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Rough scraping noise and low power. Kawasaki fh500v

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by crslolbkr, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. crslolbkr

    crslolbkr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    :cry: I think my motor is broke. :cry:

    '99 Hustler 48" hydro walk behind w/ Kawasaki fh500v-as02-01 motor. 17hp.

    Pull start.

    A bit older but it was not used by original owners. (A university grounds crew.) It only had 117 hours on it when I bought it in Sept. 2010. I gave it a full tune up. It ran awesome, like new. Has been used daily and hasn't missed a beat in a year.

    384 hours on it now.

    When I pull the rope the motor makes a rough scraping noise. Very noticeable. It fires up and runs but you can hear the noise still a little. It doesn't miss but it seems weaker. When I try to engage the blades it stalls. Plugs both look good. There's no sign of external oil loss. Oil smells like exhaust or maybe gas, but I think it smells more like exhaust.

    Possible cause:

    When I finished the last mow of the year I sprayed off the mower with the hose. I did wait a little while (ten minutes maybe) before spraying. I didn't spray the motor itself. The water would have touched the bottom of the motor where it meets the frame.
    It was harder than normal to get it fired up right after that. But it did eventually fire up and ran fine to put it on the trailer. It also ran fine a couple hours later when I got back home and unloaded it. The next time I ran it it blew a ton of white smoke out of the exhaust. I shut it down, checked the oil and it was very low, and dark. I don't remember exactly the last time I checked the oil before that but it couldn't have been more than a few days before that. It has never used oil so that was weird. It had been about 100 hours since the last oil change so the color was dark already but it was even darker...maybe due to exhaust, or maybe due to being ran low on oil for three hours on that last mow. (grandmas 5 acres.) I topped it off and fired it up again. There was no difference, same noise and white smoke although not as much smoke. It was also weak and stalled when I tried engaging the blades.

    I have money to take it to the shop but seeing as it's winter and I don't trust anyone to do things right, I want to do it myself. I have never had my shop fix anything and I would prefer not to start. I rebuilt an entire deck for $600 in parts as compared to $1200 at the shop; and I had the piece of mind that it was done right.

    Any thoughts or expertise would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029


    I'm not familiar with Hustler/your machine, Just some general things to check.

    Check all idler pulleys, If water layed on top of one it could have rusted the bearing.

    If your's has a electric PTO clutch water could have sat and rusted the friction plates.

    Check the above first, If you find nothing I'd pull the cover and check the flywheel-coil for rust/rub marks. If you find rub marks try rocking the flywheel side to side with a couple pry bars, A worn upper crank bushing would cause rub marks.

    Oh, White smoke can be caused from condensation in the engine block from sitting, Run it a little and see if it dissipates....
  3. crslolbkr

    crslolbkr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    Thanks for the feedback restrorob. - Thumbs Up - I'll do some troubleshooting of the issues you mentioned tomorrow. I'll post back to let you know if that solves the problem.

  4. mechanic kevin

    mechanic kevin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    If the pulleys look okay, drain the oil in a clean container and look for metal flakes in the oil. This will at least tell you if its internal or not.
  5. ffemt1271

    ffemt1271 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,285

    Change the plugs, i had a new one do that last year, sounded like the motor was about to come apart.
    Took it to the dealer cause it was still under warranty. They changed the plugs and it fixed the problem
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. The Lawn Ranger CT.

    The Lawn Ranger CT. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 194

    I noticed mine recently doing that after it became wet. Here's a few things to checkout...
    1). You had mentioned it looses power or cuts out when you engage the blades....while its running , pull off one coil wire (reconnect) then the other and see if there is any changes to the idle or does it cut out completely when you take one off , if it does then you might have a bad coil cutting out on you. My mower would run great but the minute you tried to engage or put a load on it , it would cut out or bog realy bad.
    2). Disconnect the kill switch wire that leads from the coils to the on/off switch and see if that makes a difference when you attempt to engage the blades, if that fixes it ( when you disconnect that wire ), then you have either and bad switch that is grounding out or the wire to the coils are grounding.
    another way I caught to see if there was any spark grounding was to start the mower up in complete darkness and look for spark jump.
    3). As for the oil consuption,..could be burnning some past the rings, also you can check, theres a breather valve and sponge filter that is under the flywheel (you will have to pull the flywheel off to get to it ) then there should be 4 bolt holding a small plate down, remove those and under that you wil see the sponge fliter, if it seem filled with oil, replace it.
    Hope some of this helps you...Good Luck
  7. crslolbkr

    crslolbkr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    Thanks for the help guys.

    I drained the oil (saw no flakes; black as night though) and added new.
    I checked all the pulleys; they all spin freely by hand with no noise.
    I still need to do the lawn rangers electrical suggestions.

    The motor runs better now that I changed the oil. Still not without scraping noise though.
    While troubleshooting I noticed that the noise clearly comes from the under side of the mower where the clutch and pump drive pulley are. I can turn the pulley clockwise by hand easily enough but it will barely turn counterclockwise (the running direction). That may be because of the compression.

    I wonder if the clutch could have rusted. Could that have caused enough resistance to shut down the mower at low idle or when engaging the blades? How would I troubleshoot the clutch?

  8. piston slapper

    piston slapper LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,329

    Remove the hydro belt and start the engine.
    Check the hydro idler pulley while the belt is off.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. crslolbkr

    crslolbkr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    Thanks piston slapper, unfortunately that wasn't it.

    The pulleys are all free of resistance.

    When I sprayed off the mower tons of water went down onto the hydro pulley/clutch assembly. I think I have it narrowed down to one or some of the components in that assembly or something in the motor itself. (the motor still blows white smoke after the oil change; it didn't do that before I washed off the mower.)

    I've ran it a couple times since the oil change and it runs decent but there is still the noise.

    I'd like to get rid of the resistance it is probably causing so it doesn't shorten the life of the machine.
  10. piston slapper

    piston slapper LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,329

    Could be a rusted clutch bearing?
    Posted via Mobile Device

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