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Who rebuilds/overhauls current small air cooled engines?

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by pugs, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. pugs

    pugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,025

    I am just curious. Who still rebuilds them. Where are you located at and what is the average shop labor rate in your area.

    Also when you rebuild what parts do you replace? I know there are some out there that just stick new rings in and call it a day...Not really a rebuild/overhaul...

    My dad used to overhaul a few K181's a month back when Kohler generators were the norm. When he did this he would bore the cylinder, put in new piston, rings, rod...I assume he would probably do a valve job at the same time.

    But anymore with the cost of parts and labor its just not cost effective to do it at least in this neck of the woods. Our shop rate is 60/hr and thats probably average or below average around here.

    Usually a complete engine is the way to go...only way with Kawasaki or Honda. Sure you could overhaul some of the larger ones for less than a new one but you get a 2 year warranty with the new one.
  2. lawnmaniac883

    lawnmaniac883 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,613

    Small air cooled engines are not worth paying someone to overhaul for you anymore. If you overhaul yourself then you come out ahead but not when paying to have it done.
  3. khouse

    khouse LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,465

    a lot of engines only need a set of rings and valve job.
    each engine is different. i would say that most of the time on kohler k series, wisconsin's and onans where these engines are built tough it's better to rebuild them. these engines cost 1000 on up to even 3000+ for a wisconsin.
    on aluminum single cylinder engines you may want to look at replacing if the cost of the rebuild is close to the new cost.
  4. AAELI

    AAELI LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 360

    I will rebuild for myself but if I find the cost of parts and labor exceeds 50% of new I generally just keep it for spare parts. Our labor is $60 per hour.

    Most 2 cycle engines that I rebuild for customers get new crankshaft bearings and oil seals along with necessary parts to get it up and running. Piston and rings most often replaced along with carb OH and new fuel lines & filters. I generally have to check shafts, gearcases, clutch/clutch drum/bearings for wear. If the overall condition of the machine warrants the 50% cost then proceed. Otherwise it becomes a costly hobby.

    A few customers will put up the cash to rebuild at 50% of a new one but not much more than that. I give 90 days warranty on parts and labor.
  5. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    Same as khouse, Only the old cast iron block engines. All others are either short-blocked or replaced with new.
  6. tomo

    tomo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 660

    Hello, as every body has stated, it generally is best to short block etc .In my particular case when either parts r up to 5x the price of usa or if i import air freight is expensive.
    1/ Do u know of any parts houses that will use U.S. postal [economy surface--sea freight] kohler parts.
    2/ as we know not all areas of kohler engines r reworkable [ch25s] What is the best solution to reworking main bearing suface in block and closure plate.
    3/my solution for [2] would be to ream crank tunnel oversize and then to metal spray crank mains to o/size. Problem with this is the crank gear is a heat and shrink fit with no key way 4 location.MAJOR stubbling block. Could convert to key way with a slight press fit. In other threads it has mentioned crank and cam grs suffer from cracking [worrying ] .
    4/Any suggestions .
    thanks tomo:waving: :waving:
  7. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    Well tomo, I checked with 4 suppliers and none will ship overseas because of the expense.

    As far as the crankshaft, All I can say is that would have to be a good machinist to remove the cam gear and get it back in the precise position not to throw cam timing out.

    For the block, If you can get your hands on a Briggs & Stratton "L" head service manual part# 270962 It gives instructions and pictures for replacing the flywheel end crank bushing.
    One may be able to machine the Kohler block to take a bushing like the Briggs, BUT the Briggs bushing is not just a standard brass bushing. It's a aluminum backed impregnated bushing, I don't know if you could find a similar type in the right inside diameter to fit the Kohler crank at a bearing house or not.

    Sorry I'm not much help on this one but never had to deal with one in this way before.

    Good luck
  8. sawman65

    sawman65 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 754

    the kaw are not rebuildable cant even get a shot block for them.kohler warns against it. briggs are made with the overhaul in mind,even the valve guides are replacable
  9. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,095

    From working at 2 different shops, I can say that usually when a kawasaki engine finally gives out, theres not much to rebuild. Its just all wasted. Kohlers get shortblocked and briggs get shortblocked as well.

    I have gone through tech school and rebuilt well over 100 engines while in school from 10-12 grade. On some engines its easy but some its just rediculous to do. I have rebuilt a few engines since I graduated in june but they were all for personal machines (racing lawn mowers).

    The shops I was employed at would either shortblock the engine or replace the engine as labor was costly. The 1st shop I was at (or 8 months) labor rate was $61.50/ hour. The shop I have been at for over 2.5 years and am still at charges $68.00 per hour. With labor rates that high and not always having enough man power to efficently turn the jobs around, we simply just shortblock or replace engines. We will open engines for internal repairs and valve adjustments when required. We will also open trannys up (on commercial wb) and replace shift forks but if it needs anything more, a new trans is how my manager wants it done.
  10. Mr Priceless

    Mr Priceless LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 412

    What is your definition of when a kaw finally gives out? 500, 1000, 2000 hours?

    What specifically is wasted on the engine?

    I'm asking because someone is selling a rebuilt one near my area...

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