The Bolens 500-E is dead! Long live the Bolens 500-E!

I think differently than most people and that also applies to my preferences with lawn mowers. I own a 5 acre hobby farm that is mostly woods but has a good bit of lawn and we own 3 push mowers. Not 3 self-propelled mowers or 4 wheel drive push mowers. Push mowers. And I love them.

Old and busted on right; new hottness on right.

This post is how I am retiring one of those mowers. The Bolens brand model 500-e. My family and I have abused the crap out out of that mower and it is time to retire it. And buy *another* Bolens 500-e! They still make that model?!? Yes, yes they do. The Bolens 500-e is the next to smallest mower, but it has the large rear wheel that helps with our Georgia bumpy ground. And it’s light! I didn’t weigh it but I think the entire mower is about 40lbs dry. I can pick it up easily. And this is why my wife and kids prefer it. It’s easy to push because it’s so light! Want to mow fast? Push faster. There’s no self propelled mechanism to slow you down. Want to mow carefully and slow around some flowers? No problem. Push slower. There’s no self propelled mechanism to be held back. By the way, these self propelled mechanisms just make the mower heavier, with little benefit. Does a front wheel drive mower really pull the mower that much? In my opinion, the answer is no.

Why am I retiring the old Bolens mower? The old drive shaft collar was cracked in two, and the pull starter was failing. I purchased the 500-e about 5 years ago for $149 … I think. I purchased the new Bolens 500-e for $169. Not on sale. Cheap, I say. Good value, I say. By the way, the drive shaft collar probably cracked when we hit any of the miriad of stumps from the trees I’ve cut down when clearing my land. I have a whole wall of bent lawn mower blades. Bent. Yes, Bent and really bent. The Briggs and Stratton engine almost lived through them all. It was showing the wear and tear but only after 5 years of abuse.

How do you get an oil funnel on that?!? You don’t.

Is the Bolens 500-e the perfect mower? Heck no. There is a maddening design flaw. It was there in the old model and it is there in the new. What was the thinking here? Perhaps these mowers are so cheap that they don’t expect people to change the oil? The oil fill port is *way* *way* back under the decorative engine cowling. I can’t get an oil funnel on that thing! I’ll probably do what I did with the old and cut the cowling back. Problem solved. It makes the mower look ugly, but … function over beauty.

Here’s the unfortunate solution to the location of the oil port: cut back the cowling

So this is my ode to the Bolens 500-e. I think people should consider push mowers more. They are work horses that run for hours on a single fill and worth every penny.

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