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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone new member here. Stumbled on to the site while digging for information on the Bolens I am rebuilding. I'm a member of snowblowerforum.com and this seems like a similar setup for Tractors.
In any case, I am currently restoring a Bolens Power Ho Versa-Matic. Based on the information I have found I believe it to be from 1957-1960 or so. It has a 7 hp Kohler motor and all the parts except for the belt guard on the left side. I am currently restoring the motor and then will move on to the frame.

Here's a pic prior to teardown. It came with a snow thrower attachment that I removed for [maybe] later use.

Plant Tire Automotive tire Wheel Mower


Currently the engine is disassembled on the bench waiting for parts.
In any case, just wanted to say hello and I'll be mining the site for information as I proceed.
Does anyone here still use one of these? I am restoring it to use to drag logs out of the woods for processing and eventually connecting it to a cart for bringing wood up to the house during the winter. Any insight would be appreciated.
 

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Old, but not dead -- yet!
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Welcome to GTT !

The Model 155-02 was introduced in 1959 and continued 1960 & 1961.

1961 was the last year for Bolens walk-behind tractor production.

Technically your tractor is a VersaMatic, not a PowerHo.
....PowerHo's were previous models without reverse, and had a different style hitch for front & rear attachments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Welcome to GTT !

The Model 155-02 was introduced in 1959 and continued 1960 & 1961.

1961 was the last year for Bolens walk-behind tractor production.

Technically your tractor is a VersaMatic, not a PowerHo.
....PowerHo's were previous models without reverse, and had a different style hitch for front & rear attachments.
So confusing, marketing was a lot different back in "the day."
I found a few brochures for the Bolens, the one below [1961 Bolens product catalog] identifies the 155 as a Power Ho Versa-Matic, but it lists a Kohler 161, mine has a Kohler K160. But I also found a number of product run lists that show all the 155's had a K161. I am not familiar with Kohler engines but it also appears that the K160 and K161 are very similar and somewhat interchangeable[?], still trying to figure it out as I tear the engine down. I have a number of manuals for the K161 which I am using and other than a handful of small things they're close enough for me to find out what I need and how to put it back togehter. I can't find a manual for the K160 specifically and I'm not dropping $60-$120 on a manual that many end up being just the owners manual. Waiting for some parts to come in so I can complete the tear down, paint, and reassemble [then on to the machine].
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DR. Bolens
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Bolens books were known to have some errors over the years , the K160 is virtually the same as a K161 so parts and manuals will be the same just need to be careful slecting the piston & rings if you get into it as there was "new" and "old " style
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bolens books were known to have some errors over the years , the K160 is virtually the same as a K161 so parts and manuals will be the same just need to be careful slecting the piston & rings if you get into it as there was "new" and "old " style
Thanks for letting me know, I have read a couple place that their books are not fully accurate.
 

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Old, but not dead -- yet!
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The Kohler K-160 was advertised as 6.6hp. ...The K-161 was advertised as 7hp, and replaced the K-160 in production.

The parts manual for the K-161's should show the variation numbers for your Spec # 28118.

The Bolens brochure that you posted does say Power-Ho, but none of the parts manuals describe a Versa-Matic as a Power-Ho. ....Dealers made a distinction between Power-Ho's and Versa-Matic's.

Over the years, we have discovered many proven errors in Bolens brochures, manuals, & publications. ....Printed info is a good guide, but is not gospel. ....Even back in a 1977 publication, Bolens listed the K-161 Spec 28118E as either a 6.6hp or a 7hp. ....There is no mention of a K-160 installed on a tractor, but we know there were, as you own one!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The Kohler K-160 was advertised as 6.6hp. ...The K-161 was advertised as 7hp, and replaced the K-160 in production.

The parts manual for the K-161's should show the variation numbers for your Spec # 28118.

The Bolens brochure that you posted does say Power-Ho, but none of the parts manuals describe a Versa-Matic as a Power-Ho. ....Dealers made a distinction between Power-Ho's and Versa-Matic's.

Over the years, we have discovered many proven errors in Bolens brochures, manuals, & publications. ....Printed info is a good guide, but is not gospel. ....Even back in a 1977 publication, Bolens listed the K-161 Spec 28118E as either a 6.6hp or a 7hp. ....There is no mention of a K-160 installed on a tractor, but we know there were, as you own one!
Thanks for that, to be honest in looking through the literature I could find I thought I was going crazy... 6.6, 7, 160, 161... At least it is an interesting project and will take me a while. I have a habit of burning through rebuilds and then looking for something else to do [my wife loves this], this one should take a little while... just like the parts getting to my house, taking a little while.

I have a new condenser ordered for it, the old one is shot/cracked. I have seen people use an electronic firing systems in lieu of the condenser/points, has anyone here had any experience with using one of those? Might be a good plan B if I have an issue with the points/condenser.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for that, to be honest in looking through the literature I could find I thought I was going crazy... 6.6, 7, 160, 161... At least it is an interesting project and will take me a while. I have a habit of burning through rebuilds and then looking for something else to do [my wife loves this], this one should take a little while... just like the parts getting to my house, taking a little while.

I have a new condenser ordered for it, the old one is shot/cracked. I have seen people use an electronic firing systems in lieu of the condenser/points, has anyone here had any experience with using one of those? Might be a good plan B if I have an issue with the points/condenser.
Sorry, my brain short-circuited while writing this one. I am thinking about an electronic ignition system is what I was trying to say above, has anyone used one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Finished building the motor, dropped it on a cart and fired it up, worked well. Not disassembling so I can paint, then will rebuild...again.
Still undecided on the paint.
Here it is, cobbled together on my engine cart [converted power washer cart].

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quick question on this, does anyone know how much weight this machine will pull? I want to attach a cart for bringing wood up, I'm thinking with everything [cart, me, and cordwood] I am looking at pulling about 500 lbs or so, do you think it will do it? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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Would think that supporting the weight should not be a problem as it will be distributed between the wheels on the tractor and the cart - these will have bearings or bushings and result in very little friction when trying to move it forwards or backwards. Pulling a loaded cart on flat ground should not be a problem - where you will encounter issues may be having enough traction if you are going up or down an incline as well as what the surface is where the drive wheels make contact as you may encounter little to no traction if the surface is muddy and you are trying to go up or down a steep hill. Just my thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Would think that supporting the weight should not be a problem as it will be distributed between the wheels on the tractor and the cart - these will have bearings or bushings and result in very little friction when trying to move it forwards or backwards. Pulling a loaded cart on flat ground should not be a problem - where you will encounter issues may be having enough traction if you are going up or down an incline as well as what the surface is where the drive wheels make contact as you may encounter little to no traction if the surface is muddy and you are trying to go up or down a steep hill. Just my thoughts.
Thanks. I have wheel weights and chains for it if traction becomes an issue, I'll be mounting new tires on it as well prior to use [once I get to that point].
 
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