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Kohler 321 oily mess-Source of oil leak?


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#1 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted May 15, 2011 - 06:44 AM

Kohler Flywheel side.jpg

Hi folks
This engine is out of a 83 JD 314. I took the covers off the engine and found a real mess. Lots of oily gunk in the fins. Most of the fins were clear of dirt and grass so I think someone blew out all the loose stuff recently. I have included pic's of the engine. I know that the PCV breather has been leaking oil but I can't figure out how oil would get up to the head area. Would a leaking head gasket look like this? Would the blower push oil all over the cylinder? I have a head gasket and was planning to take the head off to de-carbon and have a look see. I am also replacing coil, points, rod and condenser. I have the parts to rebuild the breather as well. I already degreased the bottom part of the engine. It was quite oily. Any input/advise appreciated.
Thanks

Attached Thumbnails

  • Kohler starter side.jpg
  • Kohler PTO side.jpg
  • Kohler carb side.jpg


#2 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted May 15, 2011 - 07:14 AM

Kind of looks like a leaky head gasket to me, but I could be wrong

#3 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted May 15, 2011 - 07:45 AM

Looks to be a combination of a couple of things, definitely a head gasket, but something is letting the oil get out of the combustion chamber, whether it is rings or valve guides/seals. If the breather was plugged up that may be all that is forcing the oil out of the combustion chamber. If the head gasket was leaking that long I am going to guess that the head may be warped a little. Did you ever notice any exhaust smoke coming out anywhere other then the exhaust?

#4 Alc OFFLINE  

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Posted May 15, 2011 - 08:25 AM

My guess would be the head gasket too. I would look into replacing the rings , this is just a guess but maybe the rings are bad letting too much oil past ,built up excessive carbon , raised the compression too high and now pushed past the head gasket. Al

#5 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted May 15, 2011 - 09:18 AM

Air can blow oil everywhere, and in weird directions. Could just be the leaky breather, but likely the head gasket also. I'm not sure of rings being bad though, as inside the exhaust elbow it looks perfect. While you have the head off, look at the cylinder wall VERY closely. I have seen them cracked clean through & cause an oily mess like that. They'll still run fine cracked too.
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#6 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted May 15, 2011 - 09:45 AM

Brian, Isn't the oil fill tube located above the head in that area. Could it be that someone spilled oil on top of the the engine tins there and it ran into that area? Just asking, I don't know if it could be that of not.

#7 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted May 15, 2011 - 11:47 AM

Thanks everyone for the input. I have a head gasket so I will be having a look inside. I have only had the tractor a short time and have ran it maybe for an hour. It wasn't smoking at all and the exhaust smells clean, not oily. I didn't notice any exhaust coming from anywhere but the muffler. The exhaust port has a fine film of dark grey dust in it.
I wouldn't be surprised if it had been overheated in the past. There was a lot of dust and grass under the engine and although most of the fins look clean you can see the oily ones are full of stuff. Hopefully the block is not cracked. It is possible that someone spilt oil when filling it but not me. The oil was full and clean when I checked it at the PO's place. It doesn't look like the head has been off for a long time, if ever. The bolts are rusted and show no signs of ever having been removed. Should I hit them with WD40 before trying to remove them?
This is like detective work. Trying to figure out what history has gone on to bring a tractor to the state it is in. I kind of enjoy that part of it although paying to fix it can get painful. I still don't have as much into this as the cheapest box store tractor so I'm not really concerned about the cost ...yet. I'll probably pull the head off tomorrow. I just finished removing the axle and pressing out the bushings. I want to get that back together soon.
Thanks Again

#8 mikebramel OFFLINE  

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Posted May 15, 2011 - 11:59 AM

I had an identical K301 with the fins plugged. The headgasket was junk and piston was scuffed up bad. .010 on the bore

#9 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted May 15, 2011 - 12:16 PM

I've got a copy of the service manual and I think I'll start reading it. I'll have to take some measurements and see the extent of the wear. It may be re-power time. It actually seemed to be running pretty good but I guess these engines can run fine when quite worn. I'll be cleaning that junk out of the fins before I take the head off to see if I can find the source of the oil. I don't understand how oil can be leaking from the head in that quantity. I'm thinking it may have been coming from the breather and being blown all over the place by the fan.

Edited by JDBrian, May 15, 2011 - 12:16 PM.
Typo fix


#10 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted May 15, 2011 - 02:29 PM

WD40 isn't a good penetrating fluid. I'd use Kroil or PB Blaster. Usually it's the bolts next to the exhaust valves that give any problems. Also, tap the bolt heads with a small hammer. Not like you're driving a nail or anything, but just a few hard taps on each. The shock helps break stuck ones free. You may have to use a drift pin as not to hit the fins.
I could easily be wrong, but I don't expect the engine is in bad need of a rebuild going by the exhaust. Leaks past a head gasket or tiny crack can make it look as though there is a bad oil leak, but they are built up over a long period of a time as yours has. Just a minute amount of oil from the combustion chamber leaking for months or longer is what it takes to form as thick a sludge as you have here.
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#11 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted May 16, 2011 - 05:12 AM

I went out early this morning and the head bolts were not very tight on the side where most of the oil seems to have leaked. Not loose but maybe 10-20ft/lbs to loosen them. Not typical in my limited experience and maybe the root cause of the leak. As you said above the ones on the exhaust side are tight. I didn't force them, sprayed it again and left it. I'll follow your advise. Thanks Daniel.

#12 tractormike OFFLINE  

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Posted May 16, 2011 - 06:02 AM

You might be lucky and find it is only a leaking head gasket. I have pulled a Tecumseh HH series engine apart and found a gunked up mess like you found around the electronic ignition module. After a good cleaning and a new head gasket all was well again. Hope you luck out!

#13 Alc OFFLINE  

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Posted May 16, 2011 - 07:33 AM

That's good news to find just loose bolts and only a head gasket to repair it ! Al

#14 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted May 16, 2011 - 07:33 AM

The HH120 on my Massey MF12 was the same way. Only difference is mine is in need of new rings but the head gasket was bad and you could see the exhaust coming out from under the head. I pulled the head and cleaned everything up really good and put a new gasket on. She has never run so good since I have had it. It is amazing was a little loss of compression can do to the way a motor runs.
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#15 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted May 16, 2011 - 09:50 AM

I hope that is all that is wrong but at least the loose bolts are a clue to what might be happening. It looks like the head is alluminum? Hopefully it wasn't damaged where it was leaking.




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