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Buying engine? What to look for?

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#1 glgrumpy ONLINE  


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Posted April 21, 2017 - 05:59 PM

At swaps, have bought broken engines and most are not good or need real expensive parts like cranks and heavy bore jobs and etc. I do best buying them together, running or not, many times the good stuff like carbs and starters are gone. I think long as it has some compression and turns all the way over, should go. Pretty good luck with that. SO, have SunStar tractor with no engine at all to compare. Sounds like the Magnum 18 Kohler is what I want. SO, is this going to be hard one to find?  Are most of the cranks all the same size on pto side?  These big twins seem to have carbs missing most times when I've seen in past. I would prefer complete one and air cleaner and whole works if possible. I'm going to mount a driveshaft off the flywheel side, but think most of these probly ran that way and should not be issue, right?  Will these have external coils or under metal or ??  Have to make sure have that and carb, and all the tins.  I have not had to look for the bigger twins much in past. Think I should stay to one out of Simplicity to make it all fit with less make-overs?  Prices seem to be quite high on these also.  Might get in over value of tractor I bet, trying to get it working. I see these tractors often for sale, yet always seems the trans or engine is the reason for being offered and still don't know what you have till get it home and looked into. Portland swap next month, guess I'll be walking that over and looking. Just have to "Save UP!" I guess and hope for best. What other brands may have used same engine?  All of the popular ones?  Does seem when engine makers come out with new engines, all the brands scoop them up to be the latest offers. Man, talking about this has made Me Depressed!    Gotta get out of this Hobby!

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#2 boyscout862 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 21, 2017 - 07:15 PM

We all have this problem at one time or another. I have bought engines at swaps. What I pay depends what I want from them. The most that I've paid was $100 for a complete Wisconsin S14D that seemed okay and the guy was from another scout troop. It will replace the engine on one of my Bolens 1250s. I have picked up some tractors with blown transmissions but good engines for $100 each. I pick up generators for $25 with either blown engines or fried generators. Each pair will make a good machine. I bought a Kohler K181 last weekend but it now appears that the rod may be broken. The block seems okay but I am concerned about the crank. It came with the starter/generator so I didn't take a big risk.


Shop around and be creative. I needed a B&S 10hp for my son's AC B-10. I picked up an old Sears belt drive generator with a 243341 engine on it. It ran beautiful and was only $150. It had not been used much so the B-10 has an almost new engine now.
I hope that you find what you want. Good Luck, Rick

Edited by boyscout862, April 21, 2017 - 07:17 PM.

#3 EricFromPa ONLINE  



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Posted April 21, 2017 - 07:57 PM

If you have $1600 laying around this is a good choice.Comes with the conversion kit to put a 23hp Briggs vanguard twin in it.



Usually if you can find a Big Twin Kohler it will either have a crap pile of hours on it or it has a blown rod.

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#4 glgrumpy ONLINE  


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Posted April 21, 2017 - 08:14 PM

Eric, my later model manuals I have for this tractor SHOW V-twin Vanguards in them. SO, Was used even in later years. I've found other than new, very hard to find Vanguards. Needed one for my Speedex, ended up with little 12.5hp in it, was a 16.  Seems fine, and is same block and most parts. The mount platform on these is real small and my manual shows an adapter plated needed to mount in frame, and is lifted about 1" also then.  That small mount area made it hard to mount a diff engine on my Speedex too, so looked for Vanguard to drop in.

#5 Billy M ONLINE  

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Posted April 21, 2017 - 09:51 PM

Usually if you can find a Big Twin Kohler it will either have a crap pile of hours on it or it has a blown rod.

...or blown head gaskets. Kohler Commands are really good at that. Gotta love heads with 4 bolts in them!

#6 dropped82 OFFLINE  


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Posted April 21, 2017 - 10:02 PM

Keep your eye out for the earlier craftsman gt' s. They ran the Kohlers 18 twins. Some has 20's. Lots of times you can get a complete tractor for a 100 bucks or so. Those are fairly common in and around Indiana.


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#7 dodge trucker OFFLINE  

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Posted April 22, 2017 - 08:03 AM

last summer someone a couple of Craigslist listing areas away had 2 of them for $550 (for both--$300/ea)  and they were very clean and didn't look abused... and I didn't have the $$  I can find vertical shaft ones all day long, which are currently worthless to me.

Last month there was a Snapper rider on there that had a "stuck" Mag 18 that "ran last year,(according to the ad)  tractor was in good shape, I'm wondering if it just had the popped off magnet issue within the flywheel.....

I think I have that (again) with my KT19 on one of my Ariens... that I know isn't blown.

#8 Tecumseh power OFFLINE  

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Posted April 22, 2017 - 08:19 AM

If you are kind of handy you can do your own conversion . I put a Briggs 18 twin in my Allis chalmers 620. It didn't take much work to get it in and done right. I looked at some of the kits, I'm not knocking them but I was able to do somethings in areas I felt the kits were lacking to my own liking. Biggest thing was adapting the pulley to fit the flywheel and making a different mount for the sump to bolt to. I used to have a sunstar and the motor was set up the same way in it as the 620 for the most part

Edited by Tecumseh power, April 22, 2017 - 08:19 AM.

#9 chieffan ONLINE  

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Posted April 22, 2017 - 01:50 PM

The larger horizontal twins are getting real hard to come by in this neck of the woods.  When you do find one they have a nice price tag that goes with them.  A friend that deals in mower salvage and repair has a Briggs 18 hp horizontal, unknown hours, electric start 18 A alternator for $350.  Only one he has had in a long time that wasn't in a working mower.  2K will get you a 2 cyl Kubota diesel.

#10 kencombs OFFLINE  


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Posted April 23, 2017 - 01:02 PM

I've been lookin' real hard at the Harbor Freight twin.  They are around 600 bucks brand new.  Hard to beat the price and several guys have made the swap into various machines.  All with good results.


Otherwise, I'd look for a Briggs vanguard.  I have one in a Case/Ingersoll 4016, about 600 hours with no problems.  Quiet, smooth, plenty of power and good on fuel.