John Deere 717a Engine Swap Help

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by FloridaCutter, Jan 9, 2014.

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  1. FloridaCutter

    FloridaCutter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    I have a JD 717a Mower with an original 19HP Kawasaki Engine (Engine Id Number FH601v-bs32-r)

    The engine has seen better days and I would like to install a new engine. John Deere has been no help with cross referencing a suitable replacement, in fact I have emailed about 10 dealers across the South East and no help yet. I found a Kohler Engine that I think will fit.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/360762541981?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

    It has the same dimensions and the shaft is the same size and width. Same configuration with the canister air filter mounted high. Throttle controls in the back, starter mounted on the same side and location.

    So my question is, has anyone had experience with this machine and an engine swap? Would this work? What type of electrical rewiring may I have to do?

    The dealer makes it sound as though no one has ever swapped out an engine on those machines. Wants to sell me a short Block and install to the tune of $2000.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,024

    If everything else is the same just label each wire as you remove them from the Kawi, Then put them on the same component on the Kohler.......
     
  3. FloridaCutter

    FloridaCutter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Will do, I noticed from the photo that the new engine has an extra wire coming out?
     
  4. FloridaCutter

    FloridaCutter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    This is the reply from smallenginewarehouse to me

    "As far as a good replacement, I cannot say. We have not attempted to do that switch, so I have no clue what all would have to be done to swap them. I do know that you would need a small engine shop, with a small diameter bender, to custom fabricate an exhaust system for that engine as well as custom wiring work. John Deere Kawasaki engines are unique to John Deere, and Kawasaki has nothing to do with them once John Deere purchases them. Kawasaki does not even index the parts for them, aside for the John Deere system. I am sorry that I cannot recommend this engine for your machine. We will not be able to provide any support if you attempt to make the swap."

    From the picture I think the with the exhaust will be ok.
     
  5. pugs

    pugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,023

    Your best bet would be to find an FH601/641/680/721 with the same crankshaft was what you have now. JD usually used a Solenoid shift starter so if you find one with a bendix starter you would have to add a solenoid. But then your muffler would fit. No a Kawasaki muffler is not going to fit a Kohler unless you do some cutting/welding.

    Only problem is the FH engines are being phased out. For a Kawasaki dealer to get one they would need to fill out paper work and take your old engine from you and destroy it. No keeping any parts from it. But since this is a John Deere, you dont really have a Kawasaki engine. You have a John Deere engine so not sure if Kawasaki would even allow the emissions paperwork to go through on a JD spec engine.

    At the end of the day its a good reason to stay away from John Deere...
     
  6. FloridaCutter

    FloridaCutter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Thanks for the info on the starter. I didn't know that. The small engine warehouse has a muffler that fits that engine and I've seen the picture and measurements and it looks like it should work on the machine.

    Do other Zero Turn manufactures have this same relationships with the engine builders? I have 7 years on the JD and it's been a great machine. Frame and deck are still solid, super cut (Once I leveled the deck properly) so I would not hesitate to purchase another. The only issues I have had are with the Kawasaki developing leaks,(that can't seem to be repaired), and starter solenoid replacements every 6 months. And not happy with this current swap issue. They act as if everything is top secret.

    The reason I'm dumping the engine is the oil leak issues. The seals (Crank, Breather and Governor) have been replaced twice and they blow out very soon after. I guess the engine has some sloppy play in it.

    Some say the Kohler is a quieter engine? I had an old 20hp Kohler Magnum once and had lower end problems a couple of times. Two short blocks later it, left a bad taste in my mouth for Kohler. My Kawasaki still starts and runs like new, so I would have to say I'm happier with a Kawasaki, and would pay a little more if I had to. The oil leaks have developed in the last year.

    I will email the seller to see what type of starter it has.
     
  7. BigFish

    BigFish LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,064

    The motor you linked to has the correct/ same type of starter. No solenoid needed.
    Did you notice it has a John Deere oil filter installed?
     
  8. pugs

    pugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,023

    Kawasaki is the only one that does these kinda deals that I am aware of. They do it for John Deere, Kubota, Cub Cadet(mainly for UTV), Themselves(Kawasaki mule used an FH engine), Kohler marine generator(yes Kohler uses Kawasaki engines) and I think a golf cart mfr or 2.
     
  9. The Gardener's crew

    The Gardener's crew Banned
    Posts: 261

    Don't do that. We have a 727A with a fh series 23hp engine. Kawasaki and kohler are designed to accept different wiring harness. IT WON'T WORK. Kawasakii fs, fr, fx 600v series will work. Make sure you purchase one with the same shaft size.
     
  10. The Gardener's crew

    The Gardener's crew Banned
    Posts: 261

    You will have to also change your muffler.
     
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