What"s up with Hustler and Kawasaki?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by HenryB, May 24, 2014.

  1. rickpilgrim

    rickpilgrim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    Hustler turf equipment over the yrs has used both Kohler a lot and Kawasaki a lot with a sprinkle of Honda and Briggs. I'm told that a one point between Kohler and Kawasaki Kawa was perceived is a higher quality engine by the general public so they ran with it.
    Now we are still running our hustler 275 from 1975 in our operation with its Kohler engine still purring like a kitten holding 24psi oil pressure at warm idle at 3457 hrs and killed a 2006 Kawa 17 on our 1754 hydro walk after just 1931 hrs so you can like your new Kawa BB motor but until it gets the yrs/hrs of my old 275 don't bother trying to promote Kawa to much IMHO
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  2. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,829

    If you are directing that to me, I don't have a BB Kawi, and I am not promoting them. I do like my FX850 very much though. That old FC420 I have has a ton of hours. There's no hour meter, but it has been used a LOT, summer, spring ,winter, fall, year after year for 24 years.

    The last Kohler I owned was in 2011 and sold in early 2012. It was a huge POS. Smoked so bad at start up, it looked like a pile of burning tires, backfired at shut down like a centerfire rifle shot going off. Had to be replaced at 47 hours after Kohler looked at it. The one before it was burning oil at 500 hours. I grew up on Kohler engines, and have used them since before many of the guys here were even born. Had lots of experience with lots of them over the years. I've watched them go down hill quickly in recent years. Don't brag to me about Kohler aside from their EFI system.
  3. rickpilgrim

    rickpilgrim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    My post was not directed at anyone in particular and I'm sorry if you felt singled out. We've been mowing commercially since 1985 and have had multiple engines come and go. You've had bad Kohlers and I've cut up and scraped or replaced under warranty more Kawa's than I care to think about. The 2006 hydro walk 1754 took 2 replacement engines under warranty and 523 hrs later ate an exhaust pushrod every 2 weeks until expiration.!our 1536 developed an oil leak in its 15hp Kawa and had to have a new short block at 46 hrs to cure that and my 2008 Fastrack spit a rod out of its Kawa motor at 93 hrs even though it was full of oil and I was so enthused at that point I paid a little extra to get a Honda put on it. Now at 946 hrs the short blocked 1536 smokes blue at start up even though we do 50 hr oil changes and it's about to get a Vanguard. Every machine I have with a Kohler has gone 2000 hrs or better with just minor work so if you were me I suspect your view on Kawa would parallel mine . Kohler has several grades of engines and if you had ageis or courage motors or their many variants I can see the failures. The Kawa's I had were all top of the line variants so you can understand how I feel about the 2
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  4. ddixon7

    ddixon7 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    I have a FC420V that is the same age and still gets used hard daily. No joke when I say it probably has 10,000 hours on it and I have never done anything but spark plugs, oil, and air filter. However, these new Kawasaki engines that I have ran just do not last anywhere near that. 1,500 hours if I am lucky before they blow completely apart. Kohler engines do have their issues (backfire, smoke, rougher running), but at least I don't worry about them throwing a rod through the block until the 5000+ hour range.

    What I really think it is is that there is no consistency to any of these products. One may be great, but one may be a pile of crap coming off of the same assembly line. So, I may have gotten a bunch of dud Kaws to make my judgement from and another person may have gotten the opposite.
    Last edited: May 25, 2014
  5. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,829

    That is probably just about the way it really is.
  6. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,829

    I appreciate the response.

    No cheap Kohlers for me. All Command CV's that have acted up. Never a problem with those old cast iron pumps though. Maybe I'm just constantly lucky, but I have had some very good luck with Kawi over the years. My current FX850 seems to be getting better and better all the time. Watch, I prolly just jinxed myself.:laugh:

    I will say though that I hope Gravely starts offering even more engine choices, because I am going with a 460 next machine unless something really unexpected happens, and I would really like the option of a BB Vanguard.

    I agree with ddixon7 that it is probably a luck of the draw more than anything now, but having some bad experiences does leave a sour taste in your mouth for that brand for sure.
  7. HenryB

    HenryB LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,853

    No one is questioning the old Kawy 420 and 460v's (yes I've been around a while). It's their new engines that have really dropped in quality.
  8. southerntide

    southerntide LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Alabama
    Messages: 5,957

    Every company on new ground breaking stuff will encounter problems, Kawasaki's are a great powerhouse of a motor, did this dealer even check for recalls?
  9. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,829

    Like I said, I haven't been experiencing that, nor has anyone I know around my area too much or I would be hearing it from the dealers I deal with since I talk with them quite a bit. It's a shame to hear that others are though (I believe all the guys who say they are having troubles). Seems like it's a problem with them getting so many large contracts that they are letting QC slide. That is what seems to me to be happening with Kohler too IME. I have been a die hard Kohler fan all my life until the last few years. I've seen more of them smoking and backfiring on other LCO's machines than you can imagine.

    This is why I am really leaning to Vanguard for any future machines. they just seem to run and aren't plagues with the same issues the others are now.

    I hope Kawi gets it together, because their engines have always seemed to have more powwer than a Kohler of the same actual HP.
  10. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,177

    The Kawasaki FX1000V is far from a ground-breaking innovation, I don't know exactly how long this engine has been in production, but their FX1000V-DFI fuel injected model of the same engine came out in 2009. I'm guessing the FX1000V came out a few years before the DFI, does anyone know for certain when this engine was put into production?

    I'm saying any company that cannot get the bugs worked out of their engine allowing the buying public to purchase a trouble free product within 2 yrs. has an internal problem with their engineering department.

    I own a FX1000V that failed, a engine of which had a service bulletin distributed acknowledging a camshaft problem. This makes me more than qualified to speak on what I consider no more than a poor quality design, one of which should have been remedied years back. To be honest, I really can't understand how and why this engine continues to be plagued with what was first; valve-train and head problems that were supposedly resolved, and now cam issues.

    I know at one time my dealer's head mechanic told me they had Kawasaki engines disassembled on several work benches at once while being repaired for valve issues.

    This engine is not a new innovation, and I'm beginning to think Kawasaki needs to pay Briggs a teaching fee; allowing their Vanguard engineers to educate Kawasaki on how a BB mower engine is to be built.

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