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Advice on Basket Case HT20


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#1 FarmerRon1975 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 02, 2018 - 12:29 PM

Hello everyone, I have been a long time lurker and have been fixing up my own lawn mowers for years. I have a hard time giving up on something once I start working on it.

I am looking for guidance on my first dive into heavy garden tractors, I recently picked up two Bolens tractors a HT20 and a GT 180. The GT 180 is not an issue and will run with minimal work I do realize it is not really a garden tractor. The HT20 has been used pretty hard but I really like the looks of it and want to restore it to a useable condition. The problem is the Sunstrand hydro is disassembled in a 5 gallon bucket. The original owner passed away and the hydro has been disassembled for years and all the parts have surface rust on them. The parts seem to be complete but I don’t know enough about them to tell why it was taken apart in the first place. I do know that the pumps have very tight tolerances that are going to be hard to achieve with surface rust.

I guess my options are
1. Clean and polish what I have, put it together and see what happens.
2. Continue looking for a used hydro of unknown condition.
3. Put the tractor in the back of the shed and keep my eyes open for another HT and make one out of two?

In the past, I have been known to put more money into something than it is worth and I would rather not keep doing that! My question to everyone is would you attempted to fix a tractor knowing that you basically don’t have a hydro?

Thanks for reading this!
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#2 Rainier ONLINE  

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Posted January 02, 2018 - 01:06 PM

I can relate to your problem! More than likely that hydro is toast. The previous owner would not have taken it apart for no reason. It is possible to find a used hydro for that, or one that has been rebuilt. It won't be cheep but you will have your self a nice machine. I think we all would like to see some pics to better assess what you have , none of us want to throw in the towel on a project , but some times it's for the best.
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#3 John Arsenault OFFLINE  

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Posted January 02, 2018 - 02:01 PM

I have spent more money then my project is worth many times. A few times I wish I wouldn't have and others I am glad I did. I try and look at the end and figure out what my time and cost would be on the said project and then evaluate if I really want or need it that bad.Sometimes we need to put in a lot to get what we want and a lot of times if your trying to stay under value it cannot be done. I have invested more money into a few of my tractors then I would ever get back out of them, the only ones that were worth it are the ones I am keeping. 

 

My biggest project and most costly one was a 1990 Volvo station wagon, I invested 5 times more then what its worth and I do not care. I got the car I wanted and thats that. So if you really want something just ask yourself what is it worth to you and is it going to make you happy all said and done.

 

We also put a lot into my wifes sears hydro tractor I am sure I could never get back what I put into it, but again I don't care we love it and it makes us happy. 

 

If you want it go for it!  if your hesitant , think about it some more. 


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#4 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted January 02, 2018 - 02:18 PM

Welcome to GTT. Download the manuals for your HT20 and the hydro from our Manuals Section(3 for free per day). Go through it and see what you've got. It may be beyond repair or it may just need a few new parts. Some older guys used to go by the hour meter for when it was time to rebuild and didn't actually access the condition. A few years ago there was somebody that was rebuilding the complete Bolens transaxles. You can check with our sponsors for parts and services.

The HT20 is a Bolens Large Frame(LF) tractor. Once you have played with a good running LF, you won't want anything else. They are great tractors. Good Luck, Rick
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#5 blackjackjakexxix ONLINE  

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Posted January 02, 2018 - 02:43 PM

Welcome aboard,I would look for a good used hydro pump,if on ebay make sure you deal with someone that has 100% feedback rating,there are sponsors here that deal with Bolens parts,all are very reliable and will steer you in the right direction,a good used hydro pump will cost you $200.00-$350.00 in most cases,a rebuilt one will probably be around $1200.00
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#6 FarmerRon1975 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 02, 2018 - 04:30 PM

I will get some pictures tonight. I would love to find a used hydro for $350! I have a soft spot for old iron, like everyone else on this forum, or we wouldn’t be talking about fixing 40 year old tractors! It is not that I NEED this Bolens for anything in particular, I do have a cab and snowblower for it, I just feel like it still has some life to give. And it is unbelievably heavy built and has a mean look to it.
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#7 wilberj ONLINE  

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Posted January 02, 2018 - 04:52 PM

I would look for another HT20 with a blown engine you can pick up for a little of nothing.  


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#8 dropped82 ONLINE  

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Posted January 02, 2018 - 06:23 PM

I've torn down the Sundstrand pumps myself. They're not all that complicated. Do a quick search and you'll find a few very informative threads on here about them. I laid mine out on a table and did a piece at a time. Parts are still available for them also. I know of one guy who disassembled, stripped rust, and reassembled and it worked good. Whether he got lucky or not, I don't know. I believe his was still full of water and stuck. Considering these pumps are still fully functional after thousands of hours of use, I think they're pretty flexible on clearances. As with all moving objects, things wear.

Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk

Edited by dropped82, January 02, 2018 - 06:24 PM.

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#9 WrenchinOnIt OFFLINE  

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Posted January 02, 2018 - 06:33 PM

Have totally rebuilt ones and good used ones PM if interested
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#10 FarmerRon1975 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 02, 2018 - 07:03 PM

Not the best pictures, it looks a little better in day light. It seems to be mostly all there and I have a replacement Kohler Magnum I can put in.

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#11 blackjackjakexxix ONLINE  

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Posted January 02, 2018 - 07:06 PM

I've seen a lot worse,well worth fixing,try to keep that K-532,if possible,they run well,WrenchinOnit would be a good contact for the hydro pump, very good guy
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#12 kjmweld ONLINE  

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Posted January 02, 2018 - 07:15 PM

Thought I'd mention to check that front bolster to see if it's in one piece still & not cracked. I noticed there's the lift assist brackets bolted to the framerails which means it (at one time) had that big 2 stage snowblower (bolster breaker) on it. Maybe the same blower you mentioned you have for it? Just figured I'd bring it to your attention now incase you do end up looking for a parts tractor. Best of luck to you with it tho, they're great tractors.
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#13 WrenchinOnIt OFFLINE  

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Posted January 02, 2018 - 07:27 PM

Go to our home page and click onto Tech tips/ How to , on the second page is a very informative article by member Petenpole on the Sundstrand 15 why not see what you have in your " bucket" of parts and give it a go, nothing ventured, nothing gained, if no luck I stand by my offer.
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#14 FarmerRon1975 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 02, 2018 - 08:08 PM

I meant to attach a couple more pictures, I will have to check out the bolster tomorrow, the snowblower is very heavy. Is it recommended to not use the blowers?

The other pictures are from the GT 180, it is a little dirty and missing the side panels but it is in remarkably good shape. I will not bet my life on the hour meter but it hasn’t seen much use.

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#15 wilberj ONLINE  

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Posted January 02, 2018 - 08:25 PM

The rear axle have any rust in it?  These rear ends are know to have bull gear problem.   If the rear axle is not all rusty inside it probably still be a good idea to take a look at the bull gear if your taking the time to put a pump in it.      

 

The rear axle is good Sams bolens could have a good used pump for you... 


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