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Engine/Carburetor Problems with Bolens EK-10

bolens estate keeper ek-10 wisconsin tra-10d zenith carburetor

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#1 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2015 - 05:53 PM

I am having a heck of a time with my 1968 Bolens Estate Keeper EK-10.  It has sat for a couple of years since it stopped running a while ago and I haven't had the chance to try to fix it for a while.  I started working on it earlier in the summer and I found the gas tank looked pretty rusty and there was a lot of sediment in it.  I tried to flush it out and clean it, but it still looks to have a lot of rust inside, so I replaced it with a clean plastic tank since I was worried about all that messing up the carburetor.  I also installed a nice big automotive gas filter in line to help keep the gas flowing to the carburetor clean.

 

The carburetor was pretty gunky and nasty inside from the bad gas, so I completely disassembled it and soaked it in a gallon bucket of carburetor cleaner solvent for a few days.  Then I took it out and sprayed it with a bottle of carburetor cleaner, let it dry, and reassembled it.  I adjusted it according to Wisconsin's specifications in the service manual for the engine and put it on the engine.

 

However, it does not want to run now.  It is hard to start and only wants to start and run with the choke on full.  To me, this seems like it is running very lean, but I'm not sure what is causing it.  I did notice that the throttle shaft is very loose and has a lot of end-play in it.  The throttle plate is also probably worn a bit.  I'm not sure if this is entirely the cause of my problems or not, but I'm thinking it isn't helping.  Otherwise, I don't see anything wrong at all with this carburetor that would prevent the engine from running.

 

I have made a video of trying to start the engine in the hopes that this might help troubleshoot the problem:

 

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=dpjvc4Lq69s

 

As you can see, when it does run, it seems to run just fine and the engine picks up RPMs nicely up until it eventually dies.  It also looks like it backfires through the carburetor occasionally for some reason.  But it refuses to stay running.  This thing has really got me baffled and I'm running out of ideas.  Is this carburetor just junk at this point and I will need another one in better shape or can it be fixed at all?  Do they make a rebuild kit for these carburetors that will fix the play in the throttle shaft?

 

I also posted a few pictures of the carburetor, including one where you can see fuel vapor leaking out of the intake.

 

Any help would be very much appreciated!  I'd love to get this thing running here before winter comes and the snow starts flying!

Attached Thumbnails

  • TRA-10D Zenith Carburetor 02.jpg
  • TRA-10D Zenith Carburetor 03.jpg
  • TRA-10D Zenith Carburetor 05.jpg
  • TRA-10D Zenith Carburetor 06.jpg
  • TRA-10D Zenith Carburetor 08.jpg

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#2 New.Canadian.DB.Owner OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2015 - 06:24 PM

Watched the video (awesome quality).  That has fuel starvation written all over it.  Your carb isn't getting gas.  You have a blocked fuel line, likely the auto fuel filter or the gas cap vent.


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#3 Chubien ONLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2015 - 06:43 PM

I tend to agree with the comment above - that's how my 1050 behaved when it had a pinched fuel line behind the flywheel.
You should be able to easily determine if its the fuel supply to the carb or the carb by unplugging the fuel line at the carb and opening your fuel valve to see what flow you have, mine was barely dripping when it was pinched.

#4 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2015 - 07:05 PM

Fuel is definitely the issue, also seems like the intake gasket is missing .....

 

The back and forth movement of your throttle lever  will not affect operation on the carb.

 

if you let it sit a few minutes will it run for a longer period of time? If that is the case I'd say you got trouble from the tank to the carb inlet, that filter in the pic is way too big for this engine plus it could be for a fuel pump application and too fine of a micron rating


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#5 backyardtinker OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2015 - 07:20 PM

you could try taking an empty quart of oil and putting a hole in it near the bottom that the fuel line will fit very snugly into and filling it up with gas to make a small gravity feed "tank" for it that you can hang above carb level. If it runs fine on that, you can eliminate the carb as issue and look for issue up stream of carb.



#6 larrybl ONLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2015 - 08:17 PM

I think the carb shaft bushings should be replaced, this is allowing a lot of air to by-pass, and could affect the fuel delivery.



#7 Eric OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2015 - 08:27 PM

I agree with bolens1000 fuel filters for automotive application are not a good idea on small engines. I also have recently had my estate keeper apart and had an I take leak that caused my engine to run similar to this. They make carb kits for this zenith and are very easy to utilize, especially since you seem to be comfortable with tinkering with things.

#8 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2015 - 09:05 PM

It is not a fuel supply issue.  I originally thought the same thing, but when I pull the fuel line off of the fuel inlet on the carburetor, the gas comes pouring out all over the floor.  I also tried removing the gas tank from the mount on the back of the engine and elevating it up higher and removing the fuel filter and the results were the same, so I don't believe that it is an issue with getting fuel to the carburetor.  It has to be an issue with air leaking in somewhere in the carburetor or not enough fuel mixture making it to the engine for whatever reason.  I have had this carburetor off of the engine and apart about 4 or 5 times now since August and I just cannot get it to run right and it is really driving me crazy.

 

Does anyone have a rebuild kit for these or know where I can buy one?  I may need a whole complete carburetor to swap on this engine in order to get it to work at this point.  I just don't want to end up buying a more worn out piece of junk than I already have, so buying used parts, especially online, always worries me.

 

Also, I went with the big metal car fuel filter because I tried one of those little plastic filters that are supposedly "designed" for small engines and it was junk!  It got clogged up with sediment in no time (granted, this was before I changed gas tanks on the engine...) and I had a hell of a time removing the plastic fuel filter from the rubber fuel hose since the plastic filter had partially melted from the heat!  I wasn't even running the engine for that long (since it kept cutting out on me), yet somehow it got hot enough to start melting the plastic.  They are garbage, which is why I went with the metal filter.  Plus, if anything, the larger filter diameter should allow the fuel filter canister to hold more reserve fuel, which should improve the fuel flow.


Edited by MailmAn, September 20, 2015 - 09:09 PM.


#9 larrybl ONLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2015 - 09:08 PM

I was able to replace the brass carb bushings in a Ford LGT-145 from Ace Hardware stock, and the linkage fitting from a Holly Carb kit. Hope this helps.


Edited by larrybl, September 20, 2015 - 09:08 PM.


#10 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2015 - 09:16 PM

Also seems like the intake gasket is missing .....


No, it is there. I'm not sure why it looks like it is not there in the picture, but there is definitely an intake gasket on the top of the carburetor.
 

If you let it sit a few minutes will it run for a longer period of time? If that is the case I'd say you got trouble from the tank to the carb inlet, that filter in the pic is way too big for this engine plus it could be for a fuel pump application and too fine of a micron rating.


No, that doesn't seem to make any difference. I can let it sit for hours and go back to it and it will still act like it does in the video. Sometimes it does seem like it has too much fuel vapor built up in the venturi and it doesn't want to start, so I have to open the choke to let some fresh air in, but then it won't run unless I choke it again after I clear the fuel vapor in the carburetor. You can see this happen in the video a couple of times, actually.
 



#11 WrenchinOnIt ONLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2015 - 09:20 PM

[quote name="MailmAn" post="609861" timestamp="1442801114"]..

Does anyone have a rebuild kit for these or know where I can buy one? I may need a whole complete carburetor to swap on this engine in order to get it to work at this point. I just don't want to end up buying a more worn out piece of junk than I already have, so buying used parts, especially online, always worries me.

Bolens 1000 ,One of our site sponsors has them:

https://bolenspartsa...or-rebuild-kit/

Edited by WrenchinOnIt, September 20, 2015 - 09:22 PM.

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#12 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2015 - 09:42 PM

Thank you, WrenchinOnIt.  I didn't know Bolens1000 had an online store.  I have bought some parts from him in the past (as well as from Bob's Lawn and Garden).  I guess more to the point though is what comes in the rebuild kit?  It looks like just mostly some new gaskets and a needle and seat and a bunch of washers for some reason.  The needle and seat are fine on my carburetor though as well as the float.  If fuel wasn't getting into the bowl, then it wouldn't start or run at all.  If too much was getting in there, then it would be overflowing and leaking gas all over the ground.

 

If a new throttle shaft, plate, and bushings aren't part of the carburetor rebuild kit, can I buy those separately or do they not make those anymore?  Also, are most of the parts you sell NOS from Bolens dealers that went out of business or do they make new reproduction parts for these Zenith carburetors still?



#13 Bruce Dorsi ONLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2015 - 10:05 PM

A few thoughts:

 

The end-play of the throttle shaft concerns me.  ......If the butterfly is correctly positioned on the throttle shaft, that much end-play means there is a large gap alongside the butterfly.  .....This should make the engine almost impossible to idle.

 

However, the engine should be able to run continuously, if the fuel mixture is enriched, especially since you confirmed adequate fuel flow to the carb.

 

It is possible that the float or float valve is sticking in the closed position.  The engine may run only long enough to use the gas in the bowl, then stall.  .....If the float was hanging open, gas would be pouring out the carb throat.

 

Have you verified a strong consistent spark ?  .....Is the ignition timed correctly? 

 

Your video seems to show erratic firing both out the intake and exhaust.  ......If the valves are seating properly, and valve and ignition timing is correct,  there should be no spitting out the intake or exhaust.

 

What is the history of this engine?  .....Was it running good after you got it? 

 

If the engine ran for a long time without a muffler, the exhaust valve may be burnt.

 

Be careful with running the starter too much in a short time, without giving it a chance to cool.  .....It appears the starter was used in most of the video.  ......The start windings or armature can be damaged from too much heat. 

 

Does this carb have a removable venture ?  ....If so, was it installed upside down ?


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#14 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted September 21, 2015 - 12:03 AM

Thanks for the reply, Bruce.  This tractor is the same one that I purchased a few years ago and it ran perfectly fine just after I bought it.  (Here is the post from when I bought it: http://gardentractor...ther-bbrt-today)  However, after running it for a summer after I just bought it, it starting losing power and it was having a hard time starting and a hard time staying running and it would want to die out when it got hot, etc...  So, that was when I parked it figuring it needed a good carburetor cleaning.  That was about 2 years ago now.  However, the engine DID run fine when I first bought it back in 2013, so that would lead me to believe that the engine internals should all be good.  But I do know what you mean about it backfiring through the carburetor and I'm not sure what is causing that.

 

I am getting good spark.  I had to replace the spark plug wire though when I removed the gas tank as the stock wire was routed through the gas tank mounting bracket somehow and I couldn't get it out in one piece, so I had to cut it and use a new plug wire that was longer.  Since I can't easily remove the points cover without removing the whole engine, I have not physically checked the condition of the points.  However, like I said I get good spark and I checked the timing on it with a timing light as per the instructions in the service manual and it seems fine.  However, if the points were bad or out of adjustment or the coil was bad or the spark plug wasn't firing right, etc. then I would think it would not run at all.  As you can see, when the engine starts getting enough fuel mixture from the carburetor, it looks like it runs great, right up until it dies.  It definitely seems like a fuel issue to me, not ignition/spark.  I believe the float level is set correctly and the needle seems to move fine and it seats okay.  It could be a little on the low side though, possibly?  You can just bend the float a little to adjust it, right?

 

Maybe the valves are sticking, especially from sitting.  I have no idea how to really test that though unless I start taking the engine apart.  But again, when it does start running okay, it seems to run so nice and smooth that it seems unlikely that a valve would be sticking or something.

 

The engine has not been run for long without a muffler.  In fact, I just managed to remove it a few days ago just to get me some more room to fiddle with the carburetor on the engine.  I also wanted to rule out a plugged muffler, but it doesn't seem all that carboned up.  It is rusted pretty badly though and now that I got it off despite all of the rustiness if it, I'll try to find a new muffler to replace it with.  But it hasn't been run for years with no muffler or anything like that.

 

I'm not sure if the venturi was removed on this and installed upside down or not.  Would that make it not run at all though or just run poorly like it is?  I don't think I had the carburetor that far apart when I soaked it though, but it is possible that it could have been installed improperly by a prior "mechanic"...  I believe from the parts list of the Zenith carburetors in the back of the Wisconsin TRA-10D service/parts manual it does show the venturi as a separate part.

 

Yes, I know I was running the starter/generator for long periods of time without much of a break.  I did try to let it cool off after long periods of constant cranking, but maybe it wasn't long enough.  I will try not to be so hard on the poor starter in the future as I don't need to burn that out too.  That is just what I'd need to have to rebuild the starter on top of everything else.  I also try to remember to shut the ignition switch off all the way when it is not in use since the coil is energized all the time when the switch is in the "Run" position, which can overheat and burn out the coil as well.  (Not to mention it just drains the battery...)



#15 Chubien ONLINE  

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Posted September 21, 2015 - 06:45 AM

If your fuel supply to the carb is good you may have a plugged fuel inlet on the carb, my 900 had so much rust in the tank that it had plugged the fuel elbow on the carb. Can you blow air through the fuel inlet when the float/needle is out? If that passes try testing with the carb reassembled, to blow in the carb fuel inlet, you should be able to pass air when it's upright and not be able to when it's upside down.
I would lean more towards a float level operation/level issue as the probable problem.
I have run these carbs with bad throttle shaft bushings and it seemed to only affect idle slightly in my case.





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