I think my motor is broke. '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.