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15 Kohler evil starting beast!

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by Shady Brook, Nov 17, 2002.

  1. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,157

    It kind of sounds to me like the "normal" Kohler kick back. If you read the starting instructions, they tell you to pull until you feel the compression stroke, pull carefully through it, and then pull to start it (or something along that line). When I bought the machine, my dealer explained to me to be careful with the starting procedure.

    We have a 14hp Kohler on our Exmark 48", you are describing exactly how it starts, and I will never buy another one until they develope a real compression release. The kick back can pull you back over the machine if you are not ready for it. For all the guys who run Kohlers but have electric start, you may not have experienced this. This is the biggest of a bunch of reasons why I hate our 14hp Kohler (others include: poor air filter design, runs rough, loud, governer responds slowly). Yes, the engine runs and does it's job, it just doesn't compare to our other equipment that runs all Kawasaki.

    Maybe I'll give the synthetic oil a try, I had never heard about that.
  2. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    Tvov wrote:

    poor air filter design, runs rough, loud, governer responds slowly

    These are all things that can be fixed. There is an excellant air cleaner sysytem available for your engine at http://www.enginaire.com It runs around 50 bucks or so. For the other things on your list just post the specific problems and we'll see if we can help.
  3. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,157

    Thanks for the link!

    My complaints about the Kohler engine are more along the lines of in comparison to our Kawasaki engines. If I ran all Kohler engines, I would probably think they are fine and great (especially if I had electric start!) . Our Kaw engines have run for so long and so beautifully, that any other engine has to really be perfect for me to like it.

    Anyway, on to more paperwork....
  4. SWD

    SWD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 988

    Depending on some other factors, the first thing I would check is the auto compression relief aid for starting. The compression reliefs on Kohlers, in my experience, act up in cooler weather and will cause the intermittent problem you are experiencing. There should be a check valve with a detent and spring that can be removed and cleaned. Older motors with a bunch of hours can build carbon deposits and newer motors that do not have frequent service can illicit these same symptoms.
    The key to this is a slow, steady pull, allows the engine to crank enough to start.
    One other thing, call Kohler, speak to a technical person. Kohler has people that exist to answer questions solely to commercial users of their equipment.
    At one point, I maintained over 150 acres of golf course and park settings and in my equipment inventory I had something like eight Kohler motors. During my winter service time, I purposely checked the compression relief systems, and in the spring, bingo, no more hard starting or the opposite, no compression, fast spin no run situation.
  5. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,517

    Thanks for the great response SWD!

    Can you describe this valve a bit more, and where I might locate it on a 15 horse model?


  6. khouse

    khouse LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,465

    the compression relief should be internal where it holds open the exhaust valve stightly on the compression stroke to reduce compression. i believe the button type like swd is talking about is usually found on larger 2 stroke engines. but swd brings up a good point on a malfuntioning compression release.
  7. khouse

    khouse LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,465

    I have come to the conclusion to beat the Beast into submission by converting to electric start!
  8. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 372

    Why not just switch to a Kawasaki?
  9. SWD

    SWD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 988

    I need to know model and engine spec numbers. However, I would just call Kohler, talk to their tech guys, and go from there.
    Dependent upon motor and spec numbers, you will almost always have to pull the cylinder head. In my experience, carbon build up from running low octance fuel contributes to this problem.
    Sorry about not responding sooner, the wife and I were out of town over T-day and just got back.
  10. J Hughes

    J Hughes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Shady pull your valve cover off and check the rocker arms,look very close for any cracks in the arms where they pivot.Sometimes you have to remove the rocker to see these.Hope this helps.
    J Hughes

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