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Mini Zoom 1540 / Kohler Courage 15HP problem

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by cnichols, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. cnichols

    cnichols LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    Folks - long time lurker, first time poster.

    I have an Ariens mini zoom 1540 with a Kohler Courage 15HP motor. For some reason, it won't start and I'm looking for suggestions. The mower is two years old.

    It has spark (verified by pulling the plug, laying on the engine case, and cranking), has fuel (the section of the air filter covering the throttle plate is wet with fuel after cranking), and I assume compression is ok because it doesn't crank any differently than it has in the past.

    It started fine before I sharpened the blades, changed the air filter, and changed the oil/filter this afternoon. I changed the oil with 10w30.

    Looking for suggestions here to start troubleshooting. I'm terrible at working on carb'd motors. :(

    Thanks in advance, folks.
  2. cnichols

    cnichols LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    Well, looks like the throttle plate was stuck. :rolleyes: I haven't quite figured out the mechanism to control it - the rod going to the governor looks to be working fine, but the rod controlling the throttle plate itself seems to be having problems.

    Once I got it running, I also noticed that the right side wheel hydrostatic motor was *really* jerky. I'm not sure if this is a factor of the oil change, or not - I suspect not, as I don't see how the two are related.

    Not sure if anyone knows the adjustment procedures, if there are any, for the hydrostatic stuff?
  3. Bill Kapaun

    Bill Kapaun LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 921

    I assume you didn't tip the mower over when you changed the oil?
    IF so, wheel motor problems would be an unrelated issue.
  4. cnichols

    cnichols LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    As in tip completely over, or toss a jack under the side opposite the drain to drain faster?

    The latter is true, but it was probably only 10 degrees of tilt or so.
  5. Bill Kapaun

    Bill Kapaun LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 921

    10 degrees shouldn't do diddly. How would people be able to use it on a slope?
  6. cnichols

    cnichols LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    Ok - making progress. The choke linkage rod was somewhat bound up in the governor linkage rod, so it now runs fine without me needing to mess with it.

    But, still having issues with the wheel motors. Would a worn belt cause jerky motion on the hydrostatic drive motors for the wheels? The mower's two years old and has probably ~120 hours on it, so I may replace the hydrostatic drive belt and PTO drive belt to eliminate cheap possibilities.

    The jerky motion is present, although not NEARLY as bad, without the mower (PTO) engaged. With the PTO engaged, it's pretty much unrideable.

    Thanks, folks - this is my first zero turn mower, and my first hydrostatic mower, so I'm unfamiliar with the typical trouble signs.
  7. cnichols

    cnichols LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    I forgot to post the eventual fix, just in case someone else stumbles across this, or a similar, problem.

    I replaced both belts with no change/improvement. Out of desperation, I swapped the dampers (they look like mini shock absorbers, or hatchback liftgate shocks) and the problem followed the damper.

    $60 later for a new damper, and I was in business.

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