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Cub GT2544 Kohler Cmmd 22
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi All,

I have a GT2544 that was idling pretty rough a while back, so much to the point to where it just kind of "crept" around the yard idling super low (even though throttle was on high). I took it to a guy who did a standard tune-up on it, cleaned the carb, etc and when I got it back it ran like a champ.

About a month later it started exhibiting the exact same issues, but now it is way worse. Essentially when I crank the mower it runs great, but when I drive it any distance (100ft or so), especially with the PTO engaged, the motor just bogs down very low and sputters with black and sometimes white smoke, and it barely moves. If I leave it sitting idling sometimes it will begin idling properly again, and again I take off around the yard only for it to bog back down again (sometimes after making it all the way around my 1/2 acre lot, other times within 50ft or less). 2 weeks ago I'd left it sitting for a day, and came out here and there and made a lap around the yard before it would quit each time. All the sudden it decided to keep on going and I cut for 30 minutes with no issues... go figure. It's also drinking gas compared to normal.

I know this is going to sound crazy, but today I pulled the left plug boot, it zapped me and the engine died immediately. When I pulled the right one, it kept on going just like normal, and I could not see any spark and I didn't get shocked. However, tonight the exact opposite happened. It was running rough, and I pulled off the right plug boot and it died. When pulling the left one, it kept running fine. I'd just put in brand new plugs at the time.

Some things I've read lead me to believe that it may be a bad coil, but I'm not sure, and I have no clue how to get the top of the motor off to replace it.
I'm about to give up on this thing it's running me nuts, please help!

Thanks!
Heygreene
 

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Yeah, something is not right.
From your description of the symptoms, likely the valves are out of adjustment, which is a very common problem with these Kohlers. YouTube has many videos on how to adjust. After getting the valves correct, then go on to see about the coils.
 

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Cub GT2544 Kohler Cmmd 22
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46 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Flaken, any chance it could be the carb? I know you can't really adjust them, but can clean them anyway.

The reason I ask is when the guy serviced the mower recently he told me he cleaned the carb and to only to run non-ethanol gas in it (like all mower repair guys). He filled fit up with non-ethanol and it ran great. Since then of course I ran regular gas in it again and it ran terrible again. After that I went back to non-ethanol but continued having problems after that.
 

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The spitting, sputtering, rough idle & smoking are symptoms that the valves aren't adjusted right. They are opening and closing when they shouldn't be.
There is nothing wrong, per se, of ethanol gas, it just has problems if not used quickly. Mowers and other gas powered equipment run for a fairly short period of time, then are turned off for a much longer time. The products in ethanol gas tend to gel quickly, sometimes in less than a month, if not constantly refreshed. Weather plays a factor, too. A bath in an ultrasonic cleaner would certainly help clean the carb of the accumulated gels.
 

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Another thought just popped in and that is the anti-backfire solenoid on the carb can get gelled up with gunk. Using any type of spray carb cleaner will not reach that solenoid.
Open the hood and remove the air cleaner assembly. On the back side of the carb towards the seat, look for a red wire. The solenoid is held in with two small screws. Remove the screws and pull out the solenoid. Make sure the plunger moves freely and clean it along with spraying carb cleaner into where it sits.
 

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Cub GT2544 Kohler Cmmd 22
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Discussion Starter #6
OK thanks I will try those things! Update: This morning I cranked the mower and instead of barely running, it idles fine and then is able to cut 20-50 ft of lawn before it bogs down. Once it bogs down, I disengage the PTO, let it sit and in a couple of minutes it's back up to full idle. Rinse and repeat... but I got my lawn cut at least.
 

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Yeah, something is not right.
From your description of the symptoms, likely the valves are out of adjustment, which is a very common problem with these Kohlers. YouTube has many videos on how to adjust. After getting the valves correct, then go on to see about the coils.
If it is a Kohler command v twin (which tractor data said it was) then the valves are hydraulic and they never get out of adjustment like briggs and Kawasakis.
There is no adjustment for them. You tighten down the rocker arm bolts and that's it.

You most likely have some stuff floating around in carb bowl.

Always look for little black rubber specks. If you see this it is the fuel line degrading and flaking off and it will continue to self clog until you replace fuel line from tank to carb.

When it starts to bog...usually if you give it some choke it will smooth out for at least a few seconds. This is confirmation the carb jet is plugged up some.

The spark could be whole issue too.
Has to have spark on both sides all the time to run well.
However, one will run fairly smooth and move all day on one cyl but you won't have power to cut grass.

Coils usually have to get hot for at least 11-15 minutes before they will break down and quit firing. I have had a couple of newer 7000 series with a bad coil that would cut out in like 2 minutes.

See if when it's cold it....pull both plugs and put wire back on and hol dplug base to block and crank it over to see it you have a good strong spark (wear thick gloves) THEN when it messes up, do the same test again.

If you have no spark on only one plug....fix that before you even consider any carb or fuel stuff.
 

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Yeah, something is not right.
From your description of the symptoms, likely the valves are out of adjustment, which is a very common problem with these Kohlers. YouTube has many videos on how to adjust. After getting the valves correct, then go on to see about the coils.
If it is a Kohler command v twin (which tractor data said it was) then the valves are hydraulic and they never get out of adjustment like briggs and Kawasakis.
There is no adjustment for them. You tighten down the rocker arm bolts and that's it.

You most likely have some stuff floating around in carb bowl.

Always look for little black rubber specks. If you see this it is the fuel line degrading and flaking off and it will continue to self clog until you replace fuel line from tank to carb.

When it starts to bog...usually if you give it some choke it will smooth out for at least a few seconds. This is confirmation the carb jet is plugged up some.

The spark could be whole issue too.
Has to have spark on both sides all the time to run well.
However, one will run fairly smooth and move all day on one cyl but you won't have power to cut grass.

Coils usually have to get hot for at least 11-15 minutes before they will break down and quit firing. I have had a couple of newer 7000 series with a bad coil that would cut out in like 2 minutes.

See if when it's cold it....pull both plugs and put wire back on and hol dplug base to block and crank it over to see it you have a good strong spark (wear thick gloves) THEN when it messes up, do the same test again.

If you have no spark on only one plug....fix that before you even consider any carb or fuel stuff.
 

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Cub GT2544 Kohler Cmmd 22
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46 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
When it starts to bog...usually if you give it some choke it will smooth out for at least a few seconds. This is confirmation the carb jet is plugged up some.

@TobyU, when it starts to bog down giving it some choke actually makes it bog down more, so from what I've read that means it normally isn't the carb?

Also, I checked it this morning and now I don't see a strong spark coming off of either cylinder, but removing either plug boot makes the engine rev lower. I even had it in my shed and couldn't see a blue spark when I cut off the lights inside.

What's interesting is this same thing happened last time after sitting for a few weeks:
Day 1 (after sitting for 2-3 weeks) = Very rough running, unable to go more than 10-15 feet without bogging down so low it barely moves
Day 2 = Better, able to run good for 20-50 feet before bogging down. Let it sit for a few and the idle gets better, then go again, bog down again, etc.
Day 3 (today) = Even better. Still some light black smoking but I rode the tractor for 5 minutes around the yard and it never missed a beat.

Any reason why it would get worse after sitting up and better when used more often?

This is a Kohler Command 22, for those that weren't sure the exact engine.
 

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Cub GT2544 Kohler Cmmd 22
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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
@TobyU, when it starts to bog down giving it some choke actually makes it bog down more, so from what I've read that means it normally isn't the carb?
Never mind I'm an idiot, I did not do this... I was adjusting the throttle haha. I will try this next time.

Still strange that it continues to get better the more days in a row I drive it. Just cranked it and it ran like a sewing machine as it was about to run out of gas. I fill the tank all the way to the top... I wonder if I'm over-filling it with gas, and it runs better as there is less in the tank over the few days...
 

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This doesn't typically cause "smoking" but some of your other symptoms. Especially with what you just said about too much fuel in the tank/or runs better when the tank is close to empty. (paraphrased)

Are you sure the gas cap vent is open?
 

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Cub GT2544 Kohler Cmmd 22
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Discussion Starter #14
This doesn't typically cause "smoking" but some of your other symptoms. Especially with what you just said about too much fuel in the tank/or runs better when the tank is close to empty. (paraphrased)

Are you sure the gas cap vent is open?

@Greybeard09 I had read that somewhere too, so I loosened the cap and it didn't improve, and I went as far as removing the cap... same thing unfortunately. Thanks.
 

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Check the oil and make sure it's not diluted with fuel or high on the level. The carbs can fail to shut off and flood your crankcase with gas and they were on oddly and terrible and usually backfire until they stopped running altogether.
Double check with the choke thing to see if it's news out when you give it choke. If it does not then it probably is losing ignition. Anytime you're seeing black smoke means you are not needing more choke and you are not running lean. You are running rich. If the ignition is not up to par or one of the cylinders is coming and going you will have extra unburnt fuel it will load up and will run and blow black smoke.
You probably have one of the dai or dsai ignition systems and it's probably messing up. Even if it's not that system and just to standard coils, I have replaced several caller calls in the past couple of years that either just flat-out went out stopped working or were intermittently.
 

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Check it with the choke again to make sure it doesn't smooth out when you give it fuel but if it does not then that means you were running rich and not lean. Also any sign of black smoke is a sign you are running rich. Make sure the choke is fully opening as I've had a couple of Kawasaki recently where the choke was sticking and I've had a couple of colors but it's been a long time ago. The little butterfly in and is spring loaded and sometimes does not open all the way. Faulty ignition where it's missing on one cylinder every now and then is going to cause it to load up and blow black smoke. You probably have one of the newfangled crazy a missions that Kohler tried that didn't work out well but even if it has the standard 2 coils With No Electronic Module or 12 volts going to them I've had a couple of them recently go out or work intermittently.
Also check your oil and make sure it's not diluted with fuel. Sometimes the carbs don't shut off and floods the crankcase with gas and that will cause them to smoke and run rich and pop until they stop running.
 

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Cub GT2544 Kohler Cmmd 22
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Discussion Starter #17
@TobyU thanks for the info. I am planning to let the mower sit for a few days and then try to cut the grass the first part of next week (on an empty and then a full tank). I will report back on my findings, thanks!
 

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Cub GT2544 Kohler Cmmd 22
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Discussion Starter #18
@TobyU I tried to cut my grass again today, and the mower is acting up again. Here's what I've done and learned so far:

1. I've replaced the gas filter and spark plugs - no different.
2. I've removed the gas cap altogether, no different.
3. When it's running rough, I can remove the right or "driver's side" (if I'm sitting on the mower) plug wires with almost no noticeable difference. If I remove the left one, it idles way lower.
4. When it is running rough, if I give it more choke it actually runs worse. I have verified the choke is actually working properly to open/close.
5. There does not appear to be any gas in the oil.
6. A couple of times I let the mower sit and idle and when it started running good again, it ran GREAT. Super strong... problem is only for about 50ft, then it started sputtering again.
7. This thing is DRINKING gas. I mean like 2.5 gallons to cut .68 acres. Maybe that's normal if it's running rough, but seems odd to me.
8. It doesn't matter if the tank is full or empty. This time I only put enough gas in to get it running and it still ran rough. Last time I filled it to the brim... no difference.

Thanks for any help you or anyone else can give. This thing is running me nuts... I can tell the mower is strong, just not sure why it has such erratic idling.
 

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[MENTION=111873]
3. When it's running rough, I can remove the right or "driver's side" (if I'm sitting on the mower) plug wires with almost no noticeable difference. If I remove the left one, it idles way lower.
.

I didn't go back through the thread to see if these are new(ish) spark plugs or if you mentioned what they looked like.

I would swap plugs for new or at least side to side and see if the same thing happens. Left side idles lower, right side makes no difference. If that swaps sides then it's plugs, if not it's wires boot or coil problem on the right side.

(or some mechanical issue like rings or burnt valve, but I wouldn't go there yet because it recovers for awhile and then gets bad again. Rings and valves don't "fix themselves"... )
 

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Cub GT2544 Kohler Cmmd 22
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Discussion Starter #20
I didn't go back through the thread to see if these are new(ish) spark plugs or if you mentioned what they looked like.

I would swap plugs for new or at least side to side and see if the same thing happens. Left side idles lower, right side makes no difference. If that swaps sides then it's plugs, if not it's wires boot or coil problem on the right side.

(or some mechanical issue like rings or burnt valve, but I wouldn't go there yet because it recovers for awhile and then gets bad again. Rings and valves don't "fix themselves"... )

@Greybeard09, I actually swapped the plugs a few weeks ago... no difference. However, I will say this: The left side will shock the crap out of me even through a thick leather glove when I take it off. The right side has never done that, and I can't really even see any spark coming off of it. The few times I've seen a good spark off of either side, it's not coming out of the end of the boot where it should be, it's coming out of the middle of the plug wire... which would indicate that the wires may have a break in them, I'd assume? Can you even change just the wires?
 
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