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I Am Freaked Out With This Danged Kohler 321!


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#1 maxedout OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2012 - 12:54 PM

I am just freaked out totally by my issue with the Kohler 321 14hp engine. I've asked this before but I am brain dead and just still have issue with the surge.

The engine seems to run just fine on Low Run and even at 3/4 run but full throttle I still get that crap surge. I can engage the PTO and it's fine and runs smoother than a babies butt.

OK, I have rebuilt the carburetor, changed the plug out and gaped it, changed the condenser, cleaned the fuel line, replaced the inline filter. Cleaned the Gas tank cap and checked vent. Cleaned the fuel tank and the shut off valve and strainer. Checked the points, checked the timing. Checked the governor linkage on the carburetor to shop manual. Changed the Key Switch and I have ran Sea Foam in 3 full tanks of gas.

Everything I have done has improved the running and improved the surges and by the way changing the condenser made it worse so I went back to the old one. Blew my mind there so naturally I thought points or timing but they're good and timing seems fine. Maybe even coil but we checked firing and it appears to be just fine with the tester.

I checked the fuel pump, good steady flow of gas, but I do see a little and I mean very little seepage around the fuel pump after a couple of days.

The carburetor appears to be in good shape and I did locate and air leak at the intake, replace gasket and that cured that but still surge on high run. No other leaks or worn parts, the needles seem to appear in good shape no burs or bent or worn needles.

The governor sensitivity spring I re-adjusted because the hole on the cable control side was worn seriously bad. I raised the spring up one hole on each side. I couldn't even tell it had been moved, it ran the same but it did surge less after it warmed up, yet it did continue to surge. I made sure the springs and the governor moved freely. The shop manual says it should make it less sensitive to move it up one hole on both sides but I couldn't tell it at all.

My next move, I dread and I am really not comfortable doing but I've read several threads and posts suggesting I am not going to hurt anything by doing it. My next move is to re-adjust the governor according to the shop manual it's not hard, not hard at all.

What my worry is, if the governor is worn or maybe bad by me readjusting it back to the shop manual spec am I then going to have
starting issues or something else? I need the tractor running this summer to mow, I really need it to run the summer but again the surge even though it causes me no real issue just bugs the crap out of me! One because I do not know what is causing it and two because if it's the governor worn out, I have no idea how to replace it out and right now because of money being so tight I can't get someone one to repair that.e

Should I proceed and make sure the governor is adjusted correctly by shop manual spec and if not make the correct adjustments?Or should I just get over it and run the tractor the rest of the summer? You know we all enjoy a good running smooth engine and honestly boys I am a little OCD about this and it does bug the living crap out of me, just because I don't know! LOL

#2 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2012 - 01:00 PM

Have you tried richening the high speed needle? Only do 1/8th turn increments at a time.
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#3 maxedout OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2012 - 01:03 PM

Have you tried richening the high speed needle? Only do 1/8th turn increments at a time.



Yea and I have tried adjusting them every which ways but Sunday. I've tried using the manual and still no joy.

#4 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2012 - 01:06 PM

I would readjust the governor to factory spec just so you know for sure that it is adjusted right. You can always adjust it later as needed. The biggest thing to watch for is that your are not over speeding the engine.
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#5 chris m OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2012 - 01:08 PM

I would set the governor to factory spec. It will not cause any starting issue. I have had problems in the past like this and adjusting the governor cured the problem. Everything else sounds good, only other thing to check would be the throttle shaft in the carb for play in case it has a worn bushing. Good luck and don't be afraid to adjust that governor, the procedure is pretty straight forward And I have faith in you, You can do it!. Good luck :thumbs:
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#6 maxedout OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2012 - 01:11 PM

I would readjust the governor to factory spec just so you know for sure that it is adjusted right. You can always adjust it later as needed. The biggest thing to watch for is that your are not over speeding the engine.


Yes, the scares me because I do not have a tachometer but I was thinking just to make sure, I would make sure it I wasn't full throttle until Alan can bring down his tach. I do know it revs higher than my 10hp now and although it might be some higher it shouldn't be that much differences.

Thanks for the advise, I might try it in a few minutes when I get my nerves up to do it. I was just sort of scared to try it.

But you know, learning is what I am wanting to do and some times just doing is the best ways to learn.

#7 maxedout OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2012 - 01:13 PM

I would set the governor to factory spec. It will not cause any starting issue. I have had problems in the past like this and adjusting the governor cured the problem. Everything else sounds good, only other thing to check would be the throttle shaft in the carb for play in case it has a worn bushing. Good luck and don't be afraid to adjust that governor, the procedure is pretty straight forward And I have faith in you, You can do it!. Good luck :thumbs:


Throttle bushing seems ok I did not see any side to side motion but while we're out there before I start my adjustments I am going to recheck that...Might be good idea to go through and recheck everything I did.

#8 tractormike OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2012 - 01:47 PM

It seems you have covered all the bases and still have the surging. I once had a 7 HP Kohler engine gave to me that ran well but surged. It finally came down to adjusting the arm to the govenor shaft. It was the fussiest engine I ever worked on to get the surging to quit but eventually it came around and ran smoothly. It took many tries with loosening the screw and turning the govenor shaft the tinest bit in relation to the arm until it all got to working right. Normally setting it by the book works the first time but this engine proved that some times you just gotta play with them to make things work right. Good luck!
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#9 Bruce Dorsi OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2012 - 02:16 PM

I am just freaked out totally by my issue with the Kohler 321 14hp engine. I've asked this before but I am brain dead and just still have issue with the surge.

The engine seems to run just fine on Low Run and even at 3/4 run but full throttle I still get that crap surge. I can engage the PTO and it's fine and runs smoother than a babies butt.


I can tell you with absolute assurance that this is not uncommon, and is not a problem. ....It is not a characteristic specific to just your engine, or Kohler. ....I have seen the same with Tecumseh, Wisconsin, and Onan engines. ....Basically, the larger hp engines are more prone to this than smaller engines.

The fact that the high-speed smooths out under load (PTO engaged)indicates the mixture is right for the loaded condition. ....If you adjust to totally eliminate the surge with no load, you will most likely have the wrong mixture when a load is applied.

In reality, I can not think of any condition where the engine would be operating at full-throttle with no load applied. ....If the tractor is moving, or the PTO is driving an attachment, there will be some load on the engine.




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#10 maxedout OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2012 - 03:14 PM

I would set the governor to factory spec. It will not cause any starting issue. I have had problems in the past like this and adjusting the governor cured the problem. Everything else sounds good, only other thing to check would be the throttle shaft in the carb for play in case it has a worn bushing. Good luck and don't be afraid to adjust that governor, the procedure is pretty straight forward And I have faith in you, You can do it!. Good luck :thumbs:



Well Hell! Guess what, I went out there and sit down, went over everything I've done and I can tell you right now had I been placing bets I would have said NO PLAY IN THAT THROTTLE SHAFT! See I rebuilt the 210 and 214 Carburetors at the same time, same day and I can say that ONE of those checked out great for No play or not much anyways.

Guess what! The 210 has very little up or down play or side to side!

Guess what! The 214 which is the one I am fussing over has Both Side to Side play and Up and Down play on the throttle shaft! UGH UGH and UGH how did I miss that! Now Note I am talking about the shaft on the carburetor that the governor linkage connects up to, I am guessing this is the one that gives troubles? Worn out bushings?

At any rate guys, I did go right ahead and make the governor adjustments as the shop manual suggests. Right away starting the engine saw a HUGE improvement but still got a little surge but nothing like it was before I wrote starter postings. Now it's pretty danged good both with the PTO engaged and without!

OK so how in heck do I fix the bushing problems, would it be cheaper to just get a good used carburetor or can I actually fix this!

I am so embarrassed I missed that earlier before I asked the governor questions But hey I did learn something and thank goodness for Tractorholics telling me to go ahead and adjust the governor, Had I not gotten that re-assurance I would still be sitting and worrying about with this. For that matter thanks to everyone and the suggestions I got here today. You guys must know exactly how I felt not knowing and hey we all love our tractors and want them to run the best we can get them. So you must have known how a tractor lover would be on a Sunday afternoon worrying over GT!


So any suggestions on removing that throttle shaft, replacing the bushings?

Ugh guys, this thing has more play in it that a leaf on a tree on a windy day and how in hello I missed that is beyond me. I can make the excuse it was because I was fussing over the 210 a couple of weeks ago and that was where I had spent the most time inspecting but to miss this on the mainstay of my mowing well I just can't make any excuse!

OK so HELP! How can I fix the throttle shaft on the carburetor! LOL!

Edited by maxedout, May 06, 2012 - 03:17 PM.


#11 chris m OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2012 - 03:19 PM

First off. No need to apologize or beat yourself up!!!!!! We have all been there!!! Next question Is this a Carter carb or a walbro?
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#12 chris m OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2012 - 03:31 PM

Your off line ATM, so I'll add that if it is the Carter carb, the bushing is very cheap Also the bushing is very easy to install as the bore on top of the carb were the throtle shaft goes is already bored to the size for the replacement bushing.

take the carb off, then remove the 2 little screws on the butterfly. make note what side is facing up.

now pull the throttle shaft out, inspect the shaft were it turns in the housing, if it is not worn you can reuse that shaft.

when you have the new bushing it will drop right in the hole, now you can put the shaft back together.

Next step is VERY important! If you are reusing the little screws for the Butterfly valve then make sure you put BLUE loctite on the threads 1st!!!!!

(never use RED BTW) Unless you want to heat it to 575 degrees 1st.

Now install the carb and make your adjustments to the mixture screws.

Last step is the best! Get on your GT and go play!!!!

Good luck!
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#13 maxedout OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2012 - 03:39 PM

DSCN1226.JPG DSCN1231.JPG DSCN1091.JPG











I do believe it to be a Carter, as the rebuild kits I got was for a Carter. So, where does one obtain these bushings? Ebay?

I will have to get this ASAP...I have both blue and red locktight...I hardly ever use red as its a pain to deal with.

Wow..thanks Guys Gotta love these old GT's! I do forsure, if I can get my wife to locate a camera today, I will take some pictures of my old GT's so you can see the stuff I am dealing with. I love'em but she hates them and calls them old junk and sometimes when I get frustrated I say it too..So Hey Maybe I can show you my junk shortly

http://www.xxxxxxxx....#ht_2366wt_1257

Is that what I need? I hope it's ok to post links, Note to change the www.ebay back. from xxxxxxx, just replace the x's with ebay.

OK junk pic's are added up, I have some better ones she took being I have no idea to work the camera. She wanted our Grandson added and yes he needs a JD like his Pa! These are pic's of the JD214, 210 and the Cub and my Honda 300 atv. I have pics of the 172 also but she wouldn't load them because the hood is being repaired.

Edited by maxedout, May 06, 2012 - 04:44 PM.


#14 HDWildBill OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2012 - 04:06 PM

Glad you got it figured out. :)
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#15 chris m OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2012 - 04:13 PM

I do believe it to be a Carter, as the rebuild kits I got was for a Carter. So, where does one obtain these bushings? Ebay?

I will have to get this ASAP...I have both blue and red locktight...I hardly ever use red as its a pain to deal with.

Wow..thanks Guys Gotta love these old GT's! I do forsure, if I can get my wife to locate a camera today, I will take some pictures of my old GT's so you can see the stuff I am dealing with. I love'em but she hates them and calls them old junk and sometimes when I get frustrated I say it too..So Hey Maybe I can show you my junk shortly

http://www.xxxxxxxx....#ht_2366wt_1257

Is that what I need? I hope it's ok to post links, Note to change the www.ebay back. from xxxxxxx, just replace the x's with ebay.

Yes that is the one. Glad you have a Carter. The Walbro you would need to bore it out. Good luck and I can't wait to see your GT's or Junk LOL. :laughingteeth:
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