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Bolens 850 Is Down!


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#1 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted December 28, 2012 - 07:13 PM

.

I know Brian already claimed this thread title, but IDK what else to call mine as that's exactly what happened!  Hope no one gets too confused or anything...

 

In any event, this was SUPPOSED to be posted more chronologically, but due to issues I've been having with posting images to the forums (for more information, please read:  http://gardentractor...-to-the-forums/) I am a little behind with my postings.  In any event, the other post about my 850 was supposed to be posted earlier on Thursday and this one was supposed to be done today (which it still is, it is just the other post was a bit later than it should have been.  Anyways, moving on...).  But I know you're now wondering, "But hey, didn't this guy JUST post some lovely pictures of his 850 with the snowcaster on it and everything looks like it's going great!?"

 

Well, that is where it all started to fall apart.  You see, I think I got a bit over-zealous with the 850 in the wet snow and with running around snowblowing 5 other driveways yesterday, I think it was too much for the poor old Wisconsin to handle.  While snowblowing the last driveway I was working on at around 7:30-8:00pm the other night, the engine in my 850 started to sound weird.  I could tell the engine was bogging down quite a lot in the heavy snow that had started to melt a bit during the day and now was starting to freeze back up and turn into a crusty coating all over the surface of the snow.  I kept having to stop every few minutes to unclog the discharge chute of the snowcaster.  Finally, while trying to blast my way through a big snow pile, the engine bogged down too much and it stalled.  While trying to crank it over again, it was making all sorts of horrible noises.  It sounded like there was a vacuum leak somewhere as I could hear a "pfft, pfft..." noise like air was getting pushed out of somewhere.  It was also knocking and clanking around a bit and it didn't want to start at all.  I tried choking it again, even though it was already warm, and still had to crank it quite a while until it finally sputtered to life again.  I could tell it wasn't running right though and the exhaust noise sounded different somehow.  When I tried to use it again, it bogged down much more and a lot easier than it was (it took less of a load to bog it down significantly more than before).  It was also knocking horribly under load and kept wanting to stall out.  After a few minutes of this, I gave up and limped it back onto the trailer and finished up with the Ariens Sno-Thro.

 

I tried to start it this morning and it sounded really bad cranking over and it didn't want to start at all, so I gave up on it for now and took it over to a repair shop to have them look at it.  I'd normally just work on it myself, especially since there is a shortage of qualified Bolens mechanics to work on it these days, but since it is too cold to work on it outside (and now also too snowy) and the girlfriend wants her garage for her car now that it is cold and snowy out, I have no place to work on it right now!  I'm hoping the small engine guy I took the tractor to will be able to get her going again and not charge me an arm and a leg for it.  I took it over today on the trailer and we pushed it off and into his shop.  I had to take the snowcaster off of the tractor while it was on the trailer before I dropped it off to make it easier to maneuver around.  This guy is an old-timer though and he's been in business for over 45 years, so I'm fairly certain that he knows his stuff and has probably worked on a few of these Bolens back when they were still pretty new.  He might even have some old parts for the engine still lying around if it needs it...

 

I'll update this as I hear any developments out of the repair shop.  I'm hoping it is nothing serious, but I'm fearing it might need a complete rebuild, even though it has already been rebuilt at some point.  The ONLY thought I have on it right now is maybe somehow the new head gasket I just put on was no good and it is leaking?  IDK how that could be though myself.  I'm worried if a valve is loose or something though in there or a connecting rod let go, but not fully?  IDK...  I have a lot of theories and bad thoughts running around in my head right now and none of them sound like a cheap fix!  :(   I just need my poor Bolens back and running again soon.  You never know when we're gonna get more snow and it did a pretty good job in this last snow storm before it broke down!  The Ariens is nice too, don't get me wrong, and the 2-stage snowblower moves the snow a lot better IMO, but the Bolens' snowcaster is a lot wider and clears the driveway a lot faster!

 

 



#2 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted December 28, 2012 - 07:25 PM

If your hearing a hissing noise it could be one of the following:

 

-Broken Sparkplug

 

-Blown Headgasket

 

-Loose head ( Did you use a torque wrench while tightening the head bolts?)

 

- Cracked Head


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#3 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted December 28, 2012 - 07:27 PM

Wow, that sounds like bad luck and a problem in the making.  I hope the repair is a simple one and you're back in the seat quick without paying for your mechanic's kids braces.


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#4 chris m OFFLINE  

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Posted December 28, 2012 - 07:37 PM

I think after reading all that I agree with the Doc. Sorry to here that it broke down! But I am going to stay positive and hope for an easy fix like a head gasket. Good luck! :thumbs:


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#5 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted December 28, 2012 - 07:39 PM

If your hearing a hissing noise it could be one of the following:

 

-Broken Sparkplug

 

-Blown Headgasket

 

-Loose head ( Did you use a torque wrench while tightening the head bolts?)

 

- Cracked Head

 

Already checked the spark plug as that was the first thing I thought of in case it loosened up or got ejected out of the head somehow.  (I never thought it would happen either, but one time on my 1977 Chevy Nova [NLA - No Longer Around] I was driving around and all of a sudden I heard this little pop followed by a lot of hissing and the engine lost power.  Sure enough, I checked under the hood and I found a spark plug dangling by the wire that got shot out of the engine!)

 

I'm hoping it is any easy fix like a bad head gasket - the new one I put in looked a tad bent up when I got it, but I figured that's not an issue and it would flatten out when it got tightened down.

 

Loose head - I don't THINK so, but perhaps?  I thought I torqued the bolts down properly when I put it back together?  If anything I think I probably would have over-tightened them rather than left them too loose, which brings us to...

 

Cracked head - somewhat likely, especially if I over-tightened the head bolts, but I pray to God that's NOT the problem as then I'd need to find another head for the engine!

 

Only other thought you didn't mention, although it is closely related to a loose head, could be if a head bolt snapped off or got stripped out of the thread in the engine block and it is leaking there?


Edited by MailmAn, December 28, 2012 - 07:48 PM.


#6 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted December 28, 2012 - 07:43 PM

Only other thought you didn't mention, although it is closely related to a loose head, could be if a head bolt snapped off or got stripped out of the thread in the engine block and it is leaking there?

 

Could be a possibility....



#7 Delmar OFFLINE  

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Posted December 28, 2012 - 07:47 PM

I hope it isn't too costly a fix.  I hope it is just a gasket.  A warm motor sucking in cold, maybe even wet cold air ain't good tho.



#8 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted December 28, 2012 - 07:48 PM

I hope the repair is a simple one and you're back in the seat quick without paying for your mechanic's kids braces.

 

Yeah, me too!  I hate having to pay for other kids' braces! 

 

That happened to me once at a Firestone and I'll NEVER go back to another one of their shops ever for anything and I refuse to buy Firestone brand tires for anything.  I got stuck once as the fuel pump let go on my truck and it wouldn't start.  The closest shop to where I broke down was a Firestone, so I had it towed there to have them check it out.  They said at first that it was the fuel relay or something, so they replaced that.  Then it was the fuel pump, so they replaced that.  It still wouldn't start with a new fuel pump in it though, so then they said it was the coil.  However, I had just upgraded the stock coil with an Accel coil a few years earlier, so I doubt that was the problem.  Still, they ripped out my nice aftermarket coil and threw in an Advance coil!  But it still wouldn't run after all that!  So, then they said it was an ignition control module or something, so they replaced that.  They also fully charged up the battery and finally got it to run.  It took them a week and a half to figure it all out though and they ended up charging me $1,200 for the priviledge of having them work on it!!!  I couldn't believe it!  I bitched them out about it and the Service Manager finally dropped about $200 off of the bill, which tells you how much they overcharge there!  Still, for $1,000 I wasn't a happy camper about it at all!!!  They hold your vehicle hostage too and you have to pay up if you want it back.  What a racket!!!


Edited by MailmAn, December 28, 2012 - 07:56 PM.


#9 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted December 28, 2012 - 07:51 PM

A warm motor sucking in cold, maybe even wet cold air ain't good tho.

 

Why is that?  I figure water in the engine isn't good anyways as it could cause rust and water in the oil is bad, but...  Unless the temperature change from hot engine to cold, wet air is bad and causes cast iron to warp or crack?


Edited by MailmAn, December 28, 2012 - 07:53 PM.

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#10 goodnews OFFLINE  

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Posted December 28, 2012 - 10:27 PM

tomorrow is always brighter i always pray when i get in a situation like yours it works even with lawnmowers . in Christ  bobby



#11 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted December 29, 2012 - 07:34 AM

I hope it's not something major. You were working the engine pretty hard so you were bound to find any weakness in it. Keep us up to date on what happened. 



#12 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted December 29, 2012 - 09:26 AM

Of COURSE now they were saying on the news this morning that we are scheduled for the next 4-6 inches of snow delivery for this afternoon/evening and my Bolens is in the shop right now all laid up!  Go figure...  Oh well, I guess I'll have to make due with the Ariens for the time being, which is still more than a lot of people have, especially around here for some reason.  I would have figured living in the Northeast people would expect the snow and be a bit more prepared for whatever winter brings, but I still saw a lot of my neighbors out Thursday with only a tiny little plastic shovel breaking their backs trying to lift that heavy wet snow.  I offered a couple of them to help out with the Bolens, but I had no takers.  I guess they'd rather have lower back pain?  I know I certainly wouldn't want to shovel that stuff off of my driveway, but then again I already have problems with my back and neck, so I'm not supposed to do too much heavy lifting like that...



#13 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2013 - 07:03 PM

Quick update on this:  As I hadn't heard anything out of the shop that has my tractor in a while, I decided to call them today.  He said he was elbow-deep in snowblowers he was trying to get turned around and out of the way and is finally getting caught up now.  (Plus, the snow we did get is slowly starting to melt already as it has been getting up to 33-35 degrees during the day lately...)  He said he hasn't taken it apart yet, but he did run it shortly to hear how it was running.  He definitely said it started hard, ran like crap, made weird noises, and lacked power.  He said he'd have to pull the engine apart to tell what the problem is for sure, but he thought that a valve spring broke and it is not closing all the way, hence the hissing noise.  He has to see what he has as far as parts go as well for these old Wisconsins or if he can order parts for it still if he doesn't have anything that will work.  He said he will hopefully have it apart sometime next week and can let me know how he is making out with it and approximately how much it might cost in the end to fix it and we can go from there with it...   <<FINGERS CROSSED>>  (Hoping it won't be TOO expensive!!!)



#14 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2013 - 07:07 PM

Hoping for the best that its a simple fix!!!

 

If its not too late maybe you can get it back and check the valves your self

Once a mechanic gets into the engine the $$ starts piling up.......



#15 grand OFFLINE  

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Posted January 11, 2013 - 09:51 PM

Hoping for the best that its a simple fix!!!

 

If its not too late maybe you can get it back and check the valves your self

Once a mechanic gets into the engine the $$ starts piling up.......

Brian sure is right about the price of a mechanic. I am blessed that my son has mechanical abilities that far exceed my own. If it is something you can fix yourself,or have a friend that has some experience, you could save some serious dollars. I hope that whatever happens turns out best for you






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