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Discussion Starter #1
Two and a half years after originally picking up this 5240 I finally have parts, a shop, and space to work on it. The original thread is here: Commercial 10 and 5240

The shroud and recoil starter were AWOL when I bought it. The LH steering brake was locked up and there was some kind of homebrew ignition system on it but otherwise the unit seemed to be in decent shape. I kept my eye out for a used shroud and recoil assembly for what turned out to be years... Finally a non-running but solid looking K161T Kohler showed up on Craigslist for cheaper than what I could find a recoil starter for. I was lucky enough to snag it. It's off of a Troy-Bilt Horse (I believe) tiller and the seller said it had no spark, so he had re-powered the tiller with something newer.

The engine serial number is even for a '78 so it's right around when my K181 on the 5240 would've been built. However, I have my doubts about the engine on the tractor being original - so without the serial number tag who knows what year it is.
 

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I started tearing into it yesterday. An impact and wheel puller kit generally make removing the flywheel a quick job. I checked resistance on the coil and didn't see any huge red flags - the resistance on the primary was close to but not zero, and the secondary was right around 9K Ohms. I'll clean it up a little more and stick it back on there.

I did discover that the wire insulation was broken where the primary passes through a clamp to get to the currently disconnected condenser and points box. Also, the spark plug wire connector sort of just lies next to the spark plug, so that may not have been making consistently good contact either. I'll remove the extra ignition system junk, replace the connector to the spark plug, clean up the rest of the wiring, and see if I get a spark.

The ugly plastic trash bag is just there to catch most of the gunk as it gets scraped off.
 

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Gravely1964
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Good to see you posting again John. And even getting to work on a machine!
 

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Alright, it's question time. I went to order points and noticed that all the online Kohler parts lookups say "When Installing 47 150 03-S breaker on engines below Serial #13007371, always use new breaker rod 41 411 01-S"

The 4715003S part is the only one still available and supersedes the older breaker/points set.

Anyone know what the difference in the points plunger is? I can't find much on the internet about this changeover, but I'm assuming it must be longer/shorter than the points plunger/breaker rod used on the older engines like mine.
 

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IIRC the new push rod is made of a different material. The original was made of a type of plastic that was prone to wear or breakage.
 

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IIRC the new push rod is made of a different material. The original was made of a type of plastic that was prone to wear or breakage.
Material... Thanks! With that in mind, I searched and found several references to earlier rods being aluminum. The latest version is supposedly steel. Apparently there was a Kohler bulletin for this but I'm not having any luck finding it on the net.

I think this means I can leave what I have on the engine for right now and things will work. It still opens the points properly, so it must not be too worn.
 

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Like tempting fate eh?
 

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Like tempting fate eh?
For a few hours or so of run time, sure. This engine could wind up smoking like an Alco PA locomotive or have a rod knock. If that's the case then it'll drop on the priority list.

Checking with a magnet should be quick though. I'll try to do that sometime this weekend.
 

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Richard-tx, you'll be happy to know that a magnet stuck to the breaker rod in the engine on my 5240. Either it's a later replacement engine or someone updated it. For kicks, I took the magnet to the rod on the spare Troy-Bilt and it was definitely aluminum.

I cleaned the throttle linkages/cable and the fuel tank, and put in new fuel hose and a filter. Nothing is getting through the fuel pump so I'll probably have to buy a new plastic-bodied one to replace it. The engine did pop off once but that was just carb cleaner burning off. Still, it should mean I'm just missing fuel.

Also put fresh SAE 30 in the transmission and engine.
 

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Today was fuel pump and carb day. I'd been trying to avoid taking apart the fuel pump because I didn't figure I'd be able to put it back together with no rebuild kits available, but so far so good. I was surprised to see this one has a plastic body. There was a slug of sludge blocking the inlet valve. Once I blew everything out it started pushing fuel through. I quickly cleaned up the carburetor and put everything back together, but it was getting late so we'll see what it does tomorrow.

All pictures are before cleaning. I had already dumped a bunch of powdery stuff out of the carb bowl.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It runs! I couldn't get it to grab in low axle range which led to 5 minutes of cleaning off all the gunk and sand built up around the external Swiftamatic linkages on the axle casting. Now that works well, too. I also need to clean up the PTO as I was unable to get the lever to engage. I'm sure something is rusted up, worn, or broken in the shipper shaft area.

The engine has the usual knock-ish Kohler K181 sound but I don't think it's the rod, at least. I need to dial in the carb and check the engine speed at low and high idle. I do have a slight gas leak around the carb bowl/drain plug somewhere that needs to be addressed before I run it for a longer period of time. The bowl is pretty dinged up so I'll be taking more parts from the Troy-Bilt engine. I also need to go through the steering brakes. They might get pulled off for now as one side has no resistance and the lever just flops around while you're running the machine.
 

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I didn't notice the steering brake in the first set of pictures. You don't see that much on the 8 hp models.

It takes real intestinal fortitude to clean up a carb and fuel pump, reassemble, and then wait until the next day to try to start. Kind of like telling a kid they can open a present on Christmas eve but then saying it's getting late and making them wait until Christmas morning!

Just funning with you. Like an fool, I would have been out there all night trying to start it if I had got that far.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I didn't notice the steering brake in the first set of pictures. You don't see that much on the 8 hp models.

It takes real intestinal fortitude to clean up a carb and fuel pump, reassemble, and then wait until the next day to try to start. Kind of like telling a kid they can open a present on Christmas eve but then saying it's getting late and making them wait until Christmas morning!

Just funning with you. Like an fool, I would have been out there all night trying to start it if I had got that far.
Normally I would've kept on trucking, but at some point I looked out my shop window and realized it was dark. Checked the time and it was 8pm - I hadn't eaten anything since noon, so I figured I'd better save it for later. I also prefer getting them going outside in case they leak (like this one did) and I wanted to check the transmission operation, too. It definitely took some patience though!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thread from the dead but this has been my main mower for the last couple of years. It kept randomly bogging down especially after warming up. If you kicked it down to idle quickly enough you could keep it from dying, and eventually you could throttle up again and run it for a bit until you hit the next heavier patch of grass. I went through the carb multiple times, replaced plug and condenser, replaced fuel filters, wondered if I had boiling gas from the K181 muffler, etc. It turned out to just need new ignition points.

However, I replaced them maybe 20 hours ago and they are burned again already, so this tractor has done this to two sets of points. I've had two different condensers on it, so I'm thinking the coil is going bad. New Kohler coils are close to $150 new so I'd like to be sure, and there's no easy way to test them unless they've flat out failed. Anyone ever experienced this before and found the coil to be at fault?
 

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Gravely1964
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From memory and granted not sure witch side. But if pits the points one way condenser. If it does the other side coil. I would check around ebay ect myself. Im not 100% that you can get it from kohler now.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
None of the Kohler service manuals mention anything affecting the points other than the condenser, but it can't be the only thing. I'm also thinking I should check the resistance of all of the ignition wiring to make sure I don't have something weird going on there... Might be worth replacing some of the wires before spending money on a coil.

I've seen some ~$30 aftermarket coils with very mixed reviews. I could take the gamble on one of them but since this is my main walkbehind for now I'm more inclined to get an OEM coil... If I could be sure that it was the problem. Ugh.

2449419
 
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