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Kohler k341 problems


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#1 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2011 - 09:29 AM

I have mentioned this in a few other threads and gotten some suggestions. I thought I would repost the problems and info here. I have been picking Olcowhand's brain about this all weekend, since he has hands on experience with this tractor/motor. Grab a cup of coffee, going to be a long one.

Back story:
The Ford has always started right up with no problem. On December 26th I hauled the tractor to clean the church’s parking lot, got it back home and in the barn no problem. I mentioned this because I don’t know if trailering rattled something loose or what.

On January 12th I went out to plow the driveway, I believe it was around 25*F out. Opened up the barn, tried to fire up the Ford LGT 165 with no luck, it would crank, and start to start, but then would cough and die. I got out the kerosene jet heater and warmed up the tractor and it fired right up, had to jump it since the battery was weak after cranking before I got the heater out).

Last week snow was forecasted, so on Wednesday(Jan. 19th) I went out to fuel up the ford and run it a little. It fired right up no problem, made me think I was ready to go for the snow the next day. It was around 33*F that’s afternoon.

Thursday Jan. 20th I go out to plow, 20*F, Same symptoms as on the 12th. Warm it up and still no change. Start trying to trouble shoot. It has a blue spark. Drained gas, replaced with gas bought the day before. Still no change. Checked fuel flow downstream of fuel filter and it was good. Checked fuel flow out of fuel pump and it was good. Replaced starter with the starter from the 14 hp Kohler, no change. Took part and cleaned out carburetor, no change. Changed plug, wire, coil, and condenser from the 14 hp to the 16hp and saw no change in spark. Compression feels a little low, but not sure how much there should be since this motor has a compression release.

At this point I am thinking for some reason the exhaust valve isn’t seating, since every now and then it back fires thru the exhaust. I think gas/vapors are building up in the muffler then when it sparks I am getting the back fires, which can be heard in the video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0jQjbSEfho

Was wondering if you have down a compression test on it? It sounds like it wants to start but if it is lacking in compression then it won't draw in enough fuel/air mixture to run. When was the last time it ran? Maybe try a new spark plug. That is what I have to offer from what I can tell from your video. Good luck and keep us posted when you find out why it wouldn't start.


No compression test yet. I am going to try and do one this week. I tried and different plug, but haven’t tried a new one yet.

Try taking out the spark plug and pouring a small amount of gas in the Sarkplug hole.

I know someone had a JD 318 and it sounded the same way. When they helped it out by adding gas to the sparkplug hole if fired right up and was fine after that.

I tried that with no luck. It didn’t even change the way it cranked.

Sounds like you're blowing back thru the carb? That first set of noises i thought I heard a little blow back in there.

If compression checks out good... the only unmentioned thing I can think of is RPM on the starter, if the starter was turning over faster, it'd stay engaged a little longer & maybe let you get her running. I see battery cables in there, do you have a good battery to set in & try again?

I’ve tried a different starter and with the battery charged and fresh. The cables were hooked to my deep cycle boat battery since these gt tractor batter don’t give you a lot cranks when trying to get them going. I don’t think its blowing back thru the carb.

Thanks for all the suggestions and help, I look forward to more.
I also want to thanks Olcowhand for answering my emails this weekend and letting me pick his brain.

#2 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2011 - 09:33 AM

Chuck, after video with audio, I can say for sure you are losing your compression. Either that new aftermarket valve is sorry & already burned, or carbon holding it open. It sure sounds like the compression is blowing past a valve. That or blown head gasket.
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#3 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2011 - 10:06 AM

I just find it odd that it started hard a week ago, then started fine the day before. I'm going to order a head gasket so I can open it up and look.

#4 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2011 - 10:11 AM

Look under the air filter to be sure one of the filter housing plate screws didn't back out & get under the valve. I've seen this happen a few times. I didn't put Loc-Tite on the screws, but then I didn't have them out even.

#5 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2011 - 10:15 AM

Look under the air filter to be sure one of the filter housing plate screws didn't back out & get under the valve. I've seen this happen a few times. I didn't put Loc-Tite on the screws, but then I didn't have them out even.

All screws are accounted for and in place.

#6 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2011 - 10:17 AM

What I always understood and I know it may not be right is if it is backfiring through the carb that it is usually mixture or timing related and if it is backfiring out of the exhaust it can be timing/valve issues, whether it is timing or clearance or stuck valve.

I think you will get it figured out pretty quick with all the great help from the guys on here and hopefully it is something simple.

#7 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2011 - 11:42 AM

I don't remember which brand engine it was but someone had the harden exhaust seat come loose from the head , just another thing to think about .

#8 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2011 - 11:46 AM

Onan was the engine I think you are referring to. I think this guy is having a valve sticking open on him.

#9 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2011 - 12:13 PM

I don't remember which brand engine it was but someone had the harden exhaust seat come loose from the head , just another thing to think about .


Newer Briggs. It happened to both cyl.

#10 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2011 - 12:29 PM

I don't remember which brand engine it was but someone had the harden exhaust seat come loose from the head , just another thing to think about .

That happens almost exclusively to aluminum blocks, not the cast iron Kohlers.

#11 Big John OFFLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2011 - 12:39 PM

I had a K321 Kohler and I had to take out the air cleaner in the winter to stop carb icing.Compression
on your engine with the compression release is about 2 to 1 while cranking. To check it U have to rotate
engine backwards or rotate it above 200 rpm to get full compression. Other problems listed above are
good reasons for your trouble.
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#12 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2011 - 12:46 PM

Can you do a Tecumseh or Wisconsin that way. by rotating back wards? Someone on here was asking about that the other night.

#13 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2011 - 12:47 PM

I had a K321 Kohler and I had to take out the air cleaner in the winter to stop carb icing.Compression
on your engine with the compression release is about 2 to 1 while cranking. To check it U have to rotate
engine backwards or rotate it above 200 rpm to get full compression. Other problems listed above are
good reasons for your trouble.

I wasnt sure how to get a good compression test on it yet. I hadn't looked it up yet. Thanks for your info.

#14 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2011 - 07:02 PM

On this type of engine with a compression release would there be a min. psi to fire combustion ? Or am I just thinking 2 strokes . Also if you picked a spot where the exhaust valve is closed , maybe bottom of the intake stroke, could you put compressed air through the spark hole and see if it seals ? Never had this type of engine problems on my Kohlers yet . I want to be prepared . I like Big John's tip on turning the engine too. Thanks , Al

#15 DH1 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2011 - 07:21 PM

Did you check for water in the fuel, water in the float bowl?
Even 2 or 3 drops is enough to cause problems like this.




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