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#1 dropped82 ONLINE  

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Posted August 01, 2015 - 09:17 PM

Well, I lost compression on a cylinder on my 420. Although I know it can be repaired, I've been considering a repower. This is my main mower and I also handle a few other yards. I like the idea of less fuel and a new engine. Little less headache. At least I hope. So, my question is about the kits that are out. What's everyone's thoughts? I've found 3 engine options. Kohler CH20 command engine, Vanguard 23hp, or the Honda 24hp. Seems the Kohler kit is the highest price. I'm a believer in get what you pay for. Just wondering on anyone's opinions who have had experience with any of these kits.

Eric

Edited by dropped82, August 01, 2015 - 09:18 PM.


#2 superaben OFFLINE  

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Posted August 01, 2015 - 10:30 PM

Eric, I have never used a kit for a Deere, so I will come at this from a purely engine standpoint. 

 

If you are concerned about fuel usage, go with the Honda.   As far as the power goes, Honda never really gets the torque in their larger engines.  I've never been a Honda twin cylinder small engine fan.  The old Hustlers with vertical Hondas were great on fuel, and smooth as silk, but they are never powerful in my opinion. 

 

If you want some real grunt, my preference would probably be the Vanguard, but Vanguards do like gas.  They turn that fuel consumption into power though. 

 

Kohler is pricy, but the Command series has a super reputation.  They are simply bulletproof. 

 

Personally, if I was installing an engine of my choice, I would find myself a Kohler, and that is just because I am a big Kohler Command fan and have had nothing but rip-roaring success with a Command.  However, bear in mind that Simplicity and Ingersoll shaft drive tractors still are Vanguard powered.  It is the most powerful engine of the three you mention. 

 

Ben W.


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#3 dropped82 ONLINE  

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Posted August 01, 2015 - 11:53 PM

I do like lots of power. I'm also a Kohler fan. Would much rather have a strong reliable engine and sacrifice a little power for better reliability. The tractors number one job is mowing. It's my main go to rig for most jobs around the house. I see these "kits" that can be had for a little extra. Anyone have experience with them? Some better than others? I've found the Kohler setup a little pricier but also have been told it's the best of the 3 engines. I'm leaning heavily towards it just wondering where the best place to get it and a kit from.

Eric

#4 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted August 02, 2015 - 06:27 AM

There are reposer kits out there if you search. I know the Vanguard is a very popular choice for JD repowers. All the kits are expensive, running in the 1500$ range if memory serves. Have you thought about going diesel? 


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#5 dropped82 ONLINE  

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Posted August 02, 2015 - 08:16 AM

There are reposer kits out there if you search. I know the Vanguard is a very popular choice for JD repowers. All the kits are expensive, running in the 1500$ range if memory serves. Have you thought about going diesel?

I have thought about. I hate to say it though, I have so much on my plate I was hoping for a quicker swap. I'm hoping it won't turn into a major job that'll take a month to do. I don't really have the time to do it. My "play" tractor projects are eating up most of my shop. I was looking for something fairly straight forward. Thanks.

Eric

#6 Trav1s ONLINE  

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Posted August 02, 2015 - 02:53 PM

After doing the K301 in my 312 I am just shy of doing the repower - but there is something about the hot rodded single that gets me.  If I were to do a repower, it would be close choice between the Command and Vanguard with the Command in the lead.



#7 Tennblue59 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 02, 2015 - 02:56 PM

I can't help you with evaluation of any of the kits, sorry. I've done 3 repowers (and working on a 318 diesel conversion at the moment), but always made my own kits. But I usually already have the engine  that I have picked up somewhere...

 

If you do an internet search, one of the other sites that focuses specifically on "green" seems to have a lot more discussions and evaluations of the various kits in the jd brand. That may help....

 

I repowered my Ford LGT with a kohler ch18 twin. And am very happy with the final result. Coming from a kohler k341, the twin is a lot smoother and more powerful. The repower (documented on here in the ford section) was very straight forward and an easy change.

 

The diesel 318 (actually a 316 onan, but will have ps and the second hydraulic circuit when done) has been a great deal of work - on and off for about a year of occasional work. Is winding down now (running and moving, just finishing up the little details and the power steering system). So far, the diesel in the 318 platform is GREAT! But not a quick or easy changeover!



#8 nglauer OFFLINE  

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Posted August 02, 2015 - 04:14 PM

Does your JD420 have the kohler k532? My Bolens burnt up an exhaust valve recently. I picked up a used set and plan on swapping it out so i can finish the season. I myself have thought about doing a repower (Bolens HT20). However, the engines mentioned above are rather expensive new (at least for my budget). As an alternative i have been watching the new harbor freight predator series twin cylinder closely. I have friends that run gocarts with clone motors. If the reviews continue to look good on it, it might be my motor of choice when the time comes. Until then, I'll keep the thirsty K532 running the best i can (although i would entertain a k600 series if i ever came across one.

#9 dropped82 ONLINE  

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Posted August 02, 2015 - 08:40 PM

The 420 is an Onan 20hp. With ridiculous crankshaft for the pto haha. I also was considering the predator but worry about the reliability and parts availability.

Eric

#10 javjacob OFFLINE  

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Posted August 03, 2015 - 02:09 AM

I would just rebuild the Onan. The Onan is a solid engine that is well worth rebuilding and you wont have to butcher anything.



#11 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted August 03, 2015 - 05:38 AM

I feel for you ,, I ran  into the same decision when the motor went on my 318 during mowing season , but at least at that time you could still get a 20 hp Onan , I got mine from a truck garage that was a Onan dealer used on trucks , I couldn't get the 1 7/16 shaft so I got a bushing so I could use the OEM electric clutch . Even then it was about $1400 for a new motor but other then a few things it was pretty much bolt in . The Kohler might be the way to go , I'm sure you could sell the Onan on CL  to recoup some of the $$$



#12 Onanparts OFFLINE  

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Posted August 03, 2015 - 01:56 PM

I would just rebuild the Onan. The Onan is a solid engine that is well worth rebuilding and you wont have to butcher anything.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words....

 

Kohler parts shown are from a CH22. Note the Kohler does not have replaceable cam/main bearings. The aluminum block is the bearing. Worn or damaged? Scrap the block and buy another one. Oil pump pickup, plastic. Drive gear? Plastic. Pump body? Aluminum.

 

Onan oil pumps? All cast iron/steel. Main and cam bearings? Replaceable. Oil filter adapter? Replaceable. The CH series is a very good engine but disposable when it's time comes. Onan's were designed to be rebuildable over and over again.

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#13 dropped82 ONLINE  

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Posted August 03, 2015 - 08:02 PM

I've been doing some research and have found a few places selling rebuilt Onan short blocks. One place in Minnesota, if I read it right, has some NOS short blocks. It's a lot of money but would be less than the repower I've already talked myself into. Would keep the beloved Onan engine. Plus the install/swap would be a lot easier. Anyone have any experiences with them?

Eric
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#14 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted August 03, 2015 - 08:06 PM

While I prefer diesel of course, of all gasoline engines I've ever had, Onan were my favorite.


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#15 dropped82 ONLINE  

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Posted August 03, 2015 - 08:11 PM

I wish I had the time to do a diesel or even go through the one I have. Reason I'm pressing on buying something ready is because this is main mower and general workhorse. I needed this thing going yesterday. I'm hoping to have something showing up on my doorstep in the next 7 days so I can get going on it. That way my "fun" projects can presume haha. I really do love the Onan engines. Between the power and just the sound alone is enough to suck anyone in. I hadn't even thought of searching for a short block. Glad I did. Would be sweet to unpack and install a NOS setup.

Eric
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