Breaking in new Kohler 23

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Stonewall, Nov 29, 2000.

  1. Stonewall

    Stonewall LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    Got a new 2001 Kohler 23 (with Donaldson air filter) on order for my Scag Turf Tiger. The old 25 barely lasted 1360 hours with one complete rebuild, new intake manifold, new valves. And that with oil changes every 50 hours and a new filter every 100 hours. All to find out that the main bearing had worn out the block causing the flywheel to hit the ignition module, resulting in loss of power. I've read the posts on Amsoil bypass filters, but haven't seen anyone with an Amsoil bypass on a 23. There used to be an oil that Snapper promoted (I think) that would double the manufacturer's engine warranty if used exclusively. Anybody tried that? What's your best advice for breaking in this engine?
  2. GrassMaster

    GrassMaster Senior Member
    Messages: 447


    I'm curious how often did you clean the air filter?

    Also when changing the oil how dirty was it?

    We probably did not change our air filters that often but we cleaned them even if they had just a little bit of dirt on them.

    The oil we did not go by hours, if the oil looked almost dirty we changed it. It was probably less than 50 hours.

    One thing I know for sure is lots of times dirt gets into the Engine when removing the air filter. It's happened to us quite a few times. It got to the point everytime we went to put on the filter I would check with flashlight first.

    I've read that dirt ingestion is common when cleaning the air filter.

    The only reason I'm asking is that's not many hours on a Kohlar engine & a rebuild too? Did the folks that worked on it give you anykind of reason why the engine failed prematurely?

    My stepfather had Snapper ZTR with 14hp Kohlar Command & at 800 hours it was smoking & rod knocking. Well when I went to check it I noticed a astronomical amouunt of dirt in the throat of the carb & filter was dirty. I put all back together. Then I asked him to clean the filter & I watched him. Bam he was letting dirt fall down in the carb.

    At that time he was 72 years old & couldn't see very well. He now uses a flashlight on his new Shortblocked Engine!

    One more thing I own a Outdoor Equipment Dealership & when I first took over almost 10 years ago. The #1 problem we had was engines that were rebuilt by the Techs for the previous 2 years before I took over. I learned the hard way when I had my Lawn Service Business that rebuilding an engine was a complete waste of money & you lucky if you got half as many hours as the new engine got before first overhaul.

    We now refuse to rebuild & we loose a few customers over it. But we have no repeats on Short Blocked Engines at all & the customer is always very happy with the results!

    If I had it to do over again I would have used Synthetic oil in all my larger Engines.
  3. Stonewall

    Stonewall LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 280


    I used a remote air filter, similar to a Donaldson, but it did not bold directly on the carb. I rarely had to clean the round air/foam filter that sat on the carb. This was the only remote filter my mechanic or I knew of at the time. It did a good job, but not as well as the Donaldson.

    The oil was not dirty at all. I would have used synthetic oil, but my mechanic (quite a good one and on Scag's dealer board) said it would have a hard time keeping the hydraulic lifters primed.

    The reasons given as a possibility for premature failure were bad Kohler design or overheating that allowed the main bearing to wear the block giving it too much slack.
  4. Oldtimer

    Oldtimer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,459

    Everyone has their own opinion about engine and oil and what they can get away with and what works for them but this will work every time.

    1. Change the oil and filter after the first 5 hours.

    2. Change the oil and filter every 50 hours.

    3. Keep the engine and the rest of the mower clean.

    4. Keep the blades sharp (sharpen daily or twice daily)

    4. Use Kohler Command oil (10w30) and Kohler oil filters.

    5. Check the gauge on the air filter and believe it.

    6. Use gas with no alcohol (Amoco 87 or 89) no high test.
    If you aren't sure about how to check for alcohol in the
    fuel then e-mail me and I will tell you how.

    7. start the engine at idle & only use the choke when cold.

    8. Follow the engine maintenance guide.
  5. Stonewall

    Stonewall LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    My new 23 Kohler runs like a champ. Sometimes you don't realize how worn out your old engine is until you put a new one on. My mechanic put the oil cooler from my old 25 on the new one and had to raise my Peco bagger up 3" to compensate for the Donaldson filter.

    I think I'm gonna buy an Amsoil dual-stage oil filter and go with their new Series 2000 0W-30 synthetic oil and get oil analysis done to see about lengthening my oil change intervals.
  6. rja

    rja LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 25

    I was thinking about using the Amsoil remote oil filter system (I think that this is what you are talking about) on a 1999 suburban suv. I spoke with the Chevy service tech and he said that this system might reduce the oil pressure and cause problems for the engine. I think that the engine was designed to handle set amount of oil volume and would be too small/weak for this system. I think I will just use the Amsoil filter instead.
  7. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    Irecently aquired a kohler enginne with 800
    hrs on it . I went to mobil 1 synthetic
    Am i wrong in doing that . thanks TM
  8. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

    If you want to get an Amsoil bypass filter system for a 23 HP Kohler, Dixie Chopper uses them on their 23 HP motors. Go to a DC dealer and get one and look at how they are hooked up while your there.
  9. rja

    rja LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 25

    Are you talking about the remote filter system which attaches to the where the old oil filter fits on the engine, or are you discussing the second filter line that is somehow hooked into the base of the engine and is seperate from the oringinal oil filter?
  10. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

    The Dixie Chopper system has a regular oil filter plus an Amsoil bypass filter. You change the regular one often, the Amsoil filter about once a year. The Ams filter will filter out dirt down to 1 micron in size.

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