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Engine on slight hill smoking - will it hurt the engine?

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by ewilly, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. ewilly

    ewilly LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    I have a Toro ZX 6000 that doesn't seem to like hills at any angle you put it on. While mowing my new customer, I noticed the machine was smoking when on certain parts of the hill, mainly when going up the hill. It isn't smoke extremely bad, but enough to make me worry a bit. This engine has maybe 20 hours on it, so I don't want to destroy the thing. I haven't checked my oil level to see if it was too high, but when I last changed it (at 12 hours) I am pretty certain it was at the correct level.

    Will running the engine like that destroy anything? I know it's burning oil, and tossing a splash in every now and then isn't a big deal - just don't want to cause major damage to it for one customer's site.
  2. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Messages: 1,415

    What engine and slopes are we talking about?

    Check oil after sitting for a while on flat ground. You may have overfilled it and didn't wait for the residual to set after topping off.
  3. ewilly

    ewilly LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    It is a Kohler 25HP Courage Pro. The slopes I am unsure of the degree of it, I won't be out there again until Saturday morning, so I'll have to check to see what it is. I haven't had a chance to check my oil levels yet either.
  4. VegetiveSteam

    VegetiveSteam LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 296

    How are you checking the oil? Until very recently the Courage twin cylinder engines had a screw type dipstick. If you're familiar with Kohler engines you know Kohler always has you check the oil with the dipstick sitting on top of the threads. Not screwed in. Kohler has been that way forever. Until now. The Courage twin if it has a screw type dipstick needs to be screwed all the way in even though your owner's manual will tell you to sit on top of the threads. If not screwed in all the way you could be overfilling the crankcase by as much as 12 ounces. That engine should hold a maximum of 1.9 quarts of oil which is about 60 ounces. Simply drain the oil and measure how much comes out. If it is more than about 60 ounces you've more than likely found your problem. I normally tell people to refill it with about 58 ounces of oil which will put you just a tad under the full mark but way above the add mark. That is the simplest and most common issue with the Courage twin. The newer owner's manuals will tell you to screw the dipstick in all the way. One other thing. If your engine has been overfilled the smoking may not go away immediately. What happens when the engine is overfilled is oil gets into the air filter base and until all that oil is out of there you may still get a bit of smoke. The best thing is to take the air filter base off and clean out the oil. That along with the proper oil level should stop the smoking right away.

    One last thing to remember. Of the Kohler engines with screw type dipsticks the Courage is the only one where you screw the dipstick all the way in. The rest of Kohler's engines with screw type dipsticks are still taken out, wiped off, set down on the top thread then turned backwards until it drops down on that top thread and that is where you check the oil. Push in type dipsticks of course get pushed in all the way. I hope this helps.
  5. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    We used to LOWER the oil level in our Dixie's for mowing on hills.....If your oil level is correct....talk to a mechanic...usually you can safely lower the oil level to eliminate the smoke.
  6. ewilly

    ewilly LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    VegetiveSteam - thanks for all of that info, annoying how they change stuff that you are used to! I can't for the life of me remember how I checked the oil when I changed it, but I think I will take the oil level down to just above the add mark - the good news is today it wasn't smoking like it normally does on the account with an even steeper hill - maybe I burned enough of the oil out of the system. :laugh:

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