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Discussion Starter #21
Toby, I changed the oil and only moved the carb up to the engine to crank it. Also have a cutoff on the remote tank. I did leave the old filter on it because the oil I put in it was What I drained out my truck. It's not over filled, only up to the add mark. I've reused oil before to test/flush an engine and never run into anything like this.
Eric, I saw that on the other forum. What size is that CV? A garden tractor with a 48 inch deck seems like a big load for a CV single. I put a CV17 in the Husqvarna with a 48 inch deck and you can tell it's loaded when you get in heavy grass.
Cannon
 

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Discussion Starter #22
I decided to remove the head. My first surprise was the amount of oil that had stayed in the valve cover. It hadn't been run in 6 or 7 hours. I rechecked the oil, still only to the add mark. I had put a pan under it to catch the expected drips but there is about an inch of oil in this pan. I need to check the oil return passage. I don't have a lot of experience with blown head gaskets but it looks like this one is to me. I couldn't feel any ring ridge at the top of the cylinder. I figure the cooling fins were blocked and it got hot enough to blow the gasket. I usually use a razor blade scraper and an old wood chisel to clean gasket surfaces but that may not be the best thing here. I have a fine wire wheel I use on my cordless drill or I could get one of those plastic/rubber wheels, what should I use to clean the block and head gasket surface? I agree Toby, I've had at least 10 of these Command singles that I bought not running and this is the first bad head gasket I've found.
Cannon
 

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I just use a gasket scraper or putty knife and sometimes a razor blade scraper.
I clean them up a little on a flat piece of glass or steel and sheet of sandpaper (100-120 grit)
until it looks to be sanding evenly.
I would clean (prob wire brush or wheel) all the carbon in the combustion chamber of the head.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
I checked the oil return hole in the block this morning and it was plugged. I tried to blow it out with an air nozzle in the dipstick hole but that just blew a lifter out of it's bore. I had to just dig it out with a wire, I'm sure some of it went into the sump but maybe it'll come out with the oil. I could't tell what it was, maybe particles of the blown gasket.
Cannon
 

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I would use a brass wire wheel (expensive!) or some of the 3M scotch brite(?) cleaning wheels. You do not want to make the head or block surface irregular. I *think* the Kohler surface was almost mirror-like from the factory. After cleaning, using some oiled 500/600 grit on some plate glass, figure-8 motion, can show bright spots and non-bright spots if any. Very light pressure, just the weight of the head alone. Inspect closely the area where the failure occured(like the B&S pushrod chamber weak spot from the pics) to insure that is 'bright' when you clean up the head surface. I'd also get out a steel straightedge and walk it over the block looking for 'low spots'. Hope not to find...
I'd also take the time, this far apart, so spruce up the valves & seats, though I expect they are good. Dunno if overheating due to daubers, mice, chaff or clogged blower fins would cause the exhaust valve to get hotter than normal, to the point it started to leak, but expect it didn't do it any good... Take a few minutes to pop the keepers and check valve & seat. I would. But, I don't want surprises, though I am tending towards lazy as I get older. So far so good with the CVs I have possession of, and they are both old enough to order up a cold one. One has needed a carb kit, needle & seat, the other has one on the shelf, but not needed so far. Time will tell.
As much oil as there was in the pushrod chamber, it should have fogged for mosquitoes for miles around when it was running. I'm trying to figure out how the oil got out, back to the sump.... I guess it didn't and that's why you found so much. Only way back was around the valve lifters, and the drain port. The pushrod and rocker were well lubed, at least, submerged in oil. Never seen such.
tom
 

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Discussion Starter #26
I expected the oil return hole to be larger. A 1/8 drill bit will go in it but a 5/32 will not. I've had several old Briggs flatheads apart but this will be my first OHV head gasket. I have several Commands and have never had any problems except a few leaky carbs, one coil and one fuel pump. I do have 2 of the 16 hp engines with the funky ignition system that don't run but I haven't needed them yet. I'm in no hurry on this one as hot as it is. I fool with it some in the morning but it's no fun to work on them when it's 90+ degrees.
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I have lost count of how many Briggs overhead valve head gaskets I have replaced. I have owned and worked on a good number of single kohler commands but I have never had a blown head gasket yet.
When you put the Briggs head on the sand paper and start to sand it you can see massive highspots. Don't know if they warp this much or what's the reason. Brigg's quality control is so poor in my opinion I doubt the head bolts are even torqued evenly when I leave the factory. Seeing as how the rocker arm studs loosen up all the time I have a hard time believing they put any emphasis on actually tightening the bolts and the pattern and to the spec they're supposed to. They wait for it to fail and then they figure the people fixing it will actually use a torque wrench and actually do it right.
I would be willing to bet that when you put a Kohler head on the Sandpaper and sand it that you won't see massive highspots and it will send fairly evenly all over.
I'm still not convinced you had a blown head gasket because they just don't blow that often. With the return hole so clogged up just the extra oil in there could have been causing all the problem and overcoming the breather and ending up smoking like that.
I so like ever spent the color commands especially the singles. On the other hand I really dislike their xt675 chinese-built new walk behind mowers.
Not that hey blow up or have any major mechanical failures but just little things they skimp on drives me nuts. Every time I unscrew the oil plug, the little short one in the bottom not the earlier upgraded ones with an actual dipstick, I never know if I'll be able to thread it back in without the threads cross-threading and needing a new plug.
Then there's the kill switch system. Cheesy,
The little brake shoe on the flywheel and it has metallic contacts that are connected from the flywheel rubbing on it. Geesh! I've had three or four already that when you let go of the bail they just sit there and keep running and hit-and-miss and don't die for a long time as it starts to overheat the little shoe damaging it further so it won't work in the future and throwing sparks inside.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
I took the carb apart this morning and cleaned the seat with toothpaste, q-tip and cordless drill. I stuck the head back on with one bolt so I could test it. Still leaked. Tried another round with toothpaste with no improvement. Tried again with valve compound, the seat is shining like a new penny but still leaks. I am using a new needle. By that time the wife was up so we went to eat at Cracker Barrel before swinging by the lawnmower shop and getting a head gasket. This is about the 4th leaky carb I've tried cleaning this way and it hasn't worked for me yet. The only one I ever cured was the one I changed the brass seat in. O well, no rush. I have other mowers to cut the grass with.
Cannon
 

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Discussion Starter #29
I was reading some old post about polishing the needle seats. Several guys (like Toby did) had been able to repair them. One guy said he polished with valve compound for 1 minute and if it still leaked would go again. I figures I didn't have anything to lose so I polished 30 seconds, got another dab of compound and went 30 more. I put it back together, turned the gas on and it hasn't leaked for about 30 minutes. I'm going to leave it on for a while to see what happens.
Cannon
 

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I use the drill and do put quite a bit of pressure on them. I make sure I take some of the fuzz off so the Q-tip gets all the way up in there and pushes evenly on the seat conical area. As I said though results are less than Stellar. The ones that have been fixed don't always last that long.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Just got back home. After 3 hours there are a few drops in the pan. I may do a little more tomorrow if that doesn't work I'll be ordering a seat kit Monday.
Cannon
 

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Discussion Starter #32
I worked on the seat with some toothpaste again this morning, still leaked. I'll order a seat kit tomorrow, https://www.amazon.com/Kohler-12-521-03-S-Inlet-Seat-Gravity/dp/B00CSBQZZI. I cleaned the block with some carb cleaner and a scotch bright pad. I picked up some 600 grit sandpaper last night, put it on a piece of glass and moved the head around some on it. it shined up the outside first so I used a straight edge across the head and couldn't get a .002 feeler gauge under the low places so I decided that was close enough. Then I put the head gasket on and torqued the head as stated in the manual, and put the pushrods under the rockers. I'm ready install the valve cover and the engine tins next.
Cannon
 

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Discussion Starter #33
I replaced the gasket between the cylinder and plastic spacer, put the tins on the head, replaced muffler and rigged up the carb today. When it started there was a lot of smoke coming out of the muffler but none out of the hole in the valve cover. I had let it run about 5 minutes when I made this video. I'm thinking the head gasket job was a success but it will take more running to prove that. I ordered the carb seat kit this morning so I'll focus on some of the other stuff till it gets here.
Cannon
 

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Looks good Cannon!


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Discussion Starter #35
Yesterday evening I got a bucket of soapy water and cleaned the fuel tank (outside), the air *** and the hitch plate. I found more bare metal on the hitch plate where it had been bolted on the frame before it was painted. I'm not one for using factory paint, buffing wheels or wax on lawnmowers but I don't like bare metal or rust. This morning I installed the gas tank and air *** with new gas line, cutoff and fuel filter, installed the flywheel cover, started the trans fluid siphoning in a bucket and painted the bare places on the hitch plate. There will be 2 places on the frame that need paint but I'll get that when I take the wheels off, pray that goes well. I read a discussion a few days ago that it was better to remove the trans and drain all the fluid, no doubt that's true. This is just easier and I don't see how it can be bad as long as I'm careful to clean around the hole before removing the plug. The oil is black but doesn't smell burnt, I'll replace it with 20w-50.
Cannon
 

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Discussion Starter #36
I thought I had 2 qts of 20w-50 but only had one so I'll need to pick up another one to top off the trans. I took the wheels off without much trouble, sanded and painted the bare metal under the hitch plate. I had part of a pack off push pins left over from working on one of my cars. I drilled a hole in the foot rest pad and pushed the pin through the square hole in the fender pan. It seems as sturdy as the tits that hold the rest of it. I think I'll need to use 3 of them on the other side.
Cannon
 

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Nice work Cannon!


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I'm with you on that drawbar hardware. You should try dealing with them to install (really, to re-tighten) a snowblower counterweight bracket, especially with chains on the tires.

Very creative way to deal with the footpads. I'm very interested to see how those work out long-term.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Very creative way to deal with the footpads. I'm very interested to see how those work out long-term.

Mike
Yes, I'm not sure about them either. Their not very tight where they go through the square hole. If I have trouble with them backing out I might put some small flat washers on the underside. I had those pin's, nothing lost by trying them.
Cannon
 

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Discussion Starter #40
I picked up another Qt of 20w-50 and topped off the trans, Installed the hitch plate, sanded some of the rust off the axles, put antiseize on them then put the wheels and seat on. Tracking says the carb kit should be here today, If it doesn't come I'll start on the deck. I've cranked it 4 or 5 times and haven't seen any more smoke yet. I drove it around a little, the hydro feels strong. I'm undecided about the Monster decal. The footpads have a place on both sides that doesn't lay down flat, maybe setting in the sun a while will help.
Cannon
 

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