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Looking For A Good Tractor With Tiller


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#1 neverenough OFFLINE  

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Posted November 25, 2013 - 06:05 AM

First post, found this place a while back while searching for info about several old tractors..

 

I've decided to dedicate a more of my back yard to growing my own veggies next season and

I can't imagine tilling it all now with my tiny walk behind tiller.
I pretty much want what my one neighbor used to have.

His set up was a Bolens tractor with pedal control that pulled a shaft driven tiller.

I did make the trip to a few dealers and looked both green and orange tractors but the sticker shock and reality that they cost more than I paid for my truck and car combined just for the tractor alone.

I found a red and white Bolens tractor with Wisconsin motor with a huge rear tiller for sale but have no idea what a fair price on something like that would be. The guy wants $850 for the tractor, two new rear tires, and a rear tiller that's at least 3' wide. The catch is that it don't have spark. A mechanic buddy went to see it and said the motor seems solid and it did fire on a 'spark box' for him. He thinks he can make it run for fairly cheap vs buying the $150 ignition the seller said it needs. It does have two brand new rear tires and a spare set of front tires that come with it, I figure the new back tires have to be worth at least $200 alone. The seller says he values the tiller at $350, and the tractor at $300. The seller is firm on his price and will not take less, I tried. So far after three months of searching this is the only Bolens that's complete and has a tiller. Does that sound like a fair deal? I've basically set aside $1500 to find a tractor and rear tiller and if I'm lucky, a snow plow. I figure for $850, if I can fix the ignition and make it run again for under a grand I'm doing good. I figure that even if I had to swap in a different motor to make it run I doubt it would cost me as much as a new machine.

 

 


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#2 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted November 25, 2013 - 07:01 AM

:welcome: to GTTalk,
The Bolens sounds interesting but the money is a stumbling block.
So much of what drives the prices in our hobby is location. Another is model and condition. If you have any pics, it would help us help you.
I just looked at CL out your way and the prices do seem higher than here. There is a nice looking JD317 with hydraulic lift and ports for $650, but no tiller... So you'd need to find one.

As for making it a runner vs budget, I'm sure you're right. It should be a good runner for less than what you budgeted... But I would keep a couple of things in mind, first off, he hasn't sold it in three months... It's because it's priced high... And two, looking around will usually lead to finding what you want. Maybe even put a wanted ad in the paper and CL?

Anyways, glad you joined, and good luck in your search.

#3 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted November 25, 2013 - 07:12 AM

Welcome to GTT :wave:

Stuff in NJ always seems to be priced higher. You may want to venture out and check the PA Craigslist as you can usually find stuff that is not over priced.



#4 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted November 25, 2013 - 08:08 AM

Welcome to GTT. I agree that a Bolens with the hydrostatic pedal is the nicest way to operate a tiller. Knowing what you want is more than half the battle. Find out what model the tractor and tiller are. The model will make a difference on value and some parts availability.

 

Right now you have plenty of time to shop around for your tractor so, take your time. Be open minded to other brands that may be very good (just not as nice as the Bolens) such as: Allis Chalmers, Cub Cadet, John Deere, Power King, Simplicity, Snapper, and Wheelhorse. There are other good ones on a case by case basis. Check with friends and family for ones they have parked in barns and yards. Check CL and any local places. After the new year people may be more willing to part with things.

 

Mean time plan your garden. Build a compost pile. Soon as I fix my trailer, I'll be making as many trips to a horse barn as I can. Free manure piled up over the winter will make great compost to fertilize the garden. Check out our manuals section for 3 free downloads per day. Show us pictures of what you are doing for helpful hints. Remember, we are all in this together. Good Luck, Rick


Edited by boyscout862, November 25, 2013 - 10:55 AM.


#5 New.Canadian.DB.Owner ONLINE  

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Posted November 25, 2013 - 09:05 AM

... There are other good ones on a case by case basis. ...

 

And Case made some great products, like the 444, which will take a hydraulic driven tiller.  The advantage is that grabbing a rock in the tines doesn't bust the shaft or shear pins.  Allis & Simplicity built belt drive units with a similar advantage.

 

When looking for anything, I use the three-foot rule: Ask anyone who comes within three feet of you.  Someone knows someone who has what you want.


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#6 OldBuzzard ONLINE  

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Posted November 25, 2013 - 09:33 AM

Looking at NJ CraigsLists:

http://newjersey.cra...4212465834.html
 
Could be what you are looking for.  Has the square back tiller which is the better one, deck, and front blade. NO pics of the tractor though.
 
This 1886 might be worth looking at if you are close enough.  $100.00 more than the one you are looking at, and no tiller, but IF it's in good running condition, you can find a tiller for less than your "get it running" budget.

http://philadelphia....4200449736.html



#7 Dieselcubmike OFFLINE  

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Posted November 25, 2013 - 12:53 PM

Hello there and welcome! :wave:



#8 neverenough OFFLINE  

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Posted November 25, 2013 - 01:25 PM

Looking at NJ CraigsLists:

http://newjersey.cra...4212465834.html
 
Could be what you are looking for.  Has the square back tiller which is the better one, deck, and front blade. NO pics of the tractor though.
 
This 1886 might be worth looking at if you are close enough.  $100.00 more than the one you are looking at, and no tiller, but IF it's in good running condition, you can find a tiller for less than your "get it running" budget.

http://philadelphia....4200449736.html

I saw those on CL a while ago. When I asked around to get some info on those models I was told that the H16 used a Tecumseh motor which is both tough to get parts for and known to break connecting rods. The 18hp in the 1886 is a non pressure lube Kohler according to my buddy and had issues as well. He said that I'd most likely be looking at swapping the motor out for a newer motor with an oiling system and filter?

I'm not sure what model the Bolens I looked at is but its got a 14hp Wisconsin motor and looks a lot like that 1886 but is painted red. Do the Bolens tillers interchange between models?

 

I've watched the NJ and PA CL ads and so far its either a tractor with no tiller or a tiller and no tractor to run it. Most of the tillers I've seen have been rough with worn tines too.

When I look at a tractor I also take into account its location and how much it'll take to go get it, or just to go look at it.
Gas costs in the truck add up fast.


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#9 OldBuzzard ONLINE  

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Posted November 25, 2013 - 03:23 PM

... The 18hp in the 1886 is a non pressure lube Kohler according to my buddy and had issues as well. He said that I'd most likely be looking at swapping the motor out for a newer motor with an oiling system and filter? ...


Your buddy doesn't know what he's talking about. The 1886, HT18, HT20, and HT23 all have the Kohler K series engines, K482, K532, and K582 which are pretty much bullet proof.

He's thinking about the KT Series I engines, and they did have a problem.

As for the Tec engines being 'bad'? The last H16 was built in 1977. That's 36 years. An engine that's still running after 36 years is a "bad" engine?

Edited by OldBuzzard, November 25, 2013 - 03:27 PM.

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#10 neverenough OFFLINE  

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Posted November 27, 2013 - 01:03 AM

Your buddy doesn't know what he's talking about. The 1886, HT18, HT20, and HT23 all have the Kohler K series engines, K482, K532, and K582 which are pretty much bullet proof.

He's thinking about the KT Series I engines, and they did have a problem.

As for the Tec engines being 'bad'? The last H16 was built in 1977. That's 36 years. An engine that's still running after 36 years is a "bad" engine?

All I know is what I'm told. I do know that he's got a pile of busted up twins with blown cylinders on one side, most are from Wheel Horse or Cub Cadets thought. Any Bolens is a rare find here and most have small Wisconsin motors.

 

As far as the Tecumseh motors, I can't speak well of any I've owned in the past, even with diligent maintenance they all died of broken rods sooner or later. I've got an older Troy Bilt tiller with a cast iron Tecumseh on it that's blown 4 times in 30 years. Each time was a rod coming out the side of the block. 

 

Even if I went for that 1886 I'd have to find a good tiller for it. I doubt anyone would trade a deck for a tiller either.

 

Besides, even if I replaced the whole ignition on the one I looked at its still cheaper than that 1886.

Is there something wrong with the single cylinder Wisconsin motors?



#11 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted November 27, 2013 - 06:29 AM

When I look at a tractor I also take into account its location and how much it'll take to go get it, or just to go look at it.
Gas costs in the truck add up fast.

 

 

I know what you mean , if I drive the truck that gets 12mpg for a 100 mile round trip , that's close to $30 , so you almost have to think that into your offers



#12 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted November 27, 2013 - 07:00 AM

The Wisconsin engines are very solid units. So are the Kohler K's
The Wisconsin engines, like anything of that era, is getting to be trickier to find parts for... Also, the singles tended to be a smaller engine than the twins. Is it big enough and handle the job? OB is trying to make sure you end up with a tractor you're happy with.

The singles have power for modest work. My Allis is a single 12 and it will break ground in a horse pasture, so I will put it up against most for till ability... But if that tractor had a smaller engine, I'm not sure it could do what it does.

My Massey tiller works better on plowed ground 10 or 12 hp tractors... The tiller has a slower speed.

The sears tiller I have is self motored. They are getting rarer so I don't run it hard, bu I'm sure she could do most anything the Allis does. The Sears tillers and tractors mostly had Tecumseh engines, so use that knowledge as you will.

BTW, I've see lots of blown up engines of all kinds. Some of each brand...
The major culprits on where (Pre 80's) teccy engines fail (and why):
–------------------------------
Spark module or like failure. (40 year old electronics)
Low/no/bad Oil "well, there was a dot of black on the dipstick... Thought it'd be OK" (connecting rod failure Due to overheat, seizing, etc)
Mice moved in and filled the tins. (Engine overheats, bad things happen inside)
Over revving. (Consumer "adjustment" of governor to get a little more out of it)

Now these aren't also counting the millions of people who have a love hate relationship with the carbs or don't know to do basic preemptive inspections.

As for your original question... I am sure you will like the old Bolens, they are well built machines. I just felt they were high in their pricing and thought that you should be able to find a runner for that cost.

If you dont end up going with that one, please ask about others you see. I Hope you find some good candidates, remember that pics will help us see potential pros and cons.
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#13 neverenough OFFLINE  

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Posted November 27, 2013 - 01:26 PM

I think my biggest problem is going to be finding a tiller and tractor that work together. I see lots of those self powered Sears tillers but most are either completely worn out r missing parts. Most are missing their motors.

Most of the self powered tillers have had either 5hp Briggs Stratton motors or Honda motors.

I also looked at one that pulled like a trailer with a 5hp BS motor but the guy wanted $1800 for it.

 

On my walk behind tiller, I change the oil after each season, but it don't seam to matter. The rods always break about an inch from the bigger end with no signs of heat or galling of the bearing area. If the block didn't get smashed to bits the rest of the motor is usually fine. I was able to just replace the rod, (and rings), in one motor ut it only lasted a season or so. This is an HH70 model.

 

From what I'm seeing, old tractors sell for a lot more here than in some other areas, most tractors for sale here under a grand or so either don't run or need lots of work. Things look to be cheaper in the mid west.


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#14 oldiron OFFLINE  

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Posted November 27, 2013 - 10:51 PM

Your in a bad area if your looking for a deal, any decent GT will bring top dollar here.

If your looking for a nice tractor for a reasonable price you have to go west, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin seem to have the most when it comes to this size machine, in this area, mostly I figure this is due to the fact that most properties here are smaller in general vs. the midwestern states, you can find a fair amount of smaller machines but the larger GTs are few and far between and being bought up by collectors fast.


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#15 neverenough OFFLINE  

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Posted December 01, 2013 - 08:14 PM

I guess I should have jumped on the Bolens with the tiller. I went by there today to try and make a deal and its gone. He sold that one and two other Bolens tractors he had.

I looked at a few other brands  but so far the only running machine I've seen that fits the bill is an early 80's Allis Chalmers GT with a 16hp Briggs and Stratton engine for $2500.

After shopping around for a while now I'm pretty much convinced I'll need to spend a lot more than I first expected to get a decent machine with a matching tiller. I've actually seen more full size tractors for less than most big garden tractors. There seems to be plenty of old Ford, Ferguson, and International tractors but very few heavy duty garden tractors.






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