BCS tiller tips?

woodywoodchuck(Wake Forest, NC 7)March 13, 2006

Hey all,

Right to the point first Anyone have any tips for a new BCS 718 owner? Some quirks or tricks that will make it a more useful and pleasant tool to use? It will be a dedicated 18" tiller.

Now for the background. Been a lurker for a while due to no actual garden to keep me out of trouble since I moved from Binghamton, NY 5 years ago. Now, have a house and 1.5 acres in the Raleigh, NC area and room for a few gardens, vegetables and flowers. Veggie garden will be (start out anyway!) about 20Â x 30Â with room to expand to 40Â x 70Â (larger if/when I move the house and kill a few trees). Other beds to be tilled: 18" x 10Â to 20Â x 20Â.

Bought a brand spankin new Troy Bilt Super Bronco a few weeks ago and the belts gave out after about a tank and a half of gas. Both belts came off the pulleys and got all twisted up. It did do a really great job of chewing through the undisturbed soil and had more than enough power to get the job done. Dealer could not find any reason that this happened and replaced the belts. For a few reasons  which we can go into ifÂn yÂallÂd like - I left it there and ordered a new BCS 718 Harvester.

Sure the BCS 722 or 732 would have been great, 948 even better! But, too much machine and $Âs for what I need at the time. More the cost than power to be truthful; another $400 for the 722, a grand for the 732 and second mortgage time for the 948. Actually the 732 - with differential drive - would have been the better tool to buy but could not afford it or justify the extra $1,000. The 718 should do everything I require of a tiller. Could also have spent the $2,000 on a Troy Bilt Horse or Big Red but after the BroncoÂ..

Anyway, been a few years since I used the circa 1970 Ariens behemoth in the 50Â x 100Â garden. Yes, it was still going strong when I gave it to my brother and expect it still is. That old thing had NASCAR horsepower and weighed as much as my flatbed Chevy. Took about the same size tires too as I recall. Did a fantastic job, when you could keep it under control, but something like that is much more than I will need now.

Oh, one more question. I have a lot of amending to do in all the beds. Anyone in the Raleigh/Wake Forest used ÂArea Mulch and Soils on route 98? Or know of another place I can buy a few loads of compost. Looking at 16 to 20 yds for this spring. They were the only local place that had an organic composted cow manure option which made me happy.

Looking forward to your suggestions and comments! - John

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canguy(British Columbia)

I like the 718. Good power and easy to handle. It will serve you well, no belts to mess with. As with any RT, make sure there are no roots or large rocks to hit. That puppy will jump. Trust me on this.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 6:00PM
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BCS, what's that.. I never head of BCS until I came across a used smaller 5hp BCS tiller. The tines spin about twice as fast as other rear tine tillers. All gear drive with no belts to mess with and made in Italy. It's definently a top of the line tiller. I really don't have any operating suggestions except that it's just a top quality machine. Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening-BCS Tiller

    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 6:29PM
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aesanders(8b Alachua, FL)

Congratulations on the new tiller. I have an 830 model that replaced a Troy built Bronco. There is no comparision. You should get many years of dependable service form your 718.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2006 at 10:56AM
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woodywoodchuck(Wake Forest, NC 7)

Yes, it is s world of difference from the Troy Bilt Super Bronco I traded in. This tiller is an absolute pleasure to use, is quiet, plenty of power, and leaves the soil absolutely beautiful!

I have about 6 hours on it now, tilling unbroken NC clay soil. I made three passes to get down 6" to 8" tilling across as well as up and down a slight slope, maybe 12 to 15 degrees. Going up in tilled soil it does need more traction, and across the slope it tends to lean downhill after the soil is tilled. I ordered 5" wheel extensions to see if getting the wheels away from the transmission will help. Tilled soil seemed to get pushed forward or build up a little under the tranny/around the tires. Other option is getting another set of wheels to help traction. The rotating handles were a great plus going across the slope also!

HavenÂt tilled much in fast, that seemed like overkill. Medium had plenty of power, was quieter and probably saves me on gas a little. Any thoughts on not using full throttle tilling? - John

    Bookmark   March 16, 2006 at 12:46PM
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canguy(British Columbia)

It will work best at full throttle. Use the transmission to control speed. Third is a transport gear and too fast for tilling.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 10:14AM
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You should be pretty happy with the 718. As Canguy says, you want to till at full engine speed, and control ground speed shifting gears. Same as lawntractor.

I've had several older BCS's and currently have a 732/735. It has differential which is really a nice feature. Only negative is the Acme engine.

The link shown above is for an older model 205 with the smaller 6hp Acme. The 205 is an OK entry level tiller, but you want to avoid the Acme unless you are really into pain. Require considerable maintenance and parts are expensive and sometimes difficult to come by. Acme couldn't meet EPA regs and chose to exit US market. That prompted BCS America to go entirely to Honda and Briggs for new production.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 12:11AM
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Can someone tell me how to check the oil and/or add to the oil in the BCS tiller attachment? I have a 720. Thanks -Allan PS My personal email is allan@freshandlocalcsa.com

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 9:10PM
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I just bought a used BCS 205 tiller with the extra sickle bar attachment. I paid $300 for it and later found out it needs a new carb and the sickle bar piece that attaches to the unit is broken. It is one of the older ones with the BCS engine. I can't get parts for the sickle bar and the new carb would cost me about $400 for parts and labor. I got screwed in other words. Anyone have any advice? I'd be happy just selling it off (maybe someone who is a little more handy with engines) to try to get something back.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 1:18PM
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tbolt76(Z7-8 NC)

Call Joel at www.earthtoolsbcs.com

He is an expert on BCS, has plenty of parts, and will get you up and running in no time.

As for tilling tips with BCS, here is what I think is best when I use my 850:
New ground--1st gear and low to medium throttle--this helps the tines dig into hard ground at a slower rpm.

Broken ground--you can till at faster speeds (ground and tine) when the soil is more friable.
tom---garner, nc

    Bookmark   July 30, 2006 at 10:59AM
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Just received an older bcs tiller with an 8 hp Kohler engine. Any ideas as to age of the tiller, modle number, etc.? It has a dirty carb and won't start. Is it worth while to get it running to replace my old troy built horse?

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 3:40PM
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Fix it if you can,if not sell the Troy and get a new BCS. I've had a 725 10 HP for over 15 years now and it still starts first pull most of the time . It's a work horse and I've kicked out whole red bricks,big stones and all kinds of stuf,so hold on tight, at least the first pass.
I have a 5 acre Christmas Tree Farm plus a very Lg.garden. I also have the sickle bar & 50 Gal. sprayer for the trees.
I'm disabled now and can't walk behind it any longer, so I'll sell it in the spring and get a tow-behind for the lawn tractor.
If not for that I would keep it forever. I've had so many tiller over the years and the BCS is by-far the best. Good luck. PS. The key is to service it when it's due service.
The only tiller I'll keep is the first one that I ever got ,a Front Tine Montgomery Wards 5 HP in 1976,still runs perfect,ORIGINAL MOTOR TOO. It's light and easy on my back for the garden, just for light cultivating.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 10:01AM
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I am interested in your used BCS [or anybody else's]

pls contact libertyson11@yahoo.com

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 1:55AM
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i just purchased a 732 with a 26" tiller box and the 11 HP honda motor, the place i work has an 850 and this thing is unreal the power and ease of use i wish i could find an 850 used i would have bought it , i found one on EBAY and offered the man 3000 for it shipped to me he agreed but i had already ordered this 732.. oh well the 732 is a work horse best tillers money can buy is a BCS and joe is a pleasure to do buisness with he know is "compost" when it comes to these tillers !

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 6:35AM
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I have a vegetable farm and about 3 acres to till yearly and a 948 BCS purchased new . I have had trouble with the engine every year sometimes 2 or 3 times a year . I have had major parts break off including the who;e right side of the tines twice . Numerous small breakdowns and its 5 years old now . Part of the blame goes to the engine but its still cost me over $500.00 a year for repairs . It has cost me plenty because of course it breaks down on the 1 dry day before a week of rain . I also have old tractors and an old troybuilt and sometimes they even sit out in the rain for extended periods and I can't remember when I repaired those or had any engine trouble hhhmmmm. Yes when it works the bcs does a good job but in my soil 4 or more passes before its a good seedbed and thats on ground that tilled yearly . Its working better now with numerous modifications and absoulutely no help from bcs or the dealer . Wish I had bought a Goldoni or something else but I need a tool like this to make a living so I had to put up with an unbelievable amount of trouble and expense . Its like an sportcar that gets pampered in the barn and gets filtered gas and constant tightening of bolts etc. Think twice about it if you really work with it

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 10:59PM
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i bought a used 722 with the 8 horse honda engine from home depot rentals after using it for a day, now the clutch sticks badly, and needs fixed, has this happened to anyone.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 3:57PM
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Hey Ejke,

What is the problem?

If it never fully disengages, you need to tighten the cable running to the clutch. Loosen the cable stop and pull the cable through until there is no slack and re tighten the stop. You may need to put a second stop on if the first one doesn't stay put.

If it's sat for a couple days and stays engaged constantly, it is indeed stuck. You'll need to take the engine off, and put the clutch in a vise to pop it loose, spray it with WD-40 and reinstall. then let it sit and run to burn off the WD-40. To prevent this problem, you need to keep the clutch disengaged in storage.

Both are simple problems with simple fixes. I doubt you've ruined the clutch. They're indestructible without trying.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 5:07PM
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we leave the clutch disengaged, I already took the clutch out once and separated it, it sticks in the engaged position, me and my buddy will just pull the engine off and separate it again


    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 3:47PM
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I read somewhere that all you have to do is oil the spring cones?what do you have to pop loose?I have a bcs 730,with a stuck clutch.When you pull the motor is the clutch on the engine shaft?thanks for any help here

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 6:17AM
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Hey Springer,

Did you get my email? I sent you a service bulletin in PDF form. It goes through the process step-by-step. The clutch I unstuck was a disk clutch, your 730 has a cone clutch but the process is very similar.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 8:11AM
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No I will check when I get home.I picked this up for 400$,from what i understand this model went for 2500.00 so i figure it is worth fixing it.I will send pic's of it to you later.Thanks again for the help

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 8:55AM
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I am looking at buying a used BCS ROTO TILLER 1300 MODEL AL290B I cannot find any data on this model. Does anyone know anything about this one? Will it still work with currently sold accessories?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 12:00PM
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Not sure you got the model number of the BCS right. 1300 doesn't do anything for me. AL290 is the model number of the smaller Acme engine. Means this till is 20 to 25 years old or older. BCS dropped the Acme when it could not longer meet EPA emissions requirements. Used Kohler Magnums for a while (which also have emissions problems) and now are fitted with Briggs and Honda.

Unless you are mechanically inclined, I'd pass on the Acme. Parts are available but hard to find, and are quite expensive. I had an Acme AL330 on a 732 and ended up using two or three donor motors to keep things running. I've now got a Kohler Magnum on the 732.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 2:07PM
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Hiya Dormco,

You're not looking at a BCS. You're looking at an SEP imported by Mainline after 1982. This machine is an orphan since Mainline is out of business. They made a 1300 plainsman and a 1500 mountaineer. Joel at Earth Tools in Owenton KY can help to keep the Acme running, but parts for them are no longer manufactured as Kohler bought them and shut down the gasoline engine production. They're already pretty expensive and at some point, Acme parts will be scarce as well.

As far as I know, adapters to mount current BCS attachments are nonexistent or at least very hard to find. Also some tractors had PTOs that turned clockwise and some turned CCW. This is important to know as the wrong rotation will turn implements backward! I have an SEP 28 inch snow blower that I adapted to a BCS 850, so it can be done if you're handy. That blower is a very heavy attachment - well over 100 lbs.

Hiya ggoyeneche,

Do you mean 735? The 732 is a current model and never had an Acme on it. Until I get my 830 rebuilt and repowered with a Kohler Diesel, I've been using a 735 repowered with an 8 hp Kohler Magnum to mow my lawn. It may or may not meet emissions, but it is one impressive little engine. The 38 inch mower is supposed to need 8.5 hp or more, but the 8 horse Magnum runs it fine. It'll also handle the BIO-100 chipper and 28 inch snowblower without much trouble.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 3:16AM
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I have a rope pull starter. The cast aluminum starter has broken off. 'no more starter'. Does anyone out there know where a used one might be purchased? I would guess new one are no longer advailable. Help!!! 503.655.5067

Thanks for any help.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 12:44PM
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On my post regarding broken rope pull. This is a BCS712 with the Acme AL290B rated at 8 hp. Nice clean old unit, worth fixing.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 1:19PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

Tim the 6 1/2 horse power engine at harbour freight will replace that engine its overhead valve engine so horsepower will compare with flat head 8 hp easily engine honda nockoff made in china for harbour freight. Shaft sizes is 3/4 inch keyway most engines under 10 hp has 3/4 shaft size. Price is right on these engines with online coupon there 79.99 with coupon 99.00 on sale if not could be up to 121.00. Farm use no tax. name on engine greyhound.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 8:14AM
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I bought a used 735 bcs tiller about 10 years ago. I got the tiller, 3-blade mower, sulky cart, snowblower and hiller for $500.00. I am sure that if I hadn't bought it, I would not have a garden now. You can till with one hand on the machine. The biggest problem I had was the person I bought it from let it sit outside almost the entire time he had it. The 10 hp ACME engine was the hardest starting engine I have ever had. It was to the point that I stopped putting the snowblower on it because it wouldn't start in the winter. The best move I made was ordering a new 13 hp Honda engine from EARTHTOOLS.com and replaced the ACME. My question is, does anyone know of or have a set of used rims for a 735, the tire size is 10x5. thanks

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 12:26PM
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Hi Tim,
You probably have a 715. The 712 is a current production machine. It has one gear forward and one gear reverse and a three dog PTO. You're getting the "712" off the side of the transmission housing - it means nothing. A rope pull can be bought from Earth Tools. You could find any engine with a 1 inch keyed shaft to replace the Acme, but you'll need to buy an adapter kit to fit it. The Acme has a very short tapered shaft and the clutch won't fit anything but that.


You need a 1 inch keyed shaft to run a BCS. Even then, you'll need to buy an adapter kit because all Acmes had a very short tapered shaft. Anyway, I wouldn't insult the quality of a BCS with a low quality engine like you describe. You get what you pay for.

Hi Postman,

Are you planning on dualling up the tires or did yours go bad? If you're planning on dualling, you'll also need axle extensions. Where are you located?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 9:05AM
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Just bought a new 732-13 with electric start. It did not come with a battery. Does anyone know what size and type of battery normally comes in this unit? I tried a lawn and garden battery from the auto parts store it will fit in the box but the hold down clamp does not fit right.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 12:23PM
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I am looking into buying a used BCS today and was wondering if in the near future I needed to replace the engine, would I have to replace it with the same engine or could I mount any 8hp on it as a replacement?

They look really solid from pictures. I only saw one up close years ago at some John Deere repair shop. when I ask about it they said it was to powerful for the average gardener and tried to discourage me away from BCS while at the same time showing me their John Deere tillers. I would prefer Husqvarna Tillers over John Deere Tillers any day of the week but I was interested in finding out more about the BCS tiller.

I bought a Troy Built Junior for between the rows but the BCS I want for "BUSTING up New Ground".

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 3:00PM
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I have a stuck clutch on my BCS 715 too. Sat too long?

I'd appreciate that pdf file from farmboybill. Thanks

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 4:02PM
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Hey farmerboybill, could you send me that clutch repair file too?? Got one on a 745 that is stuck. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:25PM
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