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Kohler 321 oily mess-Source of oil leak?


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49 replies to this topic

#16 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted May 16, 2011 - 10:36 AM

Most of the heads are aluminum due to it's heat transfer. I think you will be surprised at how strong the heads are. I doubt there is anything wrong with it other then the gasket being messed up. Just make sure you do the proper torque sequence when you put the head back on. Also don't forget to retorque them hot.

#17 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted May 16, 2011 - 07:18 PM

Well I got all the bolts loose except 1. There were 3 of them on the exhaust valve side that were real tight. I got 2 of them out by using penetrating oil and tightening then loosening a few times. After a hour or so they came out. The one that is left will come about 1/4turn and then it gets hard to turn again- like it is cross threaded. It is the bolt near the spark plug that is just behind the exhaust port when you are looking into the port. I tapped it with a punch as Daniel suggested and used a lot of penetrating oil on it. I plugged off the fins near it and flooded the area with Formula 70, a penetrating oil that I've used with success before. I kept the bolt head submerged in the stuff for about a half hour. No change at all. I am leaving it for another day. Should I try heating it or just keep cranking the bolt out? It is loosening. The washer is loose. I am guessing that the bolt is harder than the block and will probably damage the threads on the way out.
On a positive note the intake valve stem is visible and looks like new. I am surprised to find it shiny all the way up to the valve head. Is that normal in a 28 yr old engine?Perhaps the engine was worked on in the past?
If anyone has run into these hard to remove bolts before, let me know how you dealt with it.

#18 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted May 16, 2011 - 07:21 PM

Biggest thing is to just be patient with the bolt and slowly work at it and don't force it. Keep threading it in and out, even if it is only a 1/8 turn of progress with each try it will come out eventually as long as it isn't forced.

#19 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted May 17, 2011 - 05:15 AM

Success! I went out this morning and decided to try it again. I put a torque wrench on it set to 20ft/lbs and worked back and forth a couple of times and it came out using less than 20ft/lbs, but not freely. The bolt has some damage on the threads. I will need to get a new bolt and run a tap through the block. Does anyone know if I can substitute a grade 8 bolt or do I need to get an actual Kohler bolt?
The piston has a little carbon on it but not a lot. The exhaust valve looks almost new with EXS 4 or EXH 4 (can't remember exactly) stamped on it. The intake valve has some black gunk on top of it but looks in good shape. I think this engine has been worked on in the recent past and maybe the head gasket wasn't torqued properly or was not retorqued when hot. I'll try to post some pictures soon.
Thanks everyone for all the help! It has been 20yrs or so since I have done this kind of thing.

#20 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted May 17, 2011 - 05:25 AM

Glad you got it apart without breaking the bolt off. I don't know about bolt replacement. Probably would be best to get a replacement bolt for a salvage Kohler.

#21 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted May 17, 2011 - 05:31 AM

That's good to hear , that's a good idea on cleaning up all the threads in the block and bolts . Does the manual call for any oil on the threads when it's goes back together ?

#22 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted May 17, 2011 - 08:49 AM

The Kohler manual says to lubricate the bolts. I'll be cleaning up the head tonight and checking it for flatness. I should be able to find a head bolt locally. There are a couple of Kohler service places in town. If not there is always JDparts. I can usually get stuff in 3-4 business days from the dealer if they don't have it in stock.

#23 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted May 17, 2011 - 09:00 AM

I don't know what is officially recommended, but I use grade 8 bolts for head bolts myself & no issues.

#24 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted May 17, 2011 - 11:12 AM

Thats good to know Daniel. The grade marking on the Kohler bolts is grade 8 so I figured it should be OK to use another grade 8 bolt of the same length.

#25 Billygoat OFFLINE  

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Posted May 17, 2011 - 06:33 PM

I put 400 grit wetordry sandpaper on a piece of heavy glass, wet it with diesel fuel, and use a figure-8 motion to smooth out the gasket surface. This is known as a "poor-man's Bridgeport". Check frequently and don't take off anymore than needed to get a flat surface.
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#26 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted May 17, 2011 - 07:03 PM

There seems to be some damage to the top of the piston where there was carbon buildup at the top of the cylinder. I don't know how serious this is. The cylinder walls look good. There was a ridge of carbon at the top of the ring travel near the exhaust valve. I carefully removed this and there is very little ridging at the top of the cylinder. Heres some pictures before and after cleaning some of the carbon away with a closeup of the piston. What's the prognosis?
I am out of my depth here. I always seem to be asking for help. Thanks in advance.
Piston closeup.jpg

Attached Thumbnails

  • Piston as found.jpg
  • Head as Found.jpg
  • After cleaning.jpg
  • Carbon and piston damage.jpg

Edited by JDBrian, May 17, 2011 - 07:06 PM.
clarify picture descriptions


#27 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted May 18, 2011 - 07:28 PM

Looked online today and found a utube video of a guy rebuilding a K321. It had the same problem area at the top of the piston as mine does. In the end it looks like he didn't rebuild it due to expense and found a second engine to use.
I need to get a set of bore measuring gauges to find out how far the cylinder is out of round. I will likely end up putting it back together and seeing how it runs. If I can get 50-100hrs out of it that will do until I get a re-power engine or do a total rebuild. I am concerned that the deck of the block might not be smooth enough to make a good seal. How can I clean away the carbon and remove minor imperfections in the seal are?
I am pretty sure the engine has been worked on before. I found a flanged washer in the gunk of the cylinder fins. It looked like it was maybe a valve spring washer or something. Hopefully it isn't missing from the inside. I am afraid to open the valve cover and look.

#28 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted May 18, 2011 - 08:06 PM

The 16hp K341 is the worst about galling the cylinder next to the valves. This one doesn't look to be galled, but is the top edge of the cylinder eroded some? Hard to tell for sure. But to me, you might have a good engine for a rebuild, or maybe even run it as-is, except to look at the valve springs for anything missing. As to the deck, it doesn't look that bad to me. For things like this, I use die grinder "cookies. Use as fine as you can get by with and they'll clean it up real nice.
ATD-21310-2T.jpg
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#29 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted May 18, 2011 - 08:21 PM

I keep looking at picture #2 showing the head . Is that a valve relief cut in it ?

#30 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted May 18, 2011 - 08:24 PM

I keep looking at picture #2 showing the head . Is that a valve relief cut in it ?


Yep, it sure is.
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