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Large Frame Or Tube Frame?


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#1 makeitfit OFFLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2013 - 12:16 AM

I've been searching around for a larger Bolens tractor to do some garden work with with little luck. I've looked at four so far and all were 1250/1455 models. I've not bothered with the smaller models since I was pretty much under the impression that they're for one, 'smaller' and that they're not direct drive as the large frame models were.

After going several rounds with slipping belts on my AC, I've about had it with belts, although I'm not 100% convinced on owning a hydrostatic drive tractor for garden work. (Bad experiences with both a hydrostatic Simplicity and a hydrostatic Ford).


How capable is a tube frame vs. a large frame?

What I found running my AC416S is that for one it could use larger wheels and more ground clearance, and second it needed a lot more weight. It would pull a house if I could stop the belts from slipping. It would slip its belts before spinning a tire with the tires loaded and about 200lbs of added weight bars.

 

I need to pull a plow and disc, and if I can find one, I'd love to have a tiller. So far all the Large frame machines are either priced as high or higher than buying a full size farm tractor, or their junk and in need of everything. I don't need pretty, I just want one to run and do its job.
I just found out I'll have almost a full acre to plant this spring, double what I had last year.
I can call on a favor if needed from a buddy who will gladly bring his full size tractor and attachments but that's sort of overkill and it forces me to do it all at one time and not as I'm ready to plant each crop. I want my own machine.
 

Will a tube frame do the same job as a large frame? Other than the obvious differences, where they at all competitive models or was the large frame a major step up?

What is the limit to either model? Would I be asking too much of a tube frame with gears to plow and ready 1 acre of garden? (Roughly two 120 x 75' garden sections).

Since the AC doesn't seem sellable, I'll keep it and set it up for lighter work, to use for cultivating or just pulling a wagon.

 

I looked at a tube frame which a buddies neighbor has with a loader on it, I'm not sure of the model, the hood has no decal. Its a hydrostatic model, with a model 14 loader on it.
What does the knob on the axle do?

What sort of hitch did they use for attachments?

He's got a bunch of attachements with it but I didn't see hitch.
He's not asking much, so I'll probably grab it either way, but will it handle gardening an acre of land?

Are there any weaknesses in a tube frame I should be concerned about?

Or should I just hold out for a large frame or something bigger altogeher?
 

 


 



#2 OldBuzzard ONLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2013 - 05:48 AM

... I looked at a tube frame which a buddies neighbor has with a loader on it, I'm not sure of the model, the hood has no decal. Its a hydrostatic model, with a model 14 loader on it.
What does the knob on the axle do?

 

What sort of hitch did they use for attachments?

He's got a bunch of attachements with it but I didn't see hitch.
He's not asking much, so I'll probably grab it either way, but will it handle gardening an acre of land?

Are there any weaknesses in a tube frame I should be concerned about?

Or should I just hold out for a large frame or something bigger altogeher?

 

Since it's a hydrostatic, it will be a 12-16 Hp tractor.  That will be able to handle a 1 Acre garden with no problem.

 

The knob on the axle controls the amount of slip you get from the differential.  'Unscrew' it, and it gives more slip so it doesn't tear up the grass while mowing. If one wheel loses traction it will just spin while the other wheel does nothing. Screw it in till it stops (hand tight only) and the rear is locked and both wheels drive all the time.   Great in low traction areas.

 

The hitch would be a sleeve hitch.  It should more properly be called a 1-pt hitch.  It's a universal standard that allows implements to be used across multiple brand lines rather than having to use propitiatory hitch attachments.

 

The sleeve hitch for the tube frames looks like this:

100_3995.jpg
 

At the implement end it looks like these.  The plow has three holes to allow for alignment from side to side. The cultivator is what you will usually see.

100_4110.jpg 100_4120.JPG

 

A loader is a HUGE plus.  You will find it invaluable.

 

Now as to LF vs TF?

 

A TF will do as much work as the LF, but it will take more time to do it.

The TFs have a much wider range of attachments, and they are generally cheaper and easier to find.

 

A LF will usually cost more than a TF

The LF attachments are heavier duty and will generally cover more ground in one pass than the TF attachments.

 

I have TFs that are gear driven and hydro driven, and 3 LFs.

 

Personally, as much as I like the 2 HT23 based LFs that I have, if i was forced to have only ONE tractor, and any number of attachments, I'd have to choose my 1256 hydro as it would be the most versatile tractor in my inventory.  The only other tractor I would choose over it would be an H16, just for the 4 extra Hp.

 

 

 

 

 


 


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#3 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2013 - 06:07 AM

Oldbuzzard pretty much covered all the points, I'll just add that you dont have to worry about belts slipping on a Tubeframe. They may use belts but the final drive is shaft drive and uses an automotive style clutch which in all my years of using a Bolens I never had a belt slip. You will generally always loose traction before anything else.

 

Tubeframes are also pretty affordable since there were so many made.


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#4 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2013 - 06:29 AM

I have ACs and Bolens TFs and LFs. They are all good tractors. There was a nice tiller attachment for the ACs. You might be best off to have your buddy come in and do the whole thing in early spring and then use a smaller tractor with tiller as you go. I till my garden several times in the spring before planting. Either way with the tractors you'll be good.



#5 8tyman8 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2013 - 02:21 PM

I have been in the same boat .. finding a LF personally i think they are some what over rated ... if your tube frame tractor is set up right you might be able to out work a Lf my tractor is upgraded with power-steering and aux hydraulics also a 16 hp brigg's twin rated at 28 ft pounds of torque the belts don't slip .. once i have went swimming  in 18" of water and the belts held up fine Also i have been Crawling up a 20 degree hill with a nice 8"x8"x10' railway tie just hung on and it picked the front tires off the ground and pulled it up also the tube frame loaders are HARD TO FIND ! when we get snow .. Alot of snow it gets worked for almost 15 hours per day ..no issues .. also the hydro is a Eaton 10 they are a VERY good unit actully they are grandfather of the Eaton 11 that is produced today  One vote for the Tube frame ..

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Edited by 8tyman8, February 27, 2013 - 03:36 PM.


#6 makeitfit OFFLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2013 - 09:53 PM

The tube frame tractor I looked at has no hood decals, the hood looks like a brand new replacement from back in the day, it don't look repainted but just all white. The seller mentioned something about dropping a rock or something from the bucket on it years ago and having to spring for a new hood. Things that stood out to me about it are that its got a TRA12D Wisconsin motor, its got a hydrostatic trans, the pto lever is at the base of the dash console atop of the frame plate, it has only one pedal for speed, no brake or clutch pedals, and the steering wheel looks like black rubber. The engine isn't direct to the driveshaft, its connected with several belts on the rear of the motor. The only numbers I found were on a plate, 194-01 is the only number I can still read, at least without getting it out in the daylight.

The seat cover is red, and the rear wheels are only 23x8.50-12.
The loader has Bolens labels on the side but it looks identical to the Johnson 14 loaders I found posted on line. Its got four larger diameter rams, not just three, the bucket is a straight open bucket about 48" wide.
The loader appears to be factory, I don't see any signs of home fabrication or custom made brackets.

Its also got two rear wheel weights, both read Bolens around the edges. 

The weight box is mounted on two long arms which attach to the two axle mounts on each side with a single top bar coming from over the axle. The bad was that the weight box was filled with what appears to be lead, fill all the way to the top. I can't imagine what it weighs, but I bet it would leave a pretty serious dent in the asphalt when unbolted.

There's also a tab welded on the back of the weight box with a trailer ball on it.

The deck is there but hanging on the wall, it won't turn at all but looks almost new. 

The knob on the axle seems to tighten and loosen. There's a hydraulic ram visible on the right side just inboard of the right rear tire, I guess its got hydraulic lift? I can see an oil filter from behind under the fender pan on the right.

I plan on buying it no matter what for the asking price, I won't bicker over a couple hundred dollar tractor, especially one with a loader. I just need to get over there with a trailer at a time he's available to help or at least let me in to dig it out of its half buried spot in the garage. It'll take a day just to get back to it. I'm hoping it looks as good outside in the day light as it did in the shadows of the garage. One good sign was that the tires were still holding air.

I'm not 100% sure I'll leave the loader on it, I may look for another machine for the loader, or keep looking for something better suited for rear attachments other than one with a loader and a 500lb weight box on the back to remove. 


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#7 Nato77 ONLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2013 - 10:28 PM

With the number you provided I would say it is a 1969 1225.

 

Now where did you say its located? An address would be great! :D

 

That sounds like a great tractor I hope you can get it.



#8 wilberj ONLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2013 - 10:50 PM

A 194-01 is a 1225.



#9 makeitfit OFFLINE  

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Posted February 28, 2013 - 12:41 AM

That's good to know I guess if I need parts, its clean enough too that I suppose I could just hunt down some new decals for the hood.

 

As far as where it is, It'll be on my trailer this weekend barring any rain.


The owner called me today and said he dug it partway out and got it running. He also said to bring a six of beer and I can have the battery he found for it. Apparently he's got it running and ready to drive onto my trailer.

 

 I also found out it comes with a trailer of some sort today, he's not sure what brand but he said it was bought with the tractor new.

I'm thinking now I may need to borrow a bigger trailer, between the tractor, filled tires, wheel weights, deck, trailer, and overweight weight box, I may need something bigger than a 4x8' with 8" wheels. Now that it runs, if it were closer, I'd just go drive it home but its over 20 miles from here.



#10 OldBuzzard ONLINE  

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Posted February 28, 2013 - 01:36 AM

Yeah, you are going to need something bugger than a 4'x8' for that rascal.

 

I used to rent the 6'x12' trailer from Sunbelt rentals, and an 1886 with FEL and NO weight box just barely fit on it.  I'm guessing that a 6'x12' will be the bare minimum that you will need as well.

 

If there is a Sunbelt Rental place close to you, I can highly recommend them.  They work mostly with commercial folks, and are a lot easier to deal with U-Haul.



#11 2manytractors OFFLINE  

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Posted March 02, 2013 - 07:10 AM

You could always do like the guy who towed my 1250 here did, the tractor has a 2" trailer receiver bolted to the rear end, he took 2x2" bar with a coupler on it and hooked it on his trailer hitch, with the bar pinned into the receiver on the tractor, the result was that the front wheels rode on the road. He tied the steering and took it slow.

 

It survived it but I certainly wouldn't recommend it though, I doubt if it was legal, and I'm sure a good bump would have destroyed the tractors front end. Luckily Bolens has real wheel bearings I guess.

 

I've got a double snow mobile trailer here and my 1250, bare with no attachments at all, is about its max. I'd guess that my 1250 is close to 1000 lbs, maybe more. Most of those 4x8' trailers from China won't cut it, at least not for long.

Your better off finding a good landscape trailer to haul a Bolens around on, even the smaller tube frames don't look very light.



#12 yardiron OFFLINE  

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Posted March 08, 2013 - 12:18 PM

When it comes to LF or TF models, I've always looked at them like this, A tube frame can be either hydro or gear, those with gear transmissions have a clutch, along with the belts to the rear drive.

A large frame has no belts or clutches to fail. Its either good or bad, no slipping clutches, no belts to change for the final drive.

I owned only a couple of tube frames, one needed a clutch, the other two both needed belts, one needed a transmission overhaul.

Most the tractors we all buy are well used these days, from what I've seen, large frame models seem to have survived the test of time better when it comes to finding clean examples. The larger S12D motor also seemed to hold up better than the smaller TR series motors over long periods of time for some reason. I personally never had any problems with either myself but seem to find many older, smoking, well worn TF tractors and most LF models seem to run fine when found needing only minor maintenance.

Most 14hp LFs seem to all have been put to rest when their ignition module died.

I've only run into one truly bad LF hydro transaxle, and that was due to the fact it sat full of water in the rain for 10 years.
 

The LF is larger, more capable, and far more comfortable if your a big man like myself. At 6'3" tall and over 350lbs I need lots of room.

I also like the taller tires on the LF models.






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