I've been slowly working away at this and that in the garage and finally took a look at the Panzer. I need to work on the steering as it's sloppy, but it is useable for now. I cleaned the carb and got it running perfectly (or so I thought). The engine doesn't smoke or anything, not even a hint of it. Took it for a drive down the street and near my driveway, it throttled down all by itself to an idle and wanted to stall as I continued to drive it at an idle. I played with the throttle moving it up and down but the cable wasn't moving at the carb no matter what I did so I figured throttle cable issue. I reached down to the throttle arm and moved the throttle with my hand, holding it in place. The engine responded as it should and ran as it should as long as I help the throttle manually. If I took my hand off, then it would idle right back down. Anyway, I pulled into the driveway and took my hand off the throttle. The engine idled down and backfired a few times and then died. I got off and looked at the throttle cable at the control on the dash. Looked like the cable was loose at the control so I tightened it up. I then moved the throttle control up and down and it seemed to be working fine at the other end at the carb as I could see the throttle opening up and closing. I then also noticed that the other end that held the cable near the governor was also loose and moving, so I tightened that too. Checked the throttle movement again and it all looked good. I figured I fixed it. Anyway, I started the engine up again, and it seemed to work fine, so I throttled up and then went to drive it again. When I did that, the throttle idled right back down again all on its own with the same issue - no matter how I moved the throttle control, it didn't move the throttle at the carb. If I manually moved the throttle on the carb with my hand, it revved up and ran fine. Then I noticed that it seemed like the movement in the cable when I tried to change the throttle stopped at the governor. I shut it off, and again, the throttle moved fine using the control if the engine was off. Soooooooo, in terms of trouble shooting, I figure that my best bet is to start with the governor. Perhaps something is loose or needs to be adjusted. So I figure that tomorrow I'll start this fun episode by setting the governor according to specs (found instructions on GTTalk), snug everything up, and then see if that affects it.
Then, if that doesn't do the trick, I guess I'll move on the the usual suspects: ignition system and fuel system. Does that sound reasonable? I'm guessing it's in the throttle linkage somewhere or in the governor as it seemed to run fine if I throttled it up at the carb with my hand. I would think that if it were a fuel or spark issue the problems would have continued even revving the engine by hand, but it didn't. That's why I'll move onto these things second.
Also, I should say that the previous owner said it needed a new fuel pump. That's not my first guess as to the problem here, but still, this is my first Kohler engine. All of my other garden tractors have been Briggs or Wisconsins. So, does the K181s have a fuel pump? If so, where the heck is it? The fuel line goes straight from the tank to the carb. Maybe it was removed at some point? He said that the tractor will run out of gas with a quarter of fuel still in the tank. Fill it up and it runs fine. I put in new fuel lines, checked the tank, and put in a new fuel filter. Does this thing have a fuel pump? Does it need a fuel pump? When it was running, it seemed to run will the way it was.
Thanks a bunch. Just trying to come up with a gameplan now so that I can tackle it tomorrow night (busy tonight with other things).