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Old 06-15-2009, 02:48 PM   post #1 of 10
steve42
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Default Dad's L110 engine smokes badly

My dad bought an L110 back in 2004 from the big orange box store. He uses it for mowing his 1 acre property, and occassionally he mows a yard for a vacationing friend or someone in need. Like all of his motorized vehicles, he babies it fairly well, keeping it in the shop and checking the oil before every mowing.

This season, the Kohler 17.5 engine began smoking upon cranking and whenever the engine goes under strain. He has only 166 hours on it.

He talked to a repair shop (the nearest JD Dealer is nearly 60 miles from him) and they said it is probably a broken ring. He called the JD dealership to find out what the repair for such a malady would cost, and they told him a rebuild of the engine would run $650. That's 1/3 of what the tractor cost.

He's mad because he bought that tractor to step UP from the B&S engine of the L100.

I have seen mixed reactions to the Kohler Command series, and it looks like he's been bitten.

Steve
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Old 06-15-2009, 04:13 PM   post #2 of 10
davidg
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Default Re: Dad's L110 engine smokes badly

he can buy a used or rebuilt engine to replace it cheaper than that. it don't necessarily have to be a kohler that goes back in. i would also recommend calling a mom and pop small engine repair place, they will be cheaper than the dealer usually.
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Old 06-15-2009, 04:46 PM   post #3 of 10
steve42
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Default Re: Dad's L110 engine smokes badly

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Originally Posted by davidg View Post
he can buy a used or rebuilt engine to replace it cheaper than that. it don't necessarily have to be a kohler that goes back in. i would also recommend calling a mom and pop small engine repair place, they will be cheaper than the dealer usually.
Agreed, but the failure of an engine after only 166 hours is completely unreasonable. If the Kohler Command series is as bad as I keep hearing they are, why isn't there a class action lawsuit against Kohler in the works?

Considering the recent threads comparing X-series to the LA series, plenty of people are willing to state that with light duty use, the budget JD tractors should last longer than 5 years!

My dad is totally AR about maintenance. He gets the oil changed in his car if it hits 3,000 miles while he is on vacation. He has pampered this LT, and it just gave up on him.

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Old 06-15-2009, 05:13 PM   post #4 of 10
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Default Re: Dad's L110 engine smokes badly

not good. i would be a lot ticked myself. but then again it is a 5 year old, maybe 5.5-6 season depending on when bought, and well out of warranty. i agree that 166 hours is WAY early for a failure, but honestly sometimes it goes that way. i would be trying to get someone from Kohler on the phone to see if there is anyway in heck they will at least help out. you never know until you ask!
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:11 PM   post #5 of 10
S DIAMOND
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Default Re: Dad's L110 engine smokes badly

Broken ring? Probably not.

With two tests, you can narrow down the more than likely suspect(s).

A leak down test and a crankcase vacuum test (manometer) would be very helpfuel.

It would be better to work your way up from easy to catastrophic before total replacement.

Could be something simple with the breather, or a blown head gasket.
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:16 PM   post #6 of 10
Rick_okla
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Default Re: Dad's L110 engine smokes badly

Kohler Rep told me it was a mfg porcess on where the head bolts were not all torqued down by the machine because it was over heated, yet no service bullitin was sent out. My repair cost will be $300 after my 6 month out of 2 year warranty. I need a class action lawsuit
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:28 PM   post #7 of 10
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Default Re: Dad's L110 engine smokes badly

if the kohler rep said that, i would take it to the dealer and get a deere rep involved. they should cover it for you, especially if kohler put that in writing.
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:31 PM   post #8 of 10
kcp877
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Default Re: Dad's L110 engine smokes badly

I'd get that head gasket checked out. Before he gives up might as well pull the head off. Broken rings I don't believe would smoke lightly, compression would be an issue as well as power and your oil consumption would go up. Is this one of the Kohlers with or without the adjustable valves? Whats the oil level like? Full, burning oil? What color is the smoke? Head gaskets aren't that bad to change, a little more work than on the briggs, but not terrible.
Also, you can grab a craftsman or scotts with one of these engines used fairly cheap, they are good engines, run quiet
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Old 09-01-2009, 07:35 AM   post #9 of 10
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Default Re: Dad's L110 engine smokes badly

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He has pampered this LT, and it just gave up on him.
A mechanic once told me that you should not pamper an engine, especially during the break in period. If you pamper it during the break in, the rings won't seat properly.

As he put it "If you baby your engine, a baby it will be".
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Old 09-01-2009, 08:32 AM   post #10 of 10
Walt 2002
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Default Re: Dad's L110 engine smokes badly

"I'd get that head gasket checked out. "

Agree.

"Broken ring? Probably not."

Agree again. That is generally a response from someone who doesn't know and doesn't want to admit he doesn't know what the problem is especially if the problem isn't going to involve him.

Some Kohler Commands had problems with the crankcase breather which caused smoking at start up. I thought they had resolved that by now. At any rate, I wouldn't take any desperate measures unless it is drinking oil or has other serious symptoms. While I am primarily a B&S person, the Kohler Command is generally a very good engine. The cheaper Kohler line, can't think of the name right off, is another thing.

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