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Worth it to swap in a new motor?

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by Bautieri, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. Bautieri

    Bautieri LawnSite Member
    Posts: 28

    *Edit* Engine, not motor

    Hi Guys, first post!

    I’m not sure if it is appropriate for me to post here or not. I mow a three yards for some elderly folks in the neighborhood who also attend the church I go to, but I don’t charge them. Crippled up and on a fixed income…you know that story. Maybe that's enough to fit the definition of "residential" mowing. They give me gas for the mowers and some baked goods once in awhile (I was never one to turn down homemade pies). I guess I’m just a swell guy who doesn’t mind helping his neighbors out. It also helps that I really like to cut grass.

    Anyways, two years ago I bought a ‘93 Scag SW36-13KA to speed things up. It ran great for two years; it always started on the second or third pull and would run all day. Barely used any gas and nearly cut my mowing time in half. I love this mower! Well, last month the Kawasaki FB-460v refuses to start. I cleaned the carb, tested spark, changed the oil, oil filter, and air filter to no avail. I do a compression test and she’s coming in at 10psi…and falling. I open it up and the intake valve has no clearance from the tappet and is sticking open just a hair. Naturally, the tappet is not adjustable. I don’t have the tools to pull the valves and grind them down, so I send it to the shop. The shop called me today and claims there is a “crack in the valve seat” (now this is going off memory from the call three hours ago) and it’s not repairable. The engine needs swapped out. I asked for the mechanic’s diagnosis in writing so I have some information to stew over while I ponder my next move. I don’t know how much I buy that answer, but the guy who called wasn’t the mechanic so it’s likely some verbiage got mixed up.

    My question is if you guys think it is worth it or not to replace an engine on a mower that is 18 years old? The deck is solid without a spec of rust, transmission is strong. If you’ve done this before, which engine would you recommend? Any idea what this might run me? The shop was going to check into replacement engines and call back later. Should I just look for something else? I appreciate any brain cycles that you guys/gals put into this.

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2011
  2. Oakleaf landscape

    Oakleaf landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 624

    Well more than likely it's gonna be around $1,100 for the new kaw engine and labor to install it. That's just my guess. For $1,100 you could probably find a decent used walkbehind on Craigslist. But you don't know how it has been taken care of and who knows, you might buy it and the motor blows 50 hrs later. (Happened to me on my first Craigslist find)... Personally I probably wouldn't fix the motor. Just sell it to a scrap yard and get a few hundred for it and invest in something a little newer.
  3. i cut with ferris

    i cut with ferris LawnSite Member
    Posts: 60

    if you like the mower enough put another motor on it.
  4. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    Motor or engine is acceptable. Have you ever heard of the Ford Engine Company? No. It's the Ford MOTOR Company.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    The easy answer is no.
  6. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,674

    Find an old lawn tractor, get the engine off of it and use it. Alot of John Deers's use the same motor. I've done this several times. The tractors are wore out and the engines have a couple of hundred hours if that.
  7. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,023


    I'm going against the grain here....If this machine is still in good shape as you state, and suits your needs I don't feel you could replace it with someone else's half worn out machine for the cost of a new engine; http://www.smallenginewarehouse.com...lectric & Recoil Start, Oil Filter, Fuel Tank

    You should be able to perform the swap yourself and save the labor, Remove the electric starter and sell it to help offset the cost.....

    You must measure your old crankshaft diameter and length to assure you purchase the proper new engine, From what I seen the engine above should be right but verify first.
  8. unit28

    unit28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,557

    just guessing but this may be a suffecient low cost replacement..

    Briggs EngineItem: 21B907-002913.5 HP - Intek; 1" x 3 5/32" crankshaft, electric & recoil start, 3 Amp DC / 14v AC, with muffler, no oil filter, with fuel pump, no fuel tankSale Price: $420.00
  9. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,023

    IMO, It would be well worth the extra 30 bux for the one I posted with the optional oil filter assembly.....
  10. Coumbe

    Coumbe LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 270

    will the bolt holes line up?

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