Monday, June 14, 2010

Wisconsin engines

One of the reasons that I prefer vintage Bolens tractors over some of the other brands is there use of Wisconsin engines,they used engines from just about every small engine company but they had quite a few of there earlier models that used Wisconsins.Now if you ask people that have been around engines for a while about Wisconsin engines,you'll get a lot of different opinions,everything from love 'em to hate 'em.Wisconsin has been building engines since around 1909 or 1910,they started out building 4 cylinder engines that were used in cars,trucks and tractors.Stutz,Kissel,McFarlan,Brockway and FWD were a few of the companies that used Wisconsin engines.The Stutz/Wisconsin combination cars were front runners in the early years at the Indianapolis 500 and the early Stutz Bearcats used Wisconsin engines starting in 1914.In the 1930s they started building small engines and came out with the V type 4 cylinder that is still used on a lot of agricultural and industrial applications.The engines that they built from the 1930s into the 1970s were big hunks of iron,most weighed 100lbs or more,one of those sitting on a tractor frame does a pretty good job keeping the front wheels on the ground.Bolens was one of only a few companies that used Wisconsin engines and if you find one today,unless it's been sitting outside unprotected,it probably doesn't have much wear in it.I've heard of a few that sounded like they were used hard enough to show wear,were rebuilt and are ready for another 40 or 50 years.

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