what to do?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by rbig, Dec 17, 2004.

  1. rbig

    rbig LawnSite Member
    Messages: 112

    Just got word my Kohler K-532 in my JD400 mower has a broken con rod.

    Does this mandate an engine pull to fix---or is it a drop the pan and pull the piston fix? Probably have to drop the crank too.

    What are the current replacement engines for the K-532, and what's a good source for them?
  2. jim dailey

    jim dailey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 614

    OK, I have noticed this post "just sitting" for a couple of days. I'll help you. First, tell me what size a jd400 is. Second, the koehler is 18 or 20 hp? Third is "are you mechanical?" And finally, is anything still under warranty? Get back to me with the answers, and we will go from there. WHEN YOU HAVE A CHANCE. HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU AND YOURS......JIM.
  3. rbig

    rbig LawnSite Member
    Messages: 112

    Well, we've sort of been overtaken by subsequent events. The local John Deere dealer has my tractor. They're very good. They're doing some degree of tear down on the engine in order to give me a repair estimate.

    The engine is a 20hp job, and no longer in production by Kohler.

    Seems there is a kit available from Small Engine Warehouse (SEW) which lets me put a 24hp Honda engine in as a "clean" bolt-in conversion. I figure it and repair of the Kohler will be close in price.

    I'm getting a few inputs that the Kohler K-532s are known for throwing con rods. If that's the case (and I'm making more inquiries right now), then I would be hesitant to keep the K-532.

    I did a fair amount of engine rebuilding when I was a kid, hot rodding. But, I'm no longer geared for it, nor really inclined to take this on. I'm not much of a fabricator/welder/machinist, either. I'm a pretty good mechanic.

    I've also got inquiries out for a good, used K-532 short block or full engine.

    So, we'll see what happens. Looks like one of three options will come into play:

    1. let the dealer fix my engine

    2. Go for the Honda conversion

    3. Stick a good, used short block or engine in.
  4. jim dailey

    jim dailey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 614

    Well, I don't feel so bad since I've heard from you. I could just picture the poor homeowner with no clue as to which way to turn, and getting ripped-off by the local lawnmower gurus. OH, by the way, I run my own lawncare business and am quite the real backyard mechanic. I do all of my own repairs and transplants. 15 years so far in the business. I run a lot of different equipment and do all of my own maintenance. Must be doing it right, because a lot of my stuff is old (just like me) and still running. Here's what I think of your possibilities: throw #'s 1 & 3 out the window, and go with # 2 !!! 1. Dealer fix is only good for a short time...and on an old engine, that will always be to blame in the future. 2. A good used short block has a history to it...one that you will never know the real truth about. Therefore, I would go with # 3. It comes with a warranty. As long as you are willing to spend the money, do it right and solve the problem. You are in the off season and can take a bit of time to solve this. I wish you luck with it. Let me know if I can help you out with any of this. Happy Holidays...JIM.
  5. rbig

    rbig LawnSite Member
    Messages: 112

    My JD 400 is one I restored. During restoration, I had the engine rebuilt.

    I have two other tractors. One is a lighter JD lawn riding mower, the other an old Roper I'm in the middle of restoring. It's an RT-13.

    I work as a volunteer at our local American Legion, Elk Lodge, and church taking care of their mowers, and mowing during growing season.

    We have a real problem at our church. I live in Pensacola, and all the church lawn gear was under water back in Sep when Ivan came through. We have a JD GT 275 and an MTD that is smaller, but mows great. I just got a used engine put on the MTD, and the GT 275 is still sitting there. I'm trying to come to grips with it. It's got circuit boards and electronic gizmos--all which got killed by the storm surge. I'm going to try and figure some way to salvage it. Probably repower and simplify the wiring down to basics. We have approx 4 acres to mow.

    We have a couple good sized garden tractor/mowers at the American Legion, and approx 6 acres to mow.

    The Elk Lodge has 20 acres, and 8 machines, four of which are commercial jobs (2 Scags, a Lesko {ZTR}, and a Kubota). The others are garden tractors/mowers.

    It's lots of fun keeping those wheezers all churning along. No shortage of belt changing, for sure.

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