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Discussion Starter #1
With all the somewhat negative talk about tecumseh engines on another thread, I was wondering what you guys with tecumseh engines in your tubeframes think of them. Any 1220, 1253, 1257, G10 G12, G14, 1556, etc. owners have any comments?

The small engine repair manual refers to the HH100, HH120, and HH140 as heavy frame engines. I'm not really sure what that means but it seems to imply heavy duty?

Any common problems with these engines? What about the solid state ignition?
 

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Sixchows,
First, I would like to thank you for all the information you have posted on the forum - the only resources we have as obsolete tractor owners is eachother - and you've been spectacular.

I am new to the forum - saw someone post the link on the Bolens Tractors Club website on Yahoo and thought I'd give this site a look.

I am the owner of a 1975 G10, model 1055. It has a Tecusmeh HH100 engine in it. My father purchased it in 1978 from a widow and the tractor had very little hours on it. After over 3,000 hours put on it from cutting 15 - 1/2 acre lots over 12 years (as a business), plus snow removal through the years - in 1995 it started smoking. Ran it until 2001, and then had it sleeved back to standard because oversize parts were in short supply, and I figured at least .010 over would be available for the next 5-10 years.

Anyway, I am one proud owner of a Tecumseh HH100 that has had fabulous performance. In 1994, the stator went out and at that time it was available - so I replaced it. Other than that, change the oil religiously at 50 hours and they will run forever. After the 2001 rebuild, I currently have 110 hours on it since, and it runs like a champ. I now till with it, plow snow with it, plow my garden with it, mow, use a snowblower, and aerate. I give the engine 4 stars, and I have to based on my experience. Tecumseh has earned itself a bad reputation with its lower line model engines(H series, verticals, HMs, etc.), and rightfully so - but the HH100 and HH120 are horses if they are maintained. The common gripe about the OHV engines were the valve adjustments and the seals going bad in the heads.

HH means "Heavy Horizontal" - meaning all cast iron. They are no longer in production. The solid state ignition is great, however any electronic circuit is bound to wear out sometime, which is the con to SS ignition versus points. My gripe against Tecumseh is that they dropped all support for these engines completely all at once - whereas at least Kohler, Briggs and Wisconsin to some degree have still supported their old workhorses. The phase out of the cast iron engine is a result of cost (cast iron vs. cast aluminum) and its inability to pass EPA emission standards - forcing manufacturers to go to aluminum block/cast iron sleeve overhead valve engines. Unfortunately, what people do not see is the lack of torque that the new engines have. Grab a torque curve online of a B&S 10 hp engine and look at the curve for and HH100 or even a Wisconsin TRA-10D, and you'll see the difference - they are worlds apart.

My Tecumseh has worked wonders - I love it to death. In my book, Wisconsin was the best until they hit financial trouble (I think they hit Chapter 11) and lost all the contracts. Best on the market today is Kohler, in my opinion. They have been able to maintain their durability and overall torque and power. Honda and Briggs are good engines as well. Today, Tecumseh would be at the bottom of my list. They've gone through an internal overhaul and after years of poor performance have lost their credibility with a lot of users, not to mention upset people like me that they could have kept supporting at least from a 'minor parts' availability standpoint.

My 2 cents worth anyway... Have a good one!

peachfuzz
 

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P.S. - Just checked my reference manual, and HH means Horizontal Heavy Duty, so yes you are correct, Sixchows. The HH models were all cast iron engines.

peachfuzz
 

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Discussion Starter #4
peachfuzz
Welcome to TF! Thanks for the great first hand insight!

So if someone need ignition parts are they all NLA?
 

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I had a G14 (1453) several years ago, which had an HH140 in it. It was the original engine - never rebuilt. Although it smoked a little and leaked some oil, it ran like a champ. One time while mowing, it developed a loud tapping sound. Having little experience (at that time) with engines, I took it to my local Bolens dealer. After tearing the engine completely apart, they found a screw from the carb embedded into the head. Unable to pay the $800 they wanted for a rebuild, I took the engine home (in boxes) and reassembled it. It fired up and ran great for another 2 years until I sold the tractor to make room for my 1250. Needless to say, the HH140 was (is) a tough little engine.
Jeremy
 

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Tecumseh SS Ignition parts

Sixchows,
Unfortunately, yes. The best source is Ebay - they come through every now and then, and go for over $75. I have been told that there are a couple outfits that can repair them, but I've never looked into it. There is also some kind of way to replace it - check out http://members.aol.com/pullingtractor/ignition.htm. I've never looked into it, but I saved this site after reading a thread on another board about someone looking for a stator.

peachfuzz
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Jeremy
I was thinking the older tecumsehs couldn't have been as terrible as the horror stories we hear about the later ones. Did you have the G14 from new or know any of it's history? It would be interesting to know if it was owned by someone who meticulously maitained it or a guy that just fixed what broke. Also the type of work it was used for might give an indication of the strength of the engine. If for example, someone ran a shredder for hours at a time on the hottest days of the year or just mowed a small 1/2 acre lot and never did anything more.

peachfuzz
I guess if ebay is the only choice you would just need to take a chance. Buying as is with no warranty on electrical items is kinda iffy.
The link doesn't seem to work, is it old?
 

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Sixchows,
You are correct - the link is now invalid... Well, something else to delete!

Yeah, you're correct on the SS Ignition being risky as well. I guess it depends on who it is - for me, if mine went down and I needed a stator, I think I'd try to find out more about the people that can rebuild them. It is costly, but there's minimal risk. Ebay would be my last resort, understanding that it is indeed a complete gamble...

>pf<
 

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Please allow me to interject a little here as the hh120-hh160 is my favorite engine choice for a Bolens. I now have some very good experience with these engine due to the fact that I have rebuilt many and repaired many.
Some clarity is in order. The no longer supported ignition systems are in the hh100 and hh120. These are the large frame engines with the flat heads. The large frames as they are now called were called cast iron engines before the OHV design. The igniton system used in all ohv large frame engines are still available as a new Tecumseh part. There are two different ones (10 amp charge and 20 amp charge). The coils are the same. The ohv ignition is, in my opinion, a great system. It is solid state and requires little maintenance. I was told someone is making an aftermarket ignition to change over the flat head ignitions. I did not spend much time researching it because I never needed a part for one of those. If you need insite on that, check yahoo groups for tecumseh engine group.
Common problems with these engines seems to be related to abuse and neglect. I have seen many a head lose the exhaust seat. This is due to overheating which can be traced to things like plugged cooling fins or overevving (which is sometimes caused by a sticking governor-again neglect).
In the intrest of fair play, I must point out a negative or two. The big one is cost. All of the parts for the ohv's (except a block) are available from tecumseh but at a King's fee. That coil is $100!!! The intake valve is $55. I also don't like the size of the engine. That rocker box makes the addition of the plastic hump on a smooth lined tube frame hood mandatory.
Finally, as if I hadn't bored you enough, the neatest factory installed application I have seen for one of these engines is in a six wheeled atv. Rather than go into a debate about engines, I would just like to say that this is my opinion. I have formed it from working on Wisconsins, Tecumsehs, and Briggs. I don't have much experience with Kohlers, Hondas, or Onan.
Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Mark
So what is available for the HH100 and HH120? I guess the HH100 would be in a G10? and the HH120 in a 1220/1253/1257?
 

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Well it seems that the Tecumseh engines used in the tubeframes were good little motors. That's good to hear. I wonder why I never see any of those tractors around here though. I guess it could be because they are still running good and being used. All of them I've seen around here are from the sixties and early seventies, before the "g" number system. I've yet to come across one with a Tecumseh in it. Now I used to own a H14XL with an over-head valve 14 horse Tecumseh. This engine threw a rod while mowing one day. I ended up rebuilding that engine just before I went through the 14 horse Kohler in my dad's tractor. Now there is absolutely no comparison between these two motors. The Kohler is a tank, and the Tecumseh looks like a toy compared to it. I never could get the carb to work right on that engine either. It never would idle right.
 

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Hi Sixchows,

As you know, I have a 1973 Bolens G14 (original owner) with the HH140 in it. I must tell you that I was in my teens when I bought it so I'm really not as old as people would have thought from reading the first sentence. I mowed lawns in our neighborhood with it for my "job" during my junior high and high school years.

I mowed 8-10 yards (between 1/3 to 1-1/2 acres each) per week, plus I did snow plowing, rototilling and occasionaly, thatching. Needless to say, that tractor, and particularly the Tecumsehm was called upon to do a lot of hard work. Up until last summer, the only thing that I had to do for this motor was to change the oil.

I have read the posts from people talking about how crappy the Tecumsehs are, and that they are used on low dollar items. Maybe that is the case today, but when I bought this tractor back then, I paid about the same price as the new Sears DGT6000 that I bought this year.

It is my experience that the horizontal cast iron engine that is in my G14 was a very good motor. When I get some spare time, I plan on rebuilding the motor so that I can use my Bolen's again because it is a much better tractor than my new Sears. I ended up not buying that motor on eBay due to the shipping cost.

These engines are very heavy cast iron and I have never had any trouble with the ignition on it (knock on wood) and have only replaced the starter. It is burning some oil now and I believe that it has blown a head gasket as it will no longer start and it spins faster than it did, I am still getting spark though.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Brian
That's the problem with ebay bargains, the shipping usually is as much or more than the item.

I look forward to seeing you get the G14 up and running as I'm sure you will!
 

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Mark
So what is available for the HH100 and HH120? I guess the HH100 would be in a G10? and the HH120 in a 1220/1253/1257?

Sixchows:
Exactly what is available, I'm not sure. Some parts interchange. I believe the hh100 piston is the same as the oh140 piston. Gaskets are still available. Other than what I said earlier, I am not sure. My preferred engines are the ohv large frames. The flat heads I am sure are great but experience is primarily with the ohv.
As for what tractors have them-G10 (note I think you could also get a Briggs G10) has HH100,1220, 1255, 1253, 1257 have HH120. I wish I had that in my memory, but that is out of the repair manual.
Mark
 

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I have a 1556 with an upgraded engine. Originally had anHH150 (15hp) but original ower had an OH160 (16hp) installed long ago. Engine still runs great, especially compared to newer Tecumseh engines which I really can't stand. I just tell meyself this engine was made before Tecumseh turned to the dark side. I am quite impressed with this engine and it runs my 38" snow caster through deep, heavy snow without any problems.
 

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Henry …

Welcome to the forum :cheers:
How long have you had the 1556 and what neck of the woods are you from ?
:cheers:
 

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I received my 1556 in 2003 from my in-laws when they asked if we had any use for it. They were going to put it at the road for sale and expected maybe $100 for it. They received it from my mother-in-law's mother as part of their inheritance after she passed away. It had been purchased (new, I think) by her second husband. I'm pretty sure he had the OH160 16hp Tecumseh installed by the dealer sometime later.

I started out just using the 1556 as-is with the 38" snow caster they had on it. I left the mower deck with my in-laws as I have a 36"/15hp Kohler-powered Bunton commercial walk-behind mower I prefer to use. My in-laws still have the mower deck (thank God) which is in good shape but must need something as my father-in-law says it didn't work for him when he tried it. I'm going to get the mower deck soon and fix anything wrong with it so my wife and I can tag-team our 3+ acres of lawn when necessary and so our son can start mowing it quite a few years from now (at least 9). I'm sure the 1556 will still be going then!

Recently, I repaired the PTO shift linkage by replacing a hard to see grooved pin in the shaft just ahead of the tensioning spring but behind the cast knuckle. This pin had broken when the PTO idler pulley seized at the beginning of last winter while blowing snow. The idler seized and whipped the shaft clockwise which sheared the pin right off. I got a new pin (25 actually) from McMaster-Carr. I also just bought a belt guard for the PTO belts so they actually go slack and fully slip when I shift the PTO off. This belt guard bolts to the PTO shaft housing and I picked it up through eBay. Fixing these things has completely cured the problem where my snow caster would run pretty much full tilt even when the PTO was shifted to off, not very safe. Fixing the pin alone got it to run slowly and with no real power but still not very safe.

I also just fully rewired the tractor, replaced a bunch of incorrect hardware, put two new idler pulleys on (PTO and transmission drive) and reworked the exhaust to original but with a slightly quieter muffler. I figure all I really need now is a new seat, a trailer to pull behind it and to get the brakes tuned up so they work properly.

I am also slated to receive a 30" tiller as a gift from my brother and father. Also a eBay item. It's actually a 22" with the 8" extension kit installed. I look forward to tilling my garden with 16hp, hydrostatic drive and some good weight. I have non-bolens wheel weights, about 110 pounds worth, and a set of chains for the rear tires.

I currently live in central NY, about 20 miles south of Syracuse which is the snowiest city in the US. North of Syracuse gets more snow but nothing up there is considered a city. I had to blow my 10'x400' driveway an average of 6 times per week most of last winter. The snow caster and tractor did very well though the front turf tires didn't do much for steering.

Originally posted by aegt5000
Henry …

Welcome to the forum :cheers:
How long have you had the 1556 and what neck of the woods are you from ?
:cheers:
 

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Henry...

Thanks for the history on the 1556. If you post the model
number of the mower deck, I will try to post the owners manual
and parts list for it. (If my books have them)
 
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