Well, this is about as unplanned as it can get.
A week ago last Saturday I clicked on my nemesis 'AKA Facebook' and I happen to have a couple of notifications from fellow Bolens enthusiasts directing me towards an ad in WA for a Bolens large frame with a Johnson 14 loader for a steal of a price. Something like this doesn't come up very often in my area, and definitely not at this price point when they do. My curiosity peaked when I saw the ad was posted 41 minutes ago, however. I know how these things usually work and with that said, I was expecting the seller to say it was already sold or the price was wrong which would have been fine as I don't need another but I had to at least roll the dice. He still had it. As I scramble to type the quickest reply I can, I tell him I'm leaving first thing in the morning, I call my friend David to tell him to get ready for a road trip and I load up the trailer.
When I got there, the seller showed me on his phone 50 other people who had messaged him and were offering to pay higher prices, etc. I was second in line apparently when the first person couldn't find a way to transport it. It even came with some spare parts like a complete engine, tiller, mid mount blade, a nice original spare muffler and some odds and ends.
Not really sure what I'm going to do with it yet as I didn't know I was getting another large frame! 🙃 It has good bones, everything works, but it is definitely a fixer upper all around any way you look at it. A friend may purchase it from me at some point. I'm going to enjoy it this winter and experiment with the Sundstrand 15 which I've always wanted to try out on a Bolens. The mid mount blade is pretty cool too.
So far I've done the following:
-Tune up. She runs pretty good!
-Fixed some bad electrical connections. It's lost spark twice due to multiple bad connections in the wiring..
-The left side engine cover was missing but it came with a complete K482 that had the covers so I swapped one on. It turns out the "spare engine" is likely the original one for the machine..
-The battery hold down was missing so I installed one I had laying around.
It is very much a "tinkerers" tractor. Everything works so it can be used while you fix it up since there is always something you can improve on. Or, just restore the whole thing. It's obvious that it's been stored outside uncovered so everything needs a shot of PB blaster and things are stiff like the steering and brake pedal but they are starting to come around with some help and use. The sheet metal is pretty straight but has a fare share of surface rust in areas. It's hard to go back to manual steering but it brings me back to my former 1886 and it can actually be kind of rewarding and fun as it requires more involvement and planning ahead if you can look at it that way. The J14 is smooth and works well. Somebody has redone some of the lines though in a non-enthusiast manner and it would be something that could be redone to factory-like spec during a resto. Both these tractors are night and day different in how they perform and feel behind the wheel.
I'm sure there will be some more updates here and there to come. Because of the early sunset, RAIN, and time I get home, it's hard to get good pics this time of year but I have the week off between Christmas and New Years so I'll post some more then. Hoping we get some snow!!