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I Need A New Carburetor For My Estate Keeper!

bolens ek-10 estate keeper zenith carburetor wisconsin tra-10d

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#1 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted January 22, 2019 - 12:37 PM

We got quite a bit of snow over the weekend in the northeast and we probably got at least a foot to 16" of snow here in the Albany area.  So, Sunday I needed to try to fire up my Bolens Estate Keeper to snowblow my driveway.  Earlier in December, I got the Sno-Caster attachment (and my plow blade, just in case we has some wet snow earlier this winter...) out of storage and I even bought online the correct attachment arms that I was missing that I needed to mount these to my Estate Keeper.  So, I figured I was all set to go once the snow hit.

 

Well, unfortunately, my Estate Keeper had other plans!  I had a hell of a time trying to start it Sunday.  Part of the problem was with the extreme cold, I think the battery was having a hard time holding a charge and it was cranking over very slowly.  So, I had to put a battery charger on it to try to charge it up and to make sure it had enough charge to crank over the engine.  However, even after that and the starter was able to spin the engine a bit faster, it was not starting.  I tried choking it since it was so cold out, but it still did not want to start.  Then I noticed a major problem - after cranking over the engine for a while, I saw gas just POURING out of the carburetor!  I have no clue why it is doing this, but it looks like it is leaking gas badly out of the air intake.  I also noticed that it seems like the main gasket between the two halves of the carburetor is not sealing and it looks wet around there, like it is leaking gas around the gasket as well.

 

I'm just BEYOND pissed with this stupid carburetor right now!!  I JUST rebuilt this carburetor last spring, including a new needle and seat, all new gaskets, new mixture screws, O-rings, etc...  This thing should be running like brand-new now, not leaking gas out of everywhere it could possibly leak gas from!!!

 

At first, I thought maybe the floats were not set properly, which would be causing the bowl to overflow and leak gas everywhere.  So, I pulled the carburetor off the engine, took it all apart, and bent the floats back down so that hopefully it would seat the needle sooner to stop the flow of gas and prevent the bowl from filling up too much.  I also tried to dry off the carburetor body from all the excess fuel and dry off the gasket before putting it back together.  Unfortunately, I didn't have any black RTV silicone or anything to try to put on the gasket to make sure it really sealed well, but I tried putting it back together anyways to see if it would do any better after the float adjustment.

 

After I put the carburetor back on the engine, I turned the gas back on and tried starting it.  I did manage to get a few pops out of it at first, but then it was doing nothing again.  So, I decided to pull the spark plug to check it out.  It was completely BLACK with carbon deposits from apparently running exceptionally rich!  So, I tried cleaning it off to see if that would help any.  I managed to finally get the engine to start and run for a little while, but it would only really idle well and as soon as I tried to give it any kind of throttle, it would just die out.  I tried adjusting the main mixture screw (at the bottom of the bowl), but nothing I did would make it run decent at all at higher RPMs.  It just kept coughing and sputtering and dying out.  As soon as I dropped the throttle back to idle though, it would run fine and was nice and smooth at lower RPMs.  I don't get it.  (Plus, even after I fiddled with the carburetor for a while, I could STILL see the carburetor leaking, especially after the engine just stalled out.  It was also still leaking from the main gasket, despite adjusting the floats.)

 

So, I'm thinking that even after completely rebuilding this carburetor this spring, somehow it is just a piece of garbage and it is pretty much beyond repair at this point!  I have no idea why it is not working now after it worked okay and got me through mowing my lawn all last summer.  I apparently can't stop it from leaking gas everywhere right now either for some reason.  IDK what else I can do as I feel like I have tried absolutely everything I can and it has failed!

 

Does anyone know where I could either buy a brand new Zenith carburetor that will fit the Wisconsin TRA-10D engine or know of anyone with a good working original Zenith carburetor that they would be willing to sell?  If I can't find a good original carburetor to put on this engine, are there any options for a carburetor upgrade that would work for this Wisconsin engine?  Like, would any model of Briggs and Stratton carburetors fit this engine by any chance?  I'm just sick and tired of constantly having to fiddle around with the carburetor that is on this engine now and rebuilding it only to have it still not work!!

 

I'd appreciate any help anyone could offer me!  I just need this tractor to work again ASAP, please!!!


Edited by MailmAn, January 22, 2019 - 12:51 PM.


#2 secondtry ONLINE  

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Posted January 22, 2019 - 12:52 PM

Don't know about new but do know if it is leaking everywhere the needle valve or float may have a problem. have you checked to make sure the float is good. If it is the copper float sink it in a cup of hot water. If it bubbles it is bad.    Don 



#3 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted January 22, 2019 - 12:58 PM

Thanks, Secondtry, but I'm pretty sure the floats themselves are good.  They are the original copper floats.  When I took the carburetor apart, they felt nice and light.  Usually if they are bad, they will be full of gas and quite heavy.  That was not the case.  They move nice and freely too and do not stick at all.  I did try to adjust them again so hopefully it would stop the flow of gas sooner, but somehow the carburetor is still leaking gas.  I had just installed a new needle and seat when I rebuilt the carburetor last spring, unless somehow they are bad again already, but I wouldn't think so...?


Edited by MailmAn, January 22, 2019 - 12:59 PM.


#4 Allis Chalmers Tractors OFFLINE  

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Posted January 22, 2019 - 01:34 PM

Sounds like the needle and seat aren't doing their job. It is possible the seat is no good anymore but I would expect it to still be good a year later, the seat could be in there wrong and gas is getting around it.



#5 WNYTractorTinkerer OFFLINE  

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Posted January 22, 2019 - 01:35 PM

Could be water in the gas froze the needle in place so it won't close..  Either way the carb will have to come off and be inspected before spending $$$$$ on a new one..


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#6 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 22, 2019 - 02:06 PM

You may have an electrical problem on top of the fuel leaking issue.  Given the cold weather (at least in Southern Ontario) we have had the last few days (including the weekend) the electrical and fuel systems on most machines would be put to the test - especially if the machine was in an unheated shop or shed.  The black plug and only wanting to run decently at idle suggests that the you may have an intermittent condenser in the ignition system.  An engine may run good at idle under no load but as soon as the engine is revved up or put under load it may backfire, spit, cough, quit or try to stall if a condenser is not functioning properly.  One suggestion would be to change both the condenser and the points if they have not been changed in a few years.  Also if the fuel in the machine is old or of poor quality it could be affecting the starting and operation of the engine as well.  If fuel is coming out the carb at the gasket it indicates that the needle and seat is not stopping fuel from flowing when the fuel level in the bowl is at the proper level.  As suggested a poor sealing surface in the seat or at the tip of the needle, bad float (not floating in the fuel), improper level adjustment, ice crystals in the fuel, a bad sealing gasket between the carb body and the seat, or a crack inside the fuel channel inside the carb can be some of the causes. If the engine was cranked over with no or poor spark for a length of time with the choke in the on position enough gasoline vapour may have been drawn into the intake from the carb that it condensed as liquid fuel rather than evaporate given how cold it has been.  If it condensed it could drip down from the intake past the throttle valve and flow into the air cleaner intake where it would leak out the vent at the bottom of the air intake.  Just suggestions and thoughts that may help you.


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#7 Sam Rau OFFLINE  

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Posted January 22, 2019 - 05:50 PM

Working in a lawn mower repair shop [ no sales ] in my younger days, a L-63 is simple carb, when rebuilt would put gas line on it, turn it upside down and try to blow air into it, if no air got through it would hold gas. I have not done this in years now, and don't know if this tip will work with todays gas.  


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#8 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted January 22, 2019 - 06:11 PM

Using ethanol gas?    If it sat for any length of time carb likely got gummed up causing the needle / seat to not function as they should

The carbs do warp from years of people overtightening them , one cheap and simple fix you can do is put JB weld around the areas where its warped and sucking in air , the JB weld is fuel resistant , thats what I have done on two of mine , then to take apart down the road just grind it off .

 

I have seen a bad condenser run an engine at idle and start sputtering when you pick up the throttle, another thing to think about....

 

I can get the USA made zeniths new but you are probably not going to like the price :firejumper:


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#9 Allis Chalmers Tractors OFFLINE  

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Posted January 22, 2019 - 06:12 PM

That's how I was taught to test carbs, and it is still how I do it.



#10 dodge trucker ONLINE  

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Posted January 22, 2019 - 07:16 PM

You say you wish you had some RTV to help seal carb to block... Im glad you didn't. this is one place you never want RTV. Ever. 


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#11 BRIAN EK7&10 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 22, 2019 - 08:28 PM

was the rebuild kit you used a zenith or Wisconsin? or was it an aftermarket one? the quality of materials used in the aftermarket ones is questionable at best. also there are two different types of needle and seats used in the L63 arburator one has a spring loaded needle valve and the gasket is .020 thick. the solid needle version uses a .040 thick gasket. the spring loaded needle type also uses a torsion spring on the float shaft.


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#12 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2019 - 09:47 AM

You say you wish you had some RTV to help seal carb to block... Im glad you didn't. this is one place you never want RTV. Ever. 

 

Why is that?  I can't think of anything else to try to use to help seal the gasket better.  As long as you don't use a TON of it so it ends up squeezing into the carburetor to gum it up, I would think it should be okay.  The black RTV I think is the stuff that is oil and fuel resistant.



#13 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2019 - 10:13 AM

was the rebuild kit you used a zenith or Wisconsin? or was it an aftermarket one? the quality of materials used in the aftermarket ones is questionable at best. also there are two different types of needle and seats used in the L63 arburator one has a spring loaded needle valve and the gasket is .020 thick. the solid needle version uses a .040 thick gasket. the spring loaded needle type also uses a torsion spring on the float shaft.

 

I am actually not sure who made the rebuild kit.  It was an "aftermarket" kit that I'm assuming was designed for several different models of carburetor (as I had parts left over I didn't end up using when I was done...).  I bought it online from Tube Frame Restorations:  https://www.tubefram...tor-rebuild-kit  Like I said, it seemed to work fine just after I rebuilt it and I ran the tractor all last summer on the newly rebuilt carburetor, so I would think that should mean I rebuilt it correctly?

 

To address some of the other questions that have been asked too:

 

I have fresh gas in it.  I ran the tank pretty much dry and didn't fill it back up again after the last time I mowed the lawn.  I just filled it up with fresh 91 octane ethanol free gas before I tried starting it.  (I also use lead additive in the gas because it is an old engine...)  So, there has not been old gas sitting in the tank or carburetor for a long time or anything.  As far as water in the gas that may have frozen, I can't say for sure.  It has been brutally cold here lately. (Monday it was -8 degrees when I woke up and the wind chill was -30 degrees!)  Hopefully nothing froze and the carb body didn't crack or anything...

 

Also, I installed new points and a condenser on the engine not that long ago (maybe 2 years ago?) to address problems with the engine not running well at high RPMs.  I did have an issue before where it would run fine at lower RPMs, but then when I gave it more throttle, it would intermittently run okay and then start to sputter and pop and backfire, then it would clear up for a bit, and then start running poorly again.  The points that were in it were burned pretty badly and the plastic holder was partially melted.  But it had been running much better with the new points and condenser.  I would think the points and condenser should last for quite a long time, especially on something that isn't getting a ton of frequent use (unlike on a car or something...).  For all I know, the points I took out of the engine could have been original, lol...

 

When I had the carburetor off the engine, after I adjusted the floats down a bit, I did try blowing into the fuel inlet while holding the float in the up position (to seat the needle) and no air was coming out.  When I dropped the float, I could blow air through the inlet easily.  So, I would think that means the needle and seat are doing their job then?  What I am worried about is if there is some crack or hole or something in the bowl that is causing the fuel to leak from the bowl into the air intake part of the carburetor?  (Is that even possible on these carburetors?)  Something weird is going on for sure...  Even if the float, needle, and seat are doing their jobs okay, if the gasket is not sealing the upper and lower halves of the carburetor, will that still cause fuel to leak out of the carburetor like I am experiencing?

 

I'm just not sure what else to do at this point...  I'm at my wit's end with this stupid thing and honestly I feel like even if it costs me $500 to get a new carburetor for this, it would be worth it just to have a tractor that will WORK and I can rely on and not waste hours or days constantly screwing around with an old, leaky, piece of garbage carburetor that will never work right!!


Edited by MailmAn, January 23, 2019 - 10:14 AM.

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#14 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2019 - 10:20 AM

Could be water in the gas froze the needle in place so it won't close..  Either way the carb will have to come off and be inspected before spending $$$$$ on a new one..

 

Like I mentioned before, I'm not 100% sure if any water did freeze in the carburetor or not.  However, I did already take the carburetor off the engine and took it apart.  (I mentioned that in my original post.)  The float was moving freely as was the needle.  It was not frozen or stuck in the carburetor body at all.  I also tested the needle and seat by trying to blow air into the fuel inlet with the needle fully seated and I couldn't blow air through it, so it seems to me like the needle and seat should be good...  There's got to be some other explanation then for where the fuel leak is coming from, but I just can't figure it out...



#15 greenb6901 ONLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2019 - 12:36 PM

This may not help at all but I will offer my thoughts.
I have two Kohler engines, one leakes fuel from the carb when cold and won't start. I give it half choke ,take the air cleaner off and choke it by hand. After a few tries it will start and run fine. When it is warm out it works perfect.
The other engine does like yours, it will start and idle fine. I give it throttle and it sputters and dies out. I changed the carb, fuel pump,, fuel lines, new fuel, good plug. I do know that the points move at a fantastic speed when at high rpm and like hot rod cars they can float, the reason for getting rid of points. One problem is the spring on the points gets weak and aftermarket points don't last long.
I am going to put Kohler points in and see if it solves my problem. They only cost 4$ more than the aftermarket points but are much better made.
I suspect that part of the problem is electrical as suggested and May even help the fuel issue.

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