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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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#16 WNYTractorTinkerer OFFLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2019 - 01:11 PM

Is it running out of the carb a lot?  if so the needle / seat is most likely the issue..  If it is only puffing out the carb it could be the ACR or intake valve sticking open a bit..  Just more input for ya..  Hard to diagnose from a keyboard in WNY on break..  


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#17 dodge trucker ONLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2019 - 01:22 PM

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.

the problem
Is that there will be excess no matter how careful you are, and no way to know where it squeezes its way into. If you have a good paper gasket, there's no need for any other sealer. Dirt and crap is the carbs worst enemy, they don't need any help in finding it.

On the subject of aftermarket carb kits I haven't had any luck with them. For any brand of carb. The engine company didn't actually manufacture the carb, so as you say yours is a zenith carb, to get a kit from them would be the exact same thing as what would come in a Wisconsin package and probably be cheaper. But carb kits from places like stens or rotary, is always a crap shoot.
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#18 dodge trucker ONLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2019 - 06:39 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.

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk

I have seen NAPA, Prime Line,  and Stens points and condenser that are just repackaged OEM Kohler parts, gotta watch what you are getting. 



#19 BRIAN EK7&10 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2019 - 10:21 PM

from your discription of the location of gas leaking out the bottom of the carburetor it sounds like it is coming out of the filtered hole in the bottom of the carburetor intake throat. the hole is there to let liquid gas out of the intake from an extreme flooding condition. if there is no or insufficient spark the vaporized fuel is compressed back into liquid form and runs out of this hole to keep it from pooling in the intake throat which would exacerbate the flooded condition. it sounds like the gas is only leaking while you are cranking the engine which would further demonstrate what I described above. if the gas stops leaking out shortly after you stop cranking the engine this would suggest that the needle and seat are functioning properly, if they were not the gas would be leaking out constantly until the tank was empty. when you changed the points did you adjust them with a feeler gage or did you the static timing procedure described in the engine manual? timing on these engines is critical especially when cold, I have done it with a feeler gauge and the checked by static timing and there was two to three thousandths difference, when doing the static timing this difference would move the timing mark off of the pointer by a couple of inches. DO the static timing! also as mentioned aftermarket points are junk and a waste of time and money, especially on an Estate Keeper, did you put the cover back on the points box? I mention this because I have had the wire break off of the terminal on the bottom of the box and it is impossible to replace it without removing the engine, so I just ran the wire direct to the points and left the cover off, the point would constantly get dirty and the engine would start backfiring and sputter then die until I cleaned them off and readjusted them, after a few rounds of this the engine came off and the wire replaced correctly. when it is cold it is harder for the spark to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. if the spark is not strong enough or at the exact time it will not start, check for a strong spark, if the spark is week with the sparkplug out it will probably not spark at all when under compression, speaking of compression, if it is low then all of this is compounded when it is very cold. I have also had three champion sparkplugs fail for no apparent reason in the last couple of years, ran fine put tractor away and went to restart a couple of days later would not start replaced the plug and it started right up.


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#20 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted January 24, 2019 - 10:56 AM

When you changed the points, did you adjust them with a feeler gauge or did you the static timing procedure described in the engine manual? Timing on these engines is critical especially when cold, I have done it with a feeler gauge and the checked by static timing and there was two to three thousandths difference, when doing the static timing this difference would move the timing mark off of the pointer by a couple of inches. DO the static timing! Also, as mentioned, aftermarket points are junk and a waste of time and money, especially on an Estate Keeper, did you put the cover back on the points box?  ...  When it is cold it is harder for the spark to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. If the spark is not strong enough or at the exact time it will not start. Check for a strong spark, if the spark is weak with the spark plug out it will probably not spark at all when under compression.

 

I did adjust the points with a feeler gauge since I don't have a timing light to try to set the static timing like it says in the manual.  (I do have the engine repair and parts manuals for all the Wisconsin engines.)  I'm pretty sure the points and condenser I installed are good quality as they were original OEM Wisconsin points and condenser, not anything aftermarket.  (Just like this one:  https://bobsgardentr...3&product_id=81 - I have a few boxes of random NOS parts that I got when I bought the Estate Keeper and there was a new, never been opened points and condenser set in there, so I installed those on my engine.)

 

The cover is on the points box.  There is even some black RTV on the cover to help seal the box to keep moisture out.

 

Like I said, I had it running fine all summer, so I would think it is getting plenty of spark.  The issue seems to be that it is running very rich, which leads me back to a carburetor problem.  I wouldn't think the spark plug would be getting all fouled and covered in black carbon soot just from not getting enough spark.  That is a sign that it is getting way too much fuel for some reason.

 

I did check for spark with the spark plug out of the engine.  I put the spark plug boot on the plug and held the base of the spark plug against the cooling fins on the head and then cranked the engine over.  I am getting a consistent good spark that I can see from the plug while cranking the engine over.  (I also installed a new coil on the engine a while ago as well as a new spark plug wire and boot that I bought from Bolens 1000 - https://bolenspartsa...more-free-ship/, just to make sure I had all new ignition components on the engine...)

 

I'm thinking at this point, I have pretty much eliminated any possible weak link in the ignition system as I have replaced every part that could have gone bad or worn out with age already.  If it is still not running right, I have to move on to the next likely culprit, which is the carburetor now.  (And I think I have a smoking gun now with the carburetor leaking gas this badly all over the place!)

 

 

From your description of the location of gas leaking out the bottom of the carburetor, it sounds like it is coming out of the filtered hole in the bottom of the carburetor intake throat. The hole is there to let liquid gas out of the intake from an extreme flooding condition. If there is no or insufficient spark, the vaporized fuel is compressed back into liquid form and runs out of this hole to keep it from pooling in the intake throat, which would exacerbate the flooded condition. It sounds like the gas is only leaking while you are cranking the engine, which would further demonstrate what I described above. If the gas stops leaking out shortly after you stop cranking the engine, this would suggest that the needle and seat are functioning properly. If they were not, the gas would be leaking out constantly until the tank was empty.

 

Well, it is leaking partially out of the filtered hole in the bottom of the carburetor intake throat and it is partially leaking out from around the air filter pipe assembly where it slips over the intake throat (by where the choke plate is).  The odd thing is though, despite how much gas is leaking out, I still have to have the choke on full in order to even try to start the engine!  I would think the carburetor is severely flooded from all the gas running out, yet it doesn't want to start unless I fully choke it.  I know it is cold out, but it almost seems to me like the carburetor is not fully atomizing the fuel in the venturi or something, so it is trying to suck up liquid fuel to combust it or something.

 

Actually, kind of the opposite thing is happening than what you describe.  It seems to leak fuel the most when I am not cranking over the engine.  It does still kind of leak when I'm cranking it over, especially if I don't have it fully choked, but it does leak the most in-between cranking the engine over.  I know this seems to mean to everyone that the float, needle, and seat are not working properly, but when I had the carburetor apart, it seemed like those were all working fine to me.  I don't know what else could be causing this problem though.  I did have to shut the fuel off at the tank or else it will continue to drip gas steadily from the carburetor all over my garage floor (which I am also not happy about!).


Edited by MailmAn, January 24, 2019 - 11:04 AM.


#21 Sam Rau OFFLINE  

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Posted January 24, 2019 - 06:13 PM

I have read this several times, myself I an thinking your needle & seat is problem, this is from what I have read and not seeing the carb myself. You should be working on a Zenith L-63 carb, Zenith part # 12983  [new cost today $ 325.00 ] to much for a lawnmower carb I am thinking or for me to spend. I also believe if the carb is not broken or cracked some where it should be rebuildable with a Zenith carb kit part # K2033 or you could get a Wisconsin L-33 carb kit. I would take it all apart, make sure all holes are open, take top half and bottom half, get a smooth surface tape a smooth 400 grit wet sanding paper to it, put the halfs on it to make sure the surfaces are flat by removing any high spots if needed. Make sure where the needle & seat goes is clean with no cracks and the seat goes against the surface, put in you new seals for the T shaft, make sure the main jet is in tight and you should not have a carb problem. Any way this is what I done in past and since you are working on a 50 + year old carb it should work today. GOOD LUCK 


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#22 BRIAN EK7&10 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 24, 2019 - 10:02 PM

if it still leaks gas unless you turn off the fuel valve it is one of three things, leaking needle and seat, float (to heavy or not adjusted correctly) or a crack in the bowl below the correct fuel level. the correct fuel level is 5/16" below top of fuel bowl with carburetor mounted and fuel turned on. so even if the throttle body to fuel bowl gasket leaks the fuel should be below the top of the fuel bowl,the fuel level can be checked fairly easily if you fuel bowl has a drain plug in the bottom, turn gas off, remove plug, install 1/8"npt X 1/4 hose barb in place of plug, attach a piece of clear vinyl hose to the barb and hold it along side of the carburetor with the end open and above the top of the carburetor turn on the fuel valve, after a few minutes the fuel Level in the hose will stabilize at the fuel level in the bowl, it should be 5/16" below the top of the bowl, if it is higher either the needle valve is leaking or there is an issue with the float. another thing that can cause the engine RUN to rich is the fuel  bowl vent passage, this passage partially formed by the throttle body to bowl gasket along the back side from the front rear body screw towards the front of the throttle body, this vent also acts equalizes the pressure between the intake throat and the fuel bowl, while the engine is running, the pressure in the intake throat is less than atmospheric pressure, the vent passage keeps the pressure in the fuel bowl the same as in the intake throat, if the throttle body is not properly sealed by the gasket the fuel bowl will be under atmospheric pressure causing more fuel to be drawn into the main jet and delivering a rich fuel mixture.

 a little more on the points, a timing light is NOT needed to static adjust the points, it is just a test light, connect one lead to the positive battery terminal and the other lead to the points terminal (disconnect the coil and condenser) and follow the procedure in the manual. another thing that can happen is the little strap that holds the condenser in place sometimes does not do a very good job of holding it TIGHT against the engine to provide the condenser the proper ground path, if this happens you can get a weak spark and misfire. also these engines were designed and built in an era where machinery was designed to be serviceable and most people did so, an annual service often included points, condenser and sparkplug. the points are a high wear part and not meant to last forever, the electronic ignition system was mostly designed to eliminate the points and the problems that they inherently caused. IMOP two years is a long time on the points, just oxidation and the oil that gets on them from the push rod blow-by can cause them to not be reliable. 


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#23 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted January 28, 2019 - 03:46 PM

If it still leaks gas unless you turn off the fuel valve it is one of three things: leaking needle and seat, float (too heavy or not adjusted correctly), or a crack in the bowl below the correct fuel level. The correct fuel level is 5/16" below the top of the fuel bowl with the carburetor mounted and fuel turned on. So, even if the throttle body to fuel bowl gasket leaks, the fuel should still be below the top of the fuel bowl. The fuel level can be checked fairly easily if your fuel bowl has a drain plug in the bottom: turn gas off, remove plug, install 1/8"NPT x 1/4" hose barb in place of plug, attach a piece of clear vinyl hose over the barb, and hold it along side of the carburetor with the end open and above the top of the carburetor, then turn on the fuel valve. After a few minutes, the fuel level in the hose will stabilize at the fuel level in the bowl, which should be 5/16" below the top of the bowl. If it is higher, either the needle valve is leaking or there is an issue with the float.

 

Well, that does seem like a bit of work just to check the fuel level in the bowl, but I guess that's what you have to do when the carburetor doesn't have a glass fuel bowl or anything to check the fuel level.  The bowl is sealed and integral to the carburetor, so I can't visually check the fuel level inside the carburetor.  I thought I have the float adjusted correctly according to the carburetor re-build instructions, so realistically the level inside the bowl should be well under the top of the fuel bowl.  I haven't tried your little clear vinyl hose trick to check the level yet, but if I get some time, I might give this a shot just to try to rule out a float or needle and seat issue...  My only other concern is the last option you listed, namely a crack in the fuel bowl somewhere causing the fuel leak.  (But, even if that was the case, that still doesn't really explain why it appears to be leaking fuel from the carburetor gasket...?)

 

 

Another thing that can cause the engine to RUN too rich is the fuel bowl vent passage. This passage is partially formed by the throttle body to bowl gasket along the back side from the front rear body screw towards the front of the throttle body. This vent also acts to equalize the pressure between the intake throat and the fuel bowl. While the engine is running, the pressure in the intake throat is less than atmospheric pressure, so the vent passage keeps the pressure in the fuel bowl the same as in the intake throat. If the throttle body is not properly sealed by the gasket, the fuel bowl will then be under atmospheric pressure, causing more fuel to be drawn into the main jet and delivering a rich fuel mixture.

 
First, let me say thank you for clearly and thoroughly explaining to everyone the purpose of the fuel bowl vent.  I'm not sure as if everyone really understands the purpose of the bowl vent.  As for myself, I thought perhaps it was just a way to ensure that an air pocket doesn't form in the bowl, which may prevent fuel from freely flowing into the bowl as the fuel level drops or something?  (You know, like if you try to pour a liquid from a can in which you only open one hole and do not open a vent hole on the opposite side from the hole you're trying to pour from and the liquid won't pour because air cannot get into the can to displace the liquid and to allow the liquid to come out...)
 
In any event, I'm wondering if this is a major part of the problem with my carburetor then if the main gasket is not sealing properly, either because the gasket is too thin or the gasket mating surfaces are warped or not flat?  Could this also be causing the fuel to leak out of the main carburetor gasket though if the pressure in the fuel bowl is at atmospheric pressure while the pressure in the intake throat and intake manifold is in a vacuum while cranking over the engine (and/or while the engine is running)?  Perhaps there is an issue with my vent being blocked for some reason?  (Even though I thought I have thoroughly cleaned out every passageway inside the carburetor with either aerosolized carburetor cleaner or compressed air when I rebuilt it last...)
 
 

A little more on the points - a timing light is NOT needed to static adjust the points! It is just a test light. Connect one lead to the positive battery terminal and the other lead to the points terminal (disconnect the coil and condenser first, though) and follow the procedure in the manual. Another thing that can happen is the little strap that holds the condenser in place sometimes does not do a very good job of holding the condenser TIGHT against the engine to provide the condenser the proper ground path. If this happens, you can get a weak spark or misfiring. Also, these engines were designed and built in an era where machinery was designed to be serviceable and most people did so. An annual service often included new points, condenser, and spark plug. The points are a high wear part and not meant to last forever. The electronic ignition system was mostly designed to eliminate the points and the problems that they inherently caused. IMHO, two years is a long time on the points. Just oxidation and the oil that gets on them from the push rod blow-by can cause them to not be reliable!

 
Wow, really?  I figured the points were designed to be a bit more reliable than that!  (Especially with the points cover in place to keep moisture and crud out of there...)  Looking at the price of a new points and condenser set (approximately $45-$50, currently...), I would kind of expect that they would last longer than a year or two at most!  Maybe I'm better off trying to find an electronic ignition upgrade kit for the engine then if the points are THAT unreliable in these engines?
 
I had kind of figured that there are probably old Wisconsin engines out there that are still running fine on the original points that are 50+ years old that the owner never replaced!  So, my still relatively new points and condenser should be good, I would hope.  (I can always double-check and see how they are wearing just to be sure...)  Also, I believe my NOS kit did include a new grounding strap for the condenser, even though it looks like some of the new kits available now do NOT include this strap anymore for some reason...  Hopefully my strap is working fine and not causing a grounding issue with my condenser.

Edited by MailmAn, January 28, 2019 - 03:58 PM.

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#24 framesteer OFFLINE  

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Posted January 28, 2019 - 11:13 PM

Just a general comment on sealing the points cover with RTV.  Most RTVs have acetic acid (if the RTV smells vinegary before it cures, then it is giving off acetic acid fumes).  These fumes will oxidize unprotected steel surfaces (such as the contact surfaces of the points), especially if they are in an enclosed, sealed environment). 

 

Bottom line, don't use RTV to seal the points cover.


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#25 DL-North OFFLINE  

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Posted January 29, 2019 - 04:27 PM

Back in the old days, cars got a tune up every spring and fall, meaning new pts/cond twice a year. 

Would they have lasted longer, maybe but replacing them was easy and cheap.

There is a reason folks replaced them with elec ignition when they could.

 

 

 

 

 I would kind of expect that they would last longer than a year or two at most! 

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#26 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted January 29, 2019 - 04:34 PM

Points and condenser were always "wear parts"   Generally I have to service mine every 3-5 years

 

Old dealers I talk to say they used to buy points in 200ct boxes at a time !


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#27 BRIAN EK7&10 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 29, 2019 - 07:58 PM

50 years ago when these engines were built the points cost less than 5 bucks to replace. It's not that they are unreliable, they are a high wear part that was expected to wear out and be replaced. The bowl vent passage is large and would be very unlikely to get plugged up, but if the throttle body is warped it can cause it to be open to the outside of the carburetor. I have worked on a lot of these carbs and have never seen a cracked bowl, but have had many with warped throttle bodies, the later versions of this carburetor have a fifth body screw from the top down at the tip of the throttle just above the intake throat that helps to support the bowl and air filter assembly, and keeps the throttle body from distortion. Also if there is any crap in the fuel tank pieces of it can get in the needle valve and intermittently cause it to leak fuel into the bowl.
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#28 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted February 04, 2019 - 11:55 AM

Back in the old days, cars got a tune up every spring and fall, meaning new pts/cond twice a year. 

Would they have lasted longer? Maybe, but replacing them was easy and cheap.

There is a reason folks replaced them with elec ignition when they could.

 

Well, while this was probably true, think about how much use your car gets versus your tractor too.  You're driving your car every day and putting a lot of miles on it.  IDK about the rest of you, but I'm not using my tractor all that often.  Now, I know that when I am using my tractor, a good 95% of the time, it is at full throttle and I'm running it for several hours at a time like that.  So, this is probably a lot harder on the points than how you drive your car, even if your car gets a lot more use.

 

Also, I wouldn't mind replacing the points twice a year if they were cheap and easy to replace.  They are kind of a pain in the ass to access on the Estate Keeper though (mostly because the breaker box is behind the transmission case and it is hard to get the cover off...).  Also, new points and condenser are around $50 now, not $5! lol...  I wouldn't mind as much changing them if they were only $5-$10...  (I know that doesn't really change the need to replace them though...)

 

Also, rather than just replace them, is it possible to clean and adjust them to get more use out of a set of points?  I'm not sure how much "material" are on a set of points, but if they get any build up on them, can you lightly sand the surfaces off and then re-adjust them to the specs in the manual and get another year or two out of them before you have to replace them?

 

(I know this is getting off-topic a bit from talking about the carburetor, but...  lol!)


Edited by MailmAn, February 04, 2019 - 11:56 AM.

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#29 MailmAn OFFLINE  

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Posted February 04, 2019 - 12:22 PM

The bowl vent passage is large and would be very unlikely to get plugged up, but if the throttle body is warped it can cause it to be open to the outside of the carburetor.

 

Oh, okay then...  So, maybe that's not the problem?  I AM willing to bet though that the carburetor body/throttle body of my carburetor are probably warped though from age and heat, etc...  That's probably why the thin little paper gasket isn't able to properly seal the carburetor currently.  (I'm also worried that some of the threaded holes in the throttle body may be stripped out on the carburetor as well from PO's over-tightening the screws/bolts...)

 

 

I have worked on a lot of these carbs and I have never seen a cracked bowl, but I have had many with warped throttle bodies. The later versions of this carburetor have a fifth body screw from the top down at the tip of the throttle just above the intake throat that helps to support the bowl and air filter assembly, and keeps the throttle body from distorting.

 

Well, if there was a first time for anything bad to happen, most likely it would happen to me!  lol...  So, I'm not about to rule out the possibility of anything crazy going wrong with my tractor(s)!  You are probably right that it is most likely the throttle body is warped and that's why the gasket is not sealing than the carburetor is cracked though.

 

I did notice from doing several Google searches for Zenith carburetors that the newer versions of this carburetor model do have a 5th carburetor screw at the "tip" of the carburetor body by the choke plate and where the air intake mounts to help support the carburetor better and prevent it from warping there and creating a gap between the carburetor and the throttle body.  I can see that this is primarily where fuel is leaking from my carburetor right now, so I have no doubt that an added 5th assembly screw here would be very helpful in sealing the carburetor and preventing leaks, especially with all of the temperature extremes and vibrations that this carburetor is exposed to.

 

 

Also, if there is any crap in the fuel tank, pieces of it can get in the needle valve and intermittently cause it to leak fuel into the bowl.

 

This could also be possible, but kind of unlikely at this point.  I replaced the original gas tank on this tractor (which was quite rusty) with a newer tank that is very clean.  I also have an in-line fuel filter before the carburetor to help filter out any garbage from getting into the carburetor.  When I took the carburetor apart a couple of weeks ago to check the floats, I did not even see any sediment at all in the bottom of the fuel bowl.  It was squeaky clean looking.


Edited by MailmAn, February 04, 2019 - 12:29 PM.

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#30 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted February 04, 2019 - 01:49 PM

Well, while this was probably true, think about how much use your car gets versus your tractor too.  You're driving your car every day and putting a lot of miles on it.  IDK about the rest of you, but I'm not using my tractor all that often.  Now, I know that when I am using my tractor, a good 95% of the time, it is at full throttle and I'm running it for several hours at a time like that.  So, this is probably a lot harder on the points than how you drive your car, even if your car gets a lot more use.

 

 

 

From the TRA10D repair manual it is recommended the points be checked at least twice each season.  Since by their nature they are a wearing item they will tend to need periodic adjustment - they open and close 90,000 times per hour of run time at 3000 rpm.

 

They open and close once per every second revolution so at 3000 rpm they open and close 1500 times per minute.  Times 60 minutes of run time = 90,000 times per hour.

 

 
 

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  • Page 11 Of TRA10D Service Manual.jpg

Edited by 29 Chev, February 04, 2019 - 03:44 PM.

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