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Changing the Oil on a Bolens Estate Keeper EK-10

bolens ek-10 estate keeper wisconsin tra-10d engine oil change

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#1 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted July 14, 2016 - 12:16 PM

I finally got around to changing the oil on one of my EK-10 Estate Keepers, which was long overdue.  I have not changed the oil on this tractor yet since I purchased it about 3 years ago (partially since it was sitting in the garage for 2 years not running before I rebuilt the carburetor on it and replaced the points, coil, and spark plug to get it running again...) and it was WAY overdue for service!
Part of the problem with these Estate Keepers is the engine is crammed in the back of the tractor and there is not a lot of room to work on them like with other tractors.  The oil drain plug can be tricky to find on these if you're not familiar with them.  Other Wisconsin engines installed on Bolens tractors have the oil drain plug on the side of the case.  However, if it was located in the same place on the Estate Keepers, it would be inaccessible to drain the oil unless you pulled the whole engine out of the tractor!  Thankfully, Bolens had thought of that and they requested that Wisconsin design them with the oil drain plug in a different location to make them easier to access.  However, it is still not entirely CONVENIENT for your average owner to change the oil on these, which I think led many of these to have had the oil changed very infrequently, if at all.
I ended up using a jack to lift the back of my tractor to access the oil drain plug, but others might rather use a pair of automotive ramps that they could back the tractor up onto to get access to the drain plug instead.  Whatever method you use, you have to get under the back end of the tractor.  I preferred using a jack since once I pulled the drain plug out, I was able to lower the jack to be sure I got as much of the old oil out of the engine as possible.
Here are some shots of the tractor jacked up in my garage:




Next, once you crawl under the back of the tractor after it is jacked up, you will see the oil drain plug on the bottom of the engine. It is located at the bottom of the engine's rear crankcase cover, near where the lower PTO drive pulleys are on the tractor. You can see it in the picture below (where the arrow is pointing):



Before I started draining the oil, I pulled the dipstick to check the condition of the oil, which was pretty dark and sludgey if I do say so myself. It definitely was LONG overdue to be changed:



Next, I got out my allen bits set (I believe this was either a 1/4" or 5/16" allen bit), put the bit on my socket adapter, and used a LONG extension on my socket wrench to take the plug out. (Just be sure to have your oil drain pan in place before you pull the plug out as oil will go everywhere.) Also, a magnetic bit driver would be useful so you don't drop or lose the plug. I was careful when removing mine that I didn't drop it in the oil drain pan.


I also swapped out oil drain pans when the initial flow of oil slowed down and used a cut-off Gatorade bottle to put there to collect the rest of the oil from the engine. This allowed me to slowly lower the jack all the way until the tractor was down on the ground to try to get all of the used oil out of the engine. (Notice that the rear wheels are on the ground in this picture):


Here are some photos of the old oil that came out of my engine. YUCK!! I'm so glad I changed it, but I only wish I did it earlier than I did.



Now it's time to add in some fresh oil. (Wait, aren't we forgetting something? Oh, of course, be sure you put the drain plug back in FIRST before filling your engine up with new oil!) I ended up using Valvoline conventional 30W oil in my engine, since this is what the manufacturer calls for. I also added in between 1/8 and 1/4 of a bottle of STP Oil Treatment with the oil. STP contains ZDDP, which is a zinc anti-wear additive that is good to use in these older engines. (The old motor oil available in the '60s and '70s used to contain more Zinc than today's blends.)


Now, honestly I think I may have overfilled my engine with oil, especially since I added the STP treatment. I put in a little over a quart of oil and as you can see by the level on the dipstick, it is a little over the operating range. I would have figured this engine would take more than just one quart of oil to fill it up, but I guess not. (You can tell I was playing it safe since I bought two quarts of oil plus the STP treatment to put into the engine...) My dipstick is also probably a bit inaccurate though since the top is broken on it and the dipstick goes into the tube a lot farther than it should, probably. Still, so long as I have oil appearing on the dipstick and it looks fresh, I'm happy with that!



So, that is really about all there is to it! I mowed my lawn with this tractor again a couple of weeks after changing the oil and it ran well and I'm sure she was a lot happier being run with fresh oil in her! (Yes, I know it took me THAT LONG to post pictures of the oil change that I did on this tractor at the end of June...)

Hopefully after seeing how easy it was to change the oil on my tractor (it took me maybe a half an hour to an hour at most and that included taking all of the photos...), this will give you the confidence to tackle changing the oil on your tractor!
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#2 framesteer OFFLINE  

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Posted July 14, 2016 - 01:28 PM

To improve the convenience of changing oil next time, you can extend the location of the oil drain plug by screwing a 4" pipe nipple into the crankcase cover (in place of the existing plug), then a pipe coupling onto the nipple, then the pipe plug (or a new one with a square head is easier ti remove) into the coupling.  You will still likely have to jack the machine up to change oil, but you won't have to stand on your head to do it.   Also, the pipe nipple/coupler/plug arrangement will help control the oil as it drains (I use a shallow pan to catch the oil.)  


Don't use a pipe nipple that is too long, or it could contact the ground, or curb, or stick, or rock and break the crankcase cover.

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#3 Bolens 1000 OFFLINE  

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Posted July 14, 2016 - 01:41 PM

Glad you were able to finally get the oil changed, once you know where the plug is you just need an extended Allan wrench and wont have to lift the wheels to do it.


You were right in adding the zinc to it, I buy and stock Kohler oil which has the zinc in it.


The oil capacity is 1qt, but have found in most cases the level will show about 1/8'' above the line when full

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#4 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted July 14, 2016 - 01:56 PM

To improve the convenience of changing oil next time, you can extend the location of the oil drain plug by screwing a 4" pipe nipple into the crankcase cover, then a pipe coupling onto the nipple, then the pipe plug into the coupling.

Good point, I honestly had not even thought of doing that and I just wanted to get the oil changed quickly. I may end up doing this next oil change then as I ended up extending the oil drain on my Bolens 850 engine as well. That Wisconsin engine has the oil drain plug on the side of the case way down at the bottom and it was annoying since it was impossible to drain the oil out of the engine without it pouring out all over the side of the tractor, making a nice oily mess! I put about a 6" pipe extension on the oil drain hole on the S-8D engine and put the plug on the end of that so it sticks out just past the tractor frame so I can get an oil drain pan underneath it to catch the oil.

I figured I didn't REALLY need to do this on the EK-10 since the oil drain was under the tractor and the oil drains straight down into the pan, which makes it very nice and neat.


Don't use a pipe nipple that is too long, or it could contact the ground, or curb, or stick, or rock and break the crankcase cover.

Good point, but it looks like you could put a pretty long pipe extension on the oil drain plug on this engine without any problems. I'd imagine 4" is playing it safe and you could probably even stick a 6" extension on there with no problems. Just as long as it doesn't stick out any lower than the bottom of the lower PTO drive pulley, it should be safe as anything that might hit it and break it off would most likely hit that pulley (or the bottom of the transaxle case) first.

Edited by MailmAn, July 14, 2016 - 02:01 PM.

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