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Discussion Starter #1
I just got back my M18 from rebuild, new long block, and it just sounds like garbage. It was down with a bad governor when I purchased in July. I can really hear a lot of engine noise, not like my Onan. I sent this engine back to rebuilder once already, they tore it all down and couldn"t find anything, said they ran for 2 hours and all seemed o.k. New pistons, rods, rings, gears,valves and crank reground. Are these Kohlers just noisy compared to the Onan? My K181 was as quiet as a lark. I wanted to stay original on this 16G but at this point maybe I should have gone with the Honda.[yuck] Any input? Marty
 

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Kohlers are noisy. I just got pulling the M18 off my 16G today because I just can't abide the noise plus it has an oil leak. I am putting an Onan P224 twin on it. If all goes well, it should be complete tomorrow or the next day. It all depends on when I get my throttle parts.

There is a reason why Onan engine were expensive.
 

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One more thing. The M18 just isn't the engine the Onans are. The M18 is rated for 18 hp but it get trounced by the Onan B48 which is also rated at 18 hp. I will be selling my M18 after I fix it. I intend to put it on an 8000 series tractor and move it out.
 

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Well that just stinks, I suppose I'll live with it. The linamar that i inst on my 8162T in '03 runs like a top. Live and learn....I figured at 70 I should have made all the mistakes I could have....wrong.....Marty
 

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Well that just stinks, I suppose I'll live with it. The linamar that i inst on my 8162T in '03 runs like a top. Live and learn....I figured at 70 I should have made all the mistakes I could have....wrong.....Marty
Marty,

Don't feel bad. I thought the Kohler was a good engine until I got one and put some hours on it. The more I ran it the more unhappy I was. As long as it runs, run it.

Maybe a new muffler will help.
 

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Actually, now that I think about it, I don't even like Onans then! It takes me less than an hour to fully disassemble a Kohler and typically requires no special tools, pullers, or anything else. (Other than to pull the flywheel, which is unavoidable.)

Onans have annoyingly fastened crankshaft gears with small threaded holes, hidden bolts, obnoxious 12 point bolts, tight corners, counter weights, and all other kinds of annoyances. Plus I've just never been able to kill a Kohler under any conditions. That includes trees, brush, rocky Northeast soil, and wet, slushy 2-foot plus Northeast snowstorms.
 

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Don't like Onan?

I will trade a good running M18 for a good running B48. Seems fair. 18 hp for a 18hp The M18 comes with a remote oil filter and extra carb.

I will also trade 2 K301s off 2 8000 riders for a running CCKA. Both the K301 engines run. That seems like a good trade too. Trading a total of 24 hp for 16 hp.

Richard
 

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I'm just glad to hear something to counteract all the hate directed towards the Kohlers.
I would not call it hate. I believe it is a matter of what one's priorities are.

Since Marty was complaining about the noise of the Kohler over the Onan, I knew exactly what he was talking about. I felt qualified to comment on each since I own Onan and Kohler engines and have spent significant time with each.

Marty knows what he wants in an engine and made his priorities clear. It just so happens that his priorities match mine so I told him the truth.

I am not saying that the Kohler is a bad engine. It is what it is. The Kohler Magnum was made to a certain price point and the Onan is also made to a certain price point. It just so happens that the price point for the Onan is higher than the Kohler and that extra money spent shows in the final product.

As far as working on them goes, that is all personal preference. Personally I enjoy working on a quality engine like the Onan. I hate working on things like the Kohler Courage despite the fact that no special tools are needed. The K and Magnum series are OK to work on as they are somewhere in the middle. There is one job I hate on the Magnums and that is adjusting the valves. What a royal pain that is.

I have more Kohlers than Onans around here. However the number of Kohler engines is decreasing and the Onans are increasing. Time will tell if I am making the right choice. Right now I think I am.

Speaking of working on engines, if anyone wants a real challenge, try adjusting valves on a Honda CBX motorcycle. 24 valves have to be adjusted. They are adjusted by changing shims. A special tool is required to depress the lifter and another special tool is needed to pull the shim out. It takes 2-6 hours to run the valves depending on how many shims need to be changed. It is still an incredible engine for a 6 cylinder air cooled design. There are not enough "O"s in smoooooth to describe it.
 

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Speaking of working on engines, if anyone wants a real challenge, try adjusting valves on a Honda CBX motorcycle. 24 valves have to be adjusted. They are adjusted by changing shims. A special tool is required to depress the lifter and another special tool is needed to pull the shim out. It takes 2-6 hours to run the valves depending on how many shims need to be changed. It is still an incredible engine for a 6 cylinder air cooled design. There are not enough "O"s in smoooooth to describe it.
They are unmistakeably wide too.. weird looking old motor but were some stout bikes when they were right.
 

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I had a Kohler Command Pro on a Scag mower. Got it with ~20 hrs use on the clock and it was noisy. I pulled the valve cover and everything was fine, so I kept running it. Three years late I sold it and the guy put it in commercial service. He's been running it two years with out a problem. I also have a K181 that has the worst rod knock ever. I'm thinking someone has a stock rod on a .010" under crank. Been that way for over 30 years. Keep it full of good oil and it seems to take it (I am thinking of pulling it down in the spring though...)

All in all, the Onans are nice smooth engines but they can make you pull your hair out too. I love mine but also am a bit aggravated that any time I need parts it's an order. At least I have a chance of finding Kohler parts local. I wouldn't worry about the noise. I'd run it and enjoy it.
 

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First, there is no question about the very high quality of Onan engines, I owned an Onan RV generator and that was an incredible piece of equipment.

I have also owned my Kohler M18 since new. It is now 16 years old, 540 hours young. And I will say it has been "noisy" from day one. They are by design or default "clanky" engines. But after 540 hours it is no more "clanky" than the day the dealer pulled off the trailer and into my yard 16 years ago. If I get 2000 hours out of it, I will contiue to be happy with it - clanky as it may be.

So far mine has been very trouble free and very up to the tasks presented to it, so I have no complaints. Is the Onan a better engine? Likely so. But the fact is both have been replaced by overhead valve designs and Onan has left the market - it all is what it is.

I agree with Richard's statement - run it as long as it runs.

Sheldon
 

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Don't like Onan?

I will trade a good running M18 for a good running B48. Seems fair. 18 hp for a 18hp The M18 comes with a remote oil filter and extra carb.

I will also trade 2 K301s off 2 8000 riders for a running CCKA. Both the K301 engines run. That seems like a good trade too. Trading a total of 24 hp for 16 hp.

Richard
No thanks. I have too many Kohler parts to sell already and not enough Onan parts. I did just take apart a running CCKA that had mashed a piece of aluminum into both the piston and the cylinder head what looks to have been years ago and was still running quite nicely. I never even suspected trouble until I pulled the cylinder head and saw the damage.
 

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540 hrs / 16 yrs = 33.75 / yr for your M18.
2665 hrs / 30 yrs= 88.83 / yr for our B43M and it hasn't been used for much mowing in the past 5 years.

Not saying it is 3 times as good but it has been a good tractor. The 20-G outside has 1566 hours on it and is about 20 years old. Ya' ll need to put more hours per year on your tractors. Not enough seat time. :hide:
 

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If it makes you feel better, I have a 20-G with 3500 hours on it. I just disassembled an 18-G with 5948 hours on the clock and the original red m-18 on the back of it. No guarantees as to whether they were real hours or not, but there was a brand new set of fwd/rev clutches on it.

Have several more 18-Gs, all with over 2500 on their meters. Again, poor measure of use since often times they are key hours, but I think the point is made.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
WOW.....lots of passion there. I guess we like what we're used to if it treats us well. I remember my '53 Merc, flathed V8....couldn't here or feel the thing run. AND that's what I was hoping for on this tractor. As far as longivity goes...who knows, that original Onan gave me 24 yrs of service with no more than normal maintenance...taking care of 5 acres...probably unusual. Thanks for all the comments....Marty
 

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540 hrs / 16 yrs = 33.75 / yr for your M18.
2665 hrs / 30 yrs= 88.83 / yr for our B43M and it hasn't been used for much mowing in the past 5 years.

Not saying it is 3 times as good but it has been a good tractor. The 20-G outside has 1566 hours on it and is about 20 years old. Ya' ll need to put more hours per year on your tractors. Not enough seat time. :hide:
The 16G only has to mow about 3/4 acre of actual grass, and plow about 7,000 sq ft of paving.

Typical summer hours are about 25, some winters we hardly get any snow at all. On a bad winter we might get 5 plowable snows or one/two "big ones" that a 3-4 hours to completely move off the drive - so winter hours are usually 6-8.

I use to get a little more seat time cleaning up leaves, but time marches on, trees got old, had to come down, now there are few leaves.

The tractor is fun, and surely a fun way to do the work it does, but we do have other hobbies - a 40 x 22 room full of trains for one.

Sheldon
 
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