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Kohler M18 Starter Replacement


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#1 victor3ranger OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2013 - 10:56 AM

I have a Lawnboy GT18H that has a Kohler M18 motor, the starter seems to be not engaging all the time, when you turn the key on it sounds like the starter gear sounds like its spinning but not engaging.

 

It usually takes several times turning the key to the start possition for it to finally get teh starter gear to engage the flywheel.

 

Does anyone have any pictures of exactly where the starter is on these motors and if there is something that I need to pay attention to in replacing the starter??

 

Also, where is the best place to buy a replacement starter??



#2 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2013 - 11:17 AM

If you look on the kohler website they have service manuals for all the engines. It sounds like you may have a problem with the engagement mechanism of the starter. It may just need to be cleaned and lubricated.



#3 Canawler ONLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2013 - 12:31 PM

Yeah, the bendix unit is just sticking/not engaging and needs cleaned and lubed. I need to do mine on the GTX-18 again. It's actually part of the 500 hr service according to the manual. The trouble with these is that the Magnums are completely encased in shrouding and they made the pieces to interlock with each other. You can't just pull off one cover over the starter. To get that one off you have to pull the one that's partially over the one you want. And to get that one off.... same thing. When I did my starter a couple years ago, I believe I actually had to start at the muffler shrouding and work the whole way around the engine to get at it. The chassis on mine didn't allow access to all the shrouds I had to take off so I had to unbolt the engine and raise it about 3 inches. This worked and avoided having to mess with getting the driveshaft off.
Also note, Kohler specs a special oil for lubing this. I assume it's extremely thin and doesn't attract dust. I didn't use their oil and now two years later i'm going to have to do it again although I was nowhere near 500 hrs when first needed... I'm thinking something along the lines of a dry lube might hold up better and not attract dust. I don't remember the Kohler lube still being available.

Edited by Canawler, December 03, 2013 - 12:34 PM.


#4 victor3ranger OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2013 - 02:45 PM

So, to oil this bendixs I have to take the starter off or can I do it without taking it off??

 

How many shrouds did you have to ake off to get to the starter??



#5 Canawler ONLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2013 - 04:14 PM

Yes, the starter has to come off. The bendix is a small one-way gear/solenoid combo that extends to make contact with and turn the engine flywheel. It has to be free from any dirt and dust buildup to extend properly.
Its been two years since I had mine out so I can't say that I remember exactly which pieces have to come off for access. On my tractor the PTO end of the engine faces forward and the starter was down low on the left side. I know I had to start with the shrouding around the muffler (muffler didn't have to come off) and worked around. It's just a pain in the butt but it's not as bad as it sounds.

#6 victor3ranger OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2013 - 04:45 PM

Ok, I will take a look at it tonight if I get time.  I would like to get this thing taken care of before this winter storm hits this week.



#7 victor3ranger OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2013 - 04:54 PM

When the starter is removed, did you have to take the starter apart to clean and lube it??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by victor3ranger, December 03, 2013 - 05:11 PM.


#8 Canawler ONLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2013 - 05:40 PM

When the starter is removed, did you have to take the starter apart to clean and lube it??

If I remember correctly, the starter doesn't have to come completely apart. It was fairly intuitive, I didn't use a manual or anything.
If you don't get to it, make sure your battery is charged up. The warmer the temp the less trouble I have with mine. I got into the habit this fall of letting the starter spin for 45 seconds or so when it acts up. The idea being to get some heat into it. Does running that long produce any heat? Who knows but it sure seems to help. The starter will usually engage right after doing that....

Edited by Canawler, December 03, 2013 - 05:41 PM.


#9 victor3ranger OFFLINE  

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Posted December 04, 2013 - 09:28 AM

Ok, it looks like I will have to wait until this storm passes to be able to get to it. I am hoping that it is pretty straight forward.



#10 Bruce Dorsi OFFLINE  

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Posted December 04, 2013 - 10:32 AM

I don't know if all the Kohler M18's used the same starter & bendix.

 

On mine, the bronze bushing at the shaft end of the starter was worn, which allowed the armature to drag against the magnets.  ....I made & installed a new bushing, and lubed it with a thin film of wheel-bearing grease. 

 

If the armature comes out of the brushes on the closed end of the starter, it is a P.I.T.A. to get it back together.  ....I bent a thin piece of sheetmetal to hold the brushes in place in the end-cap while the armature is re-installed. 

 

Once that was fixed, the starter drive would engage the flywheel gear, but the drive would slip and the engine not spin fast enough to start.

 

The drive assy was taken apart and cleaned, but it still slipped.  ....I found the steel drive washer was slipping on the rubber surface of the gear.  .....Eventually, I put a disc of coarse sandpaper between the steel washer and the rubber, and that seemed to cure all my problems.



#11 victor3ranger OFFLINE  

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Posted December 04, 2013 - 03:45 PM

Wow, that sounds like a pain in the butt.



#12 Canawler ONLINE  

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Posted December 04, 2013 - 11:15 PM

Wow, that sounds like a pain in the butt.

 

When you have to make bushings, you're getting close to my "replace" instead of "fix" threshold. :D






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