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Bolens Power-Ho Plowing Snow


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#1 tcfisher OFFLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2014 - 09:13 PM

As with most of the mid-west, southeast Michigan has been whacked with a bit of cold and snow to greet the new year.... the pic below is me having a blast in 12 degree weather and 20 mph winds pushing snow with my Deluxe Power-Ho.  You wouldn't think that a 2-1/2 hp engine could put that much tractive effort to the ground, but it surely does.

 

About two weeks ago the weather was much more agreeable and I went out to the shed to see if the tractor would start, and it would not. Cleaned the plug, added fresh gas, and not a pop. Pulled the shroud and cleaned the magnets in the flywheel and the poles of the mag / transformer and still not a pop. After remembering the flywheel retaining nut is left-hand thread, I pulled the flywheel and the cover off the points, polished those with some 2000 grit carbide and it fired right off.  The spark is still not a huge, big-as-blazes spark... has anyone ever sent their flywheel to a magneto specialist to have the magnets recharged ?  I'm pretty sure the thing is running rich but am reluctant to fuss with the carb as it will start even in 12 degree weather without the aid of ether.

 

A while back I bought a reel mower attachment, though I don't know for sure if it was for a walk-behind, as the hitch mechanism was missing. I've taken the mower down to bare parts, rebuilt it, and am now fabricating the proper type of hitch, basing it on the hitch design of the snowplow. What I'd like to see is a few pics of the idler pulley mechanism for the reel as this was also missing. I'm pretty sure I can fabricate one, just need to see it to get my start.

 

 

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#2 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2014 - 09:26 PM

Looks like fun but where's the tractor? :poke: :D

Many people are usually surprised that 2HP can do anything today but these walkbehinds will move mountains !

 

Is this a 12BB-01  ?


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#3 js5020 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2014 - 09:42 PM

They are a good snow mover with added weight and chains, I used one for a few years, and with the small engine very good on gas. Only thing I didn't care for was no reverse, but that's not a game stopper.
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#4 Nato77 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 09, 2014 - 02:09 AM

Very nice! :thumbs:   Now if they only had the option of hand warmers :D

 

When was the last time you replaced the condenser and points? I would maybe start there first.


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#5 js5020 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 09, 2014 - 09:38 AM

Very nice! :thumbs:   Now if they only had the option of hand warmers :D
 
When was the last time you replaced the condenser and points? I would maybe start there first.


Pipe the exhaust into the handlebars and remove the plastic grips LoL
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#6 trowel OFFLINE  

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Posted January 09, 2014 - 09:43 AM

Thanks, a normal work day for the Bolens.

Ah, horsepower sells on the market, back then it was the work that mattered, those little thumper when geared down can work, work, work. Very good tractors.


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#7 Kfs35 ONLINE  

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Posted January 09, 2014 - 10:06 AM

Thanks, a normal work day for the Bolens.
Ah, horsepower sells on the market, back then it was the work that mattered, those little thumper when geared down can work, work, work. Very good tractors.


Yep, hp is the selling point nowadays, but torque is what really matters. I think my 1050 makes as much "power" as the 20hp Kohler in my Cub Cadet mower.
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#8 tcfisher OFFLINE  

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Posted January 09, 2014 - 08:38 PM

Dr. Bolens, yes, it is a DeLuxe...my dad bought this tractor new in 1952 or '53, plus weights, snow plow, cultivator, mold-board plow w/ coulter, sickle bar mower and reel mower, so I've grown up with it in the family. I still have everything but the original reel mower.

 

Nato77... I couldn't say when or if he ever replaced points or condensor, so that's probably a good starting place.  The magnets in the flywheel don't seem very powerful and I know the Ford model-T guys routinely send out the magnetos to have them recharged. I recently came across an on-line version of the B&S Repairman's book which covers a LOT of engines, and there's a section which mentions having the magnets recharged. But it also shows what looks like a very special piece of equipment to do the job.

 

js5020....the handgrips come off all the time anyway, so piping the exhaust ain't a bad idea. The original grips have been gone as long as I can remember, my dad replaced them with some Schwinn bicycle grips... close enough for him, but in cold weather they come off really quick, especially when I've plowed myself into a dead end and reverse depends on my back.


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#9 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted January 09, 2014 - 08:43 PM

Its nice that its remained in the family for such a long time!

I would suggest what the others said above and pull your flywheel and check your points. Most ignition and starting problems can be fixed by a simple cleaning and re-gaping of the points.


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#10 tcfisher OFFLINE  

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Posted January 09, 2014 - 08:56 PM

When the weather is more tolerant to bare hands, I'll replace the condensor and check the points.

 

Know of anyone with a Bolens Hus-Ski they'd care to part with ? I'm not much into snowmobiles, but these things are so darn cute and appear to be so s-i-m-p-l-e ... they look like they'd be a lot of fun. 



#11 tcfisher OFFLINE  

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Posted January 10, 2014 - 08:09 PM

Eh trowel, you're right about the functionality / work as the primary selling point back in the day. I think the mindsetfor industrial designers back then was to provide a well-built, and versatile piece of machinery.... it's a lot like a Shop-Smith saw unit, it functioned as a table saw, a lathe, a drill press, a shaper, disc sander and more.

 

My other vintage piece of lawn tractor equipment is a 1967 Sear SS 12 Suburban, which again, is something my dad bought new and had been around ever since. He just got the mower deck and the snowthrower attachments with this one, and I couldn't begin to try and count the hours I spent in using both ways. The only reason Dad eventually set the Suburban aside was that the solid state igniton finally failed after 35 years. The engine was built by Tecumseh and they discontinued the iginiton module a long time ago. Fortunately there's folks out here that see the value in these well-designed and well-built pieces of equipment and have taken the time to make replacement ignitions. Last summer I bought the retro-fit iginition and went through the entire electrical system, and now have a really fine running tractor. I have it in the UP now where this past fall we fit up a small wrecker-type boom on the back of the tractor to move some heavy pine logs with..... what a labor-saver that turned out to be.


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#12 Mike Unwin OFFLINE  

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Posted January 10, 2014 - 08:32 PM

When you have time tell us more detail about the Tecumseh ignition replacement story,seems like a common problem.Thanks Mike



#13 tcfisher OFFLINE  

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Posted January 10, 2014 - 09:34 PM

Hello Mike...   If you have a Tecumseh engine that used a solid-state ignition which has gone sour, chances are they are no longer made, and NOS parts are very hard to come by. Take a look at the product Dale Colvert sells through his "overnight-solutions.com" website. He has, I think, three different modules available.

 

For the HH120 engine in the Suburban, there was a pick-up unit mounted under the flywheel, as well as another unit ~ a transformer maybe ~ exterior of the flywheel. If either of these fail, you have no spark. So Dale's kit is a Hall-effect sensor that takes the place of the unit under the flywheel, this acts as the trigger. It's wired to a commonly available 12 volt coil which requires a power feed that is switched separately from the stock on-off-start key switch.  It really is a simple affair, pull the flywheel, mount the Hall-effect trigger unit, making sure the ground is good, replace the flywheel, find a suitable place to mount the coil, find a suitable place for the power switch and you're good to go. The Suburban came with a cigarette lighter, so I pulled and discarded that, and used the hole left in the dash panel to mount the weather-proof toggle switch to feed the coil. Although the stock ignition switch does have multiple prongs for various connections, none provide continuous power during the "start" mode, thus the need for the separate switch.  I think I paid about $145 for the kit from Dale, and $ 8 for the all-weather switch.

 

The only drawback is that the Hall-effect trigger is not adjustable with regard for retard or advance. He has it set for slightly before TDC.  If I recall and understand correctly, the original iginiton that Tecumseh designed and installed essentially had two triggers, one which operated at slow ~ cranking ~ speed, so that was effectively firing the spark in a "retard" mode, and the secondary trigger which fired at faster ~ operating ~ speeds, effectively "advanced".  Even though the engine has a compression release feature, it still wants to fire BTDC, and when it's cold, it can be troubling.  It's been suggested to me that one way to overcome this issue is to leave the coil switch "off" for the first couple revolutions until the starter and the engine have sufficient inertia to get past the early firing and then toggle the coil switch to "on".  Unfortunately, the tractor is 557 miles north and west of me, so this experiment will have to wait a bit !


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#14 Mike Unwin OFFLINE  

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Posted January 11, 2014 - 10:44 AM

The Tecumseh,s I have use the all in one metal coil and trigger unit on top of the flywheel, I have read the different sites about using a auto coil,Dodge module and either make your own pickup or buy a self powered two wire or battery powered 3 wire trigger. The trigger / pick ups look like crank or cam sensors you see on cars or pickups. I guess the modern engine run too fast for a "buzz coil" not sure what a Model T engine did for rpms, The conversion looks simple enough except for the pickup .Glad it worked for you, maybe a old time push button starter switch and a toggle switch would work for you.My old Massey Harris and the Wisconsin sander motors at work used a heavy push in switch to crank.. Cheers Mike



#15 tcfisher OFFLINE  

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Posted January 11, 2014 - 11:58 AM

I think one article you might have read about was by a guy who wound his own pick-up / trigger coil on a thread bobbin and bought a Plymouth minivan electronics module....... and that article was partly what inspired Dale Colvert to create, test and market his retro-fit kits.

 

A word of caution regards the Model-T coil vs. modern coils, those are designed to create the spark at the time of electrical contact, whereas a modern coil makes it's spark after the contact is broken, which all results in a timing issue to contend with.


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