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Spring to do list - HT20 - Repair Drive Shaft


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#1 Clevis ONLINE  

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Posted April 02, 2017 - 01:54 AM

Just a year ago I picked up this HT20 (2087-02) - it was my first Bolens.  It got me hooked.  It had been sitting in a barn for 7+ years after the original owner passed away.  It took the usual stuff to get it up and running after sitting for so long - cleaning fuel system and carb kit, plugs, points and condenser and changing all the fluids.  Since then it has been running great.

 

However, I've noticed a couple things over the last few months that need some attention.  After it's thoroughly warmed up it sometimes misses here and there.  Also, not every time, but if I have worked it hard the next time I go to use it there will be a drop or two of oil under her.  The other day I pulled off the baffle over the #2 cylinder and sure enough, the bottom of the head was oily and dripping.  Cylinder #2 needs a new head gasket.  I checked the Kohler service manual and it said cleaning the head was a service item every 500 hours - and since I am betting cylinder #1 hasn't been serviced in the last 500 hours, I picked up two gaskets and I'll do them both. 

 

I replaced the rear tires with Carlisle TruPowers last summer.  I picked up a set of Carlisle ribs I want to put on the fronts.  When I have the tires off the wheels I planned to clean them up too.  I picked up some Rustoleum Canvas White.  It looks to be a good match to the HT20.  Anyone tried that brand and color to match that era of Bolens' white?

 

The third thing on the list has been worrisome to me.  It's been psyching me out because I've read others posting about the PITA the job has been.  I need to pull off and repair the drive shaft.  Since I've had it there has been some vibration that has gradually gotten worse.  I've got a lot of play in the U-joint on the hydro end of my drive shaft.  Once I confirmed what it was I haven't used the tractor much at all - being concerned about wearing the hydro shaft. Sad. 

 

Well, today I finally had some time to tackle it.  From the get go, I was repeatedly shooting the crankshaft end with penetrating oil.  After taking off the hood, fender and dash & steering column; I found I had just one set screw on the hydro end.  The set screw was just to hold the fan and did not hold the drive shaft yoke onto the hydro shaft.  The crankshaft end had the cross bolt, which was easy enough to pull out.  At this point in time, I took a deep breath and said a little prayer.  It looked to me like the thing had already gone through a drive shaft repair.  There were what looked to be marks from hammer strikes on the yoke on the engine side.  Instead of hitting the yoke directly I figured I would get a scrap block of wood, put it up to the yoke and hit the wood a bit.  Then I got the idea to put the block up to the ears of the yoke and strike the wood, pushing the yoke towards the engine. It started to move!  Within just a few back and forth 180 rotations of the yoke - and strikes, the shaft was off!  

 

After getting the drive shaft off, I can see the damage that was starting to occur.  The woodruff key on the hydro end was getting beat up.  Also, the key groove in the hydro end yoke is no longer square but worn a bit.  I'll need to get a new yoke on that end.  The hydro shaft doesn't look bad or feel worn with my finger.  I'll see if I can pick up or borrow some calipers to measure any wear that's happened.  Anyone know the wear tolerances before the hydro shaft becomes an issue?  I don't want to repair the drive shaft, get it all back together and still have vibrations.  Also, there was no 1/4" key on the crankshaft.  I looked for it.  It wasn't there.  The keyway was filled with kind of a sludge of dirt and penetrating oil, but no key.  Could have this contributed to the u-joint failure on the other end?

 

So now my question is how important is the balancing of these drive shafts after a repair?  If I have to put a new yoke on, does that mean I should have it balanced?  I talked to my neighbor today who is a professional mechanic and he said he wouldn't bother to rebalance it - only rebalance if its a problem.  I don't want to do the job twice if it does need balanced. 

 

Any thoughts or sharing your experience on this would be appreciated.  Thanks!

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Edited by Clevis, April 02, 2017 - 02:05 AM.

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#2 chieffan OFFLINE  

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Posted April 02, 2017 - 06:59 AM

Myself, I would not worry about the balancing of the drive shaft as it was probably balanced when it was built.  I would clean up the key way and put a new key in and see how it fits.  If it feels snug, lock it down tight and run it.  Problem is you probably won't find 1/2 of the U joint.  Will have to replace the whole end.  Have not been into an HT 20 so can't say from first hand experience.  Not all that much pressure or force required on one of these like there would be on a 50 or 80 hp farm tractor on a grinder augur, which is about the same size U joint.


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#3 WrenchinOnIt OFFLINE  

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Posted April 02, 2017 - 08:36 AM

If you are looking for rattle can match Dupli-Color Wimbledon White is spot on even if blending in on the tins. The wheel weights are up to you ,close enough is the Rustoleum Canvas White , a lot of Bolens sport that color. Should be a square key on the driveshaft end. Your pump shaft passes the eye test based on your pic. Drive shaft shop can match you up the yoke, pro's replacing your yoke balancing shouldn't be an issue, you can check with our site sponsors for a quality used one or better yet a two piece. You can hope . Bob's , Rick's and Joe's all recycle for parts. Brian ( Bolens Parts and Supplies) can find you dam near anything cross reference wise if he doesn't have it or if it's NLA.
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#4 Green ranger OFFLINE  

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Posted April 02, 2017 - 09:28 AM

Rustoleum canvas white on the rims original paint on everything else. You won't be disappointed with results20170311_145600.jpg 20170122_152245.jpg

Edited by Green ranger, April 02, 2017 - 09:40 AM.

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#5 Clevis ONLINE  

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Posted April 03, 2017 - 12:12 AM



If you are looking for rattle can match Dupli-Color Wimbledon White is spot on even if blending in on the tins. The wheel weights are up to you ,close enough is the Rustoleum Canvas White , a lot of Bolens sport that color. Should be a square key on the driveshaft end. Your pump shaft passes the eye test based on your pic. Drive shaft shop can match you up the yoke, pro's replacing your yoke balancing shouldn't be an issue, you can check with our site sponsors for a quality used one or better yet a two piece. You can hope . Bob's , Rick's and Joe's all recycle for parts. Brian ( Bolens Parts and Supplies) can find you dam near anything cross reference wise if he doesn't have it or if it's NLA.


Thanks for the tip on Dupli-Color. How about for the HT23 - know what Dupli-Color matches them?
I'm figure I'll move forward without doing anything to the hydro shaft. I think I've got a line on a new two-piece drive shaft.

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#6 Clevis ONLINE  

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Posted April 03, 2017 - 12:16 AM

Rustoleum canvas white on the rims original paint on everything else. You won't be disappointed with resultsattachicon.gif20170311_145600.jpgattachicon.gif20170311_145600.jpgattachicon.gif20170122_152245.jpgattachicon.gif20170311_145600.jpgattachicon.gif20170122_152245.jpg

Good to know! Sharp HT20! Saw you've got an HT23 with a flail mower too... Nice!

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#7 Clevis ONLINE  

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Posted April 04, 2017 - 11:30 PM

Progress.  I got to thinking about the situation.  Last fall I picked up my second large frame - an HT23.  This one has a cracked block and I have already found a replacement engine (a Kohler CH640) for a re-power.  The engine I picked up for it has a different crankshaft size (1") than the K582 and I am guessing when I get it all put together I will need a little different drive shaft length too.  I figure I'll need to have a new drive shaft made for the re-power.  So I got to thinking about putting the HT23 driveshaft in the HT20.  I did a little research online and on this forum, trying to find if the HT23 and HT20 have the same length drive shaft - I didn't find the answer.  

I was itching to move forward (and to try and save a couple hundred bucks too), so I got to work.  It was a faster go this time around since I just pulled a drive shaft a couple days before.  With a little more than an hour of banging, pulling, cursing and liquid wrench - the drive shaft was out.

Even though it is a two piece drive shaft - it was behaving like a one piece - rusted solid.  I spent a lot of this afternoon trying tricks to get it to come apart.  Plenty of Liquid Wrench.  Chained it between two trees with a come-along.  Heated it with a flamethrower attachment on by BBQ's propane tank and hammered it.  Nothing.  Finally, I tried hanging it on my vice and using a punch I hit the end of the square shaft down and out of the yoke.  I only hit my hand once.

After cleaning and greasing up the two-piece shaft I tried putting it on the HT20.  Too long!  I measured the two tractors.  On the HT23 the measurement from the end of the crankshaft to the end of the hydro shaft was 15.5".  On the HT20 the same measurement was 14.5".  After arguing with myself for about 5 minutes about altering the drive shaft, I started cutting 1" off.  Then I cleaned up the fresh cut end with the bench grinder and re-greased it and put it back together.  Then I tried putting it on the HT20.  Perfect.  

I only had to make one more special modification to get it all together.  The HT23 hydro fan that was on the shaft is too big to clear the hydraulic lines coming out of the Sundstrand - so I needed to use the HT20 fan.  So I carefully bored out the existing set screw hole in the fan from 1/4" to 5/16" and then cut a new hole 90 degrees over for the second set screw.  This afternoon I had gone to the hardware store and picked up new keys, set screws and a new grade 8 thru-bolt for the crankshaft.  

After I put it all together, it is tight.  The bearings felt to be in good shape and with new keys and two set screws on the hydro end, it's solid.

Now that the job's done - Is there any reason I shouldn't have altered the HT23 drive shaft?

Well, now I can move on the head gaskets and new tires.

I attached pics of the drive shaft installed and the donor HT23.

 

 

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#8 Austen ONLINE  

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Posted April 05, 2017 - 11:02 AM

Nice job, Clevis!!


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#9 Newpaws493 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 05, 2017 - 06:48 PM

Sounds like your workin & thinkin through it well enough, thanks for taking us along. BTW, there's probably another Bolens within 20miles calling your name...what's 1 more..? :D


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#10 Clevis ONLINE  

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Posted April 18, 2017 - 10:46 PM

UPDATE - Hi all. The weekend before last I did pull the heads, de-carboned them and installed with new head gaskets.  Cylinder #1 was fairly clean and not too much carbon.  Cylinder #2 was an oily mess.  I wanted to do the heads because of an oil drip out of the gasket on #2.  I thought the gasket was blown, but it didn't appear to be.  The head was full of oil and carbon, but the gasket was sound.  When I was taking it apart it felt like a few of the head bolts weren't torqued down enough on one side - the oily side which was the side next to the heat shield.  It is a pain in the behind, getting those head bolts out and then back in and torqued down appropriately with that heat shield curving around the edge of the head.  Anybody got a trick for getting behind there?  I ended up bending the heat shield away from the head and then bending it back in place after the head was on. I wouldn't want to do that too many times.  I hope I only do have to do this every 500 hours.  While the heads were off I also adjusted the valves, they were way off.  Valve cover on #2 is a puzzle.  You have to twist that thing just right to get it out and around the governor and the manifold at the same time.  When I went to put it back on I forgot exactly how I got it off and it took me a few minutes to get it back down on there.  Sorry, no pics - the heads were a pretty grimy job and I didn't grab my phone.
After I put it all back together I decided I would also put in new plugs and change the oil.  Then I started her up - so smooth!  The donor drive shaft feels good and the engine is running the smoothest since I got her.  The only thing left to do is find the squeak in the dash that appeared after I put it all together.  Guess there's always something.  Oh yeah, I've got to paint those front wheels and get those tires mounted.  On to the next thing.

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