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I changed the 8 HP Briggs on my series 21 for a 13 HP Honda, As already said the proper crankshaft dimensions are the most important part.You might get the engine number and check before purchase. The HP is not usually a problem on the RER. as they seldom use full throttle and run a set RPM. and when the running speed starts to drop the governor opens the throttle and doesn't let the rpm exceed the set speed. You might hear about damaging the running gear parts ,but a few models had a 20 HP V-twin and used the same parts in the running gear as an 8 HP one.
 

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Higher horsepower benefits the mower. It doesn't really affect the transmission unless using jack rabbit type acceleration.
 

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I have a 331413KVE RER that has had a OHV Kohler Command 14hp on it since new. No problems except for the normal wear items. My 2ea. 28" RER's have 11 & 12hp flathead Briggs on them with no problems with gears breaking. As mentioned make sure the engine will fit properly. Check everything.

LATER
 

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There are a few "engine swap" problems on an RER. first the crankshaft PTO end should be. 1 inch diameter x 3&5/32 inches long ,with a 1/4 inch keyway. This allows the Snapper drive disc to work.. Some engines have muffler problems ,some will fit with spacers some can use the stock Snapper muffler. I have heard of some owners using a 28mm shaft and a .008 shim stock to center the disc. And there's wiring and fuel line etc. but usually fairly easy. Most engine "bolt patterns" can be used for this power range of engines ,
 
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