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Kohler Head Gaskets


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#1 GTTinkerer OFFLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2012 - 01:51 PM

Seems like there have been a rash of blown Kohler singles head gaskets this spring, my JD 140, SIL's CC 125, neighbors CC and a couple on here. None of the three I fixed had excessive carbon buildup or any other issues that would cause the failures.

Any opinions on why so many?

Bill

#2 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2012 - 02:06 PM

Maybe it is just old age, wonder what octane gas is being used in them.

#3 bgkid2966 ONLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2012 - 02:18 PM

I wonder if the head bolts are loosening or stretching. I know a lot of larger motors need headbolts replaced when they are removed. Bolts are cheap enough to just replace when the head is off. Just my opinion.

After seeing the blown hg's on the kohler singles, I wonder if that is where my oil is pushing out from. When I am healed enough I am going to pull the head and have it checked for flatness.

Geno

#4 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2012 - 04:39 PM

When I re torq head bolts, I usually add at least 10% to the recommended torq value. Used bolts need a bit more than new. Plus, just replacing bolts doesn't take in consideration the used threads in the block, even if you run a tap thru them.

#5 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2012 - 05:01 PM

I hate to blame all the world's woes on one thing, but I'm wondering if we are starting to see some additional affects of ethanol?

#6 chris m ONLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2012 - 05:37 PM

I hate to blame all the world's woes on one thing, but I'm wondering if we are starting to see some additional affects of ethanol?

I am wondering the same thing! I have just seen far to many strange problems lately. Hard to say for sure though.

#7 Kyocum OFFLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2012 - 05:46 PM

Seems like there have been a rash of blown Kohler singles head gaskets this spring, my JD 140, SIL's CC 125, neighbors CC and a couple on here. None of the three I fixed had excessive carbon buildup or any other issues that would cause the failures.

Any opinions on why so many?

Bill

Does the gaskets you are using have the crimped metal band around the inside? I believe the band is called a flame or fire ring.The only thing I can offer up is if it's not a OEM Kohler head gasket with the crimped metal band around the inside of the gasket they are pretty much crap. They blow out much more frequently. I really don't think the ethanol has anything to do with it. Just my .02 cents. Kelly

Edited by Kyocum, June 02, 2012 - 05:51 PM.


#8 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2012 - 06:30 PM

I replaced a badly leaking gasket on a K321 last uear. it was leaking on the block side and the block had a coating of hard carbon bonded to it. I had to remove this very carefully to get the deck flattened. If I hadn't removed it I don't see how the gasket could seal properly. I used new head bolts as well. The joke was on me because the gasket has held well but the block was cracked and I didn't realize it. It still runs but leaks oil out of the crack. So if you have an unexplained oil leak it may be a cracked block. You need to clean the engine up and see exactly where it's coming from. This engine had been overheated in the past and the flywheel screen and fins were plugged with grass and oil. I think heat could be the culprit in a lot of these engine failures. It also had a lot of carbon mostly by the exhaust valve at the top of the cylinder. These engines are supposed to have the carbon removed every 500 hours. The tractor it was on did not have an hour meter so there would be no way to know if it was time to do that. These K series engines are a good design but running them with the air flow obstructed is probably the cause of many of the failures. That and old age as others have suggested.
I heard the other day that the mid grade gas does not have as much ethanol in it. Maybe it would be worth the cost to change to that in small engines that were never designed to burn ethanol.

#9 Cvans ONLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2012 - 06:44 PM

I think the Kohler head gasket thing has been going on for a while. Last year I purchased a very nice 129 Cub Cadet with a tiller for very little because the owner thought there was a valve problem. Looked to me like the head gasket was the problem so I pulled the head and found a large spot on the gasket burned out. The head was also cracked. Went out back and pulled a head and gasket off of another engine and installed it to see how the engine would run. Haven't done a thing with it since and I've probably tilled ten acres with it. Starts and runs like a champ. Personally I would try and torque the head after the first five hours and every hundred hours after that. I think it would eliminate a lot of the head gasket problems.

#10 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2012 - 07:08 PM

I did a retorque on mine the other day after about 10 hrs. Nothing budged at all. I'm trying to find a replacement engine for the cracked one but they are few and far between up here. It cost a small fortune to ship one of those K series boat anchors so I need to find one locally.

#11 GTTinkerer OFFLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2012 - 09:20 PM

All three of the head gaskets I replaced had the fire ring and all three were replaced by the OEM Kohler gaskets. I ran a tap though all of the bolt holes and replaced the bolts with Grade 8 bolts of the same length. Bolts were oiled and torqued at 5# increments to get to 35 foot pounds. The JD 140 has around 20 hours since it was repaired and the CC 125 probably 15 hours and five of that was mowing field grass 12 to 15" high. Also I burn 89 octane gas in all the small engines I own.

So far so good.

Bill

#12 GTTinkerer OFFLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2012 - 09:25 PM

I did a retorque on mine the other day after about 10 hrs. Nothing budged at all. I'm trying to find a replacement engine for the cracked one but they are few and far between up here. It cost a small fortune to ship one of those K series boat anchors so I need to find one locally.


Brian,
Perhaps check out the local golf courses for a used engine. Many of the older mowers were powered by the K series and theM16S engines. Finding an older 13 fin engine is getting real tough though.

Bill

#13 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted June 03, 2012 - 05:20 AM

Thanks for the suggestion Bill. I asked Maynard to keep his eyes peeled for one and am broadening the search so I'll be hitting up small engine places as well. If I can find a decent motor that isn't totally beat I'm going to rebuild it and then make the switch. You cannot get a newer Kohler Command single to fit in these tractors because they are too wide and the crankshaft is higher. The frame and bracing were built around the oil pan on the K series and the crank on a K is much lower in relation to the mounts. A vanguard twin will fit just barely and with a new mounting cradle but 1350 for the kit + shipping is too much. The Honda clones and Subaru, Kohler etc 420cc 15hp with the almost horizontal cylinder will fit without too much work but you can't use the side covers and I,m not sure the flywheel side is designed to provide power even if you could adapt it. They also don't have generator coils for lighting etc just a 1 amp coil for battery recharge. I've decided that unless I want to hack up the tractor I'll try to find another K. I missed a couple of them in old Jacobsen tractors just before I discovered the block was cracked. I just have to be patient I guess!

#14 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted June 03, 2012 - 08:47 AM

I just have to be patient I guess!


Ain't that the hard part? :p :rofl2:




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