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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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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].
Wheel Plant Tire Automotive tire Terrestrial plant
 

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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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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].

Wheel Tire Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive lighting
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Plugging away on this one. Completed the motor section. The hubs, body, etc are in pieces in various states of cleaning, hopefully be priming those by this weekend.
I gave up on trying to match the original color [I don't want to set up a spray rig] so I went with a metallic blue. I am restoring it to use [hopefully for a very long time] not to look at.
I also scored on a Craigs list package deal for a bunch of implements and a smaller VersaMatic tractor. The tractor is shot, it is the 15FD 01 with a 3.5 HP Kohler K90 so there isn't much useful for me on it other than maybe a second set of rims so it will be set aside for later consideration. If anyone is working on a 15FD and needs anything from this one shoot me a note.
The wheel cutter implement has a shaft that seems to be rusted solid, but everything else seems workable [until I get into it I guess], going to hit the snow throw attachment and sulky once I get the current tractor complete, going to do all the implements in the same blue and silver metallic color scheme.

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Hood Automotive design Grille


Sewing machine Motor vehicle Blue Automotive tire Automotive design


Automotive tire Wood Motor vehicle Tire Tread
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey guys, been a while.
I've been working pretty steadily on the Bolens and finally got it running yesterday, well, running on the machine as opposed to the frankenstein test I did earlier.
Here's a video:
Putting it all back together now and wiring up a battery and lighting since I have to run a line for the kill switch anyway. Once it's done I'll post up some pix of the completed project.
After I confirmed it was running I put on the belts and did my best to adjust them [I think I'm close on it anyway] and started reinstalling. Ran out of time so I had to stop here. I have it on a stand in the front to keep the control lever out of the ceiling as the kick-stand doesn't keep it up high enough for that.

Wheel Tire Vehicle Automotive tire Tread


I have been chronicling the rebuild at a different forum where I lurk most of the time, if you're curious here's a link:
I'll put up some more pix when I get finished.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here are some better pix.

Wheel Tire Vehicle Automotive tire Hood


Tire Wheel Vehicle Automotive tire Tread


Tire Wheel Vehicle Automotive tire Tread


I’m in the process of restoring the snow plow, snow thrower, and sickle bar cutter.
Today I picked up three rear mounted ploughs. Once I have more work done on the attachments I’ll post some pix.
If anyone has worked on any Bolens attachments and has any insight it would be appreciated. So far reassembly has been a lot of trial and error.
 

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I’m in the process of restoring the snow plow, snow thrower, and sickle bar cutter.
Today I picked up three rear mounted ploughs. Once I have more work done on the attachments I’ll post some pix.
If anyone has worked on any Bolens attachments and has any insight it would be appreciated. So far reassembly has been a lot of trial and error.
There are some manuals for the attachments on the site if you do not already have copies.
Versamatic Link
 

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