I posted an ad on Craigslist a couple of weeks ago, after missing out on a deal to buy a nice EK-10 down in the Reading, PA area, looking for another Estate Keeper parts tractor to buy so hopefully I can get mine finished soon. Well, I got a call from this guy out in Massachusetts who said he has an Estate Keeper just like my tractor that he'd be willing to sell. He didn't have any pictures of it though (which should always send up a red flag, FYI...) but said it was pretty complete and had a deck for it and everything. I asked him what he was looking to get for it, but he wouldn't give me an answer over the phone and he said I'd have to come check it out first to see what I thought of it. I hated to drive that far though for an unknown commodity if I didn't even have any idea what we was looking to get for it.
Still, I reluctantly set off today to head out there to check it out and see if I could use it at all. He was located in Haverhill, MA though, which is way up by the North Shore almost to New Hampshire. So, it was a long drive to get out there (3+ hours). I get there and he starts showing me around and pointing out all the old tractors he has. His primary weapon of choice was Case and he had tons of Case tractors of all shapes and sizes there. He told me that he has every model of Case tractor that they ever made. I also saw that he had a couple of Pennsylvania Panzer tractor frames there without engines. I had never seen one of them before I had joined this forum and this was the first time I ever saw one in person. They are a pretty neat little tractor. If he had one that was a bit more complete, I might have tried to make a deal to take one of them home with me too. He also had some Cub Cadets and Simplicity's and some other tractors. He also had about a dozen Bolens tractors there, mostly tube frames, but he did have an Estate Keeper there.
Unfortunately, the Estate Keeper he had was NOT the EK-10 that I was looking for, but rather it was an older EK-7. It was white with red wheels and was in pretty rough shape. It was just about solid rust and there was hardly any paint left on the thing. It had been sitting out in about waist high grass, weeds, thorn bushes, and other assorted brush for over a decade at least, I would say from the looks of it. It also wasn't as "complete" as he told me it was over the phone. The engine cover was absolutely destroyed and the engine was missing the exhaust as well as the carburetor. I tried turning over the engine but couldn't. I can't tell if the engine is seized though or if it is just the Starter/Generator is seized. There were no belts on it and the shifter wouldn't move, although you could turn the transaxle input pulley with no problem. The wheels were flat, but it did roll pretty easily at least.
He kept the deck for it separately in a dilapidated old enclosed wooden trailer though, so the deck was in a bit better shape at least. He had a 38" mower deck for the EK-7 that looked mostly complete, except it was mysteriously missing the left side extension arm to mount it to the front axle. It had a good gearbox in it though that spun freely and even had the PTO shaft for it. This deck actually looked in better shape than the 42" deck that came with my EK-10 when I bought it.
I told him I at least wanted the deck for mine since it looked to have a good gearbox on it. I asked him how much he wanted for just the mower deck since the EK-7 was very rough and it wasn't an EK-10 which is what I was really looking for. He started out trying to tell me that the EK-7 is the same as the EK-10 except for the engine and that it has all the parts on it that I would need for my project. I told him that they were different enough that I didn't really want to take a gamble on buying it if it wasn't going to work for me. But I did at least want the deck for parts and especially having drove all that way to be disappointed in what he had, I didn't want to leave completely empty handed. So, then he tells me that he doesn't want to separate the tractor from the mower deck since if someone else then wanted to buy the EK-7, what good is it without a mower deck? So, he tells me that if I want the deck, I have to buy the tractor with it. <<SIGH>>
Okay... So, I said that's fine, what do you want for both of them then? First he tells me that the Estate Keepers are... you guessed it... RARE! Bolens didn't make very many of them and you hardly ever see any of them around, so that means they are worth money since they are collector's items. He said that I could make a lot of money from just parting them out and the mower deck spindles alone go for big money or some such garbage as that... (Where do these people get their information from anyways is what I'd like to know...?) Anyways, so after his song-and-dance routine over it, he tells me he'd like to get $100 for the deck and $200 for the tractor. I told him no way, the tractor is just too rough and it's not worth it to me. I said it's not even the right model that I was looking for, it had a hole in the engine cover, there's no carburetor on it, no muffler, the seat is wrecked, and all 4 tires are flat. In what world is that worth $200? I told him I just want the deck only and I'd be willing to do $50 on it. I was about ready to jump in my truck and leave at that point since I was so disappointed in what he had there. IDK what I was expecting while talking to him on the phone about it, but I was expecting more than this. So he goes, "Well, I hate to see you come all this way to leave empty handed..." I'm thinking the same thing, but I don't even really want this EK-7 that he had. I felt like charging HIM to haul it away for him like one of those 1-800-Got-Junk trucks... But, I told him what I was willing to pay for it all and after hemming and hawing over it for a while, he says, "So, do you want them both then or not?" I said, "Yeah, I'll take them - will you take a fresh, crisp $100 bill in cash for it all? Final offer." So, he finally agrees and he grabs his truck to pull the EK-7 out of the brush and he helps me load it all up and I was finally on my way back home after spending almost 3 hours there talking with him about tractors.
It is late now and I didn't think to take any photos of the junk that he had there with my phone, so I'll have to wait until to-morrow to snap some photos of my latest Bolens acquisition. I'm sure from reading what I wrote so far though that I set your expectations pretty low as far as what to expect from the pictures once I finally post them. I just hope that there are some useable parts left on this thing and that they will fit on my EK-10 so I can get mine finished up and mowing here soon, now that it is May already. Once I'm done pulling all the parts I need from it though, if anyone else wants what is left of the carcass to either further use as a parts tractor or as the basis of restoring it, let me know and I'd be more than happy to help you out. There should be a good frame there to work with at least! I'll probably post an ad in the For Sale section once I'm ready to get rid of what is left of it. Just giving you all a heads up on it now though.
More to come, with pics soon!
Edited by MailmAn, May 06, 2013 - 12:38 AM.