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I checked it when it was cold. I took it out for a spin again this afternoon into some really thick and tall grass in the field. It sputtered a few seconds after I engaged the blades, but in less than a minute, it was plowing through the grass with no sputtering. You could tell it was stressed (normal sounds of an engine under heavy load), but no sputtering. I'll see what happens over the next few mows and if the sputtering keeps coming back I'll go ahead and do the plugs and coils next.
Dont do them both at the same time...start cheep that way you will know if it was a plug or coil

Rob
 

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Why haven't you tried replacing the right coil since it's measurement was only marginal?
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Why haven't you tried replacing the right coil since it's measurement was only marginal?
I read that in some cases it's required to replace both, as a pair. I think someone had posted a tech note from Kawasaki that was intended for repair shops. I don't remember exactly where I saw the notice I'm talking about, but if I do have to replace one, I plan on replacing both at the same time.
 

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I read that in some cases it's required to replace both, as a pair. I think someone had posted a tech note from Kawasaki that was intended for repair shops. I don't remember exactly where I saw the notice I'm talking about, but if I do have to replace one, I plan on replacing both at the same time.
Someone might have posted that, but I don't believe it to be a valid requirement since I changed only the one on mine that was bad as indicated by a low resistance measurement, and that cleared my problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 · (Edited)
I ordered new coils (both) and new plugs from Partstree a moment ago. Today while mowing, it started to backfire (not really loudly, but still doing it) very frequently and not under really heavy loads. I do believe it's mostly ignition related. I assume there's unburnt fuel that's causing the backfires. I took readings on the coils after getting them off and only one of them had a normal reading (left one) and the other was up into the mega-ohms instead of kilo-ohms where it should be. Overall I was having a hard time getting a reading at all. Anyway, If this doesn't cure the problem, I'd be pretty surprised. I've used octane booster in the last two mowings and I think that's helped it run better with the bad coils...but it seems like the problem is growing worse and being more consistent now. I hope to have the replacement parts by mid week. The dealer said he'd have to take the engine off to get the coils off, but I did it at home without removing the engine. It's a little tight, but it's a lot less work than removing the engine! My biggest pain in the butt I'm sure will be making sure the clearance is set right (between the coil and flywheel). I know what the clearance should be, but I'm just saying it's going to be tough because the workspace it tight.

 

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Cool. Keep us posted!
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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Exhaust valve staying open when it fires will also do what your saying. And these Kawasakis are famous for valve guides sticking and the head going bad and sticking a valve and destroying a piston and a block. Could have a warped exhaust valve. http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?p=4409832#post4409832

is what they are famous for. NEW and OLD!
I hope not :-( If the coils don't do the trick, I guess that's the next thing to check.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
Did you ever figure this one out? I've got the same type of issue with mine.
I just got the parts today (2 new coils and new plugs). I don't need to mow right now but I took it out for a test run in the field where the grass is tall (usually mowed with the tractor every month or two). I only ran it for about 20 minutes, but so far it runs great. No sputtering and no backfires. It plows throw the grass as I'd expect with just a little bogging down of the engine in the really heavy grass. I'll probably need to mow this weekend so I'll keep an eye on it and see if there's any more issues. I hope this solved the problem. I think it did. I think the reason why it ran better the last time I put the carb back together was because I put some octane booster in the gas so I think it was able to run a little stronger than it normally would...but then the backfires started and more sputtering. After putting the new coils on today though, it runs good. We'll see what happens. I'll update again if anything comes up but I sure hope I'm done! Overall it's about $125 in parts and about 2 hours or so of labor. It was sort of a pain to adjust the clearance of the coils to the flywheel magnets, but with a little care and adjusting each side of each coil (by myself) little by little, I got it in the middle range of the clearance the book says is recommended.

 

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I just got the parts today (2 new coils and new plugs). I don't need to mow right now but I took it out for a test run in the field where the grass is tall (usually mowed with the tractor every month or two). I only ran it for about 20 minutes, but so far it runs great. No sputtering and no backfires. It plows throw the grass as I'd expect with just a little bogging down of the engine in the really heavy grass. I'll probably need to mow this weekend so I'll keep an eye on it and see if there's any more issues. I hope this solved the problem. I think it did. I think the reason why it ran better the last time I put the carb back together was because I put some octane booster in the gas so I think it was able to run a little stronger than it normally would...but then the backfires started and more sputtering. After putting the new coils on today though, it runs good. We'll see what happens. I'll update again if anything comes up but I sure hope I'm done! Overall it's about $125 in parts and about 2 hours or so of labor. It was sort of a pain to adjust the clearance of the coils to the flywheel magnets, but with a little care and adjusting each side of each coil (by myself) little by little, I got it in the middle range of the clearance the book says is recommended.

Next time just fold a piece of copy paper about 2-3 times instead of using feeler gauges...they also make brass feeler gauges. The air gap is not super critical (ill probably catch hell for saying this)

Saw you were using the brass gauges...you can unscrew them from the holder so you can span the coil....
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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
I guess I don't know all the shortcuts/tricks since I don't do this all the time. My father was a lifelong mechanic so I picked up some knowledge from him, but we're not very close so unfortunately I didn't learn all his good info.

Oh by the way, I couldn't resist another run this evening. I went out to the field again and mowed for about 30 minutes in tall/thick grass. The engine runs really strong and smooth. Sounds/runs great. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
I mowed for 2.5 hours today and it runs perfectly. Very strong and very smooth. I think it's safe to say at this point it was definitely the coils. At just under 150 hours of use on this machine, I never would have imagined the coils would be bad.

Thanks for everyone's suggestions/help. :)
 

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I mowed for 2.5 hours today and it runs perfectly. Very strong and very smooth. I think it's safe to say at this point it was definitely the coils. At just under 150 hours of use on this machine, I never would have imagined the coils would be bad.

Thanks for everyone's suggestions/help. :)
I had the same experience and is why I had a hunch it was your coils. Probably it was just one of them. Glad to hear that you got it resolved.
 

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Next time just fold a piece of copy paper about 2-3 times instead of using feeler gauges...they also make brass feeler gauges. The air gap is not super critical (ill probably catch hell for saying this)

Saw you were using the brass gauges...you can unscrew them from the holder so you can span the coil....
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Ditto...taking the gauges out of the holder makes them a lot easier to use...
I use the foot long feeler gauges made for working on diesel engines..they span the coil every time...not too expensive...if you don't want to buy the whole set you can usually buy the individual feeler gauges from SnapOn or Mac Tools..
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Sorry, one more update. I just wanted to be sure I log everything here for search purposes in case someone else has the same issue in the future. I think the problem IS the carb. Today it runs really bad even at lesser loads and I can't even mow. So I think I made matters worse by taking apart the carb. So I took it apart again to blow it out with compressed air and I noticed I accidentally damaged one of the O rings when reassembling the card. I just ordered more o-rings and a few other gaskets/seals online from parts tree because none of the local dealers I called have these in stock. I'm pretty sure this is my problem. It makes sense. I was actually glad that the problem got worse when I messed with the carb because now I think the problem is definitely pointing to the carb as the issue. I think it was just dirty originally and it was fine for a few minutes after I put it back together...until the o-ring gave out. It was nearly cut in half. Oops....my fault. This is a very simple carb to take apart so it's not a big fear factor when breaking it open....I just messed up and ruined the o-ring. When I get the new ring and put it together I'll update this again :)
Thank you so much for posting this. My exact problem too!
 
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