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Tractor Talk Discussion Forum

Kohler K series, 2cyl, repair or engine swap?

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09-14-2021 22:10:50

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So, I have a m20 lahman little dipper, with a k532 kohler. the engine does run, I got it running after siting for 30 years(early 90s). I put a aftermarket carb on(Still hve original), new points condesner, wires (all three of those twice.... coil melted and killed all them and I had to redo..). It has a new coil :) which was a fun situation. I know I have a fuel pump carburetor instead of one designed for gravity feed, which to my understanding there is a slight difference but it could be critical in my situation with 3-4 gallons sitting directly above the engine in a narrow, tall tank. maybe too much gas pushes past?

Has a new starter, the rubber over the carb and the points exposed arent how i was running it, the points have a cover and the rubber hose was to keep the carb from stuff falling in. i do need a hose solution for that, but anyway. The skidsteer also had the first battery I put on it start to boil, but that was the batterys fault not the machine. That shortly was followed by the coil melting and killing the other components.
The situation now, is I havent been able to use it for a while. The thing DRINKS oil in that its quite literally functioning as a 2 stroke. Quart per 30 minutes, really bogged running, and it gets hot. I think one of the head gaskets has a leak because oil will blow all over the engine bay and engine and it appears to to be spitting onto the frame and just kinda splashing back over it, which you can also feel hot puffs in the back, away from the exhaust

I DO own a 22hp predator horizontal shaft engine, and prelimainary measurements and resesearch shows it should fit on my frame with the only difficult parts being making exhaust pieces to run the exhaust out the back away from me and gas tank, because it will sit closer to the center of the machine than the k series(Unless u joint type shaft..?) and it also weighs a lot less, which could be problematic for balance or soemthing.. unless I suplement, idk. But the only other part would be the shaft coupled to the hydraulic pump, its a different diameter than the k series (1 inch instead of whatever the engine now has) and I dont know anything about coupling shafts or engine outputs. The only other for seeable issue is shimming the engine to the right height so the shaft is lined up.

That engine is still in the box, I bought it a long time ago because I didnt know as much about engines especially what to do for the one I have. I am debating pulling the k series, hoisting it onto a small trailer, taking the pressure washer to it , its got so much grime, orange paint... dirt... ugh.., after that, pulling the heads, cleaning up carbon, putting new gaskets on. verify the valves are moving proper, setting them, fix any leaky gasket, maybe flush it a bit with something(the old oil sat there for 30 years, dirty, sludgy, sitting), and checking the timing. I dont know if its been messed with at all. Then maybe rebuild the original carburetor with a gravity feed kit. And use solid core wire for the plug wires. The ones I have are from napa for a car, so resistance wires. i heard that makes a difference.
But I dont want to do all that if its either too expensive, too much involved, or may not be worthwhile.
also bare with me, i am 23 year old girl who has not had anyone to teach me things, and i have to do all the learning on my own and things forgotten by time are interesting to me but I lack the everyday/working knowledge for things like this. Im prob the only person my age in this half of wisconsin that knows what points are, has replaced them, has set them, and then had the fortune of doing it again when they were toasted LOL. I even bought kohler points...

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09-16-2021 07:51:47

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 Re: Kohler K series, 2cyl, repair or engine swap? in reply to MarsEnthusiast, 09-14-2021 22:10:50  
thats what my research and best fiinding out arrives at. they are 670cc to 880cc. thats almost 200cc of difference which pending engine design difference and rotating assembly mass, thats a lot more bam space. Its sounding like pending a full rebuild it would prob be my best interest to keep kohler going. I also just remembered, Unfortunately kind of hard to get to under a bench that is partially collapsed full of iron, I believe i Have another K series engine of unknown size or origin

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09-16-2021 07:37:06

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 Re: Kohler K series, 2cyl, repair or engine swap? in reply to MarsEnthusiast, 09-14-2021 22:10:50  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

the battery was a 2004 john deere lawn tractor battery that was no longer staying charged if left for a day or two but would work if you charged it and used it, I attributed the battery issue to potential internal damage and age. it was about 16 years old haha. It was the only battery I had that fit the spot for the battery, I have since purchased a group size 51 for it instead that is newer.

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Wisconsin Cowman

09-15-2021 06:39:37

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 Re: Kohler K series, 2cyl, repair or engine swap? in reply to MarsEnthusiast, 09-14-2021 22:10:50  
I installed a Briggs Vanguard 31hp engine in my 1984 Little Dipper to replace the Kohler. The Kohler was low on power and unreliable would eat coils because of the heat. The Vanguard has been reliable and way more power and easier on fuel. Wasnt cheap but happy with the results. Thought I had some pictures when I installed the Briggs engine but only have pictures when I redone the skid loader and rebuilt the Kohler K582. I would say to take the heads off to see what the cylinders look like before making a decision. At least now there is aftermarket parts for these engines now.

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Angle Iron

09-15-2021 05:59:15

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 Re: Kohler K series, 2cyl, repair or engine swap? in reply to MarsEnthusiast, 09-14-2021 22:10:50  
Doing an ebay search shows parts are available for your engine. This kit shows as a K532 rebuild kit item #274786347765 on ebay. The kit is pricy over 500.00, not sure if I would spend that. Also did a search for rings and gaskets on that engine, rings were shown at $20.00 each piston and gaskets were also available do not recall the cost. Kohler manuals were available for free on their web site a few years ago.

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09-15-2021 05:56:48

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 Re: Kohler K series, 2cyl, repair or engine swap? in reply to MarsEnthusiast, 09-14-2021 22:10:50  
Frankly I would install the Predator in a heartbeat. I wouldn't give "torque" a second thought. These machines are run on RPMs to create pressure and flow in the hydraulic pump, not low end torque. Too many times I see people running hydraulically powered machines at idle, with the pumps and motors whining and groaning. It just isn't good for them.

Any weight or balance issues can be mitgiated with iron or concrete.

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Sprint 6

09-15-2021 17:58:11

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 Re: Kohler K series, 2cyl, repair or engine swap? in reply to BarnyardEngineering, 09-15-2021 05:56:48  
Torque is what keeps the pump from slowing down under load. Torque and the heavy Kohler flywheel, that is. I don't doubt the Predator will run it, but just because the RPM is the same doesn't mean the hydraulic power will be the same.

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09-15-2021 05:56:31

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 Re: Kohler K series, 2cyl, repair or engine swap? in reply to MarsEnthusiast, 09-14-2021 22:10:50  
Battery boiling and coil getting to hot sounds like the voltage is to high to me.

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09-15-2021 05:23:13

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 Re: Kohler K series, 2cyl, repair or engine swap? in reply to MarsEnthusiast, 09-14-2021 22:10:50  
my bad, I took the shrouds off more recent than when running. when running it had the shrouds on. but i have no idea how well or how it was ran before me, the shrouds were all unlatched but attached when i started working on it, they have little hooks and latches on them on the side ones. But it sounds like you dont have much faith tho either way?

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09-15-2021 04:52:26

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 Re: Kohler K series, 2cyl, repair or engine swap? in reply to MarsEnthusiast, 09-14-2021 22:10:50  
I bought a second terramite with a 20 hp honda. They came from Factory with a 20 hp Kohler Command. A honda engine may be better design. I wish it had
a Kohler because the tractor was built around Kohler.
The honda isn't a good fit. muffler, shafts don't line up,
Can't grease the U joint that joins engine to hyd pump.

You can make anything fit. But many things to overcome.

I would do my best to make the Kohler work. If kohler uses oil, engine swap.

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Sprint 6

09-15-2021 03:18:23

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 Re: Kohler K series, 2cyl, repair or engine swap? in reply to MarsEnthusiast, 09-14-2021 22:10:50  
If you are running it with the fan housing missing, that's why it gets hot. If it has been run like that a lot, the rings are probably relaxed and the cause of the oil usage. The Kohler likely needs a full rebuild with all the proper fan shrouds reinstalled.

The Predator will probably run the machine, but a modern engine is not going to be able to hold a candle to the torque of the flat head Kohler. The machine is likely to be down on power. The Predator would definately be the cheaper option, as rebuilding the old Kohler is going to cost like a car engine.

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