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Oil leaking thru carb and air filter...or is it gas?


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#1 kiddpitt OFFLINE  

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Posted October 15, 2011 - 02:52 PM

I'm knocking these leaks out one at a time! Only problem is for every one I fix, a new one pops up! Ugh!

I've got oil leaking thru the carb and air filter...at least it looks like oil. Engine runs fine & it doesn't smoke at all, so I'm questioning if it is actually oil, or maybe some upburned gas/ethanol.

Anyway, I discovered some other issues while I was in there looking.

1, the spark plug loosened, I guess from all the bouncing around and tilling. I imagine I lost some compression--would that in any way cause oil to come thru the carb and air filter?

2, I got a leak that seems to be originating from the bolt on top, the bolt beside the spark plug, and leaking onto the top 2 or 3 cooling fins.
Would this indicate a gasket issue of some kind? Could this and the oil/carb issue be related?

I know, I got some issue here and variables I need to eliminate.
I already tightened the spark plug and will clean the carb and see where that gets me.

Any other suggestions/ideas/solutions?

#2 poncho62 ONLINE  

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Posted October 15, 2011 - 02:57 PM

Kohler cast engine?

Might be the vent/valve cover behind the carb that is leaking the oil.

#3 kiddpitt OFFLINE  

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Posted October 15, 2011 - 03:31 PM

Yes cast iron Kohler...I guess it woould have helped to post what I have...LGT 145 w/ 321

Edited by kiddpitt, October 16, 2011 - 05:59 AM.


#4 HDWildBill ONLINE  

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Posted October 15, 2011 - 03:44 PM

I'm not familiar with the Kohler cast iron but it sounds like you have a crankcase ventilation issue. You are possibly getting oil back through the breather and it is coming through the head gasket as well.

#5 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted October 15, 2011 - 03:51 PM

Have you checked to see if the oil is coming from the crankcase breather tube that enters the back side of the air breather canister. It also sounds like you have a leaking head gasket. I had a similar problem on the K321 in my JD314. I was getting oil running out of the breather. Enough was coming out when the engine was hot to cause the tractor to drip oil as you drove along. The cause was excessive carbon buildup at the cylinder,piston and head, particularly near the exhaust valve. I removed the carbon, flattened the head and cylinder top and installed a new head gasket. It does not smoke or push any oil out the breather now. Here is a thread where I go into it.
http://gardentractor...-oil-leak-6308/
  • dstaggs said thank you

#6 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted October 15, 2011 - 06:36 PM

Brian, you took the words right out of my mouth. I agree totally with it all.

#7 kiddpitt OFFLINE  

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Posted October 16, 2011 - 08:43 AM

Posted Image
Just to clarify, a small amount of oil is coming from the green circle, but most is coming from the red circle. The higher the throttle, the more oil comes from the red bolt. None from the blue area. Still evidence of a head gasket issue, or could I relube these bolts for a better seal?
Also, I've learned to start with the simple and work towards the hard, so I ran carb cleaner thru with the gas this morning...no leaking thru the carb and air filter.
Also, would a head gasket leak, or oil thru the breather tube show on the spark plug? I read the plug and it's fine, just as it should be, no evidence of any problems.
I'm not disagreeing with anything anyone has said, I just want to fully diagnose my problem before going into to make repairs. If this picture is all the evidence of a head gasket leak, that's what's getting fixed! Thanks guys!

#8 poncho62 ONLINE  

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Posted October 16, 2011 - 09:04 AM

Sure looks like the head gasket is leaking.....You do realize that there is a head bolt missing...blue circle? It might be broken off in the block

#9 HDWildBill ONLINE  

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Posted October 17, 2011 - 10:12 AM

Without a doubt you have a head gasket problem. As poncho62 pointed out you have a head bolt missing which probably lead to the problem and which could create a whole new problem getting the broken piece out. When you pull the remaining bolt I would clean them up thoroughly and inspect them under a magnifying glass to make sure they are not cracked as well.

#10 kiddpitt OFFLINE  

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Posted October 17, 2011 - 11:21 AM

I was taking the head off and figured I'd take a picture of where oil was coming from. No cracked/missing bolts! I removed it! : )

I'll post some pics of the carbon buildup when I get home this evening and some pics of the air filter area, because I can't seem to find the breather tube.

Also, I got a copy of the service manual and taking the head off is regular maintenance anyway (every 500 hours)....so I'm actually kinda glad this happened!

#11 kiddpitt OFFLINE  

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Posted October 17, 2011 - 04:10 PM

Posted ImagePosted Image
Here's the carbon buildup. I guess I'll be checking the timing, carb adjustment and spark plug (which looks good). Is there anything else that can cause this?

Posted Image
Here's my carb and air filter housing. From the diagrams I've seen I was expecting the breather tube to attach to the back of the filter housing (the round blue piece on the left). Am I wrong?

I ordered the genuine Kohler head gasket today.

#12 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted October 17, 2011 - 04:48 PM

Yes, the breather tube should connect there. I'm not sure exactly what was going on with my engine but when I removed the carbon and put on a new gasket it solved the problems with the oil being pushed out the breather. My theory is that the carbon at the top of the cylinder was actually pushing the piston out away from the wall causing there to be blowby at that spot, which pressurized the crankcase and pushed oil out into the breather. A mechanic friend of mine thought that the rings may have been stuck as well. I sprayed a lot of carb cleaner and penetrating oil on the rings/piston while it was waiting for reassembly. Then I changed the oil before putting it back together. Yours doesn't look as bad as mine did. If you look at the pics in the thread I linked to above you can see where the top of the piston was worn away from making contact with the carbon. If you do a careful job of installing a new gasket you should be able to stop that oil leak on the head. Make sure you get the head and cylinder deck flat and buy new grade 8 studs if the old ones look stressed. I also had to do some work with a tap to make sure all the bolts would go into the cylinder far enough to seat the gasket properly. If the bolt fetches up in the hole you will think it is tight but it won't be down onto the head properly. Ask questions if you have them!

#13 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted October 17, 2011 - 06:16 PM

If you pull the cover off the air filter, you should be able to see the tube. It will be on the opposite side of the carb you took that pic from. It is usually hooked into the base of the air filter assy.

#14 kiddpitt OFFLINE  

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Posted October 31, 2011 - 11:33 AM

I downloaded the service manual, that thing is great to have. My K321 doesn't have a breather tube, but there's an opening and it just vents.

I replaced the head gasket and fixed the timing. I still had some leakage, though not nearly as much. Yesterday I replaced all the gaskets on the air cleaner side of the engine. I'm going to run it when I get home from work to see if I've finally solved everything, I'll also do a vaccum test to see where that's at.

Thanks again everybody for all the help.




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