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Kawasaki engine failures

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DennisF, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,381

    I was at a dealer today when a guy brought in a Hustler Z with a 23 Kawasaki engine that blew at 1400 hours. The problem is in the upper crankshaft seal. The seal begins to leak very slowly so that you don't notice any oil leakage between oil changes. After a few hundred hours of operating with the seal leaking the oil builds up on the cylinder fins. The oil collects dirt, clippings, etc and the fins become filled. The engine overheats to the point that engine seizure occurs. The problem is that you can't see the upper cylinder fins since they are under the fan cover, so you don't know about the clogged cooling fins. The dealer said he has seen 7 of these engine failures in the past 2 months. He said the problem seems to be on Kawasaki twins in the 15 to 23 hp models.

    Just wondering if anyone on the forum has experienced the problem and to let everyone that has these engines to be on the look out for possible trouble.
  2. lqmustang

    lqmustang LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 620

    Haven't had any problem with my Kawi 15 twin. I usually pull off the top cover once or twice during the season to be sure everything is clean, and haven't noticed anything. Don't have an hour meter, but the engine is 3 seasons old now. Definately something to check for on occasion.
    K c m likes this.
  3. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,209

    I was told the same thing about the 15 and 17 I have. We pull the shroud every month or so and blow it out. No major failures yet, the 15 hp I bought in 2000 and the 17 in 2001, it has almost 2000 hours on it.
  4. General Grounds

    General Grounds LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    :realmad: i will never buy another kawi, i have a 17hp on a lazer hp and a 21 on a 61" walk, the both have been through coils and valve cover seals, the 17 had a breather problem, kawi finally took my dealers word for it and was reluctent but paid for the repair, and the 21 is extremely hard to start now that it is a little older. my kohler, all 12 of them run very well with no problems to speak of. guess i just had bad luck, but never again. tony
  5. Travis Followell

    Travis Followell LawnSite Silver Member
    from KY
    Messages: 2,206

    I havn't heard of any problems here but that don't mean there aren't any. This is a prime example of why I don't buy kawasaki engines. It's Kohler all the way for me because you never hear of a problem like this out of Kohler engines.
  6. dfor

    dfor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 828

    I had my dealer put a new 17 Kawi on an old mower in May. In Sept. the same thing happened. He said it overheated. BUT, to me it didn't overheat. I have overheated an engine and this time it didn't give me any of those signs. Kawi did warranty it.
  7. General Grounds

    General Grounds LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    :angry: well said travis, the sad part kawi doesnt care about customer service, the blamed me for there faulty breather, oh sorry i may have forgotten to add that before, but the was my fault also. unreal, never again. i have kohlers with 3000+ hours on them with no sign of trouble, my kawi run like crap (if i can start it) with less than 2000. im pissed
  8. specialtylc

    specialtylc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,656

    Thats exactly what happened to my 15hp kaw. this summer . The valves stuck, which bent the push rods on one cylinder. When I pulled the engine apart it was all oil and dirt on the fins in the head area. There is also a breather passage right there to the carb and it was totally pluged.Motor had 1800 hrs on it. Also have had early coil failures on both the kaw motors I have. The engine we have is a 2000 year model. We took it back to dealer when it was 1 year old because it was sucking oil into the air filter assy. Factory had update kit for it. But it didnt help much.
  9. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    I have had nothing but bad luck with my Kawasaki's too.
  10. jbell113

    jbell113 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 654

    I bought a used exmark with the 17 hp kawasaki and I noticed it would run on 1 cylinder . Took it home and the right side cooling fins were completely clogged took me an hour to chisel all that off. Now i dont know if it was from an oil leak but thanks for the heads up I will follow up on that.

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