19 Kawai problems, I am frustrated, need some engine expert's advice...

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by sailinstud420, Nov 14, 2006.

  1. sailinstud420

    sailinstud420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    I need some help diagnosing my problem. Here goes…

    I have a 19 kawai (FH601V) on a 52” TT, the engine is approaching 1400 hours. I just had it in for a valve adjustment, in which the tech performed a leak down test and a compression test. For compression he was showing 150 on the left hand side, and 125 on the right. He mentioned there should only be a 10% change between the two, but also said for the amount of hours the engine seems pretty strong yet.

    Today as well as the last couple weeks, I will be using this mower (primarily a backup) and it will run fine for an hour or two, sometimes even more, and then it will start acting up. It runs like it is not getting a spark, so it will suddenly die, then a second or two later it will fire again, and this process just repeats itself. If I let it sit and cool down then it will usually run for another lawn or two without any problems. This was really sporadic to start, and at first I thought it was because my air filter was getting too wet, I would switch too a new one and then it would be good to go again. Well today it finally seemed to kick the bucket, I could only get a bout ½ of run time on it and then the problems would start.

    I called the mechanic at my local shop and we started guessing what was wrong, at first he thought it was a coil, so I pulled the plug wire off one side at a time as the engine was running crummy expecting it to die, meaning it was only running on one once the “bad” coil heated up. This didn’t do anything for me. Next we thought it might be electrical something which would be making that solenoid under the carb open and close if it wasn’t getting a full 12 volts, so I went through all the wiring, everything looked okay there as well. I die-electric greased everything and put it back together to no avail. I checked all the safety switches as well. I also tried a brand new set of spark plugs. I seem to be getting strong spark when it runs…

    Now I am out of ideas, so this is what I have done so far… I ran another compression test on it when it was warm from use, and I was getting 120 on the left and 100 on the right. Does it make sense that the compression would be lower if the engine is warmed up?? How much compression do I need to keep it running? Next I took my timing gun and hooked it up, I noticed that as soon as the engine started sputtering the spark died, on both sides, neither one acts differently. Since I am fairly certain the coils are okay (see above) I am wondering what else may be the problem? It sure seems like a spark issue, is it possible the stator(s) have gone bad? Aren’t those kind of a permanent fixture on the flywheel? How about some suggestions from the experts? These engines aren’t that complex, what do you think the problem is? Since I have done this I cannot even get the engine to stay running, it will turn over and run for about 3-4 seconds and then die again.

    I am using this for my cleanups (only mower with a bagger) so when its out of commission its kind of a pain!
  2. lawnwizards

    lawnwizards LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,439

    sounds just like my encore i was having trouble with but since you said you checked all safety switches and they checked out then it can't be the same. mine would run for a bit and then cut out and then start back up. ended up being safety switch on the pistols that was bent.
  3. sawman65

    sawman65 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 754

    how old is it?has it had the vent tube on the carb relocated?
  4. pugs

    pugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,025

    I would try taking the cover off and disconnecting the coils from everything...INCLUDING EACH OTHER. Or at least disconnect them from the machine to eliminate all possibilities of it being a safety switch.

    Kawasaki does not use diodes between their coils. One coil could short and end up grounding the other good coil. So you have a bad coil that is firing fine but it is actually grounding the good coil on the other side.

    A kawasaki tech I talked to once said if you ever replace one, you should just replace both and avoid headaches down the road. The good thing is the Kawasaki coils are fairly inexpensive for the twins.
  5. Dnemo

    Dnemo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    It still could be a coil. It could be a grounding problem. I worked on a small Cub recently that had a similar problem. It turned out the saftey bar lever that you hold is supposed to ground out when you release it and shut down the engine was out of adjustment and it would make contact intermittenly once the engine warmed up. I have also had a problem with the fuel shut down solenoid mounted on the carb before. You would run the engine for a while and then the solenoid would heat up and not be able to stay pulled in.
    Another thing you might want to check is your air gap on your coils, I do believe there may have either been a coil change and/or a air gap change for that engine. Hope this helps.

    IRRITECH LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    Had a Kohler on a 48" about 4 years ago that was doing something similar. Finally took it to the mechanic. He tore the engine apart and told me that it had been overgoverned and the head was warped. Got me?
  7. Cutter1

    Cutter1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    sounds like the coil, my kaws did that, seem like it was only running on one cylinder ever now and then, checked the coil and that was it.
  8. sailinstud420

    sailinstud420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    sawman65- the mower is a 2000 exmark TT, the vent tube is in the stock location and not spewing gas out of it, I have seen that happen before, lol.

    pugs- what good will it do to disconnect everything/what is it going to tell me if I do that? The coils only go to the regulator on the side of the mower... So there is no way to tell which coil may be bad? Coils aren't terribly cheap, i got a price of abot $40 a piece today...

    dnemo- is there any way to test that soleniod to make sure its bad? How do I find out what the gap should be on the coil? As I recall they were bolted in place and there is no adjustment, correct me if I am wrong...
  9. sawman65

    sawman65 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 754

    first off move that vent tube tword the rear of the engine! i know you may not think this could be the problem but it sure could be.we are not looking for gas coming out of it the problem is the vent to the carb.those old kaw with the externaly vented carb were bad for this.with the problems you say you are haveing.talk to your tech there is a service bullitin on it.if that will not fix it get yourself two coils they were bad for that also.but try the simple stuff first.also try someting else when it starts messing up again pull the air filter off.that could also be the problem.kaw used two filters and if you have got the wrong one by mistake it would cause the problems you have.there is a s/b on that also.good luck
  10. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    Disconnecting both kill leads from the coils and running the unit will tell you if it is a coil problem (Engine) or safety/ignition switch or harness problem (unit).

    With kill leads off and the unit starts running badly then using a in-line spark tester will show which of the two coils is actually bad.

    The coils do not go to the regulator. There should be a unit wire harness plug connector on the side of the engine that the kill lead(s) plug into and most Kawasaki's use a black wire.

    Test the fuel cut-off solenoid by removing from the carb. then use jumper leads on the battery to activate it watching for the tip to pull in and out.

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