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Old 07-20-2010, 09:47 AM   post #1 of 17
PaulM
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Default Deck Vibration on New Bolens 13.5 HP from Lowes

Just bought new Bolens 13.5 HP Lawn Tractor (Model# 13AC762F065, built by MTD) from Lowes two days ago. I have not even mowed with it, just started it, drove around and engaged the PTO/Blade to test it.

When I engage the PTO/Blade seems to be some vibration and the deck moves ever so slightly from left to right (maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch)

My question, any owners of this model out there ? If so do you have same vibration and is it normal for this model. If it's normal and within limits, I'm OK with it, but if there is a problem, I need to take it back for an exchange.

I would like to go to Lowes to see if they would start up the same model in their parking lot so I can compare it, to see if it vibrates, but not sure if they will do that.

It's a hassle to return this mower (must arrange to borrow brother-in-law's truck and trailer etc...) and if it's not really broke, but this is normal for this model I can live with it.


Thanks to all in advance for response

Paul
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:56 AM   post #2 of 17
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Default Re: Deck Vibration on New Bolens 13.5 HP from Lowes

Check to see if all the blade bolts are tight. Then check all the rest. In general just check it over.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:47 AM   post #3 of 17
hankll
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Default Re: Deck Vibration on New Bolens 13.5 HP from Lowes

If it is new, take it back and have them check it. They might have assembled it or it might have a loose blade (doubt it). Bottom line, let them check it so if something is wrong it can be corrected by them.

One thing I suspect, though, it probably is simply just the new belts are still stiff and in time they will limber up and not be doing that.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:57 AM   post #4 of 17
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Default Re: Deck Vibration on New Bolens 13.5 HP from Lowes

I'm with hankll, probably needs a little break in. Put a couple hours on it, see how she does.
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:08 PM   post #5 of 17
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Default Re: Deck Vibration on New Bolens 13.5 HP from Lowes

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Originally Posted by BushBoneYard View Post
I'm with hankll, probably needs a little break in. Put a couple hours on it, see how she does.
You could always talk to Lowes about it and get their recommendation prior to using it that way you are covered and they can't come back and say that YOU broke it somehow should it not get any better for you after a break in.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:16 PM   post #6 of 17
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Default Re: Deck Vibration on New Bolens 13.5 HP from Lowes

I have a 2006 model of that tractor, and it shakes like its coming apart, always has. No matter the blade, no matter the belt. Amazingly the mandrels have held up so far. Its definitely built to a price point.

Mine will be gone after this season, I am tired of working on it. In the past year I have changed the drive belts, mower belt twice, battery, steering is shot as happens on all the MTD riders...

About the only good thing I could say is that it was cheap. And at the time, it was all I could afford. So I guess it worked out.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:41 PM   post #7 of 17
PaulM
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Default Re: Deck Vibration on New Bolens 13.5 HP from Lowes

most recent status...

I called Lowes and they said I could come and start one of their same model Bolens mowers and engage the blades/PTO to test if the vibration was the same as the one I bought.

Results: The one at Lowes has about the same vibration as mine, so this is inherent to that model and my mower is not broke. Mine might vibrate just a tad more but I think it's just my OCD tendency to split hairs. I will use it, enjoy it, and hopefully not need to replace it until six to ten years down the road.

I probably will still do a good hardware deck bolt security check. I ruined my previous Murray deck when it came off at the front, when traveling at max speed about three years ago, and bent the deck and it was never the same after that even though I was able to rig it and to continue to mow with it. I now think it's a good idea to check all deck bolts on a routine basis.


I still would like to hear if someone else in this forum has the same Bolens model what's their vibration level and what's their opinion of the mower over all.

The reviews on the Lowes site for this Bolens mower were not bad, especially for an MTD machine.

I had purchased a Troy Built 17 HP Pony from Lowes three days ago and I took it back because I read the reviews and there were many complaints and maintenance and reliablity issues on the Troy built.

I replaced it with the 13.5 HP Bolens instead because of the reasonably favorable ratings one the Bolens. The 13.5 HP Bolens might be a bit under powered, compared to the 17 HP Troybuilt Pony but I'd rather have a reliable 13.5 HP mower than a 17 HP that's broke all the time.


I'm replacing a 16.5 HP Murray with a 42" deck that's about 6 years old and finally gave up the ghost.



Paul
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:54 PM   post #8 of 17
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Default Re: Deck Vibration on New Bolens 13.5 HP from Lowes

Stogie5150

Thanks for posting your comments about having the same model. Sounds like yours lasted about 4 years and it also had deck vibration inherent to that model. If I can get four years out of mine I would be happy, but would prefer at least six years if possible. Was yours a 15.5 HP or a 13.5 HP model ?

Paul
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:02 PM   post #9 of 17
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Default Re: Deck Vibration on New Bolens 13.5 HP from Lowes

Just a quick thanks to all who posted with feedback and suggestions.

I appreciate ya'll taking the time to assist...

By the way, just FYI. I told my 17 year old son he could have the old 16.5 HP Murray, that this Bolens is replacing; he would just need to drop the deck off of it and he could ride it around the neighborhood. He's been having a blast with it, he regeared it by swaping pulleys and it now it runs a bit faster.




Paul
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:23 AM   post #10 of 17
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Default Re: Deck Vibration on New Bolens 13.5 HP from Lowes

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulM View Post
Stogie5150

Thanks for posting your comments about having the same model. Sounds like yours lasted about 4 years and it also had deck vibration inherent to that model. If I can get four years out of mine I would be happy, but would prefer at least six years if possible. Was yours a 15.5 HP or a 13.5 HP model ?

Paul
I still have it, it'll be cutting grass tomorrow....

Its a 15.5. Plenty of power. IMO the weak points on this tractor don't include the engine in any way. Its just everything else...I forgot to add that after the first season I mowed with it I had to replace the cable that engages the mower blades....30 bucks for a bicycle brake cable kinda thing...grrrrr...

Latest thing is that the mower won't completely disengage, but on the other hand, when you engage it, it takes a couple seconds to get the blades spinning, and then if you hit tall grass...they stop. there's not enough tension on the belt, and I can't figure out how to fix it, so I put up with it.

I am just afraid of whats going to break next. Its made a heckuva mechanic out of me.

FYI I put gator blades on it, I didn't notice all that much difference...I had a bagger off my old MTD that worked with it, but its bagging performance is so poor I cut the grass, let it dry, and then bag it. Gators didn't improve it either.

My next mower won't be an MTD product. ANY MTD product.
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:45 AM   post #11 of 17
hankll
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Default Re: Deck Vibration on New Bolens 13.5 HP from Lowes

Hey there Stogie - Your loose belt problem is simply a worn belt and probably it is stretched as well. They do wear a bit, and will need to be replaced. Their isn't a way to "tighten" the belt, other than the idler pulley with the spring on the end of the "Bicycle brake cable thing".

The idler pulley mechanism may need a little light grease to make sure there is no binding and that the spring is pulling it as far as it is supposed to. Other than that, a new belt will take care of your problem.
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:21 AM   post #12 of 17
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Default Re: Deck Vibration on New Bolens 13.5 HP from Lowes

Interesting post, I hope all works out well for you. I guess I'm gonna stick with my 40 year old Bolens tractors and see how long they will continue to provide good service to me. If you should ever decide to get one of the old Bolens feel free to post your questions here and we will be happy to help you out
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Old 07-30-2010, 06:16 PM   post #13 of 17
PaulM
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Default Re: Deck Vibration on New Bolens 13.5 HP from Lowes

Mowing report...and question about future maintenance/repair

Just mowed my lawn for the first time with my Bolens and it did a beautiful job. The deck was apparently leveled OK initially at the factory because no lines in the yard from an unleveled deck. I estimate my yard to be about 1/3 to 1/2 of an acre. After my next mowing, at approximately the 5 hour point I'll be changing the engine oil per the Briggs & Statton manual break in period.

One question, anyone on this forum ever changed the transmission drive belt(s) or deck blade belt on the newer MTD Bolens lawn tractors. I'm thinking ahead to repair/maintenance I might need 2 to 4 years down the road.

The operators manual gives the procedure to remove the deck blade belt however for the transmission drive belt(s) the operators manual states see an authorized MTD service dealer because air/impact wrench needed and several components must be removed etc...

I normally do my own maintenance and repair on my mower and lawn tractors. I would like to think I could potentially replace the transmission drive belt when it goes out in 2 to 4 years from now. Also looks like two transmission belts one long and one short ? Do both normally need to be replaced at the same time ?


thanks in advance
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Old 07-30-2010, 09:04 PM   post #14 of 17
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Default Re: Deck Vibration on New Bolens 13.5 HP from Lowes

PaulM, Stogie

Let me try to say something without gettung banned for brand bashing (sorry moderators). The best way to put it is; they don't make them like they used to. I don't think it is fair for a company to buy a name, but that is capitalism and it beats the @#$%^ out of many other options in our world. That being said, the vast majority of us here love the Bolens name and what it stood for (not a typo, stood for). Your experiences with your MTD's may be long and prosperous. I've never bought one, but I have owned a couple (owners were tired of fighting with them). They mow very nicely when they run. As with any internal combustion engine, keep the oil changed and the motor will last for a good and reasonable amount of time. NEVER pull a heavy load with them. I have had many of them in and out of my garage with busted transaxles due to someone using them like a tractor. Big mistake. They are not tractors, they are riding mowers. Mow with them as they are intended and you could get many years of use from them.

But, if you ever have a little extra money, (less then you paid for the MTD's), you can get a very nice 40 year old bolens that will pull your house over without much of an effort,(slight exageration) and still be asking 'whats next'. These machines were built tough. I have a '69 1225 and I love to brag on it. It looks like a turd, I have been hot wiring it for 10 years (too cheap to buy a switch), the tires are loaded, weighted and chained ag lugs and it will pull the front wheels off the ground no problem.

The best thing about them is, there are places like this to find answers and parts should you need anything. Don't let your MTD experience ruin you on Bolens.

Matt
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Old 07-30-2010, 09:19 PM   post #15 of 17
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Default Re: Deck Vibration on New Bolens 13.5 HP from Lowes

Ratboy is correct.THESE ARE NOT I REPEAT NOT BIG TRACTORS! They will not take a 2in ball,or any ball and tow your trailer around the yard. The transaxle and axle shafts are not designed for that. The housing are only thin aluminum. Another mistake people are making is trying to cut stuff as tall as I am, another mistake.
The Bolens,MTD,Troy-Bilts in that class all have hanging decks and do have movement and will because of torque move one direction or the other. I work on a lot of MTD Built machines and don't find anymore vibration in one model over another.
Now tooling around the yard without the deck running burns a spot in the belt this will cause a vibration and that burn spot goes from pulley to pulley and idlers.
Run it NOT TO WORRY. When it breaks the parts are cheap and easy to repair.
And ratboy todays Bolens are not the Bolens of yester-year and they really would pull your house,but not today.

Last edited by mikethefixitman1; 07-30-2010 at 09:21 PM. Reason: Adding text
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