1/24/2023 - Added more photos to the ‘GK Photos’ page. Updated the GK model with the latest revision.
8/26/2022 - Added more information to the ‘GK info’ page.
2/14/2022 - Darn cold winter. Haven't done a thing.
10/6/2021 - Added more new OEM NOS parts to the store. Including GK Name Plates, Mower Wheel Forks and NOS Clutch Plates.
10/4/2021 - Added new OEM products to store! Updated power steering project. Added new projects.
Please contact us with any questions, concerns or suggestions. We also take inquiries for specific GK parts. We will work with you to analyze the feasibility (manufacturability and cost) of re-creating a component.
My NEW BOLENS GK
So you finally found and purchased a GK... Now what!?
The Bolens GK (GroundsKeeper, 960-01 or 960-02) is an interesting and exciting machine to own. They were only produced for a few years and there doesn't seem to be very many of them out there. Loose parts are generally non-existent so, "parts machines" are necessary in order to keep a "running" GK going. As you read through different forums and other sites you'll notice a common theme... "I have one running and one parts machine".
The GK concept was designed by a famous industrial designer named Brook Stevens. He also designed such things as the Jeep Cherokee. Very cool!
The GK was produced from 1966 to 1975 (source: tractordata.com)
The GK was offered with three attachments.
- A 72" flex wing mower deck.
- A 45" snow blower (snow caster).
- A 54" snow / dirt blade.
- Many options and accessories were offered with the machine as can be seen in an operators manual.
There are a few "issues" with the GK that you should know about. These are my observations so if others have insights please feel free to share.
- The steering "system" is fragile. Specifically the mechanical steering gearbox. The original is an aluminum design and the mounts can crack. They can also get water in them causing them to freeze and crack. The freezing can also cause you to think something else is wrong and pull too hard on the steering wheel and break the gearbox or another linkage. Be careful with your steering and keep it well maintained. The steering valve linkages can break so keep an eye on them as well.
- The drive system is lacking a limited slip or locking differential. This causes slippage very easily when snow blowing or plowing. Some people add chains to the rear tires for better traction.
- Lack of loose parts on the market. Besides "general" maintenance items (i.e. engine parts, general belts and cables) there are very, very few to no other parts on the market.
- The transmission is manual, not hydrostatic. It is sometimes a pain to "live with" the gear selections that were provided on the GK. The reverse gears are a tad too slow or a bit too fast.
- The "heater" is a tube running from the engine bay to a fan under the seat that pulls hot air from the engine to the cab. There is a decal in the cab that reads "WARNING Exhaust System Should Be Checked For Leaks Before Using Cab Heater". This is probably not the greatest design. Sometimes the hose/tube between the engine bay and cab is deteriorated. Be careful of carbon monoxide poisoning!
- mmm... that's all i can think of for now but, this isn't meant to be a negative bash on the GK but things you should be aware of. Overall, its a fun machine to drive and quite frankly, I personally just like looking at the darn thing. :)
As mentioned previously there are very few loose parts on the market. However, there are a lot of good resources in the people that own the machines. The best thing you can do to start is join a forum that has other GK owners. There are a lot of forums and I don't claim to know them all. The one I've found most helpful is GTTALK.com. This is a great forum with a ton of GK owners and other Bolens owners that have a lot of great knowledge. I've also joined Tractorfanatics.com which seems to be a good resource as well. There is not a lot of "documented" solutions for some of the GK intricacies so that is the reason for this site myBOLENSGK.com. This (eventually) will be a place that answers and parts can be found. This is a very young site and only one person working on it - me :) My answers may not be perfect and I am fully open to corrections and suggestions but, would encourage kind criticism.
I hope all of us can help YOU enjoy your NEW GK!
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