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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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#16 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted September 21, 2015 - 07:12 AM

Did you blow the carb out with compressed air after soaking? If you just dipped it in and sprayed carb cleaner there still may be crud somewhere in the ports.

 

To rule anything out on the tractor itself can you swap carbs from the running one you have? If it still acts like that you have other issues, I once had my 850 act similar when the condenser went bad

 

 

As for parts Zenith still makes them (I am a dealer)  and you can buy parts individually, most are still made right here in the USA!


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#17 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted September 21, 2015 - 07:51 AM

Did you blow the carb out with compressed air after soaking? If you just dipped it in and sprayed carb cleaner there still may be crud somewhere in the ports.

 

No, I did not.  I figured between the bath and spraying it out with the carb cleaner, that should have gotten rid of any potential crud problems.  That carb cleaner spray comes out of the can at a pretty fast speed and the solvent will help loosen up anything stubborn.

 

To rule anything out on the tractor itself can you swap carbs from the running one you have? If it still acts like that you have other issues, I once had my 850 act similar when the condenser went bad.

 

Ummm...  This is the closest to a "running one" that I have!!  None of my other tractors are currently running, which is why I'm so desperate right now to get this one running so I have something to use and so I can jump on another tractor to start working on fixing that.  At this point though, I may have to switch projects if this one is going to be that much of a pain in my ass!

 

I checked my other Estate Keepers and my assorted parts boxes and I haven't come up with anything useful yet.  One of the other EK-10's is missing the carburetor completely.  I think I found it though as I have a "spare carburetor" in one of my parts boxes.  Unfortunately, it is in a lot worse shape than the one on this EK-10 right now that I'm having all the problems with.  (The gaskets are all dried out, there is tons of varnish inside the carburetor, and the throttle plate shaft is missing.  I found the throttle plate and some assorted hardware for it in a bag, but no throttle shaft...)  The EK-7 I have is also missing the carburetor, but at least it has the intake manifold pipe that the carburetor is supposed to bolt onto, lol!  The engine on the other EK-10 that I started trying to restore is also in pretty rough shape and the carburetor on that looks to be in pretty bad shape as well.  It is missing the throttle stop lever (not sure how important that is to have anyways, but still...) and some parts from the choke assembly that I can see right off.  It also has a lot of throttle shaft play in it and to me seems as bad, if not worse, than this carburetor I have been working on.  This is why I'm thinking I may need another carburetor to put on this engine to get it running right.

 

As for parts Zenith still makes them (I am a dealer)  and you can buy parts individually, most are still made right here in the USA!

 

Wow, really?  Zenith is still in business?  I find that kind of surprising, unless now they mostly just make replacement parts for their old carburetors for collectors and enthusiasts like us?  I have been told that these carburetors are basically the same as the ones that were used on old Harley-Davidson motorcycles.  I'm not sure if they were actual Zenith carburetors or not, but if they were, than that explains a bit why they are still making them and supplying parts as old Harley's are big money.


Edited by MailmAn, September 21, 2015 - 07:54 AM.


#18 Bruce Dorsi ONLINE  

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Posted September 21, 2015 - 08:48 AM

<snip> it ran perfectly fine just after I bought it.   However, after running it for a summer, 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.  These are classic symptoms of compression issues or ignition failure.

 

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. Did you replace it with wire-core plug wire, or carbon-core resistance wire?

 

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.  OK, there.  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.  Not a correct assumption.   .....The point adjustment will affect ignition timing, so if the timing is correct, the adjustment is OK.  .....However, a failing condenser, or oil on the points, or burnt points can still cause problems.  .....A failing coil, a bad connection, or a faulty ignition switch can all cause intermittent spark.

 

If you can put an inline visual spark tester between the plug wire and the plug terminal, you can verify the spark is constant while the engine is running, cranking, or dying out. 

 

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. Have you tried to add more fuel by opening the main adjustment ?

 

Too high a float level can cause flooding.  ...Too low can cause starvation.  ....If it is close, this shouldn't be a problem since gas will enter the carburetor bowl faster than the engine can burn it.  

 

Maybe the valves are sticking, especially from sitting. Not a common occurrence on those Wisconsin engines.  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.  A burnt valve, or a valve not seating can create compression problems, low power, hard starting, or spitting through the carb (intake valve).

 

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.   If you didn't have the carb completely apart when you soaked it, you may have done more harm than good.  .....I haven't had one of those carbs apart in many years, so I don't remember if the venturi  can be installed upside down.  ...However, if a venturi is installed wrong, fuel is not siphoned as easily. 

 

How do I turn off this damn auto-correct? --- It wants to keep changing venturi to venture?

 

 


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#19 Eric ONLINE  

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Posted September 21, 2015 - 08:26 PM

Just a note on points and condenser, they are not impossible to get to on an estate keeper. After removing your carb and moving cables accessing the points cover is possible. With some creative tool choices and patience you can be successful without removing your motor. To get my EK back into operation I had to do points condenser timing and carb rebuild (complete rebuild). Now all is good. I have learned not to over analyze and sometimes I may have to do things twice as I am not infalable.
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#20 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2016 - 09:14 AM

<<BUMP>>

 

Just bumping this back up.  The last time I updated this thread was September of last year.  I never did get it running or working last year.  Thankfully, we had a very mild winter and I didn't end up needing a snow blower.  However, now my grass is starting to get rather high and I'm back to needing a tractor.

 

I did manage to find a BRAND-NEW Zenith carburetor rebuild kit in my parts boxes over the winter and just for the hell of it, I used the rebuild kit on this carburetor.  It is STILL not working though even with all new gaskets and needle and seat, etc...  This is very frustrating.  I also found a brand new points and condenser set for this engine in my parts boxes as well, which also made no difference.

 

I'm at my wit's end with this thing and have no clue why it is still not working.  My only other option right now is to source a brand-new Zenith carburetor for this thing and see if it will run with that.  If it will run with a brand new carburetor, then I'll know that the old one was just worn out.  If I still have problems, then it must be some other problem than the carburetor.  Worst case scenario, I'll still have an extra carburetor for one of my other engines to get that working, as I'll still need one in order to complete my other EK-10 restoration as the carburetor on my other TRA-10D engine is complete junk and is missing parts.

 

So, does anyone have a NEW Zenith carburetor for sale that will fit this engine?  (Bolens 1000, I'm looking at you... :watching_you: )  I've tried to source one elsewhere and have had no luck.  I found a cheap one on eBay, but it looks much worse than the one I have, despite that he says it came off of a running engine:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/162051253902  (If that engine ran with that carburetor on it, then how will mine not run?  lol...)  I'd prefer to stick with a new carburetor though so I will be able to rule out 100% any fuel delivery problems.  Thanks in advance!


Edited by MailmAn, May 06, 2016 - 09:16 AM.


#21 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2016 - 09:22 AM

Welcome back :wave:

 

 

New carbs are available but they are $400.00  :wallbanging:

 

Is the engine running at all now or not at all?   One simple way to rule out an ignition or carb problem is spraying some carb cleaner in the plug hole and trying to start it, if it runs for a couple seconds on carb cleaner the carb is suspect, if it does not run you have something else going on somewhere 


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#22 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2016 - 10:12 AM

Welcome back :wave:

 
Thanks, Doc...  Been very busy.  Started a new job last October working for NY State in downtown Albany.  Also been trying to work on getting some of my cars back on the road.  Had a lot of BIG projects that I've been working on (including swapping out the old broken down and busted 307 V8 in my 1983 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser wagon with a big block Olds 455 V8 from a 1970 Oldsmobile Eighty Eight sedan...), so the tractors had kind of fallen on the back, back burner for a while.  But, now that spring is finally here, I'm back to worrying about my tractors.

 

New carbs are available but they are $400.00  :wallbanging:

 
WOW, really??? Damn, I figured around like $200 to $250 would be decently expensive for a new carburetor. I can get a new 4 barrel carburetor for a V8 automobile engine for cheaper than that!!!  Why so damned expensive? Is that list price or your cost?

 

Is the engine running at all now or not at all?   One simple way to rule out an ignition or carb problem is spraying some carb cleaner in the plug hole and trying to start it, if it runs for a couple seconds on carb cleaner the carb is suspect, if it does not run you have something else going on somewhere


Well, it is still doing basically the same thing that it was doing last year in the video I posted. It will start and run for a few seconds and then cut out again. It won't stay running for more than like 30 seconds at most.

If new carburetors are almost out of the question (since they cost more than I paid for the whole tractor), do you have any complete, rebuilt, 100% working used carburetors at all that I could get for any cheaper? I need to do something here to try to get this tractor working or else it is just an expensive lawn ornament. It seems annoyingly close to working, but it just refuses to stay running for any length of time. I'm stumped and I have several professional mechanics with 40+ years of experience each stumped as well as to why this thing is not working. Leave it to me to come up with the most difficult situations to try to resolve. I should just change my name to Murphy...
 

 



#23 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2016 - 10:21 AM

Sounds like a fuel issue

Have you got an inline spark tester to see if your losing spark when the engine starts to die?



#24 sodisr OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2016 - 10:50 AM

What I noticed too ,, was every time you seemed to get a good compression stroke going ( And spark ) That the butterfly and shaft moves up and down..   Almost like after each time the valve Intake,,or exhaust  goes up or down,,, so doe's the butterfly..   Mine seems to do that trying to start,, but after it gets going it smooths out...  ( that's why my carb. shaft is so sloppy, from doing that for years )...

 

   Anyway,,, I'm no expert on this mater,, just an observation .  What would happen if you hold that butterfly open,, OR shut once it gets going for a couple of seconds..  does the back side of the butterfly shaft go to a rod to the governer.??   Something to look at.??



#25 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2016 - 11:37 AM

What I noticed too ,, was every time you seemed to get a good compression stroke going ( And spark ) That the butterfly and shaft moves up and down..   Almost like after each time the valve Intake,,or exhaust  goes up or down,,, so does the butterfly.

 

Yes, I noticed that too, that the throttle plate keeps moving around a lot. Not sure if this is normal operation or not. It could just be doing that because the engine doesn't want to run or the mixture is all screwed up. (Opens throttle to try to get more fuel, but then closes because it is too lean or something?)

 

Anyway,,, I'm no expert on this mater,, just an observation . What would happen if you hold that butterfly open,, OR shut once it gets going for a couple of seconds.. does the back side of the butterfly shaft go to a rod to the governer.??

 

Yes, the throttle shaft on the engine side of the carburetor goes to a governor. The throttle cable is connected by a spring to the governor though, so it is not directly connected to the carburetor. I have tried holding the throttle shaft open when trying to start the engine or to keep it running and that doesn't seem to help anything either. If anything, it just causes it to die out faster than letting the engine and governor control the throttle.

I also notice that whenever the engine dies out, the throttle plate opens up all the way like it is trying to get more fuel to stay running, but it can't. When the engine is running, even for a short amount of time, it seems like the throttle is only open partly (or else it is flopping around a lot from closed to partly open very rapidly). Not sure if this is normal or not either.



#26 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2016 - 11:40 AM

Have you got an inline spark tester to see if your losing spark when the engine starts to die?

 

No, but I should probably look into that, huh?  I have checked to see that I have spark with the plug out and just turning the engine over, but you are right I have had no way to be sure that I am still getting spark when the engine cuts out after it has been running.  It COULD theoretically be an intermittently bad coil or a problem with the points floating open while it is running or even a problem with the voltage regulator causing problems.  I'll have to check up on that and get back to you.


Edited by MailmAn, May 06, 2016 - 11:41 AM.


#27 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2016 - 05:15 PM

No, but I should probably look into that, huh?  I have checked to see that I have spark with the plug out and just turning the engine over, but you are right I have had no way to be sure that I am still getting spark when the engine cuts out after it has been running.  It COULD theoretically be an intermittently bad coil or a problem with the points floating open while it is running or even a problem with the voltage regulator causing problems.  I'll have to check up on that and get back to you.

 

Rule out ignition first then go from there spark testers are about $6 with the ones I stock. Once you rule out spark I'd be happy to look at the carb for you if you pay shipping both ways.

 

The voltage regulator has no effect on spark its only duty is controlling output on the starter generator 



#28 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2016 - 05:23 PM

If you have a timing light you can connect it to the plug wire, start the engine and observe the flashing light while it is running - if the light flashes intermittently, irregular or stops flashing when the engine cuts out it usually indicates lack of constant spark - if the light is still flashing consistently when it cuts out it is probably something else .


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#29 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted May 09, 2016 - 10:48 AM

Spark checker purchased at Harbor Freight for $6.  I didn't get a chance to check it this past weekend as I was busy with some other projects and I need to mow my lawn at least once with the push mower again, which sucks and I'd like to get this tractor going once again, lol!  I'll hopefully try to check it sometime this week.

 

Bolens 1000 - So, I assume that means you don't have any good working rebuilt carbs for sale then?



#30 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted May 09, 2016 - 11:30 AM

I dont have a source for any more used carbs for these, used to have a guy who sold rebuild able cores but he stopped doing it as too many complaints from people expecting them to be like new when purchased.


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