslist / owners manual for the 850 yet?

#3 MailmAn OFFLINE  

MailmAn
  • Senior Member
  • Member No: 10315
  • 292 Thanks
  • 723 posts
  • Location: Albany, NY

Posted June 26, 2012 - 09:23 AM

I was just working on posting some pictures! I have to edit them in Photoshop first to make them small enough to post. I do have the manuals and parts lists for my tractor and mower deck. That's how I had to order parts for it! I have more photos coming too, but here are some shots of the tractor and deck just after I got it as I was working on stripping it down:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image


Here are pics of my original engine pulley that I pulled off. You can see the crack in the low range pulley:


Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image


Here is the shaft key that I pulled out too. Could this be an issue with getting the new pulley on?


Posted Image


Any thoughts, comments, or help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

#4 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

Bolens 1000

    DR. Bolens

  • Staff Admin
  • Staff
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 7
  • 12,701 Thanks
  • 17,208 posts
  • Location: Western NY

Posted June 26, 2012 - 09:41 AM

The key looks pretty banged up, It could have gotten flared out from hitting it which may be the reason you cant get the pulley back on. You may have to get another key or try and file down the one you have and see if that helps.
The pulleys should slide on by hand and should not need to be hammered back on.

#5 MailmAn OFFLINE  

MailmAn
  • Senior Member
  • Member No: 10315
  • 292 Thanks
  • 723 posts
  • Location: Albany, NY

Posted June 26, 2012 - 09:46 AM

Well, like I said, even with this key off, the broken pulley I have won't go on nicely onto the shaft for some reason. Could the inside of the pulley need to be wire brushed down to clean it up so it will slide on? Here is the best shot I could get of the engine crankshaft (it is kinda buried down in there) to show what it looks like. Seems pretty clean and smooth to me:

Posted Image

#6 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

Bolens 1000

    DR. Bolens

  • Staff Admin
  • Staff
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 7
  • 12,701 Thanks
  • 17,208 posts
  • Location: Western NY

Posted June 26, 2012 - 09:58 AM

How does the end of the shaft look?
It wouldn't hurt to sand out the inside of your pulley.

Are you sure the guy gave you the right pulley part number 1717287? These pulleys were also used on newer models such as the G10 and they had a different part numbers 1717336 & 1731271
I believe they are a different shaft size

Have you measured the ID of the pulley?

#7 JDBrian OFFLINE  

JDBrian

    Super Moderator

  • Super Moderator
  • Staff
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 2507
  • 9,574 Thanks
  • 14,136 posts
  • Location: Hubley, Nova Scotia - Canada

Posted June 26, 2012 - 10:28 AM

Congrats on the nice Bolens. You should take your time with that pulley to make sure nothing gets damaged. You will have lots of help from the Bolens experts here.

#8 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

Texas Deere and Horse

    RED Wild Hogs, Horses & Deeres

  • Staff Admin
  • Staff
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 1435
  • 14,464 Thanks
  • 15,392 posts
  • Location: East of San Antonio Texas

Posted June 26, 2012 - 10:49 AM

Welcome to GTtalk,

If you can get a file in on the shaft, you can file it long ways and see if it has any bumps or nicks in it that would cause the pulley not to slide on. I bet the end of the shaft has been hit with a hammer at some point and is mushroomed a little.

#9 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

Texas Deere and Horse

    RED Wild Hogs, Horses & Deeres

  • Staff Admin
  • Staff
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 1435
  • 14,464 Thanks
  • 15,392 posts
  • Location: East of San Antonio Texas

Posted June 26, 2012 - 10:51 AM

Also, a good welding shop can braze up that pulley and machine it back to original shape, it won't give you any problems fixing it that way..

#10 MailmAn OFFLINE  

MailmAn
  • Senior Member
  • Member No: 10315
  • 292 Thanks
  • 723 posts
  • Location: Albany, NY

Posted June 26, 2012 - 11:10 AM

I thought this pulley was made of cast iron, which is near impossible to weld or repair if you could even find someone who could do it. Plus, I'd imagine it would cost me more to fix it than to find another used pulley to buy. I have not measured the inside diameter of the pulley nor the diameter of the engine shaft. You could be right that the end is mushroomed out a bit from being hit with a hammer. If that is the case, how can I fix it? I already "sanded" it down a bit by hand with some steel wool to clean it up, but I doubt that would fix the shaft if it has a taper to it or something. I'd hate to have to pull the engine out just to fix the pulley...

I did have quite the problem getting the pulleys and drive shafts out on each of the spindles on the mower deck. Looks like they've probably been taken apart before to replace bearings and the shafts were pretty mangled and had hammer dents all over the ends, which made it very difficult to come apart and go back together. Any way to recondition the shaft ends without taking them to a machine shop to be turned on a lathe or something? I got the spindle assemblies all back together and installed with all new bearings (I pulled the end seals out of the bearings when I installed them so they will be greaseable with the fittings that are there). However, I have yet to install the drive pulleys onto the spindle shafts. I hope they won't be a problem like the engine pulley and I risk damaging them to install them. That's why I'm hoping for some tips to clean up the shaft ends!

[On a side note, I noticed that some of the deck spindle bearings were replaced with newer sealed bearings that were not set up to be greaseable. Which was kind of funny because the spindles had been greased, but it just sat in the space between the bearings and didn't actually grease the bearings at all! All of the bearings seemed pretty shot and you could hear the balls grinding around in there badly and it was kinda hard to turn them smoothly.]

Edited by MailmAn, June 26, 2012 - 11:12 AM.


#11 MailmAn OFFLINE  

MailmAn
  • Senior Member
  • Member No: 10315
  • 292 Thanks
  • 723 posts
  • Location: Albany, NY

Posted June 26, 2012 - 11:29 AM

Oh, and yet another side note... since this is a bit far off from where I am in the project right now. However, when I bought the tractor and took it for a test mow, the engine seemed to run odd to me. The throttle cable works, but it doesn't seem to control the engine very well. It seems to have two speeds - idle and full throttle! There's nothing in-between. If you start to slowly pull the throttle out, there's a delay and then the engine starts to rev up to full speed. When you push the throttle control back in, it does nothing until it's all the way back in and then it goes back to idle. Once I got it home, I sprayed down all the throttle linkages on the side of the engine with PB Blaster to try and free them up. But it seems to all work okay. The throttle isn't directly connected to the carburetor like on a newer engine though. It goes through a Rube-Goldberg-ish series of linkages and springs and rotating shafts before it attaches to the carburetor throttle plate control. Of course, this is far from a more modern engine, so I just don't know much about how they are supposed to run. Is what I'm describing as "irregular behavior" actually normal operation for these old Wisconsin engines? Are they supposed to run at full throttle until you get them under a load? It seemed to start to bog down once you get it in gear and moving with the deck running. Could it be I have a governor problem with the engine? If so, that seems like a very involved and complicated fix as you have to take the engine apart to get to the internal governor. Plus, parts for these Wisconsin engines seem hard to come by as well.

Here is a shot of my engine plate too with the model and serial numbers:

Posted Image

Posted Image

#12 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

Bolens 1000

    DR. Bolens

  • Staff Admin
  • Staff
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 7
  • 12,701 Thanks
  • 17,208 posts
  • Location: Western NY

Posted June 26, 2012 - 02:20 PM

You are correct , the pulley is cast iron but it can be repaired.
I would follow what others have said and file down the end of the shaft as there is a good chance the end has mushroomed out from someone hitting it. You probably will be better off to use a metal hand file to take some material off the end of the shaft as you will be there forever if you are using sand paper.
  • MailmAn said thank you

#13 MailmAn OFFLINE  

MailmAn
  • Senior Member
  • Member No: 10315
  • 292 Thanks
  • 723 posts
  • Location: Albany, NY

Posted June 26, 2012 - 09:53 PM

UPDATE: Went out tonight to work on the tractor and got a lot accomplished. Put the spindles back on the deck and put the (lower) PTO pulley back on. That pulley DID seem to slide on real easy, so I'm thinking you're right and the engine pulley should similarly slide right on. Took a file to the banged up shaft key to try and smooth it out, which turned out okay. (After I went on a wild goose chase to try and buy a new one, but after trying every hardware store I could find, no one had one that would match it. They had 1/4" square keys (which is the size I need), but they were all only about an inch and a half long and the key I have is about 2 inches long.) Then I took the file to the engine shaft. After a quick once over, I tried to slip the old pulley back on and it started to go on much easier this time! It still got stuck about half-way up the shaft, but it's still progress! I only worked over the end of the shaft where I thought it could be mushroomed a bit. If I run a file down the whole shaft, it might just do the trick! IDK WHY I should have to do this, but who knows what that shaft has been through, I guess? Just hope this works!!!

There should be no issue if the pulley isn't a "tight fit" on the shaft, right? The key should keep the shaft from turning without the pulley turning and the set screws should keep it firmly on the shaft without it falling off, right? So, might as well file down the shaft enough so the pulley slides right on with no fuss then, right?


I also got the new brake shoes installed and adjusted (hopefully correctly adjusted!) Replacing all the hardware with new Grade 8 nuts, bolts, and washers too as I take stuff off. Most of the old hardware is so rusted, I'm surprised it comes apart as easily as it does. But almost everything that has come off has been tossed and new hardware installed in its place. (Unless it is a weird length or some specialty hardware that I can't find anywhere.)

Edited by MailmAn, June 26, 2012 - 09:59 PM.


#14 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

Texas Deere and Horse

    RED Wild Hogs, Horses & Deeres

  • Staff Admin
  • Staff
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 1435
  • 14,464 Thanks
  • 15,392 posts
  • Location: East of San Antonio Texas

Posted June 26, 2012 - 10:45 PM

For a new key, you can go to any bearing house and buy it in any length you want, also Fastenal carries it as well as TSC. If one of our Site Sponsors doesn't have the pulley you need, you might have to watch Ebay. The pulley is Cast Iron, that's why I said you would have to get it "Brazed" up and turned down to proper size..

#15 MH81 ONLINE  

MH81

    Proud to be Deplorable

  • Staff Admin
  • Staff
  • -GTt Supporter-
  • Contributor
  • Member No: 802
  • 27,319 Thanks
  • 28,636 posts
  • Location: N. W. PA

Posted June 27, 2012 - 12:22 AM

I am far from a Bolens literate guy, but is it possible you have a bent crank shaft? If there is a bend in it, a pulley assembly that long may have a tough time going on correctly.

I would check for this with a straight edge along the shaft.

:welcome: to GTTalk, hope the new one goes on for you.
  • MailmAn said thank you





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: bolens, 850, 191-02, tube frame, wisconsin, s8d, tractor, restoration, 1969

Top