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Can a novice change an engine?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Highlander, Oct 2, 2002.

  1. Highlander

    Highlander LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 7


    I have a Dixon with a vertical shaft 20HP Kohler Magnum on board. The engine has just about bought the farm and needs to be put out to pasture. I am a decent handyman but have never changed an engine before. How difficult would it be for a novice to replace his own engine? Long block or short block? A new mower is out of the question so any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

  2. The Lawn Choupique

    The Lawn Choupique Banned
    Messages: 199

    A second generation hayseed could change an engine. What you need to do is keep the old engine and rebuild it. I will bet you that you can rebuild it and make it better, faster and more powerfull than the new one. Try it you might like it.
  3. jrodgers

    jrodgers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 229

    You really just need a pulley puller for pulling the pulley off(say that ten times fast). Its not hard usually it is just bolted to the frame with four bolts or so and you have to disconnect the gas line, belts and that kind of stuff. It is not like you have to be a rocket scientist the only thing is it might take you longer than someone who does it every day, but it is not impossible. Oh you can probably rent or borrow a puller from an auto parts store. Just ask someone who works on them or where you buy the engine if there is anything you should pay extra attention to or make sure you that you do or dont do. If you have the time go for it. I have done mine before but I am just to busy to mess with them now.
  4. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,457

    Get the gear puller, rent one, but one, borrow one, you'll need it to make sure the pulleys do not get damaged/bent. Don't ask me how I know.

    I agree with jrodgers, save the old engine and have fun rebuilding it in your spare time this winter. You can get the mechanics repair manual which will show all specs, special tools you will need, clearences, calibrations, timing gear positions etc, all the fun stuff you dont think about untill you have one of these engines apart.

    If you can get to last till seasons end, you might think about not buying a new engine and just rebuilding the old one. Good luck, it's fun.

  5. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    yes u can change a motor. but my mechanic said he can have it done in 35-40 minutes.
    as to rebuilding ,,i just dont think u will do well enough your first time. now if u could do it at a school where somebody that really knows their stuff, is keeping u strait ,that be a different story.
    remember this things, how u make your livin. jmho
  6. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Rebuilding is difficult...You have to set all the timing which is tough to do and rebuilding the engine itself will take some time and won't be a walk in the park. You can drop a new one in easier than rebuilding one. I put one in my old mower, a Toro Proline 118 (now known as Groundmaster 120). It's a horiz. shaft 18 HP Kohler and wasn't easy to get into. Since it sits in the middle of the machine and not in the rearmost part, it had stuff on both sides of the engine. Needless to say, we put it 'er in in about 2 1/2 hours. I'd vote on just buying a new engine. Sometimes it's cheaper to buy a new engine than it is to rebuild one. Good luck!
  7. BigJim

    BigJim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 382

    My Repair shop don't mow lawns and I don't change engines:D .I know how an engine should work but its all those pieces left over when I've finished the job thats the problem.If your mowing for a living its surely more cost effective to put in a new engine than muck around having an old one rebuilt isn't it?And cheaper to get an expert to do it:)
  8. CMerLand

    CMerLand LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    For those guys who are really interested in rebuilding engines, make me an offer on my 25HP Kohler that I pulled out of my walker two years ago. Still ran when I pulled it out, was starting to burn oil and back then being without my walker meant cutting all my lawns with the walk behinds.

    Its the complete engine from air filter down, had somewhere around 12-1500 hours on at the time I pulled it out. (Found out recently that my hourmeters been keeping double time on the walker)

    So who has the opening bid????? BTW Im serious.

  9. The Lawn Choupique

    The Lawn Choupique Banned
    Messages: 199

    Big Jim you are right on. I say let the "experts" do it all, keep yourself in the dark, learn nothing new and that is the spot to be in.
  10. Ryan Lightning

    Ryan Lightning LawnSite Senior Member
    from CA
    Messages: 554

    $40 you pay shipping.:p

    Highlander, have the new engine first, and have someone help you, so theres 2 people to remember where what goes where, and YOU CAN DO IT!

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