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John Deere 200 losing power


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#1 jcallan OFFLINE  

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Posted April 28, 2011 - 10:45 AM

I have a 1975 JD200 garden tractor with the Kohler 181 engine. Engine starts and runs flawlessly. I have the 39" mower on it and as soon as I engage the PTO to cut the lawn it loses quite a bit of power to the point where it can stall going up slight inclines and through tall grass. Disengage the PTO and everything goes back to normal. Could the bearings on the mower or the belt have anything to do with this or could it be some other mechanical problem that I am missing?

#2 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted April 28, 2011 - 10:56 AM

I've runover rope and wrapped aroung the blades so maybe that happened . If nothing around the blades maybe you can loosen the belt and see if the blades spin by hand .

#3 middleageddeere OFFLINE  

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Posted April 28, 2011 - 11:58 AM

I had this same situation before. With mine it was the engine had low compression. Ran fine with no load and as soon as it was under load it would bog out. Hopefully your problem does just lie with the bearings. I would say that is the most likely scenario.

#4 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted April 28, 2011 - 02:16 PM

I would check your deck first and make sure nothing is wrapped around the blades like the guys have mentioned and then I would take the deck belt off and spin each bade by hand and make sure they spin nice and smooth and fairly free. If everything on the deck moves nice and easy then it will be time to look at the motor. Can you tell if the governor is working on the engine?

#5 jcallan OFFLINE  

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Posted April 28, 2011 - 04:11 PM

I would check your deck first and make sure nothing is wrapped around the blades like the guys have mentioned and then I would take the deck belt off and spin each bade by hand and make sure they spin nice and smooth and fairly free. If everything on the deck moves nice and easy then it will be time to look at the motor. Can you tell if the governor is working on the engine?



From what I can see the governor is working properly. I have a tiny tach hooked up to it and it runs between 3500-3600 rpm without the deck engaged. It also runs flawlessly in all gears but as soon as the PTO is engaged the RPM's drop. The deck does sound a little noisy when it is engaged, almost like bad bearings so I will give it a try first. Thanks for the input. If any one else has some thoughts keep the coming.

Thanks

#6 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted April 28, 2011 - 05:30 PM

Don't forget to spin the idler/tensioners too, they can hang up. Usually you know it when they do by the slipping on them (squeal), but it depends how your belt is routed.

#7 jcallan OFFLINE  

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Posted May 03, 2011 - 09:00 PM

Update. I took the mower deck apart and everything spins free. It is still acting up. I have read online that sometimes a bad coil could cause this symptom. Is this true? I am trying to cover all bases here just in case I am able to avoid a rebuild on the engine or a repower option.

#8 middleageddeere OFFLINE  

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Posted May 04, 2011 - 05:52 AM

I haven't heard that and I don't see how it could...my other "easy" guess would be the carb needs a little adjusting. Sometimes when they are on the "verge" they will sound like they run fine but when under load or when warmed up they kinda poop out.
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#9 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted May 04, 2011 - 08:35 AM

If it is lean it will cause a loss of power and like middleageddeere mentioned with no load it isn't as noticeable or may seem fine. Lean is not good and will cause detonation. Usually if the engine is lean on the top end the governor will hunt.
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#10 jcallan OFFLINE  

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Posted May 04, 2011 - 10:26 AM

I am also thinking it may be a possible fuel issue? On cold starts it takes a few cranks with the choke on before it fires. When it is warm it also requires choke to start. It has an inline fuel filter installed so I was going to replace it first but I look on the John Deere site parts catalogue and no where does it mention any part number for a fuel filter on these tractors. I have also heard that Kohler engines can be somewhat problematic depending on whether the correct fuel filter is used so I want to get the proper one but like I mentioned JD has no part number for it. Any thoughts on this possible solution because I have tried carb adjustments according to the Kohler service manual and nothing worked. I even took the hood off and tried adjusting the carb while in motion under load and that did not work.

Thanks for all the input so far.

#11 EricFromPa OFFLINE  

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Posted May 04, 2011 - 01:04 PM

If it's running a bit on the Lean side it will run hot.
If it runs hot for a period of time the head gasket will fail.And possibly warp the head and burn the valves.

It sounds like you need a set of rings.
I would do a compression check on the engine.
Let it run for a minute so you don't get a false reading.Oil buildup on top of the piston will burn off fairly quick.
Those old Kohlers will run with almost zero compression but the power output will suffer immensely.

My old 102 Cub with k241 kohler would run great until you engaged the deck.
It had 41lbs of compression.It smoked lightly for maybe 5 seconds apon startup.
Rings are cheap and gasket kits aren't that bad.I think I had $110 in rings,gasket kit and tuneup kit.

Take your head off if you decide to get rings and closely inspect the top of the piston.If it's oversized it will be stamped on top of the piston.
Rings
http://cgi.ebay.com/...=item27ba75d41e

Gasket Kit
http://cgi.ebay.com/...=item19c4014bb5

Edited by EricFromPa, May 04, 2011 - 01:17 PM.

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#12 jcallan OFFLINE  

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Posted May 04, 2011 - 03:08 PM

My old 102 Cub with k241 kohler would run great until you engaged the deck.
It had 41lbs of compression.It smoked lightly for maybe 5 seconds apon startup.
Rings are cheap and gasket kits aren't that bad.I think I had $110 in rings,gasket kit and tuneup kit.




This is exactly what is happening with mine. I saw the refresh kit on ebay. Price is good. I didn't think you could get an accurate compression reading on these engines though due to the compression relief feature they have or whatever they call it. Could I use a regular compression tester?

I guess giving the old girl a refresh won't be so bad, I was just hoping it was something a little simpler. If any one else has some tricks I would love to hear them.

Thanks

#13 jcallan OFFLINE  

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Posted May 04, 2011 - 03:20 PM

Take your head off if you decide to get rings and closely inspect the top of the piston.If it's oversized it will be stamped on top of the piston.



I don't think the piston is oversized. The tractor was purchased new by my father in 1975 and passed down the line when he sold his property so unless there is something he has not told me it is 36 years with only routine maintenance. I guess it is time.

#14 EricFromPa OFFLINE  

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Posted May 04, 2011 - 03:40 PM

This is exactly what is happening with mine. I saw the refresh kit on ebay. Price is good. I didn't think you could get an accurate compression reading on these engines though due to the compression relief feature they have or whatever they call it. Could I use a regular compression tester?


Start it up and let it warm up a bit,then shut it off and test the compression.
Turn it over for a good 30 seconds so that the compression release will not hinder your reading.
The ACR (automatic compression release) kicks out just above 650 rpm.So if you have a good strong battery you should be ok.You can also turn it over with an air impact gun if your starter is weak.

Here's a complete manual that will help you to get it back together and running.
http://www.kohlereng...pdf/tp_2379.pdf

Edited by EricFromPa, May 04, 2011 - 03:47 PM.


#15 jcallan OFFLINE  

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Posted May 21, 2011 - 10:30 AM

Another update. I had to do some gardening so I put my tiller on and made some minor carb adjustments and the thing worked perfect with no loss of power at all. In the past few weeks I replaced all the bearings on my mower deck just because they are 36 years old and it couldn't hurt. Put the mower back on last night and engaged it at a standstill, the rpms stayed at 3660 on the tach I have. Put it in gear and they immediately dropped. I agree it may be time to replace rings and give the engine a re-fresh but why would my tiller work perfect and my mower absolutely terrible. To me there would be more of a load on the tiller engaging the ground than the mower. Is this just weird or am I going crazy. Also my carb adjustments stopped the minor smoking at start-up.

Any other ideas?




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