Best 12-15hp vert engine [thinking about a repower]

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by yankdownunder, Dec 25, 2013.

  1. yankdownunder

    yankdownunder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    I've got a Husqvarna "Rider 13" aka 850-12 [in North America],articulated, front mount mower. I got this mower for next to nothing [$100NZD] because it had a rusted out deck. A new battery cost as much as the machine. I built a "fabricated" style deck for about $250, and it is working well. Needs new blades, but this is a normal wear part. Any sugestions?
    I'm also thinking of repowering to a more "modern" engine, OHV, quiet, more power...
    I'll probably look for a donor engine from a defunct mower/lawn tractor, and was wanting to know which engines to "stay away" from, and which engines that seem to have good; performance, service life, economy...
    The 12.5 B&S flat head engine does run well, so I'm in no hurry, I have the luxury of time to look, do not have the luxury of buckets of $ to run out and get new.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, John

    This thread is running in several areas.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2013
  2. yankdownunder

    yankdownunder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    I've been looking around, and I think that I've partially answered my own ?

    Kohler has several lines of engines. Some homeowner, some commercial.
    The homeowner line is the Courage. These are known to be hand grenades. They have the worst set up for bearings [plain or none as the case is cut to have rotating part turn in the case]. These should be expected to last for 2-5 years of light duty use. Generally accepted that these should be kept away from, unless you like headaches.
    The Kohler line to look for is the Command.

    B&S have a few more slots in their line, with varying degrees of durability. I've not heard about "commercial turf", pro this and pro that. Inteks are B&S's version of the Courage.
    The best to look for [to keep it simple] is the Vanguard.

    Kawasaki and Honda are much less confusing [but also more expensive]. Most of both of these are good, Honda has a cheaper consumer engine [plain bearings...], but that'll probably be much better than either of the K or B&S consumer engines.

    Kohler=Command. B&S=Vanguard. Any Kawasaki. Most any Honda [except the GC ?].
    This is the way that I've come to understand what to look for and what to stay away from.

    Any help or clarification?
  3. yankdownunder

    yankdownunder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    Unfortunately, the Vanguard v-twins will not fit in my machine, too wide. They would've been my top choice. So, limited to a single cylinder my next top choice is a Kohler Command CV15 [C=Command, V=vertical shaft], or the Vanguard single cylinders [built before '96 or so].
    There are several single cylinder Vanguards, 28Pxxx is [I think] the 14 HP, 28Qxxx is the 16. There is a 15-15.5 variant, not sure what their #s are, but as is the case with the flathead engines, the differences are external [carb or carb jetting] with the block, piston, rod, bore, stroke... being the same for both 28P and 28Q engines.
    Because these 28P, 28Q are older ['87-'96], the condition [hours, wear...] will be harder to determine, so might just go for the CV15.
    It'll all depend on what turns up.
    The Hondas in this size are much less frequently available, and people selling Kawasakis think that they've got bars of gold, so are priced 2X what the Kohler and B&S [a guy wanted $700 for a used Kawasaki 15hp twin].

    Hope this helps anyone in future searches for premium engine brand/model.

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