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Bolens Estate Keeper Restoration

bolens ek-10 estate keeper 1969 tra-10d restoration 931-02

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#1 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted December 21, 2012 - 01:49 PM

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Well, as I had referenced in an earlier post (here: http://gardentractor...s-past-weekend/), I recently obtained an Estate Keeper to work on over the winter to hopefully get running by the time spring rolls around so I can mow some lawns with it. For the time being (as my girlfriend wants her garage back so she can park her car for the winter, go figure...) I had to park the EK-10 elsewhere, so it is stuffed in the corner of someone else's garage who was nice enough to let me keep it there for the winter, so long as it is kept out of the way enough. However, I have not had a lot of time to work on it as of yet and I have spent a lot of time recently trying to finish up my Bolens 850 project. But, with that project hopefully out of the way for now, maybe I can turn some attention towards the Estate Keeper.

I did get some preliminary things done on it since I dragged it off of the trailer and parked it. For one, I managed to wrestle the mower deck off of the front of the Estate Keeper. This was a bit of a project just because one of the previous owners bolted on the deck hanger frame instead of using clevis pins. I managed to get some of the bolts off, but one was being a real pain and it wouldn't budge. I'm not sure if it was just rusted good or if someone used lock-tite to put it together, but it wouldn't budge. Still, I manhandled the deck off and got it out of the way for now so I could get at some other parts of the Estate Keeper.

Another area that needed attention badly were the tires as the ones that were on it were pretty shot. 3 out of the 4 tires on it would not hold any air at all and all of the tread was pretty worn off on them all. The fronts were the original Firestone tires that Bolens put on at the factory, so they were very old. The rear tires were cheapie 2-ply Carlisle tires that were junk when they were new. So, I jacked up the Estate Keeper, thew some cinder-blocks under the frame, and pulled all 4 wheels off of it. I had been looking into buying new wheels for it to mount the new tires on, but I was worried about those front wheels most of all. The rear wheels look like just regular 4-bolt golf cart type wheels, so I thought those should be easier to find new. However, the front wheels looked much different and like they would be harder to find. So, I called around and got some prices on sandblasting and powdercoating the old wheels I had and decided to go that route. I found one that didn't sound too bad price-wise, so I took the wheels over to be blasted and coated.

Besides that, I also managed to get the seized ignition switch out as well as the light switch (which was a bit more of a pain as the lock ring didn't want to uncrew nicely). I haven't installed the new switch I bought on eBay yet though as there are a few other things that need attention first. A lot of the wiring looked pretty hacked together for some reason. Not sure if a lot of the OEM wiring on these were known for rotting out or corroding or if people just randomly cut out wiring and badly spliced in new wires for some reason, but I was thinking I should probably get the wiring sorted out a bit better than it is now. The battery is also in need of replacement. I was hoping maybe I could get away with just charging it, but it is in such bad shape that the battery charger won't even attempt to charge it as there is so little voltage left in it. So, a new battery is in order as well before I can even try turning it over to test the engine. I'm hoping that the starter solenoid and voltage regulator are good in it so I won't have to replace those.

Here is the rest of the short-list of things I desperately need to fix and/or check on this so that I can hopefully get it working:
  • Check and/or replace points.
  • Check and clean/rebuild carb (if needed).
  • Install throttle cable (it is missing).
  • Fix choke cable. (Choke cable is currently hooked up to throttle.)
  • Replace battery.
  • Properly install Starter/Generator. (See photos, lol!)
  • Replace missing Free-Wheel handle on left rear axle (so I can push EK around).
  • Possibly replace entire wiring harness?
  • Install new ignition switch.
  • Mount new tires on resurfaced wheels and install them on EK.
  • Install new seat on seat spring bracket.
  • Repair or replace PTO lever. (Not a necessity, but it would be nice.)
Hopefully I will get the wheels back sometime after Christmas when they are finished. I just hope they don't take too long or cost too much money in the end! The tires I ordered are already in, so that is a problem since the wheels aren't finished yet. I was hoping to have the wheels done so I can bring them over when I pick up the tires because they said they would mount the tires for me. I got a set of 4 Carlisle 4-ply Turf-Saver tires for the Estate Keeper for around $150. I honestly really liked the look of the Turf-Master tires better, which looked a bit more aggressive and had deeper tread, but they were a lot more money and I couldn't see spending twice the money on those tires for my EK.

Well, that is about it for now. I can update this as events unfold. I'll eventually start tearing the deck apart so I can get that sandblasted and ready to be painted. I'm taking a cue from "restoring" the 850's deck and I'm not short-cutting this deck just to end up with horrible results. I'm going to have this deck professionally sandblasted and either powdercoated or painted the right way and not with crappy TSC rattle-can paint. It may cost me a lot more, but I'll hopefully be a lot hapier with the end result and end up with a deck that will look good and last me a long time.

Here are the pictures of the Estate Keeper right now up on blocks. I also took some photos to highlight some areas that need attention. My good camera's battery died on me when I was over there trying to take photos, so most of these were taken with my cell phone's camera. You can tell the picture quality isn't as good, but hopefully you can still make them out.


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The crappy battery that is in it. Does anyone know what size battery is supposed to be in here? Maybe a part number for a good Interstate or Nationwide battery?


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Starter solenoid and voltage regulator:


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Left rear wheel hub assembly that is missing the Free-Wheel handle:


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Pretty greasy, grimy, and nasty, eh?


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PTO lever that is missing the top handle part:


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Gotta love how they "mounted" the Starter/Generator, right?


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Close-up of some more hacked-together wiring, the points cover, and in the background the throttle/governor linkage which looks, umm... ??? :wtf:

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The choke cable hooked up to the throttle. Any ideas how this is supposed to look? Does this cable holder hold both the choke and throttle cables normally?


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Is this the "brake" on the transaxle input shaft? I know it is hard to see and I can try to get some better pics soon, but it looks like there is no brake pad on this.


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The engine cover definitely needs some work too:


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Can this crack in the cover be repaired? Does it have to be TIG welded or something? Someone said maybe I could JB Weld it or something, but IDK how well that would work and someone said it might need to be welded if it is "structural". Since this crack goes all the way to the edge (and not just a small hole in the center of the cover or something), does it have to be welded properly?


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Edited by MailmAn, December 21, 2012 - 02:47 PM.

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#2 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted December 21, 2012 - 02:55 PM

Can you read the Model and serial number on the ID plate?

I can try, if I knew where they are. Why does that matter anyways or you are just curious since you're a numbers guy?

They are at the top of that Aluminum ID plate where the key switch mounts (Follow the plate back from the switch and you will find them stamped into the metal)
I'm just curious which model you have and what the serial Number is so I can compare it to mine.


Oh, and BTW, Brian, here are the numbers off of the plate that you asked about a while ago:

Model Number: 931-02

Serial Number: 3760


I'm not sure exactly what that tells you about my EK-10. Can you tell what year it was manufactured by the serial number? Is it a low serial number unit or something? I have to say that the serial numbers on the EK-10 seem a lot different than the numbers on like my 850 or the mower deck serial numbers...

#3 JRJ OFFLINE  

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Posted December 21, 2012 - 03:15 PM

I would contact Auto Zone and I bet they will be able to fix you up with the right battery, just furnish them with a little info from the old one and you should be good to go.

Dick

#4 OldBuzzard ONLINE  

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Posted December 21, 2012 - 03:51 PM

Looks like quite a project. That should keep you out of the bars and chasing wimmins :D :D :D

It looks like your EK is a 1968 or 1969, as the -02 was built in both of those years.

Now as for the data plate:

Up until 1972 bolens put the production run number as a -nn after the model number just like your EK.

When they made the change, they put the production run number as the first 2 digits of the SN.

In both cases, Bolens started their serial numbers for each production run at 00101.

"Doc" Bolens posted the letter that explained that here:

http://gardentractor...vice-bulletein/

So your EK with a SN of 3760 would have been the 3660th EK in the -02 production run. Being that high, I'd guess that you have a 1969.

For that crack in the bodywork, one thing you definitely need to do is drill a hole at the end of the crack. That will keep it from extending.
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#5 1967bolens collector OFFLINE  

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Posted December 21, 2012 - 04:13 PM

thats some work there

#6 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted December 21, 2012 - 07:42 PM

Looks like you got your work cut out for you!
Atleast you got a good ways until mowing season begins so you will have plenty of time to take it slow and chip away at getting her up and running.

First thing I would do is see about getting that engine running. Once you know you got a good engine you can then go about purchasing/ replacing the cosmetics of the EK10.

Will get some pics of the throttle cable/ carb linkages for you ASAP


It was common for the Hoods to crack on these as they tend to vibrate quite a bit while running. They can be welded but you need to find a guy that's good at welding aluminum. Aluminum is an entirely different animal compared to steel.

Going by the numbers and appearance of your EK10 I would say I'm 99% certain its a 1968.

And it does appear you are missing your brake shoe.....
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#7 1967bolens collector OFFLINE  

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Posted December 21, 2012 - 09:12 PM

you need 2 cans of gunk de greaser an a powerwasher clean it up then try to fire it up. idk how long its been sitting but im sure it has a stuck valve.. if you need that free wheel pin i might have one
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#8 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted December 22, 2012 - 08:28 AM

I would contact Auto Zone and I bet they will be able to fix you up with the right battery, just furnish them with a little info from the old one and you should be good to go.


Yes, but more to the point of my question, I'm not sure if this is the right battery for the EK. Sure, it might work for now if I bought another of the same battery, but 340 cranking amps seems kind of low to me. I think the battery I put in my 850 was at least a 500 or 550 CCA Nationwide (kind of a "generic" Interstate battery; made by Interstate but is cheaper). I'd rather spend a bit more on a good battery that will last me a long time than to keep putting throw-away batteries in my equipment every year. Also, not sure if it is supposed to have those kind of terminals on the battery or if it is supposed to have the bigger top round posts like the battery on my 850 has.

#9 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted December 22, 2012 - 08:31 AM

You need 2 cans of gunk de greaser an a powerwasher clean it up...


Only 2 cans? lol... I think I might need 2 cans just to clean up that one left side hub where the free wheel pin is supposed to go! I was wondering about how to clean that up though and wasn't sure if using like a foaming engine degreaser would do a better job cleaning it up than just spraying it with Simple Green or something like that? I don't have a pressure washer and don't want to get his garage all wet anyways, so thought maybe I could clean it with a shallow bucket under the hub to catch the solvents and just pour some hot water over it to rinse it off? Maybe get a throw-away scrub brush to scrub it with too...

#10 1967bolens collector OFFLINE  

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Posted December 22, 2012 - 09:02 AM

no power washer? you might wnt to rent or buy one if your doing restorations

#11 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted December 22, 2012 - 09:06 AM

The style of battery you have in there is what they used when they came out of the factory. If your going to be using this only in the summer months you can get away with the 350CCA but if you are going to use this in colder conditions you will want to get one with more cranking amps.
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#12 JRJ OFFLINE  

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Posted December 22, 2012 - 09:32 AM

I wouldn't think Auto Zone batteries as being cheap, I bought one for my wives car just the other day and it was over $120.00. top line battery. I do know what you are talking about with the terminals being of different shapes.

Dick

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Posted December 22, 2012 - 09:01 PM

listen spend the extra and get a interstate. i put one in my 1050 in 01 or 02 an its still working. i get 4 years out of the little batterys as long as they are kept charged
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#14 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted December 27, 2012 - 10:28 PM

listen spend the extra and get a interstate. i put one in my 1050 in 01 or 02 an its still working. i get 4 years out of the little batterys as long as they are kept charged

 

That was my thought too!  I had an Interstate battery in my 1975 Plymouth Fury that came with the car when I bought it.  I bought the car in 2003 and that battery was already in it and it worked perfectly until this year (2012) when it finally died.  The sides of the battery started to swell and it had a hard time turning over, so I figured it was time to replace it.  I went right out and bought the exact same model of Interstate battery to put back in it.  I figured if it lasted at least 10+ years as long as I had it (and who knows how long the battery was in the car before I bought it!), I wasn't going to mess around with anything else.  I'm 100% sold on Interstate batteries after that!  I've had about 3 new batteries in my truck in the same amount of time that the Interstate battery was in my Fury because I keep buying Advance Auto Parts batteries to throw in it.  I wouldn't exactly call them cheap batteries either based on how much the cost, but they certainly don't last like the Interstate batteries do!  I'm going to have to buy another battery for my truck this winter already and I just put a battery in my truck back in 2008.  I went home for Christmas last week and left my truck sitting for 3 days over Christmas. (Didn't need to go anywhere by myself really and rode with family the rest of the time...)  But when I went to start it up to head home, the battery was totally dead!  Had to jump it off my dad's truck to get it going.  I guess that's a sign I need a new battery...

 

 

(And yes, I know all of that was horribly OFF-TOPIC to an Estate Keeper build, but hey...  It is still useful information to someone, I'm sure!...)



#15 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted December 28, 2012 - 06:35 PM

UPDATE - While I was out in Rochester for Christmas, I picked up the old EK wheels that I dropped off a couple weeks ago to have re-done.  But, with winter weather in the way, I haven't had a chance to pick up my new tires for it yet!  Hopefully a full update to come soon with pictures...   :camera:  once I can get a chance to head over to pick up the new tires and have them mounted...  But hey, at least I got the wheels back for now.  I have to say, I was impressed with the job they did on them considering how rusty and nasty they looked!







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: bolens, ek-10, estate keeper, 1969, tra-10d, restoration, 931-02

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