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Wisconsin motor has me spooked


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#1 Headrc OFFLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2021 - 02:07 PM

This is my first post here but I have been a looker for a while.  I have a Bolens 1053 with a Wisconsin TRa-10d that several years ago the camshaft busted on it and after discovering that I put it in storage. I got inspired this last fall and winter to put it back in service by rebuilding the TRA-10d and also went through cleaning everything up and painting the tractor.  I do not know what the history of the tractor was before I owned it but everything was running fine on it for about a year after I got it and then the camshaft busted.  Trust me that it was taken care of and had oil when this happened.  I have rebuilt lots of small motors in my time and went through the TRA-10d and made sure everything was according to the manual after the rebuild with a camshaft from a parts engine off Ebay.   I finally got everything back to together this last week and started testing. The little tractor was running well but I did notice oil in the air cleaner from the crankcase breather as well as more than I would like carbon on the new spark plug.  I was about to pull it back in and recheck the valve clearance on it when all hell broke loose ...a big clang and the motor stopped.  I have pulled the motor and opened it up and it is the biggest mess I have ever found in a motor.  The camshaft is busted again, the rod is shattered and the tappets are in pieces.  So after investing a lot of time in this little tractor I am now at an inflection point about what to do.  I am not feeling good about rebuilding this TRA-10d again by any means.  It does not like me.  I do have a TR-10D that I could rebuild but I do not want to have another bad experience and have another total waste of time and effort.  I have studied the repower idea with the Predator motors but sure wish I could have an original cast iron motor intended for this vintage tractor. 

 

So my question is ...can anyone give insight into why I have had two camshafts bust ...and then what about a repower with the TR-10D?  Will it be enough power for this tractor?  The primary purpose is mowing grass.  I did notice the TRA-10D bogging down some when I was testing and mowing the grass with it.  But of course it obviously had a problem waiting to happen. 

 

Thank you for any insight and help.  Richard


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#2 chieffan ONLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2021 - 05:05 PM

Personally, that TR10D is a much better engine than the TRA10D.  I would go with the TR10D, use a good 30 W oil and you should be good to go.  I have had nothing but problems with any of the TRA series motors. But like I said, that is just my opinion.


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#3 Bolens 1000 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2021 - 06:23 PM

You say the connecting rod broke ? 

 

Very rarely do these engines ever grenade , once in a while you see the compression release spring let go in the cam but other than that these are pretty much indestructible .

 

If you have done everything correctly I'm not really sure what your issue could have been , Did a valve guide fall out and stick the tappet that smashed the cam when the lobe came back around ??


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#4 Headrc OFFLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2021 - 07:58 PM

I really do not know what caused this ...and like I said it is the second time ....I can examine further but really just trying to get a feel for whether that TR10D would be a good alternative considering it has less horse power.  I don't have confidence in rebuilding that TRA-10d since it has been two times this has happened.  


Edited by Headrc, April 11, 2021 - 12:28 AM.

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#5 Headrc OFFLINE  

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Posted April 11, 2021 - 12:30 AM

And yes the connecting rod broke ...actually shattered would be a better word for it.


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#6 EricFromPa ONLINE  

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Posted April 11, 2021 - 03:05 AM

Might have forgot to reinstall the Camshaft thrust bearing and spring?  That would let the camshaft walk in and out. The teeth on the Cam could have made contact with the crank bearing and broke the cam which could easily take the rod out.

 

Screenshot.jpg

 

I took the TRA10D back apart that I had rebuilt for the 1053 that I gave to the neighbor because I had it apart for a few days and could not remember if I installed the ball and spring. I had a S8D torn apart as well and there was a ball and spring in 1 of the ziploc bags that I put all of the small parts in. Definitely don't want to forget to install those things. A dab of grease is needed to told that little ball bearing in place until you get the cam cover back on.


Edited by EricFromPa, April 11, 2021 - 03:06 AM.

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#7 Bruce Dorsi OFFLINE  

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Posted April 11, 2021 - 08:31 AM

I have experienced two Wisconsin engines which had broken camshafts.  ....Both engines would start and run at idle, but would not speed up.

 

I have experienced Wisconsin engines with broken connecting rods, but the camshaft was not damaged.

 

So, the question becomes, what broke first?  ...The cam or the conn rod?

 

Loose rod bolts?  ...Scored crank?  ....Cracked or broken cam supports?  ...Missing thrust spring (like Eric said)?


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#8 Headrc OFFLINE  

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Posted April 11, 2021 - 11:13 AM

The thrust bearing and spring were installed.  And the rod bolts were tightened to spec.  I examined and mic'd everything I thought needed it before putting it all back together.  And who knows what broke first ...only the little motor knows. 

 

Again, I have rebuilt many a small motor in the last 20 years ...including some twin cylinder Wisconsins found in old military vehicles.  I have never had a problem after a rebuild other than normal wear and tear after years of a rebuild.  And certainly not two instances of the same problem ...so there is definitely not something right with this TRA-10D.  And now looking at all the parts that would have to be replaced .... I would not let it do it to me again.  I could even be interested in a short block from someone reputable that would stand behind it at this point instead of doing a repower with one of those Predator motors and the modifications that they require.  I want this little tractor functional again, I have way too much time and effort in all the other aspects of it to give up on it now.  

 

If my solution is to rebuild the TR-10D I would still like a reference of a power comparison of the TR-10D vs. the TRA-10D.  To repeat I did have the tractor bog down a little when mowing with it before this engine fiasco happened.  And the blow up did not occur when I was mowing.  It happening when I had the tractor out of gear, with the parking break on and with the PTO disengaged.  I do not have a reference for power snd mowing grass with the TRA-10D because back several years ago before the first camshaft incidence I only used it with a Haban sickle bar that I have and I did not experience any bogging down with it.  And BTW ...that camshaft break back then did not happen when I was using the sickle bar either.  It happened when I was just driving the tractor with no PTO engaged.

 

Thanks everyone for adding in here ...hopefully I will get this figured out and decide on a solution.  I hate the repower idea but it may be the best way to go.  Richard


Edited by Headrc, April 11, 2021 - 11:23 AM.

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#9 Bolens 1000 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 11, 2021 - 12:08 PM

The TR is 8.25HP compared to the TRA of 10.1 rated HP in the book

I have mowed with many TR 10D in the 1050s and if they are up to operating condition they have sufficient power , you can really tell the difference blowing snow though mowing you will be fine

 

I've often entertained the idea of building short block wisconsins ready to go but shipping & sell price are usually more than most people are looking to spend


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#10 Headrc OFFLINE  

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Posted April 11, 2021 - 12:25 PM

Thanks ...I would be interested in hearing what that price could be with warranty though including shipping to zip code 38548.  



#11 29 Chev ONLINE  

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Posted April 11, 2021 - 04:23 PM

When I purchased my second 1050 it came with a disassembled TRA12D (very similar engine to the TRA10D and if memory serves me the camshaft is interchangeable with the TRA10D) and it had a broken camshaft as well as a broken connecting rod.  Not sure what happened - perhaps something went into the intake and jammed a valve and perhaps the piston which could explain the broken camshaft and  rod on my engine although I did not see any damage marks to the head or piston surface.  Broken camshafts in a TRA10D or TRA12D have been known to happen but usually the connecting rod does not get damaged and without verifying that all the remaining components are free of defects I would not chance reusing the TRA10D.  Probably better off to find a good, running used engine and overhaul it or repower the tractor - just my thoughts.

 

If you go for a repower one thing to keep in mind is that most of the clone engines only have a 2 amp charging system where as the original charging system produced around 10 amps. This thread may be of interest to you if you chose the repower option as I installed a new Honda GX390 on my 1050 (18 amp charging system) and maintained the original sheet metal so the tractor could be returned to original if anyone ever decides to offer a brand new TRA10D engine at some point in the future.

https://gardentracto...th-honda-gx390/

 

Good luck with whatever option you chose.


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#12 Headrc OFFLINE  

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Posted April 11, 2021 - 04:48 PM

Hi there ...thanks.  Actually I had read through that complete thread of you repowering with the Honda before I posted here.  You did a fantastic job on it ...but you also put in a lot of time from what I can tell.  While I have the tools to do what you did  I really do not have that kind of time to put into this project.  Which is part of my frustration...already a lot of time put into this little tractor and still not able to use it.  I can rebuild that TR-10D I have but there is the issue of difference in power that I am struggling with.  Thanks for the input.



#13 mtoney OFFLINE  

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Posted April 11, 2021 - 06:18 PM

Wisconsin engines, much like Onans have to be rebuild exactly by the book, with absolutely no step missed or forgotten.  Everybody got used to the Kohler K series that can be given a "dirty" quickie rebuild and last for years that way.   Most folks miss the camshaft endplay measurements that result in the Kohler "knock" at certain RPMs when the camshaft slaps end to end in the block and sounds much like a rod knock.   The mention of this measurement and shimming is such a small blurb in the rebuild manual, that many miss this, even well seasoned technicians that does this for a living.  I would have a go at rebuilding the TRA again, read and reread every single step thru the rebuild process or worst case, buy a different TRA engine off someone that is ready to drop in.  Maybe something is "off" in the machining of that block.  Anything is possible since its man made.  Cutting grass with the TR10 engine you should be fine unless your mowing tall and thick field grass.  Make sure the rod is orientated correctly as if its backwards, it will not pickup oil correct and she will blow again.  The position of the oil pickup hole in the big end of the crank is important, atleast in Kohlers, positioned the wrong way it will stave the big end for oil and seize up quickly.   Good luck   Mike


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#14 Headrc OFFLINE  

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Posted April 11, 2021 - 06:26 PM

Thanks Mike ...I feel like I double checked and triple checked everything with the rebuild.  But I am human so mistakes can be made.  And that includes having the rod installed correctly.  From what I am finding there is nobody supplying rebuilt short blocks so it is either rebuild or repower.  And the rebuild is looking like it will need to be the TR-10D since this TRA has already done it to me twice.  I also have a Tecumseh HH120 that is a possibility but I don't like that electronic ignition idea with that old of a motor.



#15 mtoney OFFLINE  

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Posted April 11, 2021 - 08:53 PM

Those old Tecumseh electronic ignitions are very trouble prone and Super expensive to replace(if you can find one) when they fail.  Your better off to rebuild the TR-10D and give it a shot or repower with either a K series Kohler, Honda or Yanmar air cooled diesel


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