Kawasaki engine problems (29 hp EFI) continue

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by MikeSp, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. MikeSp

    MikeSp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    This Toro ZMaster 589 with the 29 hp water-cooled and electronic fuel injected Kawasaki engine was new last summer and ran GREAT. After Missouri started requiring at least 10% ethanol blended gasoline the first of this year, this engine has had nothing but problems. With 52 hours on it at the first mowing this year, the engine would lose power and die after 40 minutes of mowing -- usually with the fuel filter empty. My local dealership changed ownership and the new owner does not believe in giving priority to warranty work or commercial machines and a 3+ week wait was a major issue. Eventually I found a Toro "Master Service Center" that was happy to take on the issue and between them, Toro and Kawasaki, they decided it was vaporlock and removed the Toro fuel pump and replaced it with a Kawasaki fuel pump. This cured the vaporlock and the mower ran fine for another month. Then it started acting up again -- after 30-40 minutes of normal mowing, the engine severely cuts out under load but idles great and there is fuel in the fuel filter. Sometimes it backfires when it is cutting out. It is now spending more time at the service center than with me. The gentleman that owns the master service center is oustanding and has been a blessing--especially considering that I did not buy it from him, but is limited to what he can obtain from Toro and Kawasaki in the way of a fix. (I have drained both tanks and used different fuel to no avail.) There is 80 hours on the mower now.

    The warranty runs out next May 1st and I have yet to do the last mowing or two of my yard this year, which looks more like a pasture now and I usually pride myself in my 3 acre yard.

    Anyone have any suggestions as to the cure OR IF Toro and Kawasaki cannot come up with a cure before the warranty runs out after attempting to mow next spring -- what are my options for this $10,000 mower that refuses to mow longer than 40 minutes at a time? (In good conscience, I cannot trade this mower that looks brand new, off on a different brand knowing that the next owner will have engine issues and no warranty).

    VERY frustrated here :cry:

  2. Daneman

    Daneman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 154

    try a new fuel filter, and make sure you are using NGK plugs, not Champions. NGK plugs burn hotter, and it is needed, especially on liquid cooled motors. I would also check your muffler, make sure the baffles haven't goten screwed up inside. Does it audibly make a different sound that when you first got it?
  3. MikeSp

    MikeSp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    No audible sound difference froom 0 to 82 hours of use. I am going to change sparkplugs and fuel filter as you suggest. I have mowed twice with it, including my 3 acres of very tall and wet grass and it never missed a beat. Thus, the problem is intermittant.

    There is another possibility that was raised with a recent article in the Kansas City Star newspaper -- that the amount of ethanol in motorgrade fuels has been shown to vary from 10-30% even though it is supposed to be 10% and I am wondering IF higher percentages of ethanol might be the culprit.

    Toro and Kawasaki don't seem to be as concerned as do I.

  4. cattleman

    cattleman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Mike, I experienced the same problem with my Cub Cadet M60 Tank with the Kawasaki 29 hp injected engine. I appreciate your effort and post but I also feel your frustration. If dumb looks would cure the problem I'd be glad to post a solution.
    My mower started shutting off as you describe last fall when I was mulching leaves. After servicing it during the winter I started my first mowing. I checked my watch and 42 minutes later it shut down. If I release the zero turn handles it will catch up but repeat the shutting down again a few minutes later even in light grass. I noticed it seemed to be triggered a couple times when I spun the zero turn around so I tried to make it shut down by spinning back and forth with no success.
    The second mowing was much the same only this time it was just over 30 minutes until it was shutting down. It seems a lot like it is running out of gas but I jumped off and checked the in-line filter and there was gas in it.
    After brainstorming with the local Cub Cadet dealer, he didn't think it would be the fuel pump and thought it might be the coil going bad :confused:
    There are a few gas stations in our area that claim there is no ethanol in their diesel fuel; Citgo for one. I'll ask about their gas and try to find some with no ethanol to check the vapor lock theory.

  5. lawns Etc

    lawns Etc LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,277

    There are alot of coil issues with this motor I had several replaced on my Deere 797 when I had it 200 Hrs and 3 coils it was time to get rid of it.
  6. 4.3mudder

    4.3mudder LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,227

    Usually if a coil is going out it will do it when it is hot, after 20 minutes or so, maybe longer. But, you can't get it to start until it is either cooled off or has cooled down. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but that might be a problem. This was on a ladys rding mower I worked on for her. After 20 minutes of running it would start stuttering and surging, then die, bring it in, no spark. New coil, problem solved. That was on a 15 horse Kohler though.
  7. cattleman

    cattleman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Thanks for the quick response guys. To Lawns Etc., what were the symptoms when the coil(s) failed on your JD 797? My experence with coil failure is limited to cars that had coils. When one failed on my car then it was dead, kaput, and call someone to come get you.
  8. MikeSp

    MikeSp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    With the help of a Master Toro Service Center and the wonderful gentleman owner who picked up my ZMaster and returned it several times without a pickup and delivery charge (60 mile round trip each time) thinks that it is repaired. What was found was after replacing the Toro fuel pump that would vaporlock with alcohol fuel, that the Kawasaki fuel pump was putting out too much pressure and the sparkplugs would be covered with soot after running an hour -- the cure was to turn a screw on the carb to reduce the fuel pressure to ~26 psi (forget the range permitted by the specs) while measuring the pressure with a temporarily-installed inline gauge.

    Will it correctly work -- probably until May when the warranty expires and it is paid off...

    It looked like it was going to get a workout next week but a record snowfall is expected tomorrow, so that will postpone giving it a real workout to find out if it really was fixed.

  9. cattleman

    cattleman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Thanks and Fantastic, I will try the same cure.

    Do you happen to have any information to identify which Kawasaki fuel pump was used? We are mowing 6 acres minus House and out buildings and are about to get into the heaviest mowing season. I don't want the hassle.
  10. MikeSp

    MikeSp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    Because of the location of the fuel pump and my aging eyeballs, I cannot guarantee that this is the P/N but it appears to be SB7003.

    Sure cannot blame you for wanting to avoid a mowing season of hassles -- I NEVER want to go through 8 months of such hassles again and will buy Kubota next time (my experience with that brand of compact diesel tractor has been outstanding!!)

    Curses to alcohol fuels and the legislators that force them upon us to be used on equipment not designed for their use!!!!!


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