23 KAW vs. 20 KOH

Discussion in 'eXmark' started by Ace LawnScapes, Feb 7, 2002.

  1. Ace LawnScapes

    Ace LawnScapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    The 20 Kohler or the 23 Kawasaki on a Lazer HP 52"??

    Any comments on which is preferred are appreciated.

  2. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Messages: 4,258


    The 20-hp Kohler is new for 2002, so it's popularity is a little difficult to gauge. We had it in the 2000 model year line-up, took it out for 2001, and re-inserted it in the 2002 line-up. I don't know why it ever went away.

    I can, however, tell you that the 23-hp Kawasaki is a very popular unit. If you were to purchase your LHP based solely on popularity, you would have to go with the 23 Kaw. If you have any other questions, either make another post or e-mail me at Dustin.Schwab@exmark.com.

    Thanks for your interest.

    Exmark Customer Support
  3. Ace LawnScapes

    Ace LawnScapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7


    Thanks for the prompt response. If you would just give me your personal comments on the Kaw vs. the Koh.

  4. SLS

    SLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mars
    Messages: 1,540


    I bought a new Lazer 60 back last spring that has the 23 Kawi on it...and it has been great! No problems, no lack of power, easy to do regular maintance on, ect.

    Do remember that this engine only has about 400 'one operator' hours on it.........so longevity is still to be seen.

    The only drawback??? I have yet to find the fancy 'dual-filtration' air cleaners (like the Donelson of Nelson) offered for the Kawi's.

    Kohler gets 'em...why not the Kawi...being that it is so popular and all!?!? Plus, I've noticed that the 23 Kawi has been dropped from the Lazer lineup this year...Again, if it's so popular then why has it gotten the axe??? I LOVE mine!

    Everyone knows that filtration is the LIFE of these little engines (ask any Dixie Chopper owner with their dual air and oil filters and coolers) and they will tell you. 3000+ hours sounds great to me too!

    So maybe the Kohler wins in this respect.

    I'm rather good with a wrench so I'm considering buying some of this stuff (oil and hydro coolers and Donelson air filter) through aftermarket sources and fabricating the mounting hardware myself...as I want all the reliable hours I can muster from that sweet little 23 hp Kawi!

    Besides this...I wouldn't change a thing! Great machine, great dealer and factory support...who could ask for anything more (er, besides the 'heavy-duty' filters and coolers). ;)

    Love ya, Exmark!!! :D
  5. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    I have the 23 Kawi and its a very strong motor. I've had good experiences in the past with Kohlers, but over the last several years I've bought everything with kawi's and have only had a few minor problems.

    If you have your choice I personnally like the 23 kawi.
  6. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Messages: 4,258


    I personally favor the 23-hp Kawasaki over the 20-hp Kohler. It's a relatively reliable and powerful engine. The 23-hp Kawasaki with the 52" deck is a great engine/deck combination. You have plenty of power to mulch with it if you so choose. In fact, the 23-hp Kaw. may have too much power. Sometimes operators will go too fast when mowing, and then they ask us why the quality of cut is not as good as they believe it should be. When we suggest that they may be mowing too fast, they often reply, "but the engine isn't bogging down, so how can I be going too fast?" With the 23-hp Kaw., the engine may not bog down. Even though the engine continues to spin the blades, the deck has reached it's capacity to efficiently discharge the grass. As a result, the quality of cut is effected.

    I'm sure this will bring up the question, "If that is true, do I really need all that horsepower?" To be honest, nobody really needs that much horsepower, but 'scapers really, really like it, and I would have to agree with them. I would rather have too much power than not enough. I can compensate for too much power by slowing down a little. I can't do much when I don't have enough power.

    If you're still struggling with your decision. I would recommend that you contact your local Exmark Dealer and ask him what he recommends. Ask him about getting parts for the Kaw. vs. the Kohler. Which engine distributor is better? If you have problems with your engine, you want to make sure that you can get parts for it in a timely fashion.

    SLS mentioned the canister air filter on the Kohlers. This is a tremendous asset for extending the life of your engine. Dirt in the engine + time = engine failure. The Kaw. air filters are adequate, but they require regular maintenance to keep them functioning properly. If you didn't need all the power of the 23 Kaw., I wouldn't have a problem going with the 20-hp Kohler with the canister filter.

    As you may have seen at some of the large trade shows, Kawasaki is supposedly coming out with a canister air filter for their v-twin engines. I think they are still trying to work out some of the bugs. I have no idea when they will be available or how much this kit will cost. This is all I have heard.

    SLS - the 23-hp is not in the line-up for the LAZER Z's. It is still in the line-up for the Lazer Z HP's. When I spoke about the popularity of the 23-hp Kaw., I was writing in reference to Ace's question, which mentioned the Lazer Z HP, not the Lazer Z. Maybe I should have been more specific in my answer. The 23-hp Kaw. on the Lazer Z's was coupled with the 60" deck. On the Lazer Z HP, it is paired with the 52" deck. The 23-hp Kaw was cut to make room for the 20-hp Kohler and the LARGER, 25-hp Kawasaki. Unfortunately, when you want to add a model or two to the list of choices, some other models must go away.

    I hope this answers all of your questions. If you have any others, feel free to post again.

    Exmark Customer Support :D
  7. Ace LawnScapes

    Ace LawnScapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Thanks eveyone for your engine input! Sounds like either engine will do the job.

    Guess I'm leaning more toward the Kohler with the heavy duty air filter and clean out ports. The extra horse power I'll get with the Kawa doesn't seem to be a all that important considering the speed with the Kohler should be more than adequate. Hope the Kohler turns out to be the right decision!

    Thanks again!!
  8. Premo Services

    Premo Services LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,516

    Ace Lawnscapes:
    I have the 23 kaw on a 52 lazer hp and it does great. If I had it to do over again (kawi or kohler) I would choose the kohler. I would do this because of availibility of parts when the kawis need fixin, that is a big joke!!! But, most important thing is the heavy duty filteration on kohlers. After I see all the dirt that gets sucked into the kawi filter, it would be nice knowing that the heavy duty was getting more of the particles to help the engine run longer, saving you some money in replacement costs.
  9. Barkleymut

    Barkleymut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,117

    Nothing like bringing up a really old thread! Anyways I am considering the purchase of a new Exmark 52 Z HP and considering the 2 engines already mentioned here. Everyone still happy with their Kawi 23's and Kohler 20's?

    What in the world are clean out ports or blow out ports on the Kohlers? I read about them in the brochure and have no clue what they are talking about. If Kawi already had a canister air filter I would have already decided between the two.
  10. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Messages: 4,258


    The clean out ports are two small removable plates that allow unrestricted access to the cooling fins for cleaning. With out them the entire shroud assembly should be removed for proper maintenance every 100 hours per the Kohler engine manual.

    The clean out ports just make an often forgotten job much faster, quicker and easier. Ultimately we hope the clean out ports will allow more owners to clean the cooling fins more often that they are probably doing now.



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