View Full Version : kohler vs. Kaw Engine ?

01-07-2004, 11:23 PM
Alright fella's (and babe), Im about to order a new Exmark Lazer.

Im still sitting on the fence over which engine Im going with. Currently I run a kaw on my deere. Other than the choke on the carb. I havent had a single problem.

There is a hundred dollar price difference but that is not an issue.

There are two things that come to mind.

First, parts come from a distrubition center in California. Kohler parts will come from Memphis, TN. So if I had a problem, the parts would be closer.

Second, the Kohler is an American built product. Enough said.

I have no experience with Kohler but I know that alot of you do.

Gimme input.

01-07-2004, 11:36 PM
One word...Kawasaki<a href='http://www.smileycentral.com/?partner=ZSzeb008' target='_blank'><img src='http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/12/12_7_11.gif' border=0></a>

01-08-2004, 12:01 AM
Im leaning more and more to the kaw.

Anyone else? Bueler? Bueler?

01-08-2004, 12:04 AM
i haven't ran the kohler but i like my kawasaki

01-08-2004, 12:08 AM
why not ask the mech at yur dealer?? Surely he has seen what breaks and what doesnt.. just an idea..:-)

01-08-2004, 12:13 AM
I already have Xcopterdoc. He tells me that they are about the same as far as maintence, repair, and reliability goes. The only issue was the parts , (takes longer to get parts for the
kawasaki because they come out of California.

01-08-2004, 12:14 AM
My 2 cents worth.I have both,Kawi is the way to go.By the way-where are your electronics made?
ps-have you tried a Scag? JB

01-08-2004, 12:23 AM
You have a point johnblast3 about the origin of most electronics. But when I have the opportunity to buy American I try to do so. In fact Kohler is built right here in Mississippi.

I looked at Scag today in fact. A very nice machine. I have two reasons for not going in that direction. One is the dealer, they are not only Scag, Redmax, and Jungle Jim dealers, they also have Lazy-Boy, Amana, Whirlpool, and other furniture and appliance brands that they sell. Second is that a drink holder is not standard. The holder is optional with a $44.00 price tag. :)

01-08-2004, 12:32 AM
:) I run Kohler, Kaw, Robin, and BriggsVanguard...For many yrs now id have to say the Vanguards have been the most trouble free....but i love the Kohlers also......Marks Mowing Service

Quality Cuts PLS
01-08-2004, 12:44 AM
I was sitting on the same fence not too long ago; contemplating on switching to Kawasaki. I have used Kohler's for about six years - no problems, with proper maintenance. Used a couple of Kawasaki's for about a year - can't complain, other than air filter covers are a pain. Kawi is a little smoother and quieter than Kohler. Kawi just added new carb that can handle high-capacity air cleaner; Kohler has had this for several years. My dealer in Baton Rouge put it to me this way; They are both good engines, but Kohler parts are eaiser and quicker to get, Kawi takes a little longer sometimes. Kohler replacement engines are a couple to three hundred dollars cheaper. Also Kohler powered Lazers are cheaper and more readily available. So I chose Kohler Power again and have no regrets.

01-08-2004, 12:50 AM
My .02
I have a Kohler with less than 100hrs. The rod broke and Kohler would not warranty it!!!!!! I only us Kaw now.

01-08-2004, 12:56 AM
To tell the truth we have many Kohlers and Kaws where I work and turn wrenches. I dont see a damn bit of difference except in parts and thats because I have to deal with 2 different dealers. One is slack and one is right on it. I have had a couple liq cooled Kaws blow top seals on the cranks. Kaw parts seem to cost a lil more too. All in all tho.. thinkin about it.. I know I have spent more on Kaws than Kohlers in the last few years.

01-08-2004, 01:03 AM
:) Tbarchaser your engine is under warranty, My dealer would take care of that problem with no questions ask. Everyone buys a lemon every now and then, still they lead in the 2000hr club here at Lawnsite.....Marks Mowing Service

01-08-2004, 10:42 AM
Kawi makes more torque than the kohlers. Torque in thick high grass is the most important. You will get good life out of both, but which is most productive? The higher torque motor is. Out of 4 kawi motors I've lost almost no time in 5 yrs. Parts for the kawi were harder to get a couple years ago, but its been getting much better.

01-08-2004, 11:48 AM
We run both. It depends on the exact model. Both brands have quirks on certain model motors. I would agree to ask your dealer. Either way, we love both motors. Can't say that we have more of a problem with one than the other. :cool:

Grass King
01-08-2004, 02:48 PM

Where are you in South Mississippi? I'm in Vicksburg.

01-08-2004, 03:48 PM
My father-n-law has a Kaw. He has had the engine replaced 3x. I have a Kohler and have had no problems with the motor.
And the Kohler cannister air filter box with the two filter system cant be beat.
The Kaw cannisters that are being used I noticed only have one filter.
Another local LCO only had 100 hrs on his Kaw and had to have a new engine. Just seems like a lot of down time to me.

01-08-2004, 04:26 PM
Grassking I am in between Laurel and Hattiesburg.

01-08-2004, 06:38 PM
Originally posted by KerryB

And the Kohler cannister air filter box with the two filter system cant be beat.
The Kaw cannisters that are being used I noticed only have one filter.

The kawi cannisters have 2 filters. I have it in mine. If you see them without the cotton inner filter someone left it out.

01-08-2004, 06:42 PM
I have both.

Kohler on my new HP. Great motor, never had any problems starting except the occasional backfire if I shut it down right away without idling down.

Kawi on my 2 JD walkbehinds. Good motor as well, hesitant in cold weather starts.

I was told by the 3 Exmark dealerships to go with the Kohler when I was buying my new HP. Thats what I ended up going with. :)

01-08-2004, 07:30 PM
I went with Kawi on my Toro last year. One deciding factor was the dealer stocks Kohler engines for quick replacement, and not Kawi. His reason was simple for not stocking many Kawis, he rarely has to replace them, as with Kohler he replaces often.

steve in Pa.
01-08-2004, 08:06 PM
We have 7 exmarks 5 wb and 2 lazers. all have kohlers except a 48" wb. the only problem we have with the kaw. but you shouldn't have this problem in miss. is that its extremely hard starting once it starts getting cold out. Kohlers fire right up. Thats the only bad thing i can say about the kaw. MY preference is a kohler!

John Gamba
01-08-2004, 09:17 PM
KOHLER! Fi if you can;)

01-08-2004, 09:22 PM
Thats a tough call. I have the 17hp kawasaki on my bobcat w/b and a 22hp kohler on my lazer. I like both. Ive had the bobcat for a yr. I bought it used and it was hard to start in the weather. Plus it sat for awhile. It starts 2-3 pulls now. The lazer ive had since late sept. I know one has a higher hp, but the kawasaki is quieter. I would say got kohler if thats what your dealer is sayin. Ps. my lazer has 1300 hours so when engine gos im stayin w/ the kohler

01-09-2004, 01:17 PM
I had kohlers and kaw's on our toro z and Danes and both seem to do the job and hold up quite well although kohlers do seem to be quite cold blooded. Kaw's seem to run smoother
I dont think you'll have a problem with either.
what i like about Kohler Made in USA

01-09-2004, 01:36 PM
buy american.. kohler.. this country is killing itself from its own prosperity. much the way rome did..kohler is an excellent motor. powerful and very durable..
now dont misundersand i have many forighn made tools .. but manufacturing is leaving this nation.. guess what one major employer of computer operators,, is now layin ground work to get out of the american job market.. when the bottum of tjhe economic structure goes .. what do u think happens to that structure. u got any kids?
will kohler leave,, count on it.. companies go where they can operate at the most profit.. people on the other hand tend not to leave in mass ,, as manufacturing is doing. so what we better do ,white black or brown ,is tighten our belts and show industry this is a goodplace to be.. those fine homes with beautiful lawns are gonna be gone .. its not if its gonna happen its when.. 2+2 always gonna equeal 4
i dont care what the new math says.
no appologies for this opinion..awm

01-09-2004, 01:42 PM
I have never had a Kawi. but I do have a Kohler and I don't like it. It surges and I have had it in the shop various times for tune-ups as well as to have this problem checked. Runs fine in the shop, does the same sh*t when I get it back, so now it sits in the back of the shop. All I have heard about the Kawi. is that they are good. I have had better luck w/Briggs than my Kohler and personaly I like Briggs, but my next is going to be Kawi. or Honda.

g overbey
01-09-2004, 06:14 PM
I starrted out 5 yrs ago with all Kaw motors and now for no apparent reason I am running all Kohler. I have noticed no difference in power or realiability. I have been happy with both but anymore I try to buy American when I can.

01-09-2004, 06:39 PM
I can, as well as others, post for hours on problems with any engine manufacturer. I can say that we have fewer problems overall with the Kawasaki.

As far as parts coming from California, that is just not an accurate comment. I am in Kansas and my parts come out of the Dallas Texas warehouse. A few parts have come from Minneapolis, but none from California.

From where you are, I would expect your dealer to be shipped from Dallas as well. If not, your dealer needs to contact Kawasaki and get it cleared up.

01-09-2004, 11:47 PM
All the Kawasaki Air Cooled engines are 98% sourced and built in the US (Maryville Missouri). The Liquid cooled engines are built in Japan.

About 1 1/2 years ago Kawasaki changed distribution from independent distributers to Kawasaki direct. There is 4 or 5 warehouses that the parts are shipped from Michigan, California, Georgia, & Texas

C & S
01-10-2004, 10:02 AM
I have had both. Different machines, but both 25 horse. The Kohler was running a 52" deck with nothing but problems (Had a hard time in wet grass, terrible fuel consumption). Now I have a 25 horse turning my 61" deck & I love it. Tons more power, and sooooo much better gas mileage. KAWI ALL THE WAY!!

01-10-2004, 11:39 AM
1 year old 20 horse Kohler on toro 52", 3 year old 19 horse kaw on bobcat 52". Toro needs new wheel moter and carb rebuilt first year and still runs bad, three weeks down in oct. Bob-cat needed two new front tires 3rd year and engine runs strong and hard. Toro could just be a lemon. 32 W/B toro 12.5 Kohler run like a champ. Sometimes you get lucky sometimes you dont.

01-10-2004, 07:18 PM
This is more of a maintenance/management problem but it makes a point. I have 4 Bobcat Z's all with 23hp kawis. Kawis are very sensitive to oil level. Should they run low they very quickly blow out the top oil seal and permanently damage the upper crank bearing which is not replacable. You must replace the entire engine and for most kawis short blocks are not available. Something that would be a relatively minor repair on a kohler is thousands of dollars on the kawi. Im a certified repair tech trained by both kawi and kohler. In closing.....Kawi a great engine....Just WATCH THE OIL.

01-10-2004, 08:36 PM
I run a 23hp Kawi on my Lazer. The first year they replaced the rear crank cover, had a pinhole in it. This year they had to replace the crank seal and gasket because it was leaking oil. I have never owned a Kohler, but I would not be afraid to try one. My dealer pushes Kawi's.

01-10-2004, 08:54 PM
you guys know why dealers push kawi's don't you? more profit margin! the kawi's always cost more, but they seem to be worth it. i've run two kolher's and one kawisaki and the only problem i've EVER had is the recoil cord on my kohler keeps breaking.

01-11-2004, 12:06 PM
Like the Kawi. Get my parts at my dealer, don't care where he gets them.

01-11-2004, 01:10 PM
I run a 25 horse Kohler on my BobCat Z, with about 500 hours.A 17 Kawasaki on my BobCat walk behind with about 1000 hours. I run them both hard. No major problems accept the Kawsaki chokes oil smoke when you first start it. Its been doing that forever.

I had a 15 horse Kohler on my first BobCat. I ran it hard hard hard. I beat the living day lights out of the engine. It still pured like a kitten 3 years later when I sold it. No burning oil either.