Okay, so before I start, in case anyone tries to flame me or give me a hard time saying that this topic has already been covered elsewhere on the forums and if I just searched for the answers, they are already out there, I have been SUPER busy lately with everything going on in my life at the moment and I just don't have a ton of time to hunt down answers on the Internet. (I am working 3 jobs currently and I am also in the middle of trying to buy a house right now and juggling everything needed with that, from dealing with mortgage brokers, lawyers, the sellers, inspectors, appraisers, realtors, etc... It has just been so hectic for me right now!) So anyways, I am hoping that someone might have some answers for me or can point me in the right direction as I am at a loss right now of what to try next to get these engines running right.
So, right now I am dealing with two different tractors trying to get them both running right:
The first tractor is an EK-10 Estate Keeper with the Wisconsin TRA-10D engine. I have been using this tractor lately to mow the lawn with and it runs and drives okay now, but it is still not running great. I have already had the Zenith carburetor apart and soaked it in carb cleaner for a while and blew it all out last year. It has a brand new set of points with condenser on it and I set the points with a feeler gauge according to the service manual for the engine, but I do not have a timing light to try to make sure the timing is perfectly set on the engine either. It also has a brand new coil, spark plug wire, and spark plug on the engine. I also put new rubber fuel lines, a fuel filter, and gas tank on the engine. I have run several tanks of fresh 91 octane, ethanol free gas through it already, so the fuel can't really be a problem I wouldn't think.
The EK-10 starts right up every time I go to use it without even needing any choke and the engine seems to both idle and run at high RPMs well with no load. While driving in transport mode, everything seems to work well also. The engine runs okay, the tractor drives well, and there are no real issues. However, the problems start to show up once I turn the PTO on and start mowing with the tractor. Once it gets under a heavy load (deck running and tractor moving, especially when trying to cut tall grass), the engine starts to bog down and feels like it is losing power. It occasionally sounds like the engine starts skipping and it will backfire on me as well. If the engine starts running particularly bad like this and the blades and tractor speed start slowing down significantly, if I push the clutch pedal down and stop the tractor and let the engine kind of "catch back up", it will eventually smooth out and start running okay again until I start moving again and putting the engine back under a heavy load and it starts acting up on me again.
The second tractor is a Bolens 850 with the Wisconsin S8D engine. This one may be a bit trickier as I don't have a lot of symptoms and I'm not really sure what happened to it. It has been sitting for over 3 years though since it last ran. The battery is dead and the engine won't turn over. I'm trying to see if it will take a charge right now, but if necessary, I may have to replace the battery first. As far as I recall what happened to this tractor (it has been a few years...), I believe that I was snow blowing with it one winter and we had a lot of heavy snow, so I'm sure I was taxing the engine under a very heavy load, when all of a sudden I heard like a "POP" and the engine lost power and stalled. I turned the PTO off and tried to start the engine again, but it didn't want to start or stay running really. I also heard a sort of "hissing" sound, like the sound of air leaking out of a pin hole somewhere, while the engine was running. As I recall, I barely got it to run well enough to load it back on the trailer and bring it back to the garage where it has sat for over 3 years now before I did anything with it. But, I had bought the EK-10 (see above) shortly after the 850 blew up on me, so I have been using that and the 850 was put on the back burner for now. However, as I am looking at buying a new house right now (see further above), I would like to get this tractor working again ASAP as I have a few attachments for it that would be useful right now that I cannot use with the EK-10. However, I'm not sure where to even start with this engine. I'm not sure if it will run at all right now or what. From the sounds of what happened to it years ago, do you think I am looking at just a blown head gasket, a stuck valve or broken valve spring, blown piston rings, or something else entirely?
I know it can be hard to try to diagnose problems over the Internet where you're not right at the engine to check things out or hear it run, but I would appreciate any help ya'll can give me! If possible, I can try to get video of the engines running if that will help in troubleshooting them. Part of the problem right now that I have is that I also do not have a truck and/or a trailer to try to transport these tractors to a small engine repair shop or anything to try to have them checked out and repaired. So, I am attempting to fix them myself, if possible. If I need any hard parts to repair these engines, how available are parts for these old Wisconsin engines anyways? I have heard from people that they can be hard to get parts for, which is why a lot of them don't ever get fixed and end up on the scrap heap. I would like to keep them running though and I would like to keep my Bolens' as original as possible and not end up swapping out the engine for a newer Briggs and Stratton or anything.
Also, if there are any members out there knowledgeable enough to help in fixing these engines who are local to the Albany, NY area and could possibly help me out in person, I would greatly appreciate the assistance as well! (I would have no problem compensating financially for any in-person assistance that was rendered on these tractors as well!) There aren't many mechanics out there who will make house calls though I have found. I have had several people tell me that if I can bring the tractors to them, they will be happy to check them out for me, but I have no way of transporting them right now either.
Thanks in advance! If you have any other questions for me about these engines, I will do my best to answer them to try to further along the troubleshooting process of these engines.