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Garden Tractors Discussion Forum

wisconsin engines

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silwer 59

02-24-2014 09:41:00

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found an older bolens garden tractor with a 12 HP Wisconsin engine, I never had any experience with Wisconsin engines my question is the engine....should I buy or stay away ?...the rest of the tractor is in real nice condition starts right up and sounds and runs strong

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02-26-2014 12:22:28

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 Re: wisconsin engines in reply to silwer 59, 02-24-2014 09:41:00  
Wisconsin was the best engine used on those tube-frame Bolens. There were two different 12 horse Wisconsin engines used on them. S12D and the TRA12D. S12D came with ignition points in most models. TRA12D came with electronic ignition that was also optional on the S12D engines. That system is not exactly "bullet proof" and costs a few bucks to fix. Contrary to what some other posters have claimed - neither the S12D or the TRA12D has a pressure-oiling system. Cast-iron block and adjustable cone and cup bearings for mains - yes. Same as the 10 horse Tecumsehs had. On paper the cast-iron Wisconsins and the cast-iron Tecumsehs seemed equal. But we had miserable problems with the Tecumsehs. (I used to work for a Bolens and Wisconsin dealer in the 70s).

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02-24-2014 12:53:14

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 Re: wisconsin engines in reply to silwer 59, 02-24-2014 09:41:00  
From a quality perspective the older engins

Onan or Wisconsin then Kohler (single cyl K series as good as the Onan), Briggs, and last Tech

Briggs had a few and Tech had one really good industrial duty engine that was up their with the Onan.

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02-24-2014 10:51:39

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 Re: wisconsin engines in reply to silwer 59, 02-24-2014 09:41:00  
Don't be afraid of the magneto, either, parts,
such as Points, Condensers, Coils, are radially

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02-24-2014 10:49:03

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 Re: wisconsin engines in reply to silwer 59, 02-24-2014 09:41:00  
If you want a heavy duty engine, with Timkin
roller bearings on both end of the crankshart,
an oil pump, with full pressure,(not splash)
lubrication, parts, like carb kits, fuel pumps,
rings, valves, gasket sets, all available at NAPA,
stay with Wisconsin. And, virtually any part is available from Wisconsin Motors, who are still in
business, still making 1, 2, 4 cylinder engines.
(They do, however, price the parts as if they are
gold plated)

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02-24-2014 10:24:40

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 Re: wisconsin engines in reply to silwer 59, 02-24-2014 09:41:00  
Don't be afraid of the Wisconsin engine. Those were the best engines of their day.

"Bolens Guys" prefer those to the Briggs and Tech engines that Bolens used in some of their "Value Tractors" like the G10, G11, G14, etc.

The only engines that have as good a reputation with us Bolens folks are Kohler K482S, K532S, and K582S opposed twin cyl engines that they used in the Large Frame series.

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02-24-2014 09:48:05

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 Re: wisconsin engines in reply to silwer 59, 02-24-2014 09:41:00  
Wisconsin engines, big bulky and heavy, the few I dealt with were good engines and parts were cheaper than Kohler, but that was 35 years ago. Parts support is through a legacy business don't know how good or pricey parts are now.

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