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Data Base Of Bolens Part Numbers Showing Perhaps Pictures / Drawings And Sizes


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#1 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 20, 2020 - 05:41 PM

A few years ago member LPBolens put together an excel sheet of Bolens part numbers that showed different tractor models that a certain part number would fit which I find useful from time to time.

 

As some of the hard to find new parts, such as the pulley and nut for a motor - generator as one example, sources begin to dry up I am wondering if there would be any interest in creating an excel style data base that would provide information such as sizes, perhaps a drawing and or a picture and possibly an alternate source for the part.  Not trying to run competition with the Bolens suppliers we have now such as Ricks Bolens Parts and Bolens Parts And Supplies who do an excellent job of providing a lot of the parts such as bearings, belt guides, bushings and other parts that have been obsolete for years.  My thought is instead that the data base would work hand in hand with them as well as Bolens owners to help keep Bolens machines running by providing information on parts that get worn or damaged and there is simply not enough demand for someone to find a source for them.  

 

A few examples that I have encountered over the years is the need for a new pulley and nut for a motor-generator for my 1053, a driven pulley for one of the shafts on my 38" mower deck and the tensioner arm on my 38" mower deck.  Fortunately for me I was able to repair the tensioner arm as it was just worn and in the case of the pulleys I had a good used one from another motor-generator to get the original sizes from to build up and repair the worn pulley I had and I was able to fabricate a new one for the deck by getting the sizes from one of the other pulleys on another shaft from the same deck. 

 

Looking for opinions and thoughts as to whether this would be useful, a waste of time or ??   All comments welcome.


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#2 kjmweld ONLINE  

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Posted January 20, 2020 - 07:06 PM

I wasn't aware Doug made that up, I'm sure there would have been times I'd have referred to it if I'd have known about it. Probably still may be of help to me in the future. Where can that be found?
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#3 chieffan ONLINE  

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Posted January 20, 2020 - 09:18 PM

I am like kjmweld on that sheet and also would like a copy of it.  I think you idea on that data base would be helpful.  Thread size on items like the starter/generator pulley nut could help finding another source for one.  O those with lath access could turn one out.  Just one example.


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#4 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 21, 2020 - 09:19 AM

I wasn't aware Doug made that up, I'm sure there would have been times I'd have referred to it if I'd have known about it. Probably still may be of help to me in the future. Where can that be found?

 

 

I am like kjmweld on that sheet and also would like a copy of it.  I think you idea on that data base would be helpful.  Thread size on items like the starter/generator pulley nut could help finding another source for one.  O those with lath access could turn one out.  Just one example.

 

Here is the thread that contains the file - post #3 contains the corrected version that Doug posted.  You will need excel 2007 or newer to open it according to the information that Doug posed.

 

https://gardentracto...s-large-frames/
 


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#5 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 21, 2020 - 09:24 AM

Here is a link to another thread LPBOLENS did as he was compiling the information that indicates some of the members who also helped with their time, resources and encouragement.   Notice there was talk of going through the parts lists of various attachments to find out what parts (if any) might be used in the tractors or other attachments so perhaps this would also be another list that might prove useful to Bolens owners down the road.

 

https://gardentracto...arts-database/ 


Edited by 29 Chev, January 21, 2020 - 09:27 AM.

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#6 slf-uk OFFLINE  

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Posted January 27, 2020 - 12:31 PM

I seem to recall that I was one of the people who suggested adding attachments to the list of part number. I have found Doug's spreadsheet very useful for identifying which parts are common across a number of models. Swapping a part from one tractor to another has kept my fleet going on a number of occasion whilst I have been waiting for the overseas snail mail service to deliver a replacement part from our great Bolens parts suppliers.

 

I like the suggestion of adding more detail and pictures. One of the things we struggle with in the UK is the availability of UNF/UNC fixings and adding the size of the fixing to the reference for the part number would be great. I have the most common ones cast in my memory but that will not always be the case as I get older lol.


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#7 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 27, 2020 - 12:45 PM

I seem to recall that I was one of the people who suggested adding attachments to the list of part number. I have found Doug's spreadsheet very useful for identifying which parts are common across a number of models. Swapping a part from one tractor to another has kept my fleet going on a number of occasion whilst I have been waiting for the overseas snail mail service to deliver a replacement part from our great Bolens parts suppliers.

 

I like the suggestion of adding more detail and pictures. One of the things we struggle with in the UK is the availability of UNF/UNC fixings and adding the size of the fixing to the reference for the part number would be great. I have the most common ones cast in my memory but that will not always be the case as I get older lol.

 

Never thought about the thread of the various fasteners that are used on the attachments being a concern - was planning on not including them as Doug had done with the attachments but you make a good point due to your location and lack of availability / familiarity of the North American threaded items.

 

Started an excel sheet for the 18538 snow caster part numbers which I have attached.  Will have to go back through the numbers when I get time and add the fasteners but it should give people an idea of what such a data base might look like - have to start somewhere.  All comments or suggestions welcome.
 

Attached Files


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#8 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 31, 2020 - 03:12 AM

Been doing some more thinking on this over the past few days and changed my thoughts on the data base layout and design versus how it might be used by various members and after learning a little bit more about excel.  My thanks to member chieffan for helping me to explore what excel can be used for in regards to a data base / filing system.

 

I now envision creating an excel workbook that contains a multiple number of worksheets.  For those unfamiliar with excel and its terminology I shall try and compare it to an old style parts book for my vision. Imagine that an excel work book is similar to a big parts book and that each worksheet (indicated by the tabs at the bottom) is a separate chapter in the parts book.  Each chapter can contain one or more pages including pictures, drawings, comments, notes and other information.  For this purpose I am planning on creating a worksheet (chapter) for each attachment and adding the picture illustrations from the parts list for each attachment in that worksheet.  The item #, part number, description and quantity used columns would be added as recognizable text (data).  The reason I am thinking this may be the way to go is that, unlike Doug's tractor database, the attachment data base can be used as an illustrated parts list file for multiple attachments - so instead of needing to have a parts list for each attachment this can serve as a master attachment parts list for those that wish to use it that way.  Once the part numbers have been entered into the database they can be searched the same as in Doug's database (if the search parameter is changed to the workbook from worksheet) and  when "find all" is selected for the search a list will populate that shows if the part number exists and in which attachments it is used (by indicating the worksheets that contain that number).  A user can also download the excel workbook file and if they want to add a note or comment about their individual machine it can be added in the "notes" cell - either as regular text or as a "comment" in a cell that pops up when you move the cursor over it or click on that cell.  I have attached a sample workbook that I have been working on over the last few days to illustrate the above points.  It contains two models of snow casters - each with more than one series and in the one case because the original parts list covered two models the data base shows it the same way.  Since I have been working on my 18538 snow caster I made a few notes on some of the items on it - they are items 46, 53, 54, 57, 60 and 69.  If you notice the Notes column cells on the 18538 worksheet contain a small red triangle in the upper right corner which indicates there is a text comment and placing the cursor over that cell makes the comment appear.  The comment could have also been entered in as plain text but I chose adding the comment message since it allows the cell to remain the size it is empty without disturbing the format of the worksheet pages in case someone wanted to print the worksheet off as a paper parts list for there workshop reference.  If the cell changed size because of text wrapping then the picture might print off as half on one page and half on another page.  The word comment could be added in the cell if someone had a problem seeing the small red triangle but for my purposes the triangle works fine and allows the page to remain looking uncluttered if it was printed off or viewed on the screen.   

 

Of course the file size of the workbook will grow as more information and illustration pages are added to the workbook and this may necessitate the data base being broken down into tubeframe attachments, large frame attachments, etc or by coverage as in snow caster, lawn deck, etc. as the file size becomes too large or the number of worksheets becomes unmanageable.  At this point my thoughts are that having to look in three or four series of workbooks would be better than scouring the numerous different parts illustrations that we have to now and that once the part numbers are entered in initially the information in the worksheets can then be copied and pasted into other programs that are better suited for this type of data if and when they become available by someone much computer smarter than me.

 

Some of the things I found just by doing a quick search between the two parts lists is that the chain used on the 18538 (item # 53 part # 1714363) is also the same number used on the 18514 and 18516 snow caster (item #1) and the brass screw on the 18538 chute rod (item # 12 part # 1102571) is also the same as on the 18514 and 18516  (item #82).  While these are not earth shattering they do illustrate the value of such a data base at finding parts that would interchange as well as noting the description for the screw in the 18538 model that was provided by Bolens does not indicate it was brass rather than steel whereas the description in the 18514 and 18516 model does so that more information about a part number may be learned.

 

Right now the workbook is small (with only the two snow caster parts lists it contains) but it is a start that I am hoping will help current and future Bolens owners as well as the parts people who help us keep these great machines alive.  Any journey begins with a single step and similarly this is a starting point for this journey of compiling useful data on the attachments.

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Edited by 29 Chev, January 31, 2020 - 03:16 AM.

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#9 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted January 31, 2020 - 12:55 PM

Added a couple of mower decks and also a worksheet at the first to serve as an index / info sheet that lists the attachments included in the work book.  It will be a slow progress but as I stated once the part numbers are in the data base they can easily be copied to create a data base like what Doug created if desired - would just have to copy the part numbers and description columns and paste them into another excel worksheet or workbook and then add the attachment  number in another column that they were copied from.

 

Attached is the updated workbook and so far the file size isn't growing tremendously as the illustrated parts pages are added as pictures. 

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#10 chieffan ONLINE  

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Posted January 31, 2020 - 07:46 PM

I like the way that excel data base is laid out.  Going to take a lot of work and probably a couple keyboards before your near done.


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#11 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted February 01, 2020 - 08:20 AM

I like the way that excel data base is laid out.  Going to take a lot of work and probably a couple keyboards before your near done.

 

Thanks - I am hoping that it will serve other users in several ways - parts list, data base, interchange, etc.  I have added another mower deck and found out that the driveshaft that goes on the gear case for the two snow casters is also used on at least one mower deck model which is handy to know.  I have a square back snow caster that someone extended the length of the drive shaft on at some point - now I have a reference that I can shorten it to the correct length by matching it to my round back snow caster.

 

It is going to be a lot of work and I may not see the end result but at least it is a start that other can work from and grow if they choose.  I will probably wear out the mouse before the keyboard as I prefer to copy and paste rather than to type all the part numbers, descriptions, etc. that make up the data.  I will explain how I do it in case anyone else is interested.  First I take the pdf pages of a parts list and using Acrobat 10 (old software in todays world) save the pages as jpeg images.  Then I use an old photo program from Microsoft (Digital Image Editor - even older software) and copy the columns from the parts list pages separately and save each column as a separate image making sure the lines to the sides of the words or numbers are not included.  Once all the columns and any note lines are saved as separate images I print them as a new pdf with Acrobat 10 and then after make sure all the pages are rotated correctly recognize the text (each column prints as a separate page in the pdf).  Once these steps are done I can then copy the text from the columns in the pdf and paste them into the columns in the excel sheet making sure I get them in the proper alignment as far as spaces go as sometimes the description lines are stepped in the original parts lists.  Then I remove any spaces and combine any stepped lines to create the new worksheet.  After all this is accomplished I compare each item, part number, description and quantity required and correct any errors or discrepancies as this method is not perfect but it does save a lot of typing.  I have attached the pdf of one of the parts lists to show what it looks like once the columns are copied, saved and printed as a new pdf.  In this pdf the part numbers have the space in them so each one still has to be edited to remove the space which is time consuming but still easier and less likely to create errors than typing each part number manually. 

 

Edit: I have discovered that I can edit the part numbers as an image to remove the space between the fourth and fifth digit and move the numbers so that the text recognizing step recognizes them without the space which saves editing each part number individually.
 

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Edited by 29 Chev, February 01, 2020 - 10:01 AM.

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#12 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted February 05, 2020 - 06:22 PM

Learned that it is possible to copy columns of text in a pdf with Acrobat 10 as long as the text is recognizable so I no longer have to create the columns pdf - thought I would share the information.  If you press the Control key and hold the left button down on the mouse and drag you can create a rectangular window so that only a specific column is copied.  Once the window is created you can right click on the highlighted area to copy the text and then it can be pasted special into excel (select text only option) so that the text does not retain the formatting from the pdf.  Saves a step or two for me but still copies the part numbers with spaces as part numbers with spaces so I may still have to do them as images and move the numbers together and create a new pdf.

 

Got a few more attachments entered so the file is slowly growing.

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#13 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted February 07, 2020 - 02:01 PM

Changed strategies a little bit in that I removed the parts illustrations from the excel work book and printed them as a PDF.  This allows the excel file to be strictly text at this point which keeps the file size quite small.  The other advantage is that the PDF document of the images can be opened up and resized on the screen so it is on the right side.  The excel file can then be opened up and resized so it is on the left side of the screen.  This results in being able to veiw the illustration image and the part number and description at the same time.  The pdf image can also be magnified as necessary using the "+" button on the pdf reader to better see the parts page if required.  The pdf illustration document can be searched by control F to find the model # if you know it or if you are trying to figure out what model of deck you have (as an example) you can scroll through the images to try and determine which one is closest to the deck you have.

 

With the two files the excel workbook size drops to 128 kb and the images in pdf form take up 2.66MB which takes up less room than the 5.34MB size the excel file was with the images in it. 

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Edited by 29 Chev, February 07, 2020 - 02:02 PM.

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#14 heliosuk OFFLINE  

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Posted February 07, 2020 - 02:57 PM

Chev,

Are you familiar with pivot tables in excel? With this tool you can put all the data on one sheet and then pivot it in a new sheet. It's then possible to easily generate lists of what part is fitted to what model.

 

Rgds

 

Heliosuk.


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#15 Dave in NY OFFLINE  

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Posted February 08, 2020 - 07:38 AM

29 Chev, All the time and effort you are spending on this! So nice to have a quick reference to these manuals that are now improved. I have been referring to the manual site here for several years and would have been lost on a few things if it hadn't existed. I've been so grateful that the time was spent several years ago to create the manual section, and now it keeps getting better. Thank you for your labor of love!
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