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Tuning A Wisconsin Engine

bolens 850 wisconsin engine

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#31 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted August 24, 2012 - 07:17 AM

Well, you confused the hell out of me!


Sorry! I know I can tend to do that sometimes. Of course, from reading the Wisconsin manual on setting the points, that also seemed a bit confusing. I tried to explain it the best I could. But like Todd Akin, perhaps I just misspoke? :bigrofl:

It appears your voltmeter was set on the 20VDC range, and you got a reading with the points open. ....Where did the power (voltage) come from?


No idea? Maybe it was magic? Where does the power come from to operate the timing light the Wisconsin manual says to use?


However, it appears you were not reading Ohms. ....Does your tester have a setting for measuring resistance (ohms)?


Probably, I'll have to double check. Perhaps that's in part where I got confused as I was supposed to be reading for Ohms and not Volts for setting the points... :wallbanging: Yeah, I'm a dumbass!

In the beginning of your video, you state that the coil fires when the points close. ....The opposite is true, as the coil fires when the points open.


Yeah, as I said, this is my first time dealing with points, so I got confused with how they were supposed to work before I really got into it and now it makes a bit more sense to me (but still not a lot). I think I reversed that statement towards the end of the video after I actually set the points so that I believe I said it correctly then.

There is supposed to be a sheetmetal baffle at the rear of the shroud which prevents seeing the flywheel. ....The purpose of the baffle is to close off the opening at the rear of the shroud, so cooling air blown by the flywheel is not allowed to escape at that location. The two missing baffles will hinder the proper cooling of your engine.


AH! So THAT is where you said I was missing a baffle that is supposed to direct airflow over the head! I wonder where that went? A previous owner must have taken it off or something. I have to admit, it IS a lot easier to see the timing mark without that baffle there! How does it even mount there? Was it integrated into the front engine shroud and it broke off or did it clip or screw on somehow? Where can I got another one?

You are mistaken that the coil fires each time the piston comes up to TDC on this engine.


I didn't think I actually said that? I said that the TIMING MARK on the flywheel will move past that arrow on the shroud twice in one complete engine cycle but the points will only open ONCE when it is at TDC for the compression stroke, so that is why I had to turn the flywheel around a couple times and check to see when the points opened. That much I DID know. I didn't know that some engines (maybe Briggs?) ran the points off of the crankshaft so that the spark plug does fire twice in one complete engine cycle. That seems odd to me... :huh:

Hope this clarifies my video a bit? Maybe I'll have to make another one that makes more sense after what I've learned so far from doing it once?

#32 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted August 24, 2012 - 07:24 AM

Here's a picture showing your missing baffle.

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#33 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted August 24, 2012 - 07:26 AM

I also admit I got confused when I watched the video.
In your video the points looked like they were still dirty/pitted in one spot.


Well hey, at least I'm TRYING to learn! I appreciate the honest feedback though, however brutally... :smilewink:

I thought the points still looked pretty decent... :confuse: I did sand them down a bit with some 400 grit sandpaper as you saw in the video. I didn't want to take TOO much material off of them though as then I'd have to replace the points a lot sooner. I do agree there looks to be a small area of discoloration on the upper contact (adjustable, but fixed point when the engine is running), but I didn't think that it looked pitted or like there was a high spot there or anything. It is also a tight area to try and get into to clean the points up I have to admit.

In any event though, despite my failings at trying to make a How-To guide here, other than what I said and maybe however screwed up my methods were to set the points, was the end result correct? It seemed to me at least that the timing mark on the flywheel lined up with that timing arrow and the points seemed to be set properly to me. What do you guys think? And how do you think the engine is running now afterwards vs how it was running before? That's what REALLY matters, not how many times I misspoke, cursed, or said something stupid! :rolleyes:

#34 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted August 24, 2012 - 07:35 AM

Well hey, at least I'm TRYING to learn! I appreciate the honest feedback though, however brutally... :smilewink:

I thought the points still looked pretty decent... :confuse: I did sand them down a bit with some 400 grit sandpaper as you saw in the video. I didn't want to take TOO much material off of them though as then I'd have to replace the points a lot sooner. I do agree there looks to be a small area of discoloration on the upper contact (adjustable, but fixed point when the engine is running), but I didn't think that it looked pitted or like there was a high spot there or anything. It is also a tight area to try and get into to clean the points up I have to admit.


The points should be clean and shiny with no discoloring on them. It is alot easier to remove the points from the housing and clean them.

In any event though, despite my failings at trying to make a How-To guide here, other than what I said and maybe however screwed up my methods were to set the points, was the end result correct? It seemed to me at least that the timing mark on the flywheel lined up with that timing arrow and the points seemed to be set properly to me. What do you guys think? And how do you think the engine is running now afterwards vs how it was running before? That's what REALLY matters, not how many times I misspoke, cursed, or said something stupid! :rolleyes:


The engine appeared to run better compared to the previous video. I would still remove the head and clean any carbon that has built up inside. I would also inspect the valves to see if they are seating properly and probably take them out and lap them if need be. You probably would gain a few extra pounds of compression.
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#35 Bruce Dorsi OFFLINE  

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Posted August 24, 2012 - 12:11 PM

MailmAn:

Let me apologize if I come across as being condescending or critical of your work, as that is not my intent. ....I just believe that accurate information needs to be presented to prevent someone else from going down the wrong path.

I applaude anyone's desire to learn and do their own repairs, so it is important to learn how things are supposed to be, before repairs can be successfully completed. .....Troubleshooting correctly is the most fundamental skill needed. ....I have always joked that a chimpanzee can be trained to change parts, but it takes a mechanic to know which parts need to be changed!

The timing light in the Wisconsin manuals is actually a "flashlight" continuity tester. .....A pair of wires exit from the base of the flashlight. ....When the flashlight switch is turned on, power flows from the flashlight batteries to the wires. .....When the two wires are touched together, the light lights. ....When the two wires are connected to the ignition points, it is the most accurate method of setting the points/timing. ....The light can also be used to illuminate the timing mark on the flywheel when looking through the opening in the shroud.

In addition to the missing baffle which Brian circled in his post above, you appear to be missing another baffle which fastens under the cylinder head bolts. ....This baffle is the one I referred to in a previous post. ....It fits between the shroud and the sparkplug and can be seen in the same pic.

I couldn't tell if your engine has the "wrap-around baffle" which is also seen in the same pic. ....It covers the cooling fins at the rear of the block, and its purpose is to contain and direct the airflow. .....These baffles were installed for a reason and should not be considered "optional."

The carburetor settings given in any of the manuals are "ballpark" settings which should be close enough to get the engine started. ....Final adjustments are made when the engine is running. ....Those final settings are variable depending on gasoline being used, engine condition, and load on the engine.

The answer to where the Wisconsin engines were painted is uncertain. .....It is possible they were painted at the Bolens factory, but it is also possible they were painted to Bolens color at the Wisconsin factory. ....I do not have the answer, but maybe someone else knows the truth. .....I know some of the engine manufacturers would supply engines painted to the equipment manufacturer's specs.

Replacement engines from Wisconsin were painted gray or light-green in that era. .....Of all the original Wisconsin engines I have seen, I have never seen Bolens brown over either of these colors. .....It is possible that the engines were supplied to Bolens in red primer for painting by Bolens. ....Then again, the engines may have been painted brown at the Wisconsin factory.
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#36 LilysDad ONLINE  

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Posted August 24, 2012 - 12:59 PM

Bruce, I think your doing a great job of explaining this. It's tough when you can't see the engine your talking about.
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#37 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted August 24, 2012 - 03:32 PM

Well, Bruce, the problem now is finding these missing baffles to put back on it since it didn't come with any when I bought it. I did a quick search on eBay and found a few Wisconsin engine shrouds, but every single one seems to be missing the same baffle plates that mine is!! I take it these were easy to lose or just forget to put back on when working on these engines? Perhaps some people thought it would improve airflow or engine cooling by not having these baffles in place so there is more area for cool air to find its way to the engine? IDK... I imagine all the baffles would also help keep dirt, dust, and grass clippings out of the engine when operating it to extend the engine's life.

So, do any of these Bolens timing flashlights still exist? It would be cool to have one, not to mention it would make timing it a lot easier!

#38 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted August 24, 2012 - 03:47 PM

Well, Bruce, the problem now is finding these missing baffles to put back on it since it didn't come with any when I bought it. I did a quick search on eBay and found a few Wisconsin engine shrouds, but every single one seems to be missing the same baffle plates that mine is!! I take it these were easy to lose or just forget to put back on when working on these engines? Perhaps some people thought it would improve airflow or engine cooling by not having these baffles in place so there is more area for cool air to find its way to the engine? IDK... I imagine all the baffles would also help keep dirt, dust, and grass clippings out of the engine when operating it to extend the engine's life.

So, do any of these Bolens timing flashlights still exist? It would be cool to have one, not to mention it would make timing it a lot easier!


If you cant find any baffles elsewhere send me a PM, as I most likely have a few spares laying around I could part with.

As for the timing light, you could probably make your own as it was most likely just a standard light...... I believe I have a homemade one laying around that my grandfather made out of a simple trailer taillight bolted onto a board. If I find it I will take a pic.
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#39 Bruce Dorsi OFFLINE  

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Posted August 24, 2012 - 11:06 PM

I imagine all the baffles would also help keep dirt, dust, and grass clippings out of the engine when operating it to extend the engine's life.

So, do any of these Bolens timing flashlights still exist? It would be cool to have one, not to mention it would make timing it a lot easier!


The baffles contain and direct the cooling air flow generated by the flywheel. .....However, without periodic cleaning of grass clippings or other debris trapped under the baffles, overheating occurs. ....These are air-cooled engines, so air flow is king!



Here is a link to the flashlight-style tester: http://www.meinerssa...duct.php?id=639 ....There are other brands, sources, and prices for similar testers. ....The testers were not supplied by Bolens. ....They were available under a Wisconsin part number, but could be sourced elsewhere a lot cheaper.

As Brian said, a tester can be made relatively easily. ....You can also buy a cheap Volt-Ohm-Meter for $5-$10 from Walmart, Radio Shack, Harbor Freight, many auto parts stores, or maybe Home Depot or Lowes. ....The meter will not have a light, but some of them have an audible tone emitted when continuity is present. ....Alligator clips for the test leads are much more convenient than the pointed probes. ....These clips can be purchased separately if they are not supplied with the tester.

Test lights or audible testers are much more convenient than reading numbers on the display, when setting points or checking continuity.

A better VOM will cost in the $20-$60 range, but they last many years if not abused. .....Some also have the ability to measure amps, as well as VAC, VDC, and Ohms.

Learning how to use a VOM will serve you well. ....In addition to setting points, they can be used for testing wires, switches, batteries, etc, etc, etc. ....They can also be used for troubleshooting household electrical circuits.
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#40 Bruce Dorsi OFFLINE  

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Posted August 24, 2012 - 11:17 PM

A Parts Manual for the Wisconsin S-7D and S-8D is posted at: http://gardentractor...d-parts-manual/

Additional info for the S-8D engines can be found at:
http://www.wisconsin..._repair_spec/12

An Operator's Manual is posted at: http://gardentractor...12d-tra-10d12d/

#41 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted August 25, 2012 - 06:11 AM

I know, I already downloaded all of those manuals before I started. They still aren't all THAT bloody helpful in setting the points I don't think. A lot of the diagrams are pretty small and hard to read, not to mention I think I saw a couple of descriptions of parts mislabeled in the manual as well! Plus the way the try to describe how to do some things in the manual can be confusing unless you already know what you are doing and then in that case, why do you need the manual if you already know what to do? lol!





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