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#1 Austen ONLINE  

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Posted June 22, 2015 - 01:23 AM

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It was wonderful meeting Steve and I have him to thank again for the delivery!

This tractor must be seen in person to be appreciated. If you didn't know anything about Bolens, you'd think the engine swap was factory. It runs and performs just like an OEM machine would with no hint or signs that it has been modified.

After it was delivered, I spent the remainder of the day on the machine moving dirt anywhere around the yard that I could!! I have a feeling that I am going to be putting A LOT of seat time on it. It is just so much fun to use and so versatile.

What is it like to use?
As I told Steve, this was actually my first time seeing a large frame Bolens in person. To describe it in one word, "tank." This thing is a BEAST. The sheet metal all around is thick and a lot areas like the hood for instance are thicker than my Economy tractor for comparison. Probably the biggest thing to get used to is the hydro pedal and the positioning of your foot for the actuation. I'm already picking it up pretty quick but it's a different style then would I've ever used before. The pedal is sensitive to your inputs.

Thanks to Steve's work, the tractor feels tight all around and does not have slop or play anywhere. All the bushings, seals, bearings etc etc have been replaced. In other words, when you go over bumps you don't hear or feel any looseness in the machine. I can't over emphasize enough how heavy and planted it feels.

I know this is a very broad comparison, but the last loader I used was my relative's Case backhoe. You'd think something like this would feel a lot lighter in comparison, but I kid you not, if that Case was on a smaller scale it would feel exactly like this. The tractor has a very indestructible feel to it as if it belongs on a job site. You almost feel like you're operating a piece of heavy construction equipment as the loader does not ever overcome the machine in anyway.

The Kohler 22HP v-twin runs smooth and has a lots of power. The hydraulic system, especially, likes higher rpm's in order to make quick transitions.
Having the hydrostat operation definitely goes hand-in-hand with the loader.

The tiller attachment points have been modified so that it can mount to the 3-point hitch which is pretty cool and convenient.

Bolens vs Economy Tractor:
I thought it would be fun to do a little comparison between the two. They really are two completely different tractors. The Economy is gear driven while the Bolens is hydrostatic. The Economy has an electric PTO vs. the tension system in the Bolens. You really sit "in" the Bolens while you feel like you sit "on top" of the Economy tractor. The Bolens definitely has the Economy in terms of hydraulic technology by having all the ports and front/mid/rear controls. The Economy Tractor setup is much, much, more archaic in design and limited. You really cannot operate more than one attachment at a time on the Economy vs the Bolens you can run two or maybe even three at once.

In terms of size, I was expecting the Bolens to be smaller than the Economy which I consider to be more of a small compact utility tractor over a GT. They are pretty close. The hood on the Bolens I think might actually be a hair taller than the Economy but I haven't measured.

Despite being older, the Bolens feels a lot more modern than the Economy. I think it is mainly due to the modern characteristics of the newer tech Kohler engine and probably the much more advanced hydraulics system.

I will say that it's pretty cool to have the opportunity to own two different tractors that are designed in completely ways.

Anyway, what an exciting day. I've dreamed of the day I'd own a Bolens large frame for a very long time and I'm glad I waited this long to get this particular one. I am looking forward to giving it a total esthetic make over. Possibly this winter I will take it apart and either have it powdercoated or painted. That is if I can withstand not being able to use it for a while!

 

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#2 boyscout862 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 22, 2015 - 03:32 AM

The LF Bolens are awesome. Yours looks real nice. After I got my 1250, nothing else measured up. What size Earthcavator?  Good Luck, Rick


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#3 KC9KAS OFFLINE  

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Posted June 22, 2015 - 03:48 AM

Looks nice, thanks for the photos!


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#4 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted June 22, 2015 - 05:00 AM

Hey Austen, thanks for the writeup and all the nice pics.  Just one question....do you really like the Bolens & loader?  :smilewink:


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#5 Husky OFFLINE  

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Posted June 22, 2015 - 08:48 AM

Awesome pictures I'm happy you like the Bolens. I've got a few and also a loader they are great machines for sure. That 22hp must be awesome.


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#6 tiretrx OFFLINE  

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Posted June 22, 2015 - 10:11 AM

Wow, now there's a dynamic duo! I remember the first time I saw a LF Bolens I just couldn't believe how big they were. Pretty telling up next to the PK. What a beauty. Congrat, and all the best, my friend :thumbs:


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#7 TAHOE OFFLINE  

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Posted June 22, 2015 - 11:13 AM

nice tractor.

my neighbor had both a 20 and 23, those things are beasts.


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#8 blackjackjakexxix ONLINE  

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Posted June 22, 2015 - 04:21 PM

VERY VERY NICE,your going to love running the machine,looks like a nice loader,post us some pics of the engine ,Thanks


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#9 Austen ONLINE  

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Posted June 22, 2015 - 10:54 PM

Thanks guys!!!

 

She's not real glamorous with the primer and all but it'll shine once again in the future. :thumbs:

 

The exhaust setup is going to be changed too. I'm still researching my options.

 

Boy, it is just SO much fun to use. It's amazing the work you can do with it. I am pretty much glued to the seat. :)

 

 

The LF Bolens are awesome. Yours looks real nice. After I got my 1250, nothing else measured up. What size Earthcavator?  Good Luck, Rick

 

Thanks Rick, I agree !

 

I believe the Earthcavator is a 38".

 

 

Looks nice, thanks for the photos!

 

Thanks for checking it out! There will be plenty more to come in the future I'm sure.

 

 

Hey Austen, thanks for the writeup and all the nice pics.  Just one question....do you really like the Bolens & loader?  :smilewink:

 

Thanks Dan!!!!

 

:D :D

 

I had a difficult time sleeping last night. I lost count at the amount of times I got up in the middle of the night to "check on it." :D

 

 

Awesome pictures I'm happy you like the Bolens. I've got a few and also a loader they are great machines for sure. That 22hp must be awesome.

 

That's really cool you've got a collection of them. I would have a hard time deciding which to use. Yup, the engine has lots of power and good low end.

 

 

Wow, now there's a dynamic duo! I remember the first time I saw a LF Bolens I just couldn't believe how big they were. Pretty telling up next to the PK. What a beauty. Congrat, and all the best, my friend :thumbs:

 

Thanks Ellis!!

 

 

nice tractor.

my neighbor had both a 20 and 23, those things are beasts.

 

Nice!! I couldn't imagine having two. Yes they are.

 

 

VERY VERY NICE,your going to love running the machine,looks like a nice loader,post us some pics of the engine ,Thanks

 

Thanks!! I'm head over heals! :smilewink: 

 

Here's some photos. You'll have to excuse the dust.

 

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#10 OldBuzzard ONLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2015 - 07:24 AM

Good to see that you got one :thumbs:  :thumbs: :thumbs:  

 

Now you are finding out what us Bolens guys have known for a long time: The multi cylinder large frames are the best GTs ever built.


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#11 Austen ONLINE  

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Posted June 23, 2015 - 10:44 AM

Good to see that you got one :thumbs:  :thumbs: :thumbs:  

 

Now you are finding out what us Bolens guys have known for a long time: The multi cylinder large frames are the best GTs ever built.

 

Thanks Dave! Thank you again for the help and insight you've provided me.



#12 Austen ONLINE  

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Posted July 11, 2015 - 10:34 PM

I thought I'd do a little update.

 

As I mentioned earlier, my first order of business was to change the muffler setup to something different. After a lot of research and consideration, I found the solution. It's a universal muffler that is similar in style to the OEM Kohler CH22 muffler only it sits up higher and has a smaller OD. The latter of those two, especially, was crucial in order for it to fit behind the engine and clear the custom firewall. The criteria was that it must be quite and be fairly concealed, and this muffler meets both with flying colors. While it is actually very close to fitting as it currently sits, it will need some massaging. A friend of mine who's a diesel mechanic and also does fab work on the side agreed to take on the project and perform the necessary modifications to make it fit. He's going to drop the muffler some so it sits bit lower and also modify the muffler's outlet so that it clears the hood and angles down. 

 

In order for the muffler to work, longer throttle and choke cables will need to be installed. I purchased a set of new push/pull cables from Brian. He also got in an NOS rubber brake foot pad that I needed so I bought it at the same time. Lastly, I found a website where you can design your own rubber caps so that should provide as a solution for the missing transmission lever cover/cap. I don't think I'm going to install those two items until the tractor is painted.

 

I've also serviced the tiller and am anxious to try it out. I haven't used it yet as it's been so dry and I'm not all that interested in creating dust storms.

 

Below is a few pictures of the muffler mocked up into place. It's going to be a nice fit.

 

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Got the tractor loaded up and ready to deliver to my buddy's shop after work on Monday to perform the necessary muffler modifications.

 

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New cables and foot pad.


Edited by Austen, July 11, 2015 - 10:36 PM.

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#13 Bolens 1000 OFFLINE  

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Posted July 12, 2015 - 07:51 AM

Looks like its in great shape!


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#14 WrenchinOnIt OFFLINE  

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Posted July 12, 2015 - 08:47 AM

Austen, nice unit for sure, glad you were able to purchase it.

Have some concerns of your new muffler set up and location, observations : Heat transfer issues, being between the engine firewall ,the dash ,then you , I really see some heat issues, these get plenty warm to the users feet as is with standard muffler placement . They changed the heat shields on the lower firewalls ( I think on the HT 20's don't hold me to model) to shield the operators feet. Your muffler being up on top close to the hood may cook some paint as well.

Later style twins for example the Duratracs the muffler is out the front ,yes under the hood but with a substantial heat shield and as most of owners of them will tell you it wasn't a great design allowing too much heat on the electric PTO clutch. My point being heat transfer is just that heat transfer and it can cause issues.Your electrical components, wiring, anything up on the dash. I wrapped my Duratrac with fiberglass header tape, it helped some.

May be all wet here, just some concerns, our best engineering has come trail and error,the "nothing ventured, nothing gained" attitude is a good one and will serve you well when needed.

Edited by WrenchinOnIt, July 12, 2015 - 09:29 AM.

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#15 Austen ONLINE  

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Posted July 12, 2015 - 11:11 AM

I appreciate the concern and thoughts. Yes, heat transfer has been a critical question.

I'm hoping that when it is dropped and allowed to hang below the the hood some, that this will help. I may end up wrapping the muffler with header wrap and making a simple heat shield had been a thought too.

The beauty of it is just as you said; trial and error. If this setup doesn't work out, then it doesn't work out and we're on to plan "B." It is my first choice so I'm going to give it a shot.


Edited by Austen, July 12, 2015 - 11:47 AM.

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