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Discussion Starter #1
I would like to refurbish/redesign/buy or build a robust 1050 42" mower deck. I am a mechanical designer by trade. Can somebody start me off in the right direction?
 

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dgh8789
Welcome to TF!
I'm not sure I understand your plan. There are plenty of good used decks on ebay for under $200 sometimes way under. That may be a good place to start.

The apple green decks are from the mid to late 60's and the early ones may or may not have gauge wheels and or a nose roller. There were add-on kits available but I think most don't have it. Beginning around 68 the wheels and roller were standard. From 69 and into the early 70's the decks were red. After this you may find them in black and dark green. As long as they came off a tubeframe they will mount to the 1050, just be sure to get all the mounting hardware with the mower.

Lastly I don't think you would need to re-design anything. If you find a solid (not rusted) deck with a good gear box, you should get many years of service from it. Just be patient and look for a complete solid deck with the gauge wheels and nose roller. These decks were pretty much bullet proof. Look through the bolens pages here and you will see at least 2 threads about these decks and parts diagrams as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the response. I'll start looking in that direction

I've grown up always having a 1050 around. The killer application for me over the years has been snow-throwing, roto tilling, and pulling trailers around the property. As far as I am concerned, there is no finer snow blower available then my 1050 setup.

Our first deck, green with no rollers at all, ate the spindle bearings. I spent a few hundred dollars and I learned how to replace the roller bearings, those grease shields, and everything else but never entirely understood that assembly because as you tightened the belt shive, the shaft would tighten and bind. Same thing with the blade mount. Anyway, after a few hours of running, the motor pulley decided to acquire a taste for battery acid, and would continually loosen up, inch it's way over and rub thru the new battery housing until acid was spraying everywhere. Overcoming that allowed us a few more hours of scalping my dad's well-manicured lawn like a wild banshee until the gearbox disintegrated in a wonderful mess of shrapnel and gear oil.
Years later my brother bought a 1054 with a deck that had rear wheels and the nose roller in addition to a spring deck mount contraption. He had 4 years of limited success, but could never 'turn the corner'. After spending lots of money for various parts, and endless quality time with the 3 tube frames, he finally gave up.
From those experiences, I've always believed the decks just didn't work. Possibly because they have way too much inertia. Who knows?
I love Bolens tubeframes: Bled profusely both financially and literally to reconstruct/redesign a H-16 FEL, the old faithful 1050 which proudly is a dedicated snow blower, a 1253? with a dedicated snowplow and pieces of 2 others: A 6 speed, and a hydro.
I would like to replace my wife's favorite, John Deere 160, by building the hydro frame up with a larger motor and a deck that won't give me any problems.
That gentlemen, is my challenge. I had one quote of $900 for a completely rebuilt/guaranteed deck from someone I do trust and believe could do it, but that is just way too much.
Does anybody out there really cut his or her grass regularly with a tube frame deck? If so, what is the secret and how can I get one?
 

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I haven't used my deck in a few years, but didn't have any of the issues you describe. Did you have that first deck from new? Was it greased and cleaned regularly and stored inside? My gear box is 37 years old and last time I used it, worked fine.
 

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dgh8789,
These are all very odd complaints about a tube frame deck. I mean no disrespect but I wonder if you don't have a slight case of operator error. A few hundred dollars on a set of $50 bearings is a little steep. A binding belt tensioner can usually be traced to a misplaced washer or two. Check around for an owner manual. These decks are pretty good and the gear box should last as long as you use a quality gear oil.
Good luck,
Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes, I understand all these past problems were odd indeed, and am well too aware I was the common denominator. . Obviously, all my repairs were less then adequate – but I was 11 years old, resurrecting a pile of parts into some kind of glorious machine that would deliver me from using the 18” wide push mower for a hilly acre. I was doing the best I could.

The $100, back in 1975, was a low estimate I’m sure. It included 6 deck bearings, 2 bevel gears, shims, needle bearings, the drive belt, shims, etc

OK, so back to the issue at hand, I’m thinking of trying again to be able to cut the grass with a Bolens tube frame. It’s starting to look like the best and easiest way is to just to buy a complete deck that works, and not re-invent the wheel.

Thanks for the responses. I'd kinda like to get an idea of how many people do use them as their weekly mower.
 

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dgh8789
Even if you decide on some type of improvements, I think you would be better off starting with a nice used deck. Just be sure to get a good one with low hours.

You don't give a location, but maybe there are some auctions in your area. At least you could see what you're bidding on, unlike ebay.

You could also try Rick at [email protected] He may be able to help find one.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok, Now I've got a deck to start with. It's deep red, has alot of mounting stuff like springs and someking of variable screwbuckle link. The bearings on 2 out of three seem ok, and the third should be looked into. I would like to purchase the large drive belt from somewhere, in addition to a set of blades. Any have any ideas? I am located near Lancaster, Pa. Thanks.
 
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