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Discussion Starter #1
I am in the process of rebuilding the 14hp Kohler engine on my 1977 Power King. Although I've had this tractor for almost 15 years, I made the mistake of letting it get low on oil (yes, I know better!), and when it started making noise I shut it down, added oil and I restarted it. But very quickly afterward it started knocking very bad and before I could shut it down again it died. It still turns over when I crank it, but will not run. From the thumb test over the spark plug hole I don't feel any compression, but based on the Kohler manual, as these engines have automatic compression release, I'm not sure you can check for compression that way. So I guess it's time to open it up and see what happened. As having never done an engine rebuild before, if anyone has any advice to give, I would appreciate it. For me, the easy part is done - I have the engine out. As I have little experience disassembling and re-assembling engines, now the hard part starts. Thanks in advance to anyone who has any advice.


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My guess is (and this is just a guess as I don't have all that much engine experience either) the rod broke. At best, you will need a good hone job, new piston, rod and rings. Spend a little more and get genuine kohler parts. At worst, the cylinder and the crank has been damaged. You won't know any of that until you get the head off at least. Take the head off and turn the crank by hand. If the piston doesn't move, you know the rod broke. Inspect the cylinder wall for damage (cracks, chunks of wall broken out, grooves too deep to hone or machine out, etc.).

Yes, you would feel compression with your thumb over the hole. That's what makes me think the rod broke. If you're luck, the rod didn't do any other damage. The piston more than likely is seized in there too with the lack of oil. Good luck and let us know what you find.
 

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Well the good news is IMHO one of the best engines to learn to rebuild. Its not that hard, but still a little bit of a challange, so you have to think, and learn a little.

First off you need a manual!!!! You can download one from the Kohler website for free if you dont have one. [see the sticky in the "small engine" board]
 

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You don't have to pull the head to determine if the rod broke, just put a pencil or pen down the plug hole and turn the crank. If the pencil/pen doesn't move up or down the rod broke. :goodl:
 

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I don't think the spark plug hole is directly over the piston so it won't move no matter what you put down there.
 

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BTW did you allready pull off some of the engine tins in that second picture, or is that the way it was?? If so thats one of your problems. She would have over heated without those cyl tins.
 

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Yes, you're close but I would think the head has to come off anyway. It's not a big deal and the gasket isn't that much. The biggest thing is getting a torque wrench to put it back on if you don't have one. I'm bettin on the broken rod though. I just hope it didn't damage the cylinder wall. I guess I should ask how easy it turns before I say that though.:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ingersoll444,

Thanks. I assume you're refering to the service manual. I do have a Kohler Service Maual, Parts Manual and Owners Manual for the K321 engine. I have not found the service manual to be real helpful, but I expect as I get into the disassembly it may make more sense. I'll know more as I get into taking apart the engine this weekend.

Thanks to all others for your responses. Any and all help, suggestions, etc. are greatly appreciated. Your past experience can help shorten my learning curve!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ingersoll444 - Yes, I did remove the top engine shroud and a couple of the engine tins (one behind the coil & condensor and one on the other side). Overheating is not the problem.

Jeff - It does seem to turn over very easy and no scraping noise so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I did not damage the cylinder wall.
 

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Jeff - It does seem to turn over very easy and no scraping noise so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I did not damage the cylinder wall.
As am I. If it didn't damage the cylinder wall, I think you should be fine with a new piston, rod and rings.:praying:
 

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If the rod did break, then look the block over very carfully because sometime the rod will be propelled by the crankshaft into the block, and could crack it. It happened once to me on a 15 hp Kholer V-twin.
 

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Well i had the same problem but the pervious owner had rolled it over ! and it was running up side down. the top of the piston had cracked, when i started it it ran fine for 20 mins. or so the it pushed out blue white smoke and died .:thSick: so i tore it down did some surfing on the net and found a kolher replacement / rebuild kit for 68.00 new piston rings gasgets. i honed it out wile waiting for the parts to arive , so that when they came in i was up and running in no time ! i was lucky no major damage to crank, been running fine for 3 mounths:thThumbsU
 

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Discussion Starter #16
For anyone interested, I pulled the oil pan off the engine this weekend and this is what I found. What a mess. But fortunately, other that having to replace the piston and connecting rod, everything else looked okay. There did not appear to be any damage to the crankshaft or the cylinder wall. I plan on replacing the valves as well while I have everything apart.
 

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I would replace the head bolts and the governor gear if it is plastic. Governor gear becomes brittle after several years of use.
 

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Thanks. I must say, that's a broken rod if I ever saw one. He's very lucky.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well it took awhile to get my engine back together. Although the label on the engine housing is for a 14 HP, somewhere along the way a previous owner must have replaced the engine with a 12 HP engine so the piston size I ordered was wrong and had to be returned. The good news is that after cleaning up the engine and replacing the piston, rod and valves the tractor is now running again! But in the process a new problem. I now have a clutch problem. When I strat the engine in neutral and I step on the clutch to put it in gear it grinds and will not go into gear. Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions of what we might have done wrong putting the engine back in? I appreciate any help.
 
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