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Water Or Air cooled motors?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by tnpete, Feb 10, 2007.

  1. tnpete

    tnpete LawnSite Member
    from West Tn
    Messages: 180

    Looking at a new ZTR this spring, And was wondering who likes what?
    I was thinking Water cooled, But was wondering what other's thought also.

    FATWEASEL LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Messages: 326

    The water cooled, by design, should last longer but how much longer is the question. I have seen comments on this site that they should last twice as long but I don't know if there's any proof to back that up.

    Kawasaki, at one time had a promotion to double your Kawasaki engine warranty if you used the Kawasaki branded oil. I think I read that it was Opti-Optimol oil.

  3. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,426

    A water cooled should last a bit longer, not sure about twice. Then again you can buy a new air cooled replacement for a relatively small amount of money. 6 of one or half a dozen of another.
  4. cutbetterthanyou

    cutbetterthanyou LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,178

    I have only had a old kubota front mount water cooled, i didn't like it because when it was dry you had to stop 3-4 Xs on big yards to clean the screen if not it would overheat. i was told the new exmarks with the screen on top are not that bad i just stay with air cooled. Also do you ever have any one but your self run your equipment? I have 3-4 guys in the summer that don't pay attention like i do (why should they they don't have to pay for it thats there attitude. I don't want the headache of overheating it and cracking a head or something like that. To me it doesn't matter if it last longer if there is a chance of tearing it up by the simply mistake of not paying attention
  5. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407

    I think the water-cooled engines have more maintenance and the radiator is one more thing to worry about. If you are trading mowers every two years... it really doesn't make sense to buy water-cooled, but if you are planning on keeping it for 3000 hours it probably makes more sense.
  6. MuleCutter

    MuleCutter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 212

    air cooled for me .... just because its less to worry about. also, longevity of an engine has to do with how you take care of it regardless of if it's an air or water cooled. i've seen 2 water cooled Kaw engines go out at about 1300 hours.... i've also seen almost 3000 hours on an air cooled engine and last i heard it was still running. you'll save $ with an air cooled and have less to worry about. just maintain your filters and oil like it should be maintained and you should have nothing to worry about.
  7. tallimeca

    tallimeca LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,229

    if you are a single guy and don't beat the crap out of everything and can maintain your equipment........spending the extra money on the liquid cooled isn't a bad idea.

    If you have people working for you, go air cooled. It's hard enough to get the guys to check oil and clean around the engine, never mind checking coolant levels , and making sure the radiator doesn't get damaged.

    Had a guy bring in a Walker.......brand new. I mean, like 200 hours on it. Liquid cooled and the motor was junk. The ripped the coolant reservoir and lines off it somehow and it was dangling, continued to cut the rest of the day..............
  8. tnpete

    tnpete LawnSite Member
    from West Tn
    Messages: 180

    Thanks Guys,
    Each and every one of you. Covered some great points there.
    Sounds to me like theres about as many good points as bad points for each and every one of them.
    90% of time it will be me on the mower.
    I say again Thanks for a great board that helps out.
  9. grassaholic

    grassaholic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 369

    It's all about who's doing the maintainence. There is maintainence to be done on air and liquid cooled motors. Some will point out that all it takes is for somthing to happen to the cooling system on a liquid cooled to cause an engine failure. While this is true, some liquid cooled mowers have coolant sensors to warn the operator if the mower is overheating. My 31hp Kohler has a reversing fan to keep the radiator from clogging with grass or leaves in dry conditions. The air intake or fins on an air cooled mower can become clogged just as easily and cause an engine failure. I had a 26hp Kohler that had a valve cover leaking oil down the side of the motor. Once the motor was wet with oil all the dust and grass started sticking to the motor and blocking the cooling passages. End result was a blown head gasket on that cylinder. It really doesn't matter which type you get. What really matters is who's operating the mower and how often do you go over the mower to look for problems. Walker has had their liquid cooled Kohlers in the field long enough now to get feedback on how long these motors are lasting. So far these motors are proving to last 5000 hrs. and beyond.
    My main point is that, if your the type of person who will take care of your equipment. The liquid cooled engine will last much longer than the air cooled counterpart. I could come up with a list a mile long of different things that could cause the liquid cooled motor to fail vs. what can go wrong on an air cooled. Most of the things on each list ultimately come down to who's running it. Some guys just put gas in their mowers and mow. They almost never sharpen blades and check the oil once a month. These are the same guys that get on a forum like this and bad mouth one brand or another cause they had problems with theirs.
  10. tomo

    tomo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 660

    hello, there r pro,cons 4 either .On a technical note air cooled still have air intake screens which still get blocked [more typically on baggers with horizontal shaft engines]. HOW MANY AIRCOOLED HAVE TEMP GUAGES [either oil or cylinder head ] NONE THAT I AM AWARE OF.After experience of overheating on aircooled . Running larger decks in a hard work enviroment 95 f the temp of an aircooled is the enemy of long life . Oil temps 240--260 f .I phoned 3 big oil companies they all recommended DO NOT operate consistantly over 215 f as this will degrade oil quickly . Full synthetics were also included in this [there rate of degredation will be slower]. Synthetics do have a higher spike temp [temporary operation ].

    In compaison the liquid cooled engine should have a far more stable operating temp around 200f approx .

    Air/liquid cooled is still a personal opion though .
    If u r considering liquid cooled and do have employees the fitting of over temp switches for oil /water is vrecommended. They can be wired to shut the engine down.

    tomo:waving: :waving:

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