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wilsonbh
05-11-2007, 05:08 AM
Recently, during a grass mowing chore, my 314 John Deere mower's motor (14 HP Kohler) would function like it was under an extreme load but then come out of it and function normally. After a couple of lawn mowings, the problem kept recurring more frequently. I checked the oil and to my horror, I did not see any oil on the dipstick. Previously, there was oil there. No evidence of it being burned up or leaked out as the mower is kept in a garage and I would have noticed oil on the floor. I can only assume it burned up it's oil during operation.

Now, the mower experiences this labored running soon after it heats up. It will generate a puff of white smoke then return to normal operations. After a few seconds, the labored running happens again, puff of white smoke (thinly white smoke) and it runs again ok. But these intervals are so frequent now that I can't use the mower anymore.

My question is, "Is it worn out? and needing a rebuild?" Should I get rid of it and buy a new one? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm an average mechanic but with cars more than mowers. I'd try a rebuild if it's worthwhile and do-able. The local mower shop said the parts are hard to find for a mower this old. It's at least 15 years old, maybe a little older.

Help!

Billy

khouse
05-11-2007, 08:59 AM
Parts are not hard to find. Keep that mower as it's a real tractor. To replace that mower would cost thousands. Everything on it can be repaired. The engine's cylinder can be bored out. The crank ground down. Tons of after market and OEM parts where ever you look.
Do you have a leak down tester or a compression gauge? Let's see if you need a rebuild or it's something simple. I would hate to have you check or replace some parts if you have a deeper issue of a worn out engine. But don't worry because for 100 to 300 dollars you can get the engine in shape if you do the work yourself. Post back you findings with the tests.

wilsonbh
05-11-2007, 01:45 PM
Parts are not hard to find. Keep that mower as it's a real tractor. To replace that mower would cost thousands. Everything on it can be repaired. The engine's cylinder can be bored out. The crank ground down. Tons of after market and OEM parts where ever you look.
Do you have a leak down tester or a compression gauge? Let's see if you need a rebuild or it's something simple. I would hate to have you check or replace some parts if you have a deeper issue of a worn out engine. But don't worry because for 100 to 300 dollars you can get the engine in shape if you do the work yourself. Post back you findings with the tests.

This is encouraging to hear. I've always heard that this engine is easy to repair, I guess I'll be testing this fact. Problem is, I don't know where to start. Is there any written guidance I can reference on this?

I agree that this is a well made machine. All the metal and accompanying hardware is of high quality. I hate to lose it. Even the mower deck is heavy grade steel.

Billy

Bill Kapaun
05-11-2007, 03:43 PM
"Is there any written guidance I can reference on this?"

http://www.kohlerengines.com/common/resources/tp_2379.pdf

wilsonbh
05-12-2007, 05:34 AM
"Is there any written guidance I can reference on this?"

http://www.kohlerengines.com/common/resources/tp_2379.pdf

I think I'm in over my head on this. I'd like to get the mower up and running again but I have no experience with lawn mower engines. Still, I hate to lose this mower. It's been great for many many years.

The mower runs but as it begins to heat up, it will cycle in and out of engine strain or laborous effort (best I can describe it). It's like the engine comes under a load for a couple of seconds then it will generate a puff of white smoke and smooth out. These incidents happen more and more frequently as the engine heats up.

Do you think it may not need a rebuild but something else? I admit I have not been good about changing the oil and this model has no oil filter. If the oil ran low, what would have been damaged? Maybe just those parts need replacement? I wish I had more experience in this.

Advice?

Billy

stu1
05-12-2007, 06:16 AM
Hi......I had a 314 with the same problem............it turned out to be a balancer in the engine. It was going to cost 850.00 so I traded it in on a used JD 425. Stu

khouse
05-12-2007, 08:21 AM
Are you confident in pulling the head off and cleaning the carbon out? Do you think you can perform a compression test? DO you think you can dismantle the carb and clean it? Do you feel you could replace the contact set (points)? These are just a few little things you could do for $50.00 or less. (includes a compression tester). If not you need to take it to a mechanic that knows what he's doing. The mechanic that told you that you can't get parts for you engine doesn't know anything.

wilsonbh
05-12-2007, 08:25 AM
Are you confident in pulling the head off and cleaning the carbon out? Do you think you can perform a compression test? DO you think you can dismantle the carb and clean it? Do you feel you could replace the contact set (points)? These are just a few little things you could do for $50.00 or less. (includes a compression tester). If not you need to take it to a mechanic that knows what he's doing. The mechanic that told you that you can't get parts for you engine doesn't know anything.

OK, not much to lose. I'll try these things. I think I can do them. It will take me a few days to get the time to do it. I'll post here what my results are.

Billy

wilsonbh
05-12-2007, 08:26 AM
Hi......I had a 314 with the same problem............it turned out to be a balancer in the engine. It was going to cost 850.00 so I traded it in on a used JD 425. Stu

What could be wrong with the balancer? My ignorance is showing....

Billy

Restrorob
05-12-2007, 08:56 AM
Billy,

Does this engine knock or rattle ?

It sounds to me you could get by with some general maintenance.
When was the points and condenser replaced and gapped properly ?

Puffing white smoke every so often really doesn't mean the rings are bad, Blue smoke puffing/all the time would prove that.

I would suggest replacing the points and condenser, If the problem persist then move to the carb, Tear it down cleaning with carb & choke spray cleaner and while the carb is off check the valve adjustment.
Also go ahead and remove the head and de-carbon the piston/valves.

All of the above maintenance is out-lined step by step in the service manual link Bill posted. Print out the pages for the work to be performed so you can have them sitting close by and give it a shot. At this point looks like you have nothing to loose by trying.

If you happened to run into a snag just post away.

BTW, FYI .....I have never seen balance gears cause a bad run situation, ONLY vibration/Rattling when the bearings go out.

wilsonbh
05-12-2007, 12:34 PM
Billy,

Does this engine knock or rattle ?

It sounds to me you could get by with some general maintenance.
When was the points and condenser replaced and gapped properly ?

Puffing white smoke every so often really doesn't mean the rings are bad, Blue smoke puffing/all the time would prove that.

I would suggest replacing the points and condenser, If the problem persist then move to the carb, Tear it down cleaning with carb & choke spray cleaner and while the carb is off check the valve adjustment.
Also go ahead and remove the head and de-carbon the piston/valves.

All of the above maintenance is out-lined step by step in the service manual link Bill posted. Print out the pages for the work to be performed so you can have them sitting close by and give it a shot. At this point looks like you have nothing to loose by trying.

If you happened to run into a snag just post away.

BTW, FYI .....I have never seen balance gears cause a bad run situation, ONLY vibration/Rattling when the bearings go out.


No rattles. I contacted a small engine repair shop and they claimed it was "worn out" and that was why it increased it's pulsing as it heated up. Seemed to make sense.

I will keep tinkering with it to try to get it diagnosed and at least running. It's been the best mower I've ever owned and it still works pretty good, except for this recent thing. I did let the oil get low and ran it that way before I realized it so I was thinking I damaged something that way.

Billy

Restrorob
05-12-2007, 03:18 PM
No rattles. I contacted a small engine repair shop and they claimed it was "worn out" and that was why it increased it's pulsing as it heated up.

Do yourself a favor and NEVER take anything to that shop for repair !!!

wilsonbh
05-14-2007, 05:32 AM
Do yourself a favor and NEVER take anything to that shop for repair !!!

Took the mower out yesterday. It runs great, I mean perfect, until it starts to heat up. Then it begins to mess up. This time out, there was very little smoke, but it started it's pulsating rough running again.

Anyone know what would be an issue such that it does not affect operations until heat is a factor? The small engine repair shop, from my phone description, said the motor was worn out and needed rebuilding. I am not sure this is the case as if it was, wouldn't the smoke be constant? It runs clean until it heats up then it still doesn't create a lot of white smoke, only on the pulses. It's more like the engine is under an extreme load, then that load is removed and it returns to normal operations, then starts over. This happens more and more as the motor heats up.

Could it be carb or just a simple tune up, ie points and condensor?

Of course this thing happens when my yard looks like it's been abandoned and the wife is on my back to replace the mower. She doesn't understand that this is a "holy" machine......:laugh:

Billy

Bill Kapaun
05-14-2007, 06:04 AM
You've got me scratching my head.

Sounds like maybe a valve is sticking slightly????
I'm not into "snake oils", but maybe try a few oz. of Marvel Mystery oil or some kind of auto product that "quiets noisy lifters" in the oil??
I'm not confident, but it might be worth a try.
IF you didn't change the oil after discovering it was very low, that might be an idea too- IF it looks suspect at all. Maybe you turned whatever was left in there into sludge.
Like I say, I'm grasping at straws here-

Bill Kapaun
05-14-2007, 06:19 AM
Not sure where my post went, but---

I thought of something else that actually might make sense.

IF the "reed valve" in the crankcase breather is sticking open, it could produce the exact symptoms.

Reed valve sticks open, excessive air/vapors from the crankcase is drawn into the intake and then combustion chamber.
This acts like a major vacuum leak, so engine performance falls off PLUS the excessive amount of oil vapors burn, producing the smoke.

Restrorob
05-14-2007, 06:47 AM
Could it be carb or just a simple tune up, ie points and condensor?


I have made my suggestion;


I would suggest replacing the points and condenser, If the problem persist then move to the carb, Tear it down cleaning with carb & choke spray cleaner and while the carb is off check the valve adjustment.
Also go ahead and remove the head and de-carbon the piston/valves.

All of the above maintenance is out-lined step by step in the service manual link Bill posted.

khouse
05-14-2007, 08:55 AM
I agree with Restrorob. The condensor can be breaking down due to heat. Also the coil could be doing the same thing. You really need to do some of the maintenance stated above then post back with the results. It needs to be done anyway. We're not getting any further if you post the same issues again. You can do it!

wilsonbh
05-14-2007, 10:43 AM
I agree with Restrorob. The condensor can be breaking down due to heat. Also the coil could be doing the same thing. You really need to do some of the maintenance stated above then post back with the results. It needs to be done anyway. We're not getting any further if you post the same issues again. You can do it!

Yes, I agree. I'll replace the coil and condensor this week and see what happens. Will change the oil too. I'll post back what happens after I do this and try to run the machine again. I have some Marvel Mystery Oil I'll put in it as well.

Restrorob
05-14-2007, 11:59 AM
I'll replace the coil and condensor this week .


Points Also !!!

Gap at .020" ........

khouse
05-14-2007, 02:56 PM
Stick a plug in there too!

wilsonbh
05-14-2007, 03:11 PM
You know, I've owned this mower for more than 15 years now and I've never changed the points, coil, condenser or done much of anything except change the oil every now and then. Would be great if all that's wrong with it is these things you cite.

Question: Should I go to the John Deere dealership here to buy these parts?

Billy

Bill Kapaun
05-14-2007, 03:57 PM
OR somebody that carries Kohler parts. Check the Yellow pages.
Write down the engine numbers.

khouse
05-14-2007, 04:39 PM
Your local NAPA store will have them.

wilsonbh
05-16-2007, 04:52 AM
OK, here is my status. I went all over my area, two NAPA stores, one Rev-Cut Mower Supply, and two more small engine supply stores but I ended up at the John Deere dealership and special ordered the parts. I have coming by this weekend; 1 coil, 1 condenser, 1 set of points and a new spark plug. I'll install these and change the oil and see what happens. I'll post the results. I'm so very much hoping that this is the problem and it's fixed with the installation of the new parts.

I'll post my results when done. If this is the problem, KUDOS to this site for leading me to the resolution.

Billy

khouse
05-16-2007, 08:49 AM
There are suppliers right here on Lawnsite that would probably been 1/2 price of special order JD parts. I can't believe that NAPA didn't have the points and condensor. My NAPA store does. Bummer. It wouldn't hurt to buy you a cheap compression gauge.

wilsonbh
05-16-2007, 06:23 PM
There are suppliers right here on Lawnsite that would probably been 1/2 price of special order JD parts. I can't believe that NAPA didn't have the points and condensor. My NAPA store does. Bummer. It wouldn't hurt to buy you a cheap compression gauge.

Both NAPA stores said they could order the parts but gave me 5 yo 7 days and the John Deere store guaranteed the parts in 3 days. If the parts come in and are unreasonable in price, I won't use them for parts again. But I'm desperate to get this mower running as soon as possible. Can't wait another week.

Billy

wilsonbh
05-19-2007, 05:18 AM
Here is an update on my sick mower. I replaced the coil and condenser and points with zero affect. Doesn't run any different. The machine does not burn any oil as there is no continuous white smoke.

So now, I'm thinking it's the carb. I have no experience with lawn mower carburators. Anyone have any advice on this? The machine runs perfect for about 15 seconds, then starts to strain to run and I see the carb choke begin to engage then it's like it burps and then smooths out again.

It's got me baffeled!

Billy

Restrorob
05-19-2007, 06:38 AM
Again Billy,


Quote:
Originally Posted by Restrorob
I would suggest replacing the points and condenser, If the problem persist then move to the carb, Tear it down cleaning with carb & choke spray cleaner and while the carb is off check the valve adjustment.
Also go ahead and remove the head and de-carbon the piston/valves.

All of the above maintenance is out-lined step by step in the service manual link Bill posted.

You will need a float bowl gasket kit and most likely a carb. mount gasket to clean the carb out. Check tank for trash/water, Flush the fuel lines and replace fuel filter. A crankcase breather gasket and head gasket will be needed for the other two steps.

wilsonbh
05-19-2007, 03:34 PM
OK, here is my status. I replaced the coil, condenser, replaced the air cleaner on the carb and changed the oil. I put some "Seafoam" carb cleaner in the tank. The machine seems to run just a tab better but still has no power. It idles perfectly but if I turn up the RPM, it starts to miss and run very rough. But it cycles into and out of this mode.

The only thing that's labeled as "easy" that I have not done is change the points. I'm embarrassed to say but I can't find them. After I post this, I will go to the manual to see if I can get a hint of where they are. I looked all over the place but they are well hidden. Any ideas where they are?

Do you think the points could be doing this?

Billy

Bill Kapaun
05-19-2007, 03:57 PM
"Here is an update on my sick mower. I replaced the coil and condenser and points with zero affect. Doesn't run any different. "

"OK, here is my status. I replaced the coil, condenser, replaced the air cleaner on the carb and changed the oil."

"The only thing that's labeled as "easy" that I have not done is change the points."

You say you replaced the points and THEN you ask where they are?
The condensor attaches to the points. Probably under the flywheel.

BTW I haven't seen where you mentioned changing the spark plug.
If you are going to throw parts at an engine, that's about the most cost effective, easiest thing you can do!

wilsonbh
05-19-2007, 04:17 PM
"Here is an update on my sick mower. I replaced the coil and condenser and points with zero affect. Doesn't run any different. "

"OK, here is my status. I replaced the coil, condenser, replaced the air cleaner on the carb and changed the oil."

"The only thing that's labeled as "easy" that I have not done is change the points."

You say you replaced the points and THEN you ask where they are?
The condensor attaches to the points. Probably under the flywheel.

BTW I haven't seen where you mentioned changing the spark plug.
If you are going to throw parts at an engine, that's about the most cost effective, easiest thing you can do!

I jumped the gun on the points. I bought them assuming it would be easy to find and install, which I was unable to do. Can't seem to find them. But I haven't changed the spark plug but will do so ASAP. Going out now to look for the points.

Appreciate your advice. Billy

Restrorob
05-19-2007, 05:34 PM
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m314/Restrorob/KSeriesPointsLocation.jpg


http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m314/Restrorob/KSeriesPointsInstall-1.jpg

khouse
05-19-2007, 10:42 PM
The condensor is up on the coil as you know. The points are housed in a small metal cover down on the block. Follow the minus side coil wire down to the points. Set the points at .020 in the open position.
But it sounds like you main passage in the carb is clogged. You have to blow out all the passages with compressed air after you tear the carb down.

wilsonbh
05-20-2007, 06:05 AM
OK, will do. First mission though is to replace the points. I will attempt to find them today. Even with the picture, I couldn't find them yesterday. I'll try again today and follow the minus wire as you suggest.

I'm beginning to think it may be the carb though. The machine runs great at low RPM, but runs extremely rough as the RPMs increase. I think that between the points and the carb, it should be ok. But points first, as soon as I find them.

wilsonbh
05-23-2007, 05:34 PM
Final posting....

Thanks a million for the help. It turned out to be the points. Thank goodness I didn't listen to the local small engine shop and scrap the machine. It just purrs now. Thank you so much.....your knowledge is appreciated.

Restrorob
05-25-2007, 10:42 PM
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