Kawasaki or Kohler Engines ?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Turf Dancer, May 20, 2003.

  1. Turf Dancer

    Turf Dancer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    I have another thread posted that is related to this question but there were several questions in one thread so to get an answer I thought hey I will post a separate thread.

    I am going to purchase a large Walkbehind and a ZTR in the next few months. Which engines should I get ? Kawasaki or Kohler and why ? Are there any major known problems or disadvantages to either ? The ZTR will be either an Exmark, Ferris, or Toro. The Walk behind will be one of the same !
    Engine size 15 for wb and 23 to 27 for ZTR !

    Thanks for the Help !
  2. Shuter

    Shuter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,171

    I just bought a Toro 36" with a Kawi. I had a choice of Kawi or Kohler. I did not like the fact that my dealer stocks the Kohler engines for quick replacement when your engine quits. The Kawi is also lighter and I found that the 12.5 Kawi is comparable to the 15 Kohler. I am happy with the Kawi.
  3. Premo Services

    Premo Services LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,516

    I have the 17 horse and the 23 horse kawi, and they do pretty good. I was saying that when i get new equiptment, I would get the kohler motor, because of replacement parts availability. Seems when I need parts for the kawi, it has to be ordered, but with the kohlers, they have them. Also the filteration on the larger kohlers is nice, but now you can get the heavy duty air filteration for the 23 kawasakis also. That still don't help with the little air filter on the 17 horse kawi. I think the kawasaki has more torque in the motors though.
    I think I would go with a large kohler for my next purchase of equiptment.
  4. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    3-4 years ago, and I would have said to stay AWAY from Kohler. Now I think they have their stuff straightened out. That being said, I still like Kawi's.

    As for your engine choice on a ZTR. If your in the 60" class, stay away from the 23 Kohler. While a few people on here have this very combination, it is pretty safe to say that they are underpowered. Sure it will cut grass everyday and do it well, it's just the HEAVY stuff will really slow you down. It has close to 10 ft/lbs LESS torque than a 25hp.

    Also look for a model with a canister air filter. Still amazes me at all the manufacturers out there that are content with simply using the engine manufacturers air filter!
  5. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    15 single or twin on the w/b?

    My vote-
    Single cylinder- Kawasaki
    Twin cylinder- Kohler

    I'm not just saying that because that is what I own, but a LCO (alittle too far away for competition but we're friends) says he will only go that way. In my experience, the 17 twin Kawasaki rope start engine was the hardest starting engine I've ever used. I don't just mean the rope was hard to pull (a twin should be electric start anyway) but it just didn't wanna start good. I found it alittle better to let it idle several minutes before shutting off but it died at full idle. My 14hp single cylinder Kawasaki I haven't touched with a wrench (or screwdriver!). It's about time to change the oil in it again but thats all. Very reliable fires right up every single time and isn't picky about idling down and cooling off before shut-off (although I try to do that). The twin Kohler on the rider is a good one too but I haven't had it long enough to say for sure, although the general consensus seems to be that it is a winner.

    The 14hp pulls strongly but still not enough power for the unit it is on (52" hydro with sulky, not it's fault!) but it tries and does a fair job in summer growth (spring growth slow down alot). The 22hp Kohler twin I cannot bog down on the 61". Note that the rider has a top speed of 6.8mph and it has the old style baffle-less deck so cutting at top speed with this one is not like a ZTR but it is plenty of power for summer growth that we're now into (didn't get it in time for spring growth) but I've cut tall grass with it and some bush-hogging and its plenty of power. The deck just needs baffles in front so it can cut better at top speed w/o missing stringers or clumping. I've heard baffled decks require less power too so I'm thinking about that for the w/b.
  6. Swampbeast

    Swampbeast LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 463

    Let me put it to you this way, the one Kohler I have had, was so awful that I swore to never buy another one. It was fried after 150 hours! However, I have over 15 Kawasaki engines, and each one is still running strong. I have never had a problem with my Kawi's. Plus Kawasaki engines have a higher torque per horsepower ratio than any other engine I have seen so far, excluding the diesels of course.
    I would put my money on the Kawasaki.

  7. lawn perfection

    lawn perfection LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 347

  8. crazygator

    crazygator LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,048

    I will stick to Kawasaki.
  9. UGA

    UGA LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 326

    I was talking to the mechanic at my dealer the other day and said I had never seen a Kawasaki with over around 1600hrs but had seen many Kohlers with 2500-3500hrs. I don't count Eric Elms 4000+hrs because I think any engine is going to get MANY more hours if it has the type of filtration system that the Dixie's have.
    Anyway, he said that actually he had seen many more Kawasaki's with 2000+ hours on them than he had Kohlers; then he said just look around this shop and what do you see; there were 4 Kohlers and nothing else being worked on. Now that could have just been a coinsidence but I will go by what a mechanic tells me as a pretty good gauge. He also said that he prefers Kawasaki because they are much easier to work on for him. I currently have a Kohler 22hp because I bought my Surfer used but if I had to replace it, I would go for the Kawasaki at this point. Although the canister filter is an issue for me and I hope Kawasaki will step up fast on getting them on their engines.
  10. o-so-n-so

    o-so-n-so LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,218


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