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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I guess I need to start writing things down, possibly start a notebook of when I buy and sell things. It was either 2 or 3 summers ago that I found this motor sitting at a flea market here in my area of western NY. I immediately recognized that it was of Bolens origin. The vendor didn't know much about it, he was just flipping it trying to make a profit. So, of course a deal was struck, and it came home with me. And of course, I really didn't have any immediate need for it. I did wire it up on the barn floor and start it up to verify that it would run. It didn't blow any blue smoke or make any bad noises, and there is evidence of new gaskets and seals being installed in the recent past. Figured it was worth what I paid for it and stashed it on a shelf in my barn. I did drain the gas and put some oil down the sparkplug hole at that time. Back a year or so I "borrowed" the muffler and starter/generator to put on the S-8D motor in my 800 tractor. Yesterday I found a bit of free time and decided to get it back out and try running it again just because. I started by bolting it to a simple wooden cradle I stuck together from scrap, and then cleaning and setting the points. I found that the points and condenser were new and obviously had been part of the refresh project someone had done on it. I used a continuity light to get the points set to the timing mark on the flywheel. As it was, the timing was off by a fair amount. I added a coil and using some jumper wires there was a nice snappy blue spark. I put some gas in the tank and a bit down the air cleaner elbow, it started and sat there running on the first pull of the starter rope. I was surprised and it almost made me jump. Things like that usually don't happen. I tinker tuned the idle speed and mixture a wee bit and ran it maybe 15 minutes total. It sounds good, didn't see any oil leaks or blue smoke, and it has good compression. I still have no immediate use for it, but for now it's a keeper, and will remain in the inventory of "things for possible future use". Yeah, just like the rest of the pieces and parts I have squirreled away in cabinets, drawers, and on shelves. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only fellow that has this affliction. 馃お
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I believe that this motor might have been on one of the square hood models that replaced the 800-900 tractors. Like maybe an 850? Little brother of the 1050. That would put it in the 1968-1969 time frame. Just speculation on my part. The S-8D in my 800 has the threaded cap dipstick. No sign of a magneto on this motor. The motor in the 800 still has one under the flywheel, it was converted to a 12vt. coil at some point before I got it. I think if/when I do a motor swap on Muttley I will use a freshened TRA-10D I have sitting. Unless I happen to stumble onto a deal on a good TRA-12D motor. I find the little 800 tractor to be right at the edge of having enough power to do some of the utility work around here. Going to an S-8D in the mutt would pretty much be making a repeat of the 800. A bit more power is always a good thing. IMHO!
 

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From my experience the TRA engine is not one I would want in anything. That electronic system is great when it works, but when it don't it is a pure nightmare. Last TRA14D I had was finally scrapped, sold the head and the rest went inthe scerap pile. All because of that ignition system. Just my opinion of the Wisconsin TRA engines.
 

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Unless I happen to stumble onto a deal on a good TRA-12D motor. I find the little 800 tractor to be right at the edge of having enough power to do some of the utility work around here. Going to an S-8D in the mutt would pretty much be making a repeat of the 800. A bit more power is always a good thing. IMHO!
A TRA-12D, really? After your 1477 S-14D experience? Are you a glutton for punishment? Power is always subjective, and I don't know everything you're doing with that tractor. But for towing I'd think 8.25hp would be more than adequate. You could even gain a bit more power by putting a Zenith 68 (Wisconsin L-63) carburetor on it.
I didn't know there was a TRA-14D. The biggest TRA motor I've ever had was a 12D. Was in a 1256.
There wasn't. He's likely made a typo or meant a S-14D. They used the same electronic ignition system, as you're now well aware. ;) Wisconsin isn't alone when it comes to these no longer available proprietary solid state ignition systems. Many Tecumsehs and some single-cylinder Onans share the same problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah, you're probably right, stay away from the TRA-12D motor. And I believe that chieffan must have meant a S-14D. And again, like you stated they both use the same style ignition components. As far as power goes with a utility tractor here at my place, I basically live on a side hill. I have areas that are pretty much level, but there are plenty of areas that are sloped too. Got into a hairy situation with the 800 tractor and lawn roller once. Had climbed almost to the top of a long incline and ran out of power. Stalled out and there I sat, now what to do? Thank goodness for the worm drive rear axle, the tractor held still while I got it shifted into reverse and got the motor going again. Wasn't something I want to repeat any time soon. For me, more power is better.
 

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Hills will certainly demand more power. I don't have any steep ones here so I tend to overlook that.

I've toyed with a cheap solution (if you have spare engines lying around like I do) to the TRA-12D SSI problem, but have yet to put it into practice. If you get a flywheel, front bearing plate and stator from a S-8D or TR-10D with magneto ignition, you should be able to use a Nova points eliminator ignition module. I've tried this with a TR-10D I have in pieces on the bench and it made good spark. I don't see any reason why it wouldn't do the same on a similarly configured TRA-12D. You may have to enlarge the bearing plate mounting holes since the TRA-12D used 5/16" bolts as opposed to 1/4" on earlier models.
 

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Yeah, you're probably right, stay away from the TRA-12D motor. And I believe that chieffan must have meant a S-14D. And again, like you stated they both use the same style ignition components. As far as power goes with a utility tractor here at my place, I basically live on a side hill. I have areas that are pretty much level, but there are plenty of areas that are sloped too. Got into a hairy situation with the 800 tractor and lawn roller once. Had climbed almost to the top of a long incline and ran out of power. Stalled out and there I sat, now what to do? Thank goodness for the worm drive rear axle, the tractor held still while I got it shifted into reverse and got the motor going again. Wasn't something I want to repeat any time soon. For me, more power is better.
I often find myself wishing that I could acctually use all the power that my engines put out. Mostly because my "daily driver" tractor is a belt driven lawn tractor with a 17HP Briggs opposed twin. Always feels like I'm only using a fraction of the power I've got available.
 

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A little off topic, but today I played around with that TRA-12D I removed the ignition system from and sent to you. It had a broken exhaust valve so that took some time remove. The Fairbanks Morse front bearing plate mounted fine after I drilled out the holes to 11/32". The bearing race looked better than the one I took out so I left it in there. This is far from a rebuild, I'm just messing around for now. Got the crankshaft end play down to .002" and temporarily mounted the Nova ignition module. I was greeted with some good spark. The real question is if it's at the right time. Time will tell. I have to locate a good exhaust valve, reassemble the valve train and build a working carburetor before I can find out.
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Thanks for the offer Dave. I'm pretty sure I only need an exhaust valve, and I know I have a few extras kicking around. I've never needed a timing light (showing my age bracket here) but I dusted off an old Actron I picked up years ago at a yard sale. Unfortunately it appears to be dead. That's just my kind of luck. I've always used a multimeter to time my Wisconsins.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Wow! That would be a very cheap fix for those older motors. I hope it works! I know you don't know yet, maybe have to put some adjustment in there to get the timing " right on the money"? Maybe a custom off set key for the flywheel? Maybe slot the holes in the bearing retainer plate? Just thinkin'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I was confused at first. You need to have a working OEM coil to make the Mega Fire module function. At first I didn't notice the module off to the side. I have never priced one, how much are the replacement magneto coils for the early motors? I know that a replacement SSI ignition package for a Wisconsin motor from Overnight Solutions was going to be a bit north of $200.
 
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