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Discussion Starter #181 (Edited)
the coil worked fine all last year. I purchased it at a kubota dealer in town. I specifically asked for one that had the internal resistor that is needed for the Kohler engines. From the behaviour, the engine would start running hotter and hotter and then begin to sputter and have to idle it with the mower disengaged to limp back to the shed. It got really loud and I thought the muffler had blown but I think that was the head gasket coming apart.

If the carb is set too lean, from reading the troubleshooting behaviour richening the mix is to be done...no? I started with the recommended turns out for the low/high speed jets and adjusted the high one getting it to run what I thought sounding best/smoothest. I'm second guessing my choice here as to how I set it.
 

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The low should be set at low rpm and hi set wide open throttle,all the kohlers I’ve owned really weren’t real particular on that setting,did you have any problems setting the timing,sometimes the little phenolic pin that operates the points wears down and the timing just can’t be set spot on.
what carb do you have
 

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Discussion Starter #183
when I got it set to .020", it would fire right up and idle and go WOT with no problem. when I had it tore down, I measured the stainless pin that rides the cam lobe and it measured right on spec. I could not notice any appreciable wear on the cam where it pushes the pin...but I honestly would not know what that wear would look like if I saw it.

what seems to me most likely going on here is the exhaust valve when the engine starts getting hot is sticking and this is leading to the engine beginning the sputter. when I had the head off in the last go round, I checked the valve lash and both were not set to spec. I reset them and did the exhaust value with the spring out so I could see what was going on more clearly. there was some buildup of carbon on the area below the valve top which I'm guessing is normal for the exhaust port. it moved in the guide freely and there was no slop or side-to-side movement that concerned me. if the exhaust valve was sticking closed, I would think that this would result in the valve becoming bent as a result of the tappet pushing it up and not being able to move. I did not see that when it was apart last week.

if it's the coil overheating resulting in erratic spark, some suggest wrapping a cold cloth around it to cool it off and see if fires up normally again. another todo I guess...
 

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These old motors are bullet proof and seem to run forever with very little maintenance,I don’t understand why yours is being contrary,do you have the old coil,?you have the correct plug in it?ive never had any of mine blow a head gasket and I don’t use a torque wrench ( cause I don’t have one), I finall put a point saver setup on my 216,I don’t recall where I got it but I might find it.
I wonder if your coil might be producing too much voltage?
 

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Here’s where I got my kohlor stuff,point saver is now called electronic ignition.
This guy will talk to you if you call,he is a genius on these motors.
I really doubt the exhaust valve is sticking but if it has carbon on it ,that’s a mystery,tap a piece of sandpaper to a tabletop and rub you head ( engine,not yours) over it to see if there a warp.
 

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Mack, Answering your questions in post 176: A gr 8 bolt is a gr 8 bolt, whether it's a Kohler, JD, Kabota, or other! If you have the original bolts, visually inspect them. Some head bolts have a visibly larger diameter just under the head. If the originals don't have this, any gr 8 will work. Bolt grades are a specification based on material, dimensions, and heat treatment.
Run time before retorquing: Kohler repair manual says run 15 minutes, allow to cool and retorque. This seems a little quick to me and I'd go 1/2 hour at about 1/2 throttle or less. lt's best not to work engine too hard during this time. Let it warm at it's own rate.

OK, dry bolts! Unless I see specific instruction to install dry, I always lube threads and under bolt head. I like an anti-seize compound, but oil works to! Kohler manual states, 'Lubricate cylinder head bolts with oil before installation.'

Point gap & rod wear: 0.019" or 0.020" really won't make that much of a difference in how engine runs. Make sure your points are FULLY opened when setting and you'll be fine. As far as rod wearing, this will close opening and change timing somewhat. It's usually thousands of hours before any appreciable wear is found though.

Carbon on valve(s). With the short amount of run time on your engine, I wouldn't expect to see any carbon build-up! Maybe a black powdery coating, but not a build-up. Sounds like a rich carb setting. Warm engine and drop[ idle down to around 1000/1200 rpm and set low speed jet...turn in until engine sputters, turn out counting the number of turns until engine again sputters, turn screw back in 1/2 the number of turns. Not 100% sure, but I don't believe the hi-speed is adjustable as this is a "fixed jet". After setting idle, turn idle rpm up to 1800/2000 rpm to prevent violent rocking when shutting down!

Put'er back together and try again! Bob
 

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If you have a Walbro carb that might be an issue,I had a lot of trouble trying to rebuild them,they don’t seem to last like the Kohlor does,there are cheap replacement that do work very well.
I like Bobs suggestions 👍
 

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Discussion Starter #188
thx for all the advice guys. The plug I'm using is an Autolite 216 which I believe is the correct ones for these small engines. It's gapped at .035". I was getting good fire before this happened. When I tore the head off yesterday, the head was not completely flat near the exhaust port. I was able to get a .003" feeler in between the bolt holes of the 2 adjacent that port. I sanded it for an hour before I could not longer do that. lying flat on my surface plate it will not rock side to side in any direction after sanding. One thing I will note is that there is some deformation on the aluminum of the head on the side near the exhaust port. I'm wondering if the metal is just so fatigued that the heat is more easily warping it. I'll get a picture of it so you can see what I mean. the kohler manuals don't even suggest doing the sanding method of attempting to correct flattening, they just say get a new head.

The carb is a carter #26 carb which has both low/high speed jets. I put a carb kit in it last year and had it apart this spring to clean it up. New throttle shaft and bushing with o-ring as well.
 

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Hmm, Head flat when installed, now warped. When you took head off, either time(s), was engine cool? Removing a hot aluminum head will usually warp it!

If deformation is under the bolt head, this is normal. Put washers under bolt heads.

Carb should be OK, prolly just needs adjusting. While in there, verify choke is opening full and air filter not clogged...with mouse nest! Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #191
Hmm, Head flat when installed, now warped. When you took head off, either time(s), was engine cool? Removing a hot aluminum head will usually warp it!

If deformation is under the bolt head, this is normal. Put washers under bolt heads.

Carb should be OK, prolly just needs adjusting. While in there, verify choke is opening full and air filter not clogged...with mouse nest! Bob
I let the engine cool for over an hour before touching it. it was pretty hot from my attempt to cut the grass. I could slide the .003" feeler both in between the 2 bolts adjacent the exhaust port AND under each bolt hole. After sanding it flat, I could not.

The choke is definitely opening/closing properly. Air filter has no debris or dirt inside. I had cleaned the pre-filter with warm soapy water, air dried it and then coated it with light oil in a baggy and put it on over the main round filter. No mice nests - we have a den of foxes 50ft from where the tractor sits so they keep the rodent pop next to zero for me. they just had pups and the little ones come out and watch me work on the tractor.
 

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Discussion Starter #192
Here’s where I got my kohlor stuff,point saver is now called electronic ignition.
This guy will talk to you if you call,he is a genius on these motors.
I really doubt the exhaust valve is sticking but if it has carbon on it ,that’s a mystery,tap a piece of sandpaper to a tabletop and rub you head ( engine,not yours) over it to see if there a warp.
ha! I've been rubbing my head often over this...believe me :)... that would be david kirk. I have emailed him on the points saver.
 

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OK, One more and this is REALLY a loooong shot! Torque wrenches sometimes go out of calibration...for many reasons. If you know someone with a torque wrench, preferably newish, ask to borrow it and torque a bolt. It doesn't have to be your head bolt, even a nut in a vise with a stack of washers! Torque with borrowed wrench, then try yours on the bolt. Set your to about 3-5 ft-lb less than the bolt was torqued to. Increase in 1 ft-lb increments until bolt head starts to turn. It could be just a touch higher, maybe 2-3 ft-lb max, due to break-away torque. Just see if yours is in the ballpark! Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #194
just called my local kohler dealer. head gasket in canada is 46.00. a head is over 400. I can get a new one kohler OEM for 125. US. when speaking with the kohler dealer he indicated if the head has been sanded multiple times over the years, it may be reaching a point where this has changed the compression and may be factoring into things. if it blows this gasket, I guess it is time for a new head...

we get so hosed here in canada. my brother is coming down tomorrow and I'll ask him to bring his torque wrench. anything is possible I guess.
 

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For the carb adjustment at WOT, I play with the adjustment screw to obtain the highest RPM, then give it an eighth of a turn more. Gonna want more fuel when actually doing something, vs. no-load.

As for the points saver, I LOVE them. Gives a MUCH better spark then even brand new, well adjusted points, and basically eliminates the need to touch the points ever again. I have a 210 with the points saver, and it is essentially bump the key, and it's running. My 216, that doesn't have it... is a bear to cold start. I have another points saver around here somewhere. I am going to install it on the 216, and see if it doesn't improve its attitude any.
 

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Discussion Starter #196
For the carb adjustment at WOT, I play with the adjustment screw to obtain the highest RPM, then give it an eighth of a turn more. Gonna want more fuel when actually doing something, vs. no-load.

As for the points saver, I LOVE them. Gives a MUCH better spark then even brand new, well adjusted points, and basically eliminates the need to touch the points ever again. I have a 210 with the points saver, and it is essentially bump the key, and it's running. My 216, that doesn't have it... is a bear to cold start. I have another points saver around here somewhere. I am going to install it on the 216, and see if it doesn't improve its attitude any.
I think the issue with my unit is after it gets warm/hot, it's blowing the head gasket. why it's getting to that high of a temp is what I have to troubleshoot. if it's the carb tuning I should be able to work that with the high speed jet adjustment. will try this when I get the new head gasket.

how are the points saver units installed? is it a big job?
 

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just called my local kohler dealer. head gasket in canada is 46.00. a head is over 400. I can get a new one kohler OEM for 125. US. when speaking with the kohler dealer he indicated if the head has been sanded multiple times over the years, it may be reaching a point where this has changed the compression and may be factoring into things. if it blows this gasket, I guess it is time for a new head...

we get so hosed here in canada. my brother is coming down tomorrow and I'll ask him to bring his torque wrench. anything is possible I guess.
Yeah, I order out of the states as much as possible. Paying an extra 50% to 100% or more just for the privilege of using a local middleman who has to order it in anyway is just throwing away money.
 

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Discussion Starter #199
this thread seems eerily similar to what I'm experiencing:


if mine is becoming starved for fuel when I'm mowing and it starts emptying the bowl and sputtering, this could cause a lean condition and the heating issue as well....no? I have not touched the fuel lines on the unit yet. I did install a new fuel filter last year (mid summer). I'll tear down the carb tomorrow and inspect closely the needle and seat to see if there is any debris in there.
 

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Replace the fuel lines as well. Consider how old they are. :) Rubber does break down over time, and yours have had a LOT of time.
 
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