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Surging Kawasaki motor

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GravyTrain, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. GravyTrain

    GravyTrain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    I believe it's either a 16hp or 17hp on a 48" Exmark TTHP probably 7 years old. The motor surges when at idle, revs up, revs down, up, down. Sometimes dies if the throttle is at it's lowest, but will continue to run any other situation. Engage the PTO, everything runs like a dream.

    Took it to the shop, they changed out the coils ($200), about a week later, same thing. Took it back, they ran it through test after test and decided that it needs a new carb. This would cost ($500 which includes labor) and they are pretty sure this will fix it. Or, I could replace the motor for $1400 plus a couple hours labor and be assured it is fixed.

    The other option, which I will NOT be doing is trading it in for $1000 towards a new Turf Tracer or Vantage. I can't pay $7000 cash and WON'T finance that much.

    Has anyone had the surging motor issue before, how did you fix it and I'd like to hear anyone else's input as well.
  2. SunState Lawn Care inc

    SunState Lawn Care inc LawnSite Senior Member
    from Jax, FL
    Messages: 351

    Had this happen years back. If memmory serves me the carb had trash or water in it. Get some sea foam and try running it through it if not pull the carb and clean it out good. It's not hard on the older Kaws to do. Hope that fixes it if not it was a cheap try before replacing the carb.
  3. GravyTrain

    GravyTrain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    Not sure about the sea foam, but the dealer said that they attempted to clean out every part of the carb they could get to. If I recall correctly, they said that there were a few valves and areas that were not easily accessible, which is why the mower is still having problems, therefore, they suggest replacing it.

    Thanks for the suggestion.
  4. Robert Pruitt

    Robert Pruitt LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 552

    Carb. was my thought. first try cleaning it out with a degreaser,or get a rebuild kit. very easy to fix.
  5. SunState Lawn Care inc

    SunState Lawn Care inc LawnSite Senior Member
    from Jax, FL
    Messages: 351

    If your not going to try cleaning it then just buy a new one and slap it on. Did the dealer drain and clean your gas tank? If not I bet there is water in the carb.
  6. Robert Pruitt

    Robert Pruitt LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 552

    Hard to believe the carb. would be $500. you can have it off,rebuilt and back on in less than thirty mins.
  7. nathannc

    nathannc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    I had the surging problem with an old craftsman suburban. I tried to run through some spray carb cleaner, rebuild the carburetor, run guitar string through the channels, even soak it for days in carburator cleaner to no avail. With nothing to lose, I did as one small engine mechanic had suggested on a website, and that was to boil the carb in Tide Detergent. Of course you should remove any O rings and anything else that might be damaged during this process.

    During boiling there appeared an oil slick of sorts clearly indicating that the carb was not completely clean despite the aggressive use of the other methods mentioned above. Hopeful, I placed the carb back in service and viola, no more surging.
  8. Tharrell

    Tharrell LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,964

    One of the best tools I've bought lately was an ultrasonic tank from Harbor Freight. It works wonders on the carb.
    The way the fuel is today, it doesn't take long to gum a carb up.
    Your carb could be the problem if you're lucky.

    My dealer loaned me a Z a few years ago that did that and the throttle had no in between settings.
    It was wide open or nothing. I can't remember what it was but the engine was going to be used until it blew. Seems like it was a briggs twin 18 hp.
  9. Jimslawncareservice

    Jimslawncareservice LawnSite Platinum Member
    from mn
    Messages: 4,143

    a few years back i bought a jd 657 that sat for a while. it did the same thing you are describing. i took it to the dealer. in lass than in an hour he cleaned the carb, and the machine ran like new. i had the same problem last year with a wright stander. i sprayed carb cleaner in there and ran sea foam in the gas. it a day or 2 but it ran great after.

    i think you got taken on the coil since every coil i had go bad never made the engine surge. why would a carb cost 500? i think i would look for another repair shop if it was me
  10. Robert Pruitt

    Robert Pruitt LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 552

    A lot of companys will replace the coil after warrenty.

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