Ford LGT165 kohler 18hp twin repower
Posted April 05, 2015 - 08:13 PM
Last fall I was mowing the field with my closed side Ford LGT165 when it went boom. I have had this tractor for a while. Originally bought it as a non-runner (the refurbish is on here) - the body needed a lot of work, but the engine ran well after a little tlc, so I never had to get into it. My plan was to run it for a while and see how it was, then tear it down if needed. You know how it goes.... It ran good, so I never opened it up.
Anyway, while mowing, I started seeing oil and smoke coming from under the right front side. Tractor was still running fine! I quickly shut it down and watched oil dripping of the engine and frame by the starter. Not good. Got one of the other tractors and towed it back to the garage, to find this (I pulled the starter so you can see it better);
One of the balance gears evidently came off and started bouncing around in the case until it decided to leave the assembly via the new "inspection port" in the right side of the engine block!
So the block is trashed. I have another 341, but had picked up a couple kohler ch18 twins a while back. Set one aside to "eventually" put in the Ford. So I guess "eventually" came sooner than I had planned!
Finally got around to doing the switch this past week. Am really surprised how easy it went! I have about 3 afternoons so far in it and was riding it around the yard today with the new engine in.
- Alc, JDBrian, dthomp17 and 3 others have said thanks
Posted April 05, 2015 - 08:38 PM
Took the old engine out and cleaned up the frame.
My twin came with a stub shaft but it was the wrong type for the ford driveshaft.
I was able to use the stub shaft off the 341 on the twin - fit perfectly.
Also was able to use the existing ford engine mounts with slight modification. I was able to use one of the existing mounting holes, but had to drill one new one on each bracket
BUT, the voltage rectifier is mounted into the fan shroud on the kohler twin, and it was hitting the engine mount. I moved the rectifier to another location on an aluminum heat sink. The leads were long enough to get it up out of the frame rail way. Then just glued and screwed a cover plate over the old rectifier spot to close it off. You can see the new mount in this picture.
Pulled the shrouds off the twin - good thing because a rodent had made a comfy bed by the flywheel - that would not have been good for breathing - for the engine OR for the rodent if he were there when the engine started! No gnawed wires, so cleaning it up was enough.
I just go ahead and clean carbs on anything I get anymore - this was no exception.... Good thing, it was kind of gunky. I've got to where I take lots of pictures as I take things apart - nice to have when it comes time to put it all back together again! Made new gaskets for over and under the carb while I was at it. I buy gasket material by the sheet and just use an exacto knife to make quick gaskets if I don't want to wait for factory... Ive started using a dip and soak solution (Berrymans is what I use) for carbs - seems to get them cleaner with less work than using the spray. Pull off the plastic and rubber, dunk and soak for 30-45 minutes, rinse and repeat if needed.
- Alc, wvbuzzmaster, KennyP and 6 others have said thanks
Posted April 05, 2015 - 09:08 PM
It was easier for me to rip it all out, get some new wire and remake the whole harness. Also, the 341 had been a battery ignition, and the twin was a magneto, so there had to be some changes anyway. Also, my "new" kohler has a carb cutoff and oil pressure light, so I needed wiring for them as well. Here are a few pictures of before and during;
One of my diodes was burned out in the carb cutout circuit so I was getting some backfeed into the starter run - the starter would run as soon as the ignition was turned on. Gotta go out tomorrow and get a new diode to wire into the circuit! Once I got the harness made and finalized, I soldered all the connections, so don't have to worry about them coming apart. Took longer that way, but should last much longer. Then fit and wrap the completed harness and put it on the tractor.
Backtrack real quickly - I forgot to talk about the front pto - Crank shaft size was the same diameter, so I was able to use my existing electric pto. The twin has the correct mounting boss built into it. I need to make a new spacer for the end of the crank shaft. But I have a cutoff from something that is the correct od and close on the id, so a few minutes on the lathe should have that done! The twin is longer than the 341, but not by much, it fit in place without having to cut the drive shaft. The pto belts are a little closer to the mule drive frame, but still clear and line up ok. I was surprised how easy it all went together!
Here is the completed engine ready to go in the tractor;
And once in - the wiring harness wasn't finished at this point - I left the front end long till the engine was in so I could cut everything to the right length.
The fuel tank is tight due to the higher larger engine - the back of the twin (air filter box) sticks back farther than the 341, so I may end up switching to a smaller tank - not sure yet.....
I went to fire it up and wasn't getting gas to the carb - turns out the fuel pump (vacuum/pressure type) was bad. Luckily I had a new one laying around so was able to switch in a good one and she started right up! Rode it around the yard for a while to let the engine warm up. I had changed the oil and filter/plugs before I put it in the Ford - new air filter on the way...
Still to be done; Need to put the front frame and hood/sidepanels on again. Once the motor runs a little, I need to fine tune it. Unfortunately, that means pulling the gas tank each time, but once its adjusted right, that shouldn't have to happen often.
I will either cut the side panel for the muffler exhaust - comes straight out the right side, or see if there is enough room for an elbow and ???? . Most likely will just cut a hole to fit, but I hate to make that cut!!!
More to follow as I tweak it! I'll give you some impressions once I get it all back together and running good compared to the old motor.
- Alc, wvbuzzmaster, KennyP and 5 others have said thanks
Posted April 06, 2015 - 04:18 AM
Thanks for posting on this re power. That's nice looking engine. It's really difficult to find good used engines in this area. I need a twin for my JD317. The series one KT17 is about ready to give up.
Posted April 06, 2015 - 05:02 AM
Nice upgrade for the Ford. Thanks for documenting the change over. Did you have to change the ignition switch?
I would have a hard time cutting a hole for that exhaust too.
- boyscout862 said thank you
Posted April 06, 2015 - 05:23 AM
Great job with the engine swap I hope you can figure out some way to reroute the exhaust without cutting the hood , , maybe like you said ,,some tubing for elbows ,
- boyscout862 said thank you
Posted April 06, 2015 - 06:22 AM
So, this is now an LGT185 ? I like that! Good Luck, Rick
Posted April 06, 2015 - 07:01 AM
You should love the smoothness of the v-twin they really run good .
- KennyP said thank you
Posted April 06, 2015 - 07:04 AM
Nice project. I too would hesitate cutting the sheet metal and would do my best to keep it looking factory on the outside.
Posted April 06, 2015 - 07:32 AM
Looks like a really nice job.
Posted April 06, 2015 - 08:01 AM
Send that exhaust down,and out the side for a much cleaner look. See Kenny, I told you it's a cake walk to swap in a v-twin ;-)
You should love the smoothness of the v-twin they really run good .
But, will the rear PTO still adapt?
Posted April 06, 2015 - 08:18 AM
Re the exhaust...
I was looking at the kohler accessory catalog last night (if you have never seen it - WOW!!!!!), among many other things, they offer turn downs (tailpipes basically...) at various angles (45, 90 degree, etc) to go over the spigot out of the muffler. They also offer exhaust stubs and headers to make your own - but sure they would be $$$... I am gonna put the side panels on and see how much room I have to make the turn. Guess I could run it out the front of the grill like the ford originally did...
Guess I could cut and reweld the outflow spigot from the twin's muffler off the end and put it on the side (toward the front or bottom of the tractor)
My old ford open side has a turn down on it that directs the exhaust onto the ground - not the best setup for Florida sand! Blows grass and stuff around as well and I would be afraid of starting a fire without a spark arrestor, so I am trying to avoid doing that type of thing with this...
Kohler also sells/approves (unless you live in California - not CARB approved) using two "pepperpot" mufflers - the squished softball sized mufflers - If I could 45 those down so it doesn't melt my headlight assembly, that might be an option as well.
skyryder, I am amazed how MUCH room the Ford has in the engine bay! I've been working in my off time getting the diesel (a Kubota 3 cyl water cooled) in my Deere 316 and it's so tight for space! In retrospect, the diesel would have fit in the Ford much easier and a vtwin in a 316/318 is an easy fit. If I had only known the Ford was going to blow up..... But the Ford was running fine when I started the Deere diesel... The PLAN was to get the Deere done and running then take my time with the Ford - finish the 3 point and fab the rear pto, add 2nd hydraulic line, etc. ohh well. But it has been NICE having the open space of the ford to fab in.
One downside of the vtwin, it LOOKS like the wider base of the twin prevents the "Factory" rear pto shaft off the front pto pulley. But there are other ways if I eventually decide to add it. Right now I just want to get this thing running and dependable since it is my back-up field mower.
I can make it work, just working on the BEST way to make it work!
- wvbuzzmaster and KennyP have said thanks
Posted April 06, 2015 - 11:24 AM
if I'm not mistaken, it will work with minor doings if any. If I can get it to work on my diesel conversion ,it should be a cake walk for the v-twin.
But, will the rear PTO still adapt?
Posted April 09, 2015 - 06:48 PM
Progress, sort of - one of those 3 forward and 2 back deals.....
Got Everything back together and started it up. But it's not charging the battery. I knew my wiring was ok, so check the engine's electrics - find out I have a bad stator. So pulled the engine back out again!!!!!
On the positive side (a little electrical humor there folks...), the stator for a k341 is the same part number as the stator for a ch18, so I pulled the stator off the broken 341 and had it all switched over and back in in a couple hours. Once the engineering is done, the engine R&R is pretty quick and simple.....
Nobody local had the kohler diode kit (and no idea what it would cost anyway) so off to Radio Shack for diodes to cure my backfeed problem with the starter. Up to now, I have just left the starter solenoid wire off and touched it to the terminal to start the engine - not a good workable long term solution... Kohler calls for 6 amp/1000 volt diodes - best I could find was 3 amp 250 volt, which are enough for the starter ONLY, but go poof when the pto or lights or anything else is on - there goes $1.20..... So we went nostalgia and installed a push to start momentary contact switch next to the ignition key to engage the starter. Not factory, but I think its cool and it solved my backfeed problem.
Got my exhaust issue worked out as well - sometimes the simplest solutions are easiest! The kohler muffler for the twin has a 2 inch exhaust pipe coming out the side of it. When I tried to mount the side panels/front nose, found out that the exhaust pipe is about 0.5 inch too long and hits right at the side panel/nose joint. I cut the pipe down to 1 inch and cut the front half of the remaining pipe off. Then just welded a deflector plate on the original "end" of the exhaust pipe to act as a diverter, turning the exhaust gas toward the front gril, where the original muffler vented anyway!
The actual opening of my modified system is larger, area wise, than the original exhaust opening. Maybe a little more back pressure with the turn, but I think it will be fine.....
I still need to build a heat shield for the muffler, but the kohler muffler has a heavy back plate and a bottom plate already, so I have an anchor point and just need to make a top and sides to keep the muffler from bleeding heat back into the engine bay.
While I'm working on it, I just got some aluminum diamond plate and am going to replace my cracked dash - both the upright section and the flat section where the hydro levers are. Ill pull the old plastic off and use it for a pattern to make the new pieces. Ill report on that once I get it done...
Also got (finally) the 2x1/2 steel for the 3 point arms, so will be getting started on the 3 point as well if I have time.
But for now, the vtwin sounds good and seems to have plenty of power to ride around the yard - all I have done with it so far...
- wvbuzzmaster and ChopRod have said thanks
Posted April 23, 2015 - 10:55 PM
Finished up the repower and so here are the last few pictures...
The Kohler twin is taller and longer (front to back) than the 341 was, so the large factory gas tank of the LGT165 was a really tight fit. I was concerned that over time, the moving engine would rub a hole in the tank. So I went looking for a smaller tank. Ended up using a Honda 13hp metal tank - much smaller size and capacity (about 1.7 gallons), but it solves the rubbing problem and allows better access in the engine bay. I still think it will be a reasonable amount of fuel for normal use. Here's a couple pictures
Note my temp fix to hold the side panels on - my spring broke and I have to find another one!
If you look at the first picture above (and the one below) you see the new muffler heat shield. After running the new setup for a while, I was concerned about the amount of heat radiating through the engine bay - the tinwork was getting really warm. So I built a basic heat shield to funnel the output air from the motor over the muffler and out the grill. It also cut way down on the radiant heat coming from the muffler. Just happened to have a sheet of stainless laying around, so it ended up looking good. I just used rivets to hold the seams and bent it on a small brake. Much more airflow out the grill now and the tinwork is much cooler!
Finally, and this was mostly cosmetic.... My plastic dash - the lower horizontal panel, had seen better days. Lots of cracks and some missing pieces. I replaced it with a piece of diamond plate and used some rectangular tube under the edges to close it up and raise the surface to clear the underworks. A friend of mine does striping and lettering - he is going to freehand the lettering for the controls on the diamond plate, then I can clear coat over it to protect it. My vertical dash was in much better shape. I used a plastic welder - the soldering iron type one, to close up the cracks and clean up the appearance of the surface. Not pristine, but looks ok and is stronger.
- wvbuzzmaster said thank you