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Featured Tractor September 2013featured tractor bolens
I sold an extra tiller and front blade for a Ariens to buy this H16, it was 425 miles from our house, fortunately the man I sold the tiller and blade to gave me 150.00 to take another tractor to Kansas City, that paid for most of my gas. I have been VERY fortunate in that almost all of my tractor purchases turned out to be better deals than I thought originally, and the Bolens was no different.
The tractor had been wrecked almost 20 years prior, but before I get into that, a little history. The man I bought it from had been given the tractor by a dealer on a quasi-warranty issue concerning a 1981 Bolens QT17 that thrown a rod a year after his purchasing it. It wasn't under warranty any longer, but the dealer wanted to help the old guy out and gave him the 1977 H16 that was a trade-in. Eight years later the tractor needed an engine in 1990 and a new engine bought was installed in the spring of that year, unfortunately the first person to use the tractor was his young son who hit a well casing in tall grass. The impact broke the lower PTO unit off and destroyed the mower deck gear box. The deck and gear box disappeared with a gypsy repair shop never to be seen again. Not having a mower or PTO the guy put the Bolens in the barn, along with the tiller, snow blower, and blade in the barn and covered it up with a tarp, and GASP, bought a Murray, in fact, three over the years.
Fast forward 22 years later the guy wants a Zero Turn and decides to sell the Bolens. He told me he finally came to the conclusion that he wasn't going to fix it, and it only took the better part of a quarter century to realize it. The wife and I made the long familiar drive to Des Moines, (we had just been there last November to pick up an Ariens GT14). After getting it home I assessed the tractor and found the good and bad. The good, a brand new engine you could eat off, The tractor had not been used in over twenty years, it was dusty, but not very rusty except for the damaged front wheel. The bad, broken PTO, no starter, solenoid, missing hood rod, bent hood hinge, missing taillights/headlight (Allstate didn't cover the damages, well casing was uninsured).
First I repaired and replaced all missing parts, a friend gave me a starter that needed rebuilt, but it was an older good one. I replaced all the fuel lines, filters and fluid. I attempted to start it, but it really was having a hard time turning over using a little L&G battery, so I bought a full size 51r battery and that helped. I really had to lube the cylinder, it was so new and had sat so long the compression was really dragging the starter and battery down. the carb was full of junk and when I finally was able to clear the jets she fired up and ran at full throttle well, but died at idle, it has taken a tank full of gas with a high concentration of sea foam to remedy.
I replaced the steering link and both tie rod ends and had the right axle/spindle tube reamed to 7/8" in order to use a Bolens1050 spindle due to excess wear inside the 3/4' axle tube. The original spindle was trashed as were the bearings. I tore the tractor down to the frame and power washed it and all the parts three times, using oven cleaner, degreaser, and soap, after that I sprayed OSPHO on the rust spots then used a rust-inhibitor primer. I used a black semigloss industrial alkyd enamel with Naptha as a reducer and a poly converter as the hardening agent on the frame and a high heat engine enamel on the engine. After welding cracks in the fender pan with the MIG welder, I sanded all worn/rusty areas and primed. Then I used Rustoleum's gloss white on the hood and fender pan and installed all new Maple Hunter decals, I altered the original paint scheme by making the hood bulge black to draw attention toward it.
I found a new NOS steering wheel cap which cost me big $$$, but I had to have it as well as a new steering wheel bushing. New head lights and reproduction tail lights as well as alot of new wiring completed the electrical part. I used 3.75" narrow Simplicity rims with timken bearings and 4.00-8 tri-rib tires up front to aid in steering. The rear tires are 25x10-12 ITP 589s and really make the tractor look like the BULLDOG it is. I'm in school full time and am having quite a bit of trouble with my eyesight, so I'm not able to work on my tractors like I want to, but I found a few hours in the evening I could spare from the TV and computer to complete this project in about a month. I will never regret buying this Bolens, they have to be one of the stoutest, best designed tractors ever made. Thanks, Mike
- 101 senior, Golden Hurricane, dxman and 1 other said thanks