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Bolens Estate Keeper EK7 Restoration


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#1 AcidTonic OFFLINE  

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Posted August 19, 2020 - 02:12 PM

I just picked up a Bolens Estate Keeper EK7 after recently falling in love with the old articulating mowers. I have been restoring International Harvester Cadet Rear Engine Riders (Cadet 55,60,75,85) and while looking for parts, noticed this really cool looking Stiga Park Mower.

I spent some time looking for Stiga Park mowers only to find them rather rare around my location (Michigan) but then after some searching I found out Bolens branded some of these and sold them in America, no importing from Sweden needed.

Only mower within about 12 hours of me was this EK7 and I had to have it. I really love the look of the rear engine cover and how bulky it is. I especially liked that it came with both a mower deck and a snow blade. My Cadets lack snow equipment and it's extremely rare to come across the C-32 snowblower, they are super rare and worth so much that I would be afraid to use it. Yet it seems these Bolens have blowers pop up enough that I'd probably be able to find one and not feel guilty using it.

So on to the mower.... I found it and negotiated the trade of a welder I had and $100 plus $60 for him to deliver it. I already wanted to upgrade to a TIG so essentially I just scored the mower for $160 in my eyes.

Came with 4 flat tires and an insane amount of dust. Reminds me of ball-diamond dust, really fine and loose. Kinda wonder which barn it sat in for the last 55+ years. I was told the guy parked it and bought a John Deer (not sure it was a dig or not).

I noticed the seller tried throwing a battery on it, but I think he confusingly hooked it up backwards. I thought I got lucky and flipped it back only to find it still doesn't even try to turn over. Probably bad solenoid. I hooked up my battery charger and put it directly on the starter and gave it a short bump. Engine immediately spun and started making compression pops. I haven't even put fuel in it or messed with testing spark. Just was happy it seemed to have compression and wasn't seized then went to bed.

I'll post some pics but not sure if this forum will host them or not.

Edited by AcidTonic, August 19, 2020 - 03:59 PM.

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#2 AcidTonic OFFLINE  

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Posted August 19, 2020 - 02:23 PM

Here's some photos...

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Edited by AcidTonic, August 19, 2020 - 02:25 PM.

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#3 AcidTonic OFFLINE  

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Posted August 19, 2020 - 02:27 PM

Bolt for steering is busted. Looks like bolt 6. Also seems like there is a second metal cage added that I haven't seen any other EK7 or EK10 with. Also 3rd gear seems locked out with a bolt so it probably is bad.

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Edited by AcidTonic, August 19, 2020 - 02:29 PM.

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#4 Bolens 1000 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 19, 2020 - 04:19 PM

Looks like you got a good project ahead of you , the top screen outside the hood has been added , only the one on the inside is what was original , it was common for the hoods to crack from vibration , it looks like they used steel straps to maybe hold it in place on the outside of yours ?  If you know a good welder you should be able to repair it .

 

The steering ball joint I have new , on these early ones some used different thread sizes , I think there was a service bulletein on this where you had to tap larger threads to accept the new replacements , but yours may already be the modern style

 

Someone could had added that bolt to the shift area so someone could not go too fast doing a task , possibly a younger kid not wanting them to mow at 6mph



#5 Merle013 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 19, 2020 - 04:45 PM

Great find. I fell in love with one of those myself. Planning on restoring so I will be following your restoration. Plenty of pics please?  :D

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#6 426tractorguy OFFLINE  

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Posted August 19, 2020 - 05:09 PM

that is a nice tractor! cant wait to see it finished



#7 AcidTonic OFFLINE  

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Posted August 19, 2020 - 05:15 PM

Tonight I plan to try pulling the wheels off to get ready for new tires. I am thinking of 16x6.50 AG tires because think the EKs look great with them.

Also going to pull the deck off and try to get the bolt off where it broke for the steering. Having fun!

#8 BRIAN EK7&10 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 19, 2020 - 06:44 PM

I wouldn’t put ag tires on it, the rear axel shafts and differential gears are not strong enough to support them, these tractors were not designed be able to push a lot with the plow. Transmission parts are hard to find for these EK’s.
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#9 AcidTonic OFFLINE  

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Posted August 19, 2020 - 07:12 PM

Good advice, I plan to get a thrower and not use the blade if I don't have to.

I rebuilt a few simpler peerless and Foote 4 speed transmissions but this one does look more more "severe" than those.

I got side tracked on the engine again... Got the solenoid tested and it's junk. Bypassing it does nothing. Key 12v to the solenoid never closes, wire looks broken near the key. No spark if I manually power the starter, not sure if that's related to hot-wiring it leaving the ignition grounded out or if it needs new points\consensor.

So I guess I'll get the solenoid replaced and go back to removing the deck and tires.

#10 AcidTonic OFFLINE  

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Posted August 19, 2020 - 07:16 PM

Does this wiring even look right? I don't have the schematics yet but the regulator has a whole terminal wrapped around and disconnected.

Pics...

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#11 BRIAN EK7&10 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 19, 2020 - 08:04 PM

The key switch on some of the earlier ek’s provided ground to the solenoid when cranking and grounded the magneto to stop the engine. The ignition switch only used two wires, the white goes to the starter solenoid, the black goes to the terminal on the points box on the side of the engine below the carburetor, the red wire was not connected to anything at the ignition switch end and to the L terminal at the voltage regulator, the shell of the ignition switch must be grounded to the frame, the starter solenoid gets its 12 volts+ from internal connection to the large terminal on the right of the solenoid (when viewed from the front)
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#12 BRIAN EK7&10 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 19, 2020 - 08:11 PM

The wiring in the picture looks to be correct, that blue wire must have been added by a PO . The switch to the left of the ignition switch is also not factory. Remove the black wire from the points box and see if you get spark, if not the points and condenser should be replaced, the Wisconsin part number for the points and condenser kit is YQ11. Bolens parts and supply will have them available.
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#13 AcidTonic OFFLINE  

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Posted August 19, 2020 - 08:52 PM

Intro:


Initial teardown


Looks like removing the black wire from points does not give me spark. Replacement it seems is needed. Love the quick replies, this forum is great!

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#14 AcidTonic OFFLINE  

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Posted August 19, 2020 - 09:29 PM

I think electronic ignition is in order, I don't feel like messing with points and will at least see if that gives me spark. I need to know if the carb is good still.

I assume the same kits I put on my 8hp Briggs work for this? If so I can Rob one off another mower for instant gratification. If not I'll order it.

#15 BRIAN EK7&10 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 19, 2020 - 09:33 PM

The black wire that goes from the points box to under the flywheel needs to remain connected. Did you try to ground the small terminal on the starter solenoid to make it turn over?




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