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#1 Covan 6 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 26, 2014 - 08:54 AM

So I am retiring after 26 years in the Marines and finally got that plot of land I always wanted.  I know little of tractors and the like, but am slowly learning out of necessity.  I bought a Bolens 1220 with a blade, snow blower, mower deck, trailer, tiller and generator for a couple hundred without knowing what I was getting into.  It was an emergency purchase intended to knock down the neck hi grass prior to showing the property to my wife.


Well, the bolens did what it needed, until the HH120 blew a head gasket.  I replaced the head gasket and got her running again, until she quit again, to find that the SSI is not producing a spark.  During all of this, I bacame addicted to these things called "garden tractors," which frankly I couldn't pick out from a go-cart a few months ago.  Now that I am fully hooked, I plan to repower the Bolens over the winter, but in the mean time search for another GT to reliably meet my needs.  Here's what I need it to do, and hopefully you guys can point me to some makes/models and can start looking for:


Front end loader (big piles of debris everywhere)

Brush cutting

Trencher or backhoe (run power to the barn some day)

snow clearing


I probably don't even know what attachments are available or I would need, like post hole diggers, etc but I listed the main things I have been planning to do so far . . .


Once the bug bit me, I started looking at tractors around home, but they all seem full size and really expensive!


I have the luxury of time to shop around for exactly what I want, but I just don't know enough to even be dangerous yet.  Who would have thought a barely working Bolens 1220 would get me so hooked?


Thanks in advance for your input!

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#2 HDWildBill OFFLINE  


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Posted September 26, 2014 - 09:31 AM

Welcome to aboard and thank you for your service.  There are quite s few members who are quite knowledgeable about Bolens tractors who can answer your questions and the site sponsors should be able to help you out with parts.

#3 Auburn David OFFLINE  

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Posted September 26, 2014 - 09:33 AM

WELCOME (I am a Newbiee as well...I have little Dig-it 188T(these folks let me know fast it was a Ingersoll 6018/Case 648)..I like you am hooked..you might look into a small loader backhoe as well(mine is the size of a GT)found it cheap and in need of lots of work.

#4 tinbender7 OFFLINE  



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Posted September 26, 2014 - 09:47 AM

Welcome to the forum, and Thanks for your service!

#5 boyscout862 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 26, 2014 - 09:49 AM

Welcome to GTT. There are alot of military retired on here. First, download the manuals you need from our Manuals Section(3 for free per day). The SSI can be tricky but there is a way to bypass it with a coil. Check for the article on here. Also, there are good explanations on here:   http://home.earthlin...ller/index.html


The old Bolens tube frames are good heavy duty tractors and are worth repairing. They have a large list of attachments. Look in the Galleries. GTs and compact tractors with FELs are pretty expensive and limited in capacity. Decide what you need for your property. A full size older TLB can be less expensive with alot more power and capacity.


Take your time and post pics. Good Luck, Rick

Edited by boyscout862, September 26, 2014 - 09:50 AM.

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#6 jd.rasentrac OFFLINE  


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Posted September 26, 2014 - 10:34 AM


#7 KennyP OFFLINE  



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Posted September 26, 2014 - 11:05 AM

:wave: Welcome to the forum! Thanks for your service in the Marines! You might really need something a bit larger than a GT for what you are wanting to do. Or at least something a bit larger with the loader on it. Then fix the Bolens for mowing and the lighter duties.


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Posted September 26, 2014 - 11:12 AM

welcome and thank you for your service to our country!!


Sounds like your Bolens will fit your bill The Tecumseh motors are decent motors, once you learn their little failures. I have done a custom SSI conversion on my 16hp ( see my sig link) and there are many conversions out there. Over night solutions is the best bet if you want to keep it near stock, all the rest convert to battery-coil ignition.



#9 Covan 6 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 26, 2014 - 11:40 AM

Thanks to everyone so far, I have a lot of looking to do.  I definitely want to get this Bolens back in action because she just makes me want to do things when she is running, but for pure practicality, I should look into also getting something that I can more reliably count on to take the thrashing my inexperience is going to dole out.  Of course, as for all new hobbies, I have to gain the confidence of my wife, as she says things like "I'd like a garden" or "my there's a lot of snow . . ." and I can demonstrate the value of these cool machines right on the spot.  It's much easier when she thinks it's helpful too.


The other day she said "why is it you break everything you touch?"  Made me think . . .

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#10 JDBrian OFFLINE  


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Posted September 26, 2014 - 12:05 PM

Welcome to GTTalk. Take some time to look through the various forums and use the search function to find topics that interest you. There are quite a few older GTs that can handle a loader and if you aren't in a hurry to get things done they can do just about anything you need done on a small property.

#11 crittersf1 OFFLINE  


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Posted September 26, 2014 - 12:54 PM

:welcometogttalk: Marine! When and where did you attend boot camp?

#12 Tim Bergfeld OFFLINE  

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Posted September 26, 2014 - 02:20 PM

Ok let me chime in on this because I too wanted something to be a do it all tractor. Now here is what I found it will be cheaper to go rent a little compact backhoe for a day to run the line then to by a backhoe attachment for your tractor. Compacts are too expensive and no one makes a real garden tractor anymore except simplicity and john deere and the price will break ya. Try looking for an older allis Chalmers 720 or 620 or a simplicity 4041 9020. Ingersoll/ case don't make a garden tractor that has a loader but you can fab one but the spindles are weak the 6018 /648 is a great machine but mowing was an after thought at best. Massey has a couple older guys that will take brush cutters that are older mower won't break the bank. Not sure about bolens. But from what I found ya can't beat a simplicity 4041 the ark 700 loader is made for it I can't think of anything that cuts better tiller brush cutters and snow blowers and dozer blades are out there a little harder to find but they are out there I run across one of each at least once a month motor is a brute but really high dollar to work on. That's my .02



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Posted September 26, 2014 - 05:52 PM

Welcome aboard and thank you.

#14 bryan 110 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 26, 2014 - 06:40 PM

If you wanted a new garden tractor john deere (around me) usually has package deals with there more utility garden tractors . You can get brush hogs loaders tillers blade plait forks 3point the list goes on. You do pay for the deere tho but you get warranty diesel 25-35 hp lights for a late night stroll lol

Edited by bryan 110, September 26, 2014 - 06:42 PM.


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Posted September 26, 2014 - 08:56 PM

:welcometogttalk: and :thank_you: for your military service.


Oh, and :wewantpics: