Bolens lawn tractor

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  #1  
Old 04-18-07, 02:43 PM
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Bolens lawn tractor

My sis has a Bolens lawn tractor with a 15.5 hp Briggs & Stratton ELS engine. It's around 2 years old and might still be in warranty which we are trying to clarify with Lowe's. It sat over the Winter and when we tried to get it running this Spring it would barely turn over. I measured about 10.5 volts at the battery terminals and figured the battery need recharging. So, I took the battery off the tractor, hooked it up to a charger which indicated that the battery was charged [little winky light on the charger]. So, I said the heck with the battery and we bought a new one from Lowe's [we got the right one]. The fuel tank was nearly empty so we filled it with fresh fuel. The engine would then turn over and start [after many tries] with the choke/engine speed lever in the choke position but the engine would die if the lever was moved to the fast position. We finally got it to run for a while in the choke position and drove it around some but if she tried to engage the cutting deck and cut some grass the engine would die. Afterwards the weather turned cold and the tractor sat for maybe 10 days. When we went back to it, we would get a clicking noise when trying to start it [the clicking noise sounded like it was coming from the battery]. The engine would turn over maybe a half turn [when viewed thru the screen on the top] the first couple tries then nothing. So I thought that maybe the cold weather sapped the battery. However, I meaured 12.5 volts at the battery terminals. I then measured voltage at the starter motor [one VOM lead on the motor's positive post and the other to a place on the motor I scratched clean] while she tried to start the tractor and the voltage drops to about 3.5 volts. We tried to jump start the tractor with the car [car engine running] and you can hear it putting a load on the car engine when you try to turn over the tractor engine. I then tried to removed the positive cable from the starter motor and found that the post turns when I try to loosen the nut holding the cable. [I had it in mind to go straight from the car to the starter motor] At that point I stopped and we started to investigate the warranty and found it might still be within the 2 year warranty. Sis is having trouble locating the sales receipt, but I backed off because I don't want to cause a warranty denial. We called Lowe's and they set us up with a local service guy who's backed up with work for 2 to 3 weeks. He's the warranty servicer so we just have to wait on him. At any rate, I'm thinking that the starter motor may have gone South. If it turns out that this is the case, we will probably try to fix it ourselves. Any comments or suggestions are VERY welcome because this thing has become a major pain in the drain. Sorry for such a long post. Thanks in advance for your help.
 
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  #2  
Old 04-18-07, 03:57 PM
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update

I got the info off the engine:

Model # 282H07
Type # 0334
Code# 050126ZE
 
  #3  
Old 04-19-07, 10:30 PM
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You have carburetor problems. That is why it won't run without the choke being on, and it has now caused the starting problems. The float needle is leaking, letting gas into the cylinder. The gas can't be compressed, so the engine can't turn over. Don't keep trying, or it will burn up the starter and/or solenoid. You'll need to repair the carburetor, drain the oil since it now probably has a good bit of gas in it...refill. Remove the spark plug, and turn the engine over making sure the plug lead is out of the way of the front of the engine because gas is going to blow out the front of the engine. You wouldn't want the plug wire to cause a spark at this moment. Clear the cylinder and replace the plug.
 
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Old 04-20-07, 05:58 AM
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thanks

Thanks for your reply cheese. I'm convinced the battery is depleted and needs recharging [the clicking noise is the starter solenoid which is hidden on the inside of a cowling under the seat] and that we were not getting a good connection from the car to the tractor because my sister's jumper cables are a set of el cheapos. However, she has decided to let the Lowe's authorized servicer work on it. They want $75 just to come pick it up and take it to their shop [30 + miles away]. They won't even be able to come get it for two weeks. She seems to think that "it's only 2 years old, I shouldn't be having any problems with it". I've tried to tell her that she probably will not get warranty coverage but she won't listen so, for now, I've moved on to other projects. I'll post back when it's resolved. Thanks again!
 
  #5  
Old 04-21-07, 12:35 AM
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Even if it were under warranty, they probably won't cover this problem, since it will likely fall under "neglect". Old fuel getting stale in the carb is not usually covered under warranty.
 
  #6  
Old 05-10-09, 08:19 AM
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checklist for Bolen starting

You should hear the starter motor turning the engine over. If not and all you hear is the solonoid clicking, verify that your battery cables are clean and the connections are tight. Undo the two hex head screws holding the cap plate on the top of the starter motor and make sure the starter motor gear can engage properly.

Once you get current to your starter motor and verify it is doing its job, check that your fuel pump and gas lines are are working by undoing the line, depressing the brake and turning the key. You should see fuel spurt out.

Check your air cleaner filter and give the carburator a shot of starter fluid.

Take the wire connected to your spark plug off, depress the brake and turn the key, see if you get a spark.

If you have air, fuel and spark, charge on the battery, the connections are clean and tight and the motor still won't start try replacing the spark plug.

If your Bolen Lawn tractor still won't start after that or starts but cuts out when you adjust the choke or speed you could try the rich/lean adjustment on the carburator.

If it runs ok but is sluggish particularly under power take off, check your power take off belts are tight, that generally improves performance.

If you have done all the above and it still has a problem check that it has oil, that the oil is clean and at the right level.

The Bolens are sturdy dependable little tractors and real hard to mess up bad enough that you can't fix them yourself. Their parts manuals are on line, they have a lot of knowledgable dealers around, and my advice is basically to be patient, optomistic and keep trying.
 
  #7  
Old 05-11-09, 11:20 PM
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Rktect, this thread is over 2 years old. I'm sure the problem is fixed, or there are much worse problems by now, lol .

For reference, I do not recommend using starter fluid at all, especially just before pulling the spark plug out and watching for spark. This could cause a loss of eyebrows , or even serious injury or worse. If you have to use starting fluid for any reason, there is a problem that needs to be addressed. I think the carb was filling the engine with gas and hydrolocking it, and cranking the engine with the plug out checking for spark with this condition could be fatal in the worst case scenario.

I also personally disagree wholeheartedly with your last statement. You may have had better experiences with them than I have.
 
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