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In February 2009 I repowered a Bolens 1253 with a 10 HP Chinese clone diesel engine. The first one lasted 17 hours as described in this thread. The seller shipped me a free replacement and it gave up the ghost yesterday after 69 hours. It has gradually been smoking more and yesterday was very difficult to start. I removed the head and found, as I expected, badly worn cylinder walls. My best guess is that this engine, like the first one, succumbed to dust.

With the second engine, I was much more careful:
  • No heavy work the first 20 hours
  • Warmed it up for a couple of minutes every time I started it
  • No biodiesel
  • Oil changed every 10 hours with 30 weight diesel certified oil (it got dirty fast)
  • Made some improvements to the air cleaner to seal better
  • Blew off the tractor frequently with a leaf blower to reduce dust
  • Kept a close eye on the air filter to keep it clean.
My conclusion is that these engines may be fine for generator use, or something similar that operated in a cleaner environment, but can't handle tilling or disking in dry fine soil that raises clouds of dusk.

If someone has ideas for something I did wrong, I would love to hear it.

Now I'm stuck with finding another engine. I'm thinking I at least need something with full pressure lube with an oil filter. Would a cyclone air filter help? Fuel efficient, clean burning, and quiet would be good. Oh, and I think I definitely want something with a cast iron cylinder liner. These diesels wear like they are just plain aluminum castings with no liner.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Mike
 

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Mike, did this second engine have a badly scored cylinder as well? If you pull the air cleaner, can you see dirt in the intake 'hole'? I'm wondering if the stock filtration is inadequate. Also, I'm no expert in this, but for a small air cooled diesel, I wouldn't run anything lighter than a 15w40 heavy-duty / diesel rated oil, regardless of what it says on the oil cap or manual (if so equipped).

Joel
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mike, did this second engine have a badly scored cylinder as well? If you pull the air cleaner, can you see dirt in the intake 'hole'? I'm wondering if the stock filtration is inadequate. Also, I'm no expert in this, but for a small air cooled diesel, I wouldn't run anything lighter than a 15w40 heavy-duty / diesel rated oil, regardless of what it says on the oil cap or manual (if so equipped).

Joel
Yes, the cylinder is scored. There is a noticeable lip about 7/16" below the top of the cylinder. My guess is that this is how far the top piston ring went up. I don't have the tools to properly measure it.

When I first used the engine, there was some visible dirt getting inside the air filter. I added a an additional washer so that the filter cover put more pressure on the filter to manifold connection, and saw very little dirt inside the filter afterward. I really don't understand how the oil could get so dirty so fast.

I ran the first engine with Rotella 15w40. On the second engine I decided to stick with the manufacturer's recommendation.

I'll also mention that this engine developed fuel leaks (mostly a bad fuel shutoff valve) and oil leaks (around injector pump, compression release lever, etc) even when everything was properly torqued.

Mike
 

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ive heard with these diesel clones to run it for 10 min to warm it up and then change the oil right away because they do have some metal particles in the engine coming from the factory. also, on some of then there is a screw in screen filter that you are supposed to clean with the first run also. i heard the DEK brand were supposed to be the best clone wise.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
ive heard with these diesel clones to run it for 10 min to warm it up and then change the oil right away because they do have some metal particles in the engine coming from the factory. also, on some of then there is a screw in screen filter that you are supposed to clean with the first run also. i heard the DEK brand were supposed to be the best clone wise.
I cleaned the oil screen on most oil changes especially the first time. There were usually a few very small metal particles in it.

It's certainly possible that DEK, and some other Yanmar L100 clones, are made better.

Mike
 

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Has anyone seen ChimChim?
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Has anyone seen ChimChim?
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That's why I provided a link to the listing :)


But for that price... THAT IS A STEAL.....

:)
 

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I'd try an oversized oil bath air cleaner but probably the engines are just poorly built if they have metal fragments in the engine its a lost cause from the start.And Yanmars are had to beat BTW
 

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Discussion Starter #10
https://www.surpluscenter.com/item.asp?item=28-1684&catname=engines

Put a quality engine in, and be done with it... You may need to replace this one too, 3000 hours from now.
That's a beautiful engine all right. Unfortunately, I think it's a bit too big and heavy for a tube frame Bolens plus the customization required is probably more than I'm up to these days unless someone else has already repowered with one of these guys.

gburnett said:
I'd try an oversized oil bath air cleaner but probably the engines are just poorly built if they have metal fragments in the engine its a lost cause from the start.And Yanmars are had to beat BTW
I do have to point out that on most engines you would never see these metal fragments since they would either drain out in the oil or disappear in the filter. They were really tiny.

Mike
 

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I'm wondering if the block is really cast iron, vs, cast whatever metal fit in the pot that day. Not having seen it, just thinking that it sounds like the block is really softer than a "real" cast iron block. I can easily imagine a mix of 90% scrap iron and 10% screen door handles, unknown metal toys, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm wondering if the block is really cast iron, vs, cast whatever metal fit in the pot that day. Not having seen it, just thinking that it sounds like the block is really softer than a "real" cast iron block. I can easily imagine a mix of 90% scrap iron and 10% screen door handles, unknown metal toys, etc.
The block on the diesel is aluminum. The Yanmar it's copied from has some kind of a cylinder liner, but I'm not positive the clone does or what it's made of. I agree that the key problem appears to be soft cylinder walls.

Mike
 

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At 69 hours and the wear your showing Im thinking its more then just wear from dirt/dust. Sounds like a batch of soft sleave/block engines. When you got the replacement from the seller, I bet it was from the same batch.
 

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Do they indeed have iron sleeves or just aluminum? If they are Aluminum then they will never last.
 

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I really don't understand how the oil could get so dirty so fast.
It's normal for a diesel to pretty much immediately turn the oil black, from my experience. Nothing to worry about, it's just soot from the blowby and it takes very little to make the oil black.

That said, soot is abrasive and the worse your blowby, the greater the cylinder wear if the oil is left in too long - which creates more blowby.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Do they indeed have iron sleeves or just aluminum? If they are Aluminum then they will never last.
The block is aluminum. There is a sleeve and it attracts a magnet so it is iron or steel of some sort.
 

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I was talking to an engine vendor at one of the steam/gas engine shows. He sells Chinese made engines. He told me the key to them lasting is not to run them right away but take them apart and clean all the metal particles out of the crankcase left from the manufacturing process and re-torque everything.

M.D.
 

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I was talking to an engine vendor at one of the steam/gas engine shows. He sells Chinese made engines. He told me the key to them lasting is not to run them right away but take them apart and clean all the metal particles out of the crankcase left from the manufacturing process and re-torque everything.

M.D.
Holy smokes, that is extreme! If someone told me I could get 2000 hours out of my Courage V-twin(ha ha), I am not sure I would do that to it, let alone a Diesel clone. I guess if a person could get alot more longevity out of an engine...maybe.
 
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