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WARNING: 2 blown Kawasaki engines in 1 month

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by ricktrips, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. ricktrips

    ricktrips LawnSite Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 7

    I may be done with Kawasaki for a while, In july we dropped a valve head on my hustler super duty fh680v-bs38 and the engine is trashed.

    This past Tuesday on a little backup light commercial (now primary mower) with a 22 Kawasaki another valve head dropped shattering the piston and anything else that got in the way. Luckily this one has 298 hours on it so it's under warranty but Kawasaki wanted pictures and the engine shipped to them. It seems that Kawasaki is having a lot of problems with this because they aren't just approving warranty engines so they must be trying to figure out what is going on with them to fix it in the future.
     
  2. WayneJessie

    WayneJessie LawnSite Member
    Posts: 203

    The valves are not dropping. What is happening is carbon/varnish is building up so heavily on the valve stem inside the guide that the valve will stick when it opens up thus allowing the piston to hit it. It seems to be more common lately. I don't know if it's a design problem as much as it is an issue with the fuel available today.
     
  3. ricktrips

    ricktrips LawnSite Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 7

    I don't know, I always run non-Deathanol, if I'm forced into a situation where I have to get a couple of gallons of ethanol I run some blue bottle of fuel treatment that both my favorite local auto parts place and lawn mower shop recommend. I use Seafoam in the fuel and crankcase and will run a little Lucas in the crankcase as well. I try to baby these mowers since they are my money makers. Is there anything I can do to prevent the Carbon buildup?
     
  4. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,145

    Run them wide open and try doing some routine maintenance once in a while.
     
  5. locallawncare.ca

    locallawncare.ca LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 756

    Routine maintenance? With those hours all you should be doing is putting gas in it and running it. It seems like Kaw has really dropped the ball, I know some older Kaw's are fine but it seems like all the new ones are having issues. Also keep in mind that Kawasaki is a leader in lawn mower engines, so there are tons of them out there, everything from home depot riders to commercial z-turns and everything in between. Hopefully they live up to the warranty.
     
  6. Valk

    Valk LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,711

    Just personal preference, but crankcase additives give me the shivers. You're having an internal failure...and would think it would be challenging to discern if it is oil-related or not. Fresh oil & filter on a regular maintenance basis is critical.
     
  7. TML

    TML LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 821

    I second this. The Landscape company I used to work for has 25 employees and 20 trucks. Never was any additives used in anything. Just oil and filters changed frequently along with other basic maintenance. I spend allot of time at the local highway garage, they are the same mentality. We never even put fuel additives in anything. At the end of the season or if it was going to sit for extended periods it was just run dry or drained.
     
  8. piston slapper

    piston slapper LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,240

    With 2 different engines experiencing the same problem in such a short amount of time...
    Its prolly not a Kawasali problem,,,Its a ricktrips problem...
    These are/were air cooled engines...Ya gotta keep the engines clean...
    Ya gotta remove the top covers and blow them out from time to time...
    If they overheat...the stuff youre experiencing happens...
    If you pack the engine full of grass..and it eats a valve...It aint no warranty..
     
  9. Bart1978

    Bart1978 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    I have many kawasaki fx691v s13 engines on exmark chassis. This summer the company i work for did not have a mechanic to do maintanc on these mowers we no have over 80 mowers broke down do to overheating or lack of oil. The heads on these motors have moved the valve guide on the exaust vavle up into the spring wich in turn bent the push rods.can these heads be repaired by replacing the valve guide,valve.etc. Without replacing the entire head.the guide will tap back down into place pretty snugg .but will it move again. Because it has already moved at time of failure.
     
  10. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,145

    Doesn't matter much if you're running cheap 87 octane, that's your problem, regular unleaded will gunk up your engine, no doubt about it, now you can stop believing in folklore and old wive's tales like Seafoam and ethanol. And sadly, if everyone starts burning premium we'll see a pretty hefty price spike.
     

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