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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long time lurker here who appreciates the depth of knowledge in this community and hopes for a little bit of wisdom. I have a blown Kohler Command CV15S in my LT155 that I need to replace.

Last year, I purchased a JD LT155 that appeared to be in pretty good shape. Part of my purchase was based on the high opinion this forum holds of the LT155 and its 42” Freedom deck. I used it weekly through the summer to mow my one acre of lawn and it did a great job. In the fall, it turned my fallen leaves to dust and easily mulched them into the lawn. Along the way I replaced a fuel pump, fuel filter, and installed a fuel shutoff valve. Come winter, I cleaned it up, drained the old fuel, poured in new stabilized fuel, ran it one more time, then put her away. Three weeks ago, I removed the battery and trickle charged it for a week, then installed the battery and started her up. After a few cranks she started without issue and ran solidly as I cut a large majority of my lawn. When I drove around to the front, I briefly idled the engine, then it clunked and died. I cranked and cranked and couldn’t get her restarted. When I’d let it rest for a few minutes, she’d start, run for a few seconds, then die. I put the transmission into neutral and pushed the lawnmower onto my driveway. I thought the fuel filter was clogged, so I replaced it and restarted her. She started, ran rough, then shot shards of steel out the side of the block and onto my driveway. I’m afraid a new head gasket won’t fix her.

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Now, I’d like to repower her. She is old, but she still looks good and that Freedom deck does a great job. I’ve read countless posts on this forum about various LT155 rebuilds and Kohler Command CV15S repowers. I know the CV15S is no longer built and repower solutions are somewhat limited. I’m debating whether to go with a used CV15S – where I don’t know the history and future life span – or a repower solution. I’ve read that the CV15S is pretty bullet proof and will generally run well for a long time, but I also know that many of these are easily approaching 20 years and probably 500+ hours. If I could find a solid rebuilt/remanufactured CV15S, I’d go that route quick, but haven’t been able to find that. What would you do?

I am replacing a Kohler Command CV15S, Spec No 41562.

After reading here, I know primary considerations are bolt pattern, vertical shaft, muffler, and electrical.

I’ve checked SmallEngineWharehouse.com and see that they have a number of repower solutions that range from a 17.5hp Briggs & Stratton Intek for $650 to a 18hp Briggs & Stratton Vanguard for $999: (can't post link?). However, I'm not sure which of their repower solutions is most equivalent to the old Kohler Command CV15S, from a built quality/durability perspective. They are all more powerful than the original engine, so I’m less concerned with power than ease of operation and reliability.

RepowerSpecialists.com has another option, a 19hp Briggs & Stratton Intek for $695 (+$95 for shipping), but I think the Intek is of lower grade than the Kohler Command.

Ebay has a few used CV15S options, but (1) they are close to the price of a new engine($400-$535) and (2) I don’t know their histories.

Craigslist has something that might work also, but I’d need to do more research ($275 for a used Kohler Command Pro 17, CV490S, Spec 27508). It appears to share the same owners manual as the CV15S, so might be an ideal solution.

Last, I could find another used tractor, but I’m afraid that another tractor would have me sleeping in the barn.

What would you do if trying to go resto-mod route? Like I said, I’m not looking for serious power, but would like a nice clean solution that is close to the original.
Thank you for your help and advice.
 

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I’ve put one of the Pro 17 in a LX it went fine. Not plug and play though. What part of country are you in?

Remember the Intek is what goes in the box store models.
 

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The Kohler is bulletproof EXCEPT for the carb needle going bad and dumping gas into the oil, which could have possibly happened to you.

Anyway, you can use any engine that was on the LT series easily. I currently have an LT150 in the garage with an engine from an LT166 on it. A Briggs vanguard v-twin 16HP. Smoother running and quieter than the Kohler in my opinion. You should be able to find a used engine locally under $300 (Kohler or Briggs) and in some cases you may get a whole tractor cheaper than an engine. Now, there's nothing wrong with the Briggs single cylinder engine either, but JD never used them so the muffler would have to be custom.


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Fantastic machines. I think I have about 10 right now, LoL. Stick with the Kohler engine bolt in plug and play. You can use any Command single cylinder with the fuel pump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Folks,

Great input all around. I'm in Virginia and think the CV490S that I found on Craigslist is probably a pretty good option. I suspect it might be pretty close to plug and play. If not, I've still got the CV15S that I can strip parts off of. I hadn't thought of contacting Kohler regarding compatibility and fitment. That's a good suggestion.

Keep it coming, thanks!
 

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Folks,

Great input all around. I'm in Virginia and think the CV490S that I found on Craigslist is probably a pretty good option. I suspect it might be pretty close to plug and play. If not, I've still got the CV15S that I can strip parts off of. I hadn't thought of contacting Kohler regarding compatibility and fitment. That's a good suggestion.

Keep it coming, thanks!
Have you looked at Harbor Freight's Predator series? They've been successful on the Forum. Just an idea...
 

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If I were in your shoes and could squeeze a quality twin-cylinder, such as a Vanguard or Kawasaki, without a bunch of retrofitting, I'd do so in a heartbeat. In general, they just run so much smoother than a big single-cylinder engine.
 

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If I were in your shoes and could squeeze a quality twin-cylinder, such as a Vanguard or Kawasaki, without a bunch of retrofitting, I'd do so in a heartbeat. In general, they just run so much smoother than a big single-cylinder engine.
It's not really squeezing though because the LT166 came with a vanguard v-twin and the LT190 came with a Kawasaki v-twin ;) the only thing that wouldn't be plug and play would be the wiring but that's just a couple wires.


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It's not really squeezing though because the LT166 came with a vanguard v-twin and the LT190 came with a Kawasaki v-twin ;) the only thing that wouldn't be plug and play would be the wiring but that's just a couple wires.


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Good point, albeit might be budget-wise. ;)
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sschesser,

I looked at the harbor freight predators, but was concerned about reliability/durability and ease of swap. How do they compare to the commands, courages, and vanguards?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
DenverGuy, Trent -- I'd mess my pants if I could find a good deal on a vanguard v-twin or Kawasaki v-twin. But, probably not in my budget this time around. :(
 

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DenverGuy, Trent -- I'd mess my pants if I could find a good deal on a vanguard v-twin or Kawasaki v-twin. But, probably not in my budget this time around. :(
I just sold a Vanguard 16 from an LT166 with muffler for $200. I don't think you're nearby though


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Sschesser,

I looked at the harbor freight predators, but was concerned about reliability/durability and ease of swap. How do they compare to the commands, courages, and vanguards?

Thanks!
Everything I've read and heard about the Predator engines is that they're great. Basically clones of Honda engines. I own one that came on a pressure washer and it's been flawless the entire year I've owned it, and I run it about once every month or two because I don't like equipment sitting idle.

Courage engines, on the other hand, are JUNK! Not only does everything I read say so, but I also owned one of those and it decided to disassemble itself much like your Kohler. Did it give you any warning signs? When my Courage was fixin to blow, it gave me plenty of warning and ultimately I decided I was done with the engine so I parked it out back and let it blow on purpose. That engine and the lawn tractor it was in (Cub Cadet LTX 1045) was a piece of junk and I was tired of spending $30 here, $40 there, and I mean literally every time I went to use that so-called tractor it would require me to do something to it just to get it running.
 

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You just need to find a not running tractor on craigslist or Facebook that has a Kohler command 15 hp engine. All you need is the block, you can use parts off your blown engine. As a previous poster said, you need to be sure the carb or fuel pump is not leaking gas into the crankcase. I've owned several CV singles and the only one I've ever seen blown up had gas in the oil. I've bought several $50-100 mowers for the Kohler engine and scraped the rest.
Cannon
 

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I have a spare LX173 with a great running CV15S in it that I'm parting out...too bad you're so far away. I'm in NH...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Have you looked at Harbor Freight's Predator series? They've been successful on the Forum. Just an idea...
SSchesser, I looked at Harbor Freight's Predator motors. If that had something in the midrange (between their 13 and 22), that'd be a good option. I'm afraid the 13 will be too little and the 22 will be too much motor (I know, sacrilege).

Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Courage engines, on the other hand, are JUNK! Not only does everything I read say so, but I also owned one of those and it decided to disassemble itself much like your Kohler. Did it give you any warning signs?
Your opinion of Courage engines is the same as what I've heard.

Regarding warning signs. Not really. I replaced the fuel pump and fuel filter last fall, along with installing a fuel shutoff.

This spring she started pretty easy and mowed for a solid 40 minutes. When I idled the engine, it sputtered and there was a slight clunk/bang, then died. She wouldn't restart, so I replaced the fuel filter. She restarted after some cranking, then blew a hole in the side.

I should have drained/replaced all fuel (instead of using stabilized fuel) and done an oil change before starting her in the spring. My fault, lesson learned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
You just need to find a not running tractor on craigslist or Facebook that has a Kohler command 15 hp engine. All you need is the block, you can use parts off your blown engine.
Cannon, I'm considering this route also and am watching a Scotts (made by JD!) with a 16hp Kohler Command. Body is rough, but engine looks clean! Unfortunately, price is $300.

What's the market for a riding lawnmower with no engine? Could I realistically buy the mower for the engine, then sell the rest?
 

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SSchesser, I looked at Harbor Freight's Predator motors. If that had something in the midrange (between their 13 and 22), that'd be a good option. I'm afraid the 13 will be too little and the 22 will be too much motor (I know, sacrilege).

Thoughts?
It's tough balancing the cost aspect with the "what's really needed" aspect. I never go for less power. I understand your predicament...13 or 22...so I think you should be patient and look around some more and that Command engine that would be an "easy" install will probably fall into your lap. A bunch of good and resourceful people on this site...….tell them what you are looking for and set them loose to hunt!
 
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