Replace engine on a BCS rototiller review

I have had a BCS rototiller for about 10 years now. I bought it used and it was about 15+ years old when I purchased it. It had an ACME 8hp Italian engine when I bought it (Wind the rope around the pulley and pull it off motor not a wimpy self recoiling pull starter). After two years the engine quit when I loaned it to a mechanically challenged friend. I purchased a Briggs&Stratton engine replacement kit from a BCS dealer and a 13hp Honda engine from EBAY. The specs said they should work together although not specifically listed as a "match" they fit together perfectly. Delivery on the parts was very slow. But BCS did have what I needed for my rototiller that predated their recorded model numbers. My model is so old that it has a "granny bar" going between the two handles. The BCS dealer had never seen this "Feature" before. I like the granny bar for applying a little "English" to maneuver the tiller with my hips instead of doing all the steering with my hands, arms and shoulders.
The 13hp honda may seem like overkill but it has some great advantages the least of which is easy starting! The Honda is great because I can run the engine very slow and slow down the tines for breaking soil and speed the throttle back up for subsequent passes. The high torque with slow tine rotation makes breaking tough soil much more manageable. The tines running at high speed do a beautiful job of prepping the soil and working half backed compost into the soil.
I purchased the used BCS to break a big 30% grade western Oregon heavy clay hill into terraces. For this the BCS did a fantastic job but I have definitely taken some bruises in the process. Most of the time when I was breaking ground I would run only two of the four tines. This made the job much easier on me. After a couple of years of terracing I would use all four tines for soil preparation.
I have since moved to central Oregon with volcanic soil and a lot of 2" to 12" diameter rocks. The BCS still does a good job breaking new ground with two of the four tines and is easy to control. It will occasionally lurch on me when I hit a big rock but there aren't any tillers I am aware of that won't. I keep the differential locked while breaking soil and this keeps the BCS from really taking off on me. With the wheel differential unlocked the tiller can hit a tough spot with one wheel and take off double time on the other wheel. When prepping already broken ground the unlocked differential makes maneuvering much much easier. It is a very nice feature.
I have a friend with horses and free aged manure. The BCS does a wonderful job at mixing the aged manure in. I have 5 acres now and a pull behind tiller for my lawn tractor would be preferable (but I say this without ever having used one).
A couple of complaints I have about my tiller that would not keep me from buying another BCS are: 1) The new clutch that came with the engine kit is too heavy and sticks shut after a winters storage. The only way to unstick the clutch is to remove the motor and oil the clutch cones. The clutch problem is noted in one of BCS's tech bulletins. The old very capable lighter clutch that never slipped on me did not have this problem. 2) Swapping from 2 tines to 4 tines requires unfastening and refastening 8 bolts. This is a slow process even with an air ratchet and an extension. An impact wrench won't work. It would not be very hard to engineer a quick disconnect system for the outside pair of tines but I haven't gotten the motivation too do so yet.
My BCS monster is a great tiller that really impresses the neighbors. The attachments are too expensive for my budget so I have never purchase any of them. A new BCS tractor with a complete set of attachments approaches the price of a new subcompact car. Too rich for my blood but the investment in the used tractor and the expense of the new Honda motor have definitely proved themselves to be a good value.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.