Bolens G174/Iseki 1500 Review

August 10, 2011

Originally Posted by msjanket
Do you find your 4WDBolens ample in power? Traction? Hill climbing ability? Enjoyment?Thanks very much,

Northeast Connecticut



Yes, the 17 hp diesel has lots of power to run 48″ mowers through whatever I face.  Its radiator sheds seeds well and doesn’t plug in tall hay or weeds. It bulls through spruce boughs without damage. In 4 low it’s a mountain goat, even with turf tires. The diff lock is occasionally useful.

The smooth tires aren’t so great in mud pulling a trailer, but that’s to be expected. On the other hand the Bolens will mow over soft ground that I can’t touch with my heavier tractors until much later in the year.

It doesn’t have enough lift to skid logs with my mid-sized winch, but the pto will pull them out to the road and it will carry the 500 pound implement around for me.

It needs the three weights on the front. Beware rearing with a load on the 3 pt hitch on a hill unless you have the weights. It has no overrunning clutch, so you MUST buy and attach one to the pto shaft before running a rotary mower. A finish mower is fine without.

Without live pto the Bolens would make a lousy snowblower tractor. Beware leaving the key on. It kills the battery on mine. Parts are available.

The thing gets way more hours than I anticipated.

Buy one of those triangles for trailer hitches. It’s very handy for jockeying trailers around the lawn between mowing sessions.


UPDATE, 14 MARCH, 2013

For the winter I have fitted the tractor with a pair of tire chains off my dad’s old military surplus jeep. I extended the chains about 2 to 3″ with extra links for the fit. The increase in traction meant that the Bolens could work all winter if I kept it out of the cold. It doesn’t like to start without plugging in if it’s much below freezing. The simple solution was to appoint it Garage Queen for the winter. That way there was always a clear path among the woodworking tools to the woodpile, and its primary function was to haul wood to the pile on its 10 cu. ft. 3 pt hitch dump box, anyway.

BTW: that dump box is an excellent implement for this tractor, if you can find one. Mine was marketed by Walco and I found it used at a farm equipment dealer. Several searches of the Internet haven’t turned up another example of the type, though.

In early winter while my 35 hp loader tractor was broken down I pressed the Bolens into service on a 7′ 3 pt hitch blade. It lifted and dragged the blade well enough, but as snow volume increased it had nowhere nearly enough weight to shift the drifts away from the centre of the long driveway. If you want to use the blade to clear a rink, the Bolens would likely do a good job, but it’s outgunned in heavy snow unless it has a front blower. The front pto operates independently of the 1 stage clutch, so it likely works well in this application.


The Bolens uses about 1 litre of diesel per hour, and it’s a pleasant thing to run.

UPDATE, 29 December, 2014

The Bolens originally had a pair of hydraulic auxiliary fittings installed, so I reconnected them.

I have used the Bolens a great deal over the last year on a small hydraulic tipping trailer I bought new. The single axle Chinese import is 44″ wide and about 7′ long with sides about 15″ high. A pair of off-road tires sit beneath the box. The sides and/or the tailgate fold down for loading, and of course it can be configured as a little dump truck. It holds about 3500 pounds of gravel without distress.

It’s very handy for pruning trees. The rig fits down narrow alleys and turns easily.

For firewood I find the best feature of the trailer is the folding sides. I can slide substantial blocks onto the bed, then shift them to the block splitter with only the single lift from the ground.
The rig is also small enough I can back it into my workshop for easy stacking of firewood right from the trailer bed.

While the Bolens doesn’t have the hydraulic pressure (1600 lb/sq. in.)to dump a trailer load of gravel (neither does my TAFE), my 21 hp Kubota B7510 with its system tuned to 2600 lb. tows and dumps gravel quite well.

Hope this helps,


Update 13 September, 2015

The following article contains an accident report of some significance. Short version: don’t tow a trailer much wider than your tractor.


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