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New Member, New Bolens (Estate & Grounds Keeper)

ek10 gk ek estate grounds

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#1 jpswift1 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 13, 2015 - 11:10 PM

Hi everyone!  I've been meaning to post this information since I picked these new toys up, but I've been so busy with all of my million other projects and reading all of the great info on here I haven't really had a chance until now. 


First off, I love a story about finding a good deal and I won't buy something unless it's the right price, even if I have to wait a while.  That's just how I got my Bolens Estate Keeper and Grounds Keeper.  I saw pictures on the Internet of the Grounds Keeper and Estate Keeper and instantly knew that I wanted one or the other.  I found a 944 newer frame steer Bolens on my way home from work a few years ago, but it just wasn't for me and I passed on it and I'm glad I did.  Fast forward to April of this year.  I stopped at a nice older gentleman's house after I saw another 944 Bolens frame steer and asked if he'd sell it.  He said, "No, I'm going to make it into something for me to get around at tractor shows, but my brother has an older version of this Bolens he'll sell for $100, and I'm going there this week.  It's about an hour and a half away but if you want to contact him and it's what you'd like I'll bring it back here for you."  A couple emails and a phone call later I made the deal on a complete EK-10 Estate Keeper with a 42" deck.  It was a little rough from sitting outside, but all there.  I picked it up a few days later and wow, for a smaller tractor it's HEAVY!  I saw in a Bolens brochure that it weighs 600lbs!  I start working on tearing it down, I got some larger 18x9.50-8 ag lug tires and then a very nice, and cheap factory Bolens plow for it on Ebay a few months later.  I'm currently in the process of restoring it back to original condition now (maybe a Tecumseh HH120 instead of the Wisconsin and of course the larger ag lug tires).  It's coming along nicely and I'll be posting pictures this week.


Fast forward to last month and what pops up on my local Craiglist, a Bolens GK Grounds Keeper for $400!  It was nicely optioned with the frame weights, wheel weights, cab, heater, lights. brand new rear Carlisle tires, and an excellent running Wisconsin engine.  It's used, but in pretty nice shape.  The steering is sloppy and will need attention and there were no attachments, but after the gentleman and I went back and forth with a few texts and told me to come get it for $350, so I got up there ASAP and got it.  I drove it a couple times and I must say, that thing is a TANK!  It's very heavy, I'm guessing well over 1,500lbs and I'm hoping to find a plow for it because I'm thinking it'll really move some snow.  I'm slowly working on this one too, some rust removal and paint, light fiberglass work (it's in pretty nice shape), and some tinkering with the steering and I'm hoping I'll be set.


I'll be sharing a lot more pictures with everyone this week.  Here are a few to get us started.  Thanks for all of the great information on here and I look forward to meeting some of the folks on the site.


20150412_193351.jpeg bolens gk.jpg Photo1849.jpg

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#2 oldedeeres OFFLINE  

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Posted September 13, 2015 - 11:30 PM

Welcome to the site! Thanks for the pics.
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#3 Bolens 1000 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 14, 2015 - 07:07 AM

Welcome to GTT:wave:



Looks like with a little love you'll have them running, not sure I like the looks of those massive tires on that EK but thats just me :angel:


If the Wisconsin is complete you'll be better off keeping it , they have much better parts support and these have a unique oil change location on the bottom of the crank case cover

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#4 gardentractornut OFFLINE  

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Posted September 14, 2015 - 07:38 AM

Wow, now you got every Bolens nut on here jealous! 


Welcome to GTT and be sure to share your progress on those! The GK is one on my list of GT's to get, and it's probably the top one. 

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#5 fonz3482 OFFLINE  



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Posted September 14, 2015 - 09:50 AM

Great deals, and neat machines! Welcome to the forum!
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#6 HDWildBill OFFLINE  


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Posted September 14, 2015 - 10:02 AM

Welcome aboard.  Looks like you have some nice projects.

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#7 blackjackjakexxix OFFLINE  



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Posted September 14, 2015 - 12:04 PM

Welcome aboard,nice finds, I would leave the EK original and keep the correct Wisconsin engine in it,keep posting pics

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#8 TomLGT195 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 14, 2015 - 02:14 PM

Welcome to the site. Nice finds there.  

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#9 Austen OFFLINE  

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Posted September 14, 2015 - 02:40 PM

Wow, great finds!! The EK is going to look great with those larger tires. The look reminds me of a vintage military machine.


I like the GK a lot! What a cool machine! Keep us posted.

Edited by Austen, September 14, 2015 - 02:45 PM.

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#10 LPBolens OFFLINE  



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Posted September 14, 2015 - 03:34 PM

Although it is certainly possible that the steering needs work on the Groundskeeper, my experience with those particular machines is that the steering acts really odd when they have no attachment installed on the front of the machine. (If you are likely to be out in Illinois any time, I have a spare front dozer blade with the mounting frame that I could sell. Shipping would be difficult, though. The blade is very heavy duty, as is the mounting frame, and they are BIG)

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#11 framesteer OFFLINE  

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Posted September 14, 2015 - 06:34 PM

Keep your eyes open for a Lawn Keeper and you would have the framesteer-articulated trifecta: Lawn Keeper, Estate Keeper, Grounds Keeper.


Personally, I'm still ignoring the Swedish machines as not authentic Bolens

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#12 jpswift1 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 14, 2015 - 08:15 PM

Thanks for the warm welcome everybody!  I have some pictures, although they're a bit scattered about.  I took my Estate Keeper all apart and got the steering tower sanded down and painted and got the steering shaft freed up.  The steering was VERY stiff, but now it's smooth as new.  Everything on the Estate Keeper is very heavy.  The gearbox/axle assembly could barely be moved by me alone, and the cast iron steering tower is a lot heavier than it looked.  I'm going to take a wild guess and say that this thing will really plow snow well, with all this weight and the engine and gearbox right over the rear drive wheels.


And I totally agree, those later model Bolens frame steers (made by Stiga, a European company I believe) weren't really that impressive or nearly well built as the older Bolens were.

STP60373.JPG STP60375.JPG STP60376.JPG STP60378.JPG


More pictures will be coming this week.  I'm slowing working on both the EK and GK as well as my other projects.  I really should be doing one thing at a time.

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#13 KennyP ONLINE  



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Posted September 15, 2015 - 07:20 AM

Keep your eyes open for a Lawn Keeper and you would have the framesteer-articulated trifecta: Lawn Keeper, Estate Keeper, Grounds Keeper.


Personally, I'm still ignoring the Swedish machines as not authentic Bolens

I have a lawn Keeper!

#14 OldBuzzard OFFLINE  



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Posted September 15, 2015 - 09:10 PM

Those EKs are heavy. 600+ lbs. if I remember correctly.  Plus there was a rear weight available.


You might be careful with those oversize tires.  With the normal tires they come very close to touching at full steering lock.


With the oversize tires they just might make contact.

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#15 wilberj OFFLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2015 - 09:16 PM

610 pounds.  

Edited by wilberj, September 15, 2015 - 09:17 PM.