walker mower problem need help asap! (sorry about the lenghth)

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by landscaper9929, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. landscaper9929

    landscaper9929 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    I have a walker mt with a 20hp Kohler engine. I bought it used from a homeowner with only 200hrs on it. I have only put 50 or so hrs on it between last season and know because it has always given me problems. My crew usually runs it, so most of my knowledge of the problems are second hand. Let e first give you a little history on it as it may help determine the problem. The first problem was oil getting mixed with the gas. It would blow white smoke out of the muffler. Put it in the shop and they fixed it. The next problem was with the charging system. Not sure how it works exactly but it would not hold a charge. I had to keep jumping it off at every yard. Put it in the shop and got that fixed, along with new plugs, fuel and air filters and oil change. That was just a few weeks ago. Last week the guys bring it in with yet another problem. They claim the oil light came. Upon checking the oil level it was low. I ran the mower myself last week and it seemed sluggish, like maybe it was only running on one cylinder. I pulled the plugs and sure enough the back one was hot and obviously working, however the front one was cool, showed very little ware except for a lot of build up in the electrode gap. I replaced the plug and ran it again. This time it ran fine except it was blowing white smoke. I figured it would burn off. I stopped and checked it was not coming from the muffler but instead the side of the engine. I figure that somehow the oil is getting out and getting on the hot engine and burning off. I replaced the valve cover (took one off an old engine) on the side I pulled the bad plug from and everything seemed fine. I sent the guys out and told them to get a couple quarts of oil. Halfway through the day they call me with more problems. Now it is low on oil again and shutting down when it gets hot. When they got back in I saw they had put a synthetic oil in the first time (10w30), I have never used a synthetic in this mower. Not sure what that will do. I am about to go check the oil and plugs again to see how they look. If anybody can help shed some light on my situation it would be much appreciated.
  2. JHLC

    JHLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147

    I have had a similar problem with two of my walkers. Check the compression on the front cylinder. I have had to replace the head gasket 3 times on both of these walkers. The cooling fins fill up full of grass pretty fast and then the cylinder over heats and blows the gasket. It has always been the front cylinder, I guess its because it doesn't get the same amount of air flow as the back cylinder. I hope this helps...
  3. landscaper9929

    landscaper9929 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    sounds good. You are not the first to suggest the head gasket. I have an old engine from another unit that I could rob parts off of. Is this something I could do myself and if so do it quickly in the morning. I really need to get this mower back on the truck.
  4. JHLC

    JHLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147

    It wont take a lot of time to check the compression, just check both cylinders and compare the readings. If you have a bad gasket, your looking at 4 hours minimum because the engine has to come out. You will need to check the head to see if it is warped with a flat table and a feeler gauge. You need to use a new gasket and head bolt set (under $20). Let me know if you need any more info...
  5. walker/redmax

    walker/redmax LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 366

    Well, I have never had this problem and I'm sorry that I cant offer more help but I have always ran 10W30 and I have never heard of this being a problem in Walkers.
  6. tomsyardcare

    tomsyardcare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

  7. Roachy

    Roachy LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 125

    I blew the head gasket on one of my mowers. It was leaking oil onto the muffler and burning white smoke out. I also had a push rod that was bent inside so I was not getting any power. Sounds like you may have done the same thing. Im sure its pretty hot out down in alabama and running a mower with low oil all day will def do some damage. I replace the head gasket and valve gasket and push rods inside myself. Parts were about $35 but took me about 6 hrs since it was my first time. Im guess a shop will probably charge you about $400-500.

    Everyones given good advice so far. I would def do a compression test. That will tell you whats going on.
    If you do replace the gaskets, make sure you look to see if the engine block is cracked.
  8. Sharpcut 1

    Sharpcut 1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 452

    Might be a head gasket, but from what you said about the plug being gunked up, I think someone overheated it and now you're getting oil past the rings, and it's burning. If you get the head off, check for excessive piston slop.

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