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K361 Repower

k361 predator

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#1 sfishel87 OFFLINE  

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Posted July 29, 2015 - 04:06 PM

Working on my mother-in-laws Power King 1618 with a Kohler K361 OHV. The tractor was purchased 2 summers ago for way more than it was worth and then subsequently overheated on the first day of mowing until the engine stopped. After some minor work on it it is back to running but the valve guide tube seals (guessing) are shot thus it leaks oil pretty profusely and with that I haven't really been able to run it for more than a couple seconds to make any determination on if the engine has other issue also. Before I tear the whole thing apart and rebuild it I thought I would look at just repowering it with something that will be more turn key and less maintenance going forward as everything I have found on the K361 engines seems to be worrisome when it comes to future maintenance (especially because I am not the only one who will be operating it but I do seem to be the only one capable of checking tire pressure let alone oil and making sure the head fins are clean <-no I'm not resentful at all...). With that said, finding anything used to repower this thing in my area seems a lot harder than I expected so I started looking at new engines. I don't really want to drop $1200+ on a new Kohler but I did find a 22HP Predator engine from Harbor Freight that with a coupon I can pickup for $560 and $6.99 shipping.

Manual: http://manuals.harbo...61999/61614.pdf

One Sheet: http://www.harborfre...zz_alt2_500.jpg

Product Page: http://www.harborfre...-epa-61614.html


I also found some video of someone who has fit it into a Simplicity Landlord (not the same I know but the quasi similar application gives me more hope when ordering an engine online that I can't directly examine before paying for it) https://youtu.be/uXIh60k4Ehk?t=1m


I'm guessing that the bell housing on the Power King has no chance of actually bolting right in so I figured I would have to have an adapter plate machined but I think I may have that issue with anything that's not a K series engine. I also was thinking of using a shaft sleeve to bring the shaft size up. (Then again, in the video above he actually turned the engine completely around, not sure on the required shaft rotation on the Power King but this may be an option also (not sure if it makes it easier or more complciated))


Thoughts anyone?

#2 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted July 29, 2015 - 04:26 PM

Welcome to GTT :wave:


I would personally rebuild the original kohler engine, no matter what engine you purchase they all require about the same  maintenance.

The older kohlers are far superior to the engines of today especially with most of the new ones being held back of their full potential due to epa regulations. If you properly rebuild the kohler you'll have a new engine


I'm sure others will be along with some opinions for you as well , Enjoy the site there's a good bunch of guys and gals here :thumbs:

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#3 Chopperhed ONLINE  

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Posted July 29, 2015 - 04:57 PM

If you have the original engine it is well worth the rebuild. The Honda clones seem to be solid enough engines, but they aren't cast iron work horses.

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#4 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted July 29, 2015 - 05:11 PM

Welcome to GTT. It is good for you to vent here and not yell at the idiots who can't do simple preoperation checks. My opinion would be to rebuild the Kohler or look for another one that is in good running condition(this is risky). Check into our Manuals Section(3 free downloads per day). I have found that repowering can sometimes be more time and money than just rebuilding. I have the tools and know how to make adapters but avoid it. We are here to help each other so, ask questions and post pics. Good Luck, Rick

#5 Gtractor ONLINE  


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Posted July 29, 2015 - 05:44 PM

I like my K361 and agree its a better engine than most any you could repower it with. 


I wonder if, after the rebuild, you could make some sort of clean air intake that brings air into the flywheel from up above the hood like a combine from the 1960's ???  Maybe seal the tractors grille and along the sides of the engine and remove the hood so air has to come from up high.   ??? 


Hope that makes sense.

#6 Chopperhed ONLINE  

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Posted July 29, 2015 - 05:59 PM

If you are really worried about maintenance, look into a modern CDI or electronic ignition setup.


It's better that setting and cleaning points.

#7 Username OFFLINE  



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Posted July 29, 2015 - 06:10 PM

You might just need a head or the head fixed but they can be costly.I have seen used heads going for over $400 and your's will likely have a lose seat if it was overheated.I have a friend in NC who has them completely refurbished for over $300 but he said that he has someone else doing them cheaper now.They are good torque engines but they do require more attention making sure that the fins are clean,more so than other engines as one overheat session is all it takes.


I know someone in Ohio who has a rebuilt one for sale.

#8 Alc OFFLINE  



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Posted July 29, 2015 - 06:40 PM

Welcome to GTTalk , myself ,I would see what s wrong with your engine first . If its too far gone then a replacement 2nd but to be honest going through all the effort to put the HF engine might not be worth it . Besides the bellhousing you have the flywheel end to mount the electric clutch to . I bought a 2418 without the motor and use a 12 hp from an older PK into it ,

#9 LilysDad ONLINE  


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Posted July 29, 2015 - 06:58 PM

I'm pretty much with everyone else. If you don't trust the K361, how about a K341?  Almost as much HP and arguably more reliability.


Edit: If the K361 cam is in good condition, it is valuable. In a smaller K engine(k301-341), it makes more horsepower.

Edited by LilysDad, July 29, 2015 - 07:00 PM.


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Posted July 29, 2015 - 07:51 PM

Hi sfishel87, welcome to the group , I'm with the others I repair the K361 most all parts are available with the exception of the cylinder head, and it can be repaired many engine machine shops can repair them as the dropping of valve seats happens to many engines. I have a K361 and I really like it, good power runs very nice.

If your really set on a repower I'd go with a 14hp Kohler K321 simple install and an excellent engine.

As for the HF twin V  22 hp I'm sure it could be done but will require lots of work, as you say it will need an adapter plate to mount the hogshead base mount adapter to get the CS to align and you'll have to have a machine shop fabricate a PTO shaft for the electric clutch, I read of a fellow installing a Honda twin V in his PK and he got it working good but the hood ended up being 4 inches higher for clearance. As for installing it reversed that will not work the deck will run backwards and the tractor ill have many reverse speeds with about 3 slow forwards.

#11 Cat385B OFFLINE  

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Posted July 29, 2015 - 10:03 PM

If the tractor has an electric pto clutch, the HF Predator VTwin will be borderline to run it. That engine only has a 3 amp charging system.

#12 sfishel87 OFFLINE  

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Posted July 29, 2015 - 11:10 PM

Thanks for the insight everyone. With the general consensus I think the next step is to pull the K361 out and figure out what's really going on with it then revisit my options once I've determined its condition. I'll update when I have updates (remodeling a house and have a 9 month old also so not sure when I'll get a chance to pull it). Thanks!
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