Kawasaki Trouble, Kohler Reliable

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Albemarle Lawn, Oct 15, 2001.

  1. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,544

    I have the following Kawasakis:

    6.75HP, 14HP, (2) 17HP's, and 25HP all vert-shaft and bought new within last couple years.

    Have logged total of about 2100 hours on all of these combined.

    PROBLEMS: 4 carburetors, 1 electric starter, 1 recoil starter, 1 engine ignition coil, 1 dropped valve.

    I have the following Kohlers:

    6.0HP, 13HP, (2) 25HP's. 6.0 is Horiz shaft, others Vert.

    Have logged total about 3500 hours on all of these combined.

    PROBLEMS: NONE. Not even a hiccupp out of one of these.

    The Kawasaki's run deceptively smooth, and they have a lot of power so it is easy to beleive they are better. But it has been my Kohlers that have been MUCH MUCH cheaper to operate based on my repair history.

  2. Eng Mwr Guy

    Eng Mwr Guy Gravely Manufacturer
    Posts: 249

    Do you change the oil? How often do you check the air cleaner?

    Which particular engine has been the biggest problem?

    I have heard of similar problems from others on Kohlers and Briggs.

    I like to help if given a chance. If you are uncomfortable talking with me I can possibly get Kawasaki America on the line to talk with you.

    Let me know.

    Gravely Guy
  3. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 4,662

    I have been running JD 21" mowers with 6hp Kawasaki engines for several years and have had a lot of trouble with the carbs. When they run right, they have lots of lugging power and are very smooth and quiet. After about 1 season of use, I start having trouble with the carbs. I heard they are very troublesome if the least little bit of dirt gets in the carb., so I put inline fuel filters on each mower. That did not help at all. To keep them running, I have been disassemblying the fuel systems and cleaning them about every two months, which is a pain in the butt. No more kawasakis for me. I am going to try some Ariens/ Gravely 21" mowers with the Robins eng. next season.
    Kawi. parts are really expensive here also.:angry:
  4. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Posts: 4,831

    I have one Kaw engine on my 21" JD. The starter went out on it with in the first year which JD replaced. It lasted until the warranty ran out and then it went out again. I decided to just put one on myself and went to pick it up and it was $190 cash and carry. :(

    I decided to pull start it no more than I use that thing.

    I've had 3 Kohler engines that I have put a total of just under 9,000 hours on them and I've never replaced a starter, but I did have to replace the carb at 3,600 hours on the one I still have. It will have around 3,800 hours on it by the end of the season and still runs great.

    Some really put down the Kohlers, but I've had great luck with them. Other than the starter on the Kaw, it's been a good engine too, but it probably doesn't have even 200 hours on it in 5 years.
  5. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Posts: 3,010

    I have run a used kaw 14 for the last 5 years with no problems but a broken starter rope and 2 or 3 ignition modules. with the modules, I'm not sure they were bad. coudda been flooded or a funkey neutral switch or both together at the same time.

    sorry for you guys trouble.

    I wonder why 4 carburators...?

    and what is a recoil starter? is that the rope or what?

    electric starters are a pain and worse when the battery goes out.

    I wouldn't blame you guys for going kohler.

  6. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,544

    I agree, Eric. I think Kohler is unfairly put down. Yes there are many "Bad-Apple" Kohler 25's in circulation, but my Kohler 25's have been good motors. It was mainly the early 25's built before mid 1998 that were troublesome from what I have read. Even though they also make faucets and get bashed, most of the motors are good.

  7. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,544

    The carbs have all been on brand new or low hour machines. (On the 6.75 HP John Deere 21" push mower and on the 25 HP.

    The recoil was the recoil on my FC420V John Deere. The recoil, not the rope. And the coil was also on that machine at about 350 hours.

  8. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Posts: 3,010

    ken--what in the cat hair is going on with those carbs? how do you mess up a carb? I'm not saying you messed it up just I don't understand.

    I assume you must mean the guts of the recoil starter went out.:(

    that's the same motor I got, I think! where's the coil located? I don't want to go uncover the mower tonight to look for it!

  9. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    Kawi will NOT admit they have any carb problems, but they DO. Carb problem with my 12.5 kawi. Of course, kawi insist they don't have problems and wouldn't warrenty it. My 23 kawi carb is not great, but runs fair. If you take the air cleaner off and look in it, it always has a puddle in the bottom. My 14 kawi has been the best of all them. But, the recoil starter rope (yes Geo, starter rope) has broken many times. Something inside the opening that rubs the ropes and wears them out. All these motors run good and make good power, but all my kohlers have been better by far from day 1. I have a kohler on a troybuilt tiller that was bought new in '82. Carb needs to be rebuilt now, but nothing has ever been done to it. My dad and I plowed gardens for people commercially for years in the spring. If I had it to do over again, I would have bought all my exmarks with kohlers instead of kawis.

    Barry, exmark got me in touch with kawi america, and they suck. They think they have the best product out there and that it never has problems. They will fight tooth and nail to keep from warrenty anything. 3 dealerships in my area said the same thing. So did someone else, but I better not mention them;)

    Getting parts for the kawi is nearly impossible, and when they arrive they may not be manufactured exactly right. If a kawi goes down, you might be down for a while.
  10. strickdad

    strickdad LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 544

    how can a smooth running engine be deceptive??

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