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Louofm1

Kohler K301 (12hp) power questions

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Louofm1
Hi Guys Just aquired an old (83-84) allis chalmers 912 hydro with a K301 single cylinder from my late uncle. Finally got most everything adjusted and even mowed a couple of times. Very nice solid machine but it seemed a bit underpowered and would even bog down at times when the grass was "slightly" thick. Dont know much about Kohler single cylinders but it does feel alot less powerful than my old 12hp Briggs Vanguard twin on my Ingersoll. The blades on my old Ingersoll seemed to turn alot faster. Now, the cut seemed pretty decent and I wouldnt have thought much about it except that I had a friend stop by while I was mowing. He owns a Toro wheelhorse (from the 80's) with the same K301. He said that his blades seemed to spin alot faster.....and that his engine sounds more powerful at full throttle (than does mine at full throttle). We made a couple of carb adjustments but everything pretty much seems the same. The tractor will "move" at a pretty quick pace when you move the hydro lever up. I did notice that I had to really slow down the tractor movement to keep the engine from bogging down while mowing in thicker grass. I had a digital tach that was previously installed and working fine on my old Ingy. It was registering around 3200 RPMs. When I installed it on this Kohler, it kept flashing error readings ..but would occationally report about 1600 RPMs. Im not sure if this is an error, the tractor is running too slow, or if it's just reporting 1/2 the actual RPMs. I believe the Kohler manual says you should be running at about 3200 RMPs I did verify that the belt is not slipping and has tension. Any suggestions on how I can verify if everything is running properly?

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Brettw
I can say that my 7112H (Simplicity version of your tractor) has plenty of power. It sounds like it may be a governor adjustment. I can assume you have a clean air filter, fresh fuel, etc. Also, does it still seem to run slow with the brake pedal depressed? That will determine if you have some major load coming from the transmission. Check the BGB for oil also.

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OrangeMetalGuy
It could be several things. How thick is the grass, how wide is the deck (42" is about the max on 12hp). also does it run great until you engage the PTO then bog down?

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Louofm1
quote:
Originally posted by Brettw
I can say that my 7112H (Simplicity version of your tractor) has plenty of power. It sounds like it may be a governor adjustment. I can assume you have a clean air filter, fresh fuel, etc. Also, does it still seem to run slow with the brake pedal depressed? That will determine if you have some major load coming from the transmission. Check the BGB for oil also.
Yes, it has fresh fuel, new air filter, new spark plug. I dont think there is too much load from tranny. What is the BGB??? Someone on another forum suggested the fuel filter ...I'll have to check that out. It does have a 42" deck and doesnt seem to slow down when "engaging" the deck ....just seems to do so when "mowing" through semi thick grass. My old Ingersoll would easily cut through that amount of grass. Lawn is a bit thick but not excessively thick. The problem is that I dont have a basis to compare this against. The only thing that has me thinking is that comment from my friend who has the same version engine in an old wheelhorse

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jdwilson
Check tappet clearance. I had those same symptoms on my 728. I checked everything else and almost gave up. Finally found that there wasn't any clearance at all. After filing and lapping the valves, I can't believe the power that is coming from that little 8hp! It seems like it has a turbo on it.

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427435
quote:
Originally posted by jdwilson
Check tappet clearance. I had those same symptoms on my 728. I checked everything else and almost gave up. Finally found that there wasn't any clearance at all. After filing and lapping the valves, I can't believe the power that is coming from that little 8hp! It seems like it has a turbo on it.
The tappet clearance is a good idea, also----as well as general condition of the the valves. These questions about power----both yours and the person with a 16 hp make me wonder a little. The old 9 hp in my B10 never lacked power with a 42" deck. My Mom used to cut a whole farm yard with it-----and there were times when the grass/weeds weren't short. She would just put it in 2nd gear and go----which is about as fast as you want to go and get a good job of mowing. If the simple things like fuel filters and clean carbs don't result in proper power, then these engines may need a valve job and/or rings.

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Louofm1
It seems like i finally got the tach working though it would flash some weird numbers at times. I believe it definatly is running underpowered. After several minutes of running ....and warming up. I was registering right around 2200-2400 RPMs. that didnt change much while driving (so tranny isnt straining it too bad). Once I engage the blades, number drops down to around 1600-1700rpms. If I get much of a strain with grass, the number drops a bit more. If indeed this kohler should be around 3200 rpm, something does seem wrong. I'll check into the fuel filter too

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HubbardRA
Some of the Kohlers have an adjustable governor stop. This controls the maximum rpms. Get the carb adjusted right, then adjust the governor. From my experience, a 12 Hp Kohler is just as strong if not stronger than a 12 Hp B/S.

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Louofm1
I checked for a fuel filter and couldnt see one. Someone on this forum mentioned that their fuel filter was inside the tank. Since my tank is relatively full, I dont want to mess with removing it just yet. May try to run it dry. Hubbard ... I just dropped by a neighbor's house after learning that he is constantly outside (in his barn) fixing people's tractors. Seems like a nice old guy and said he's been repairing tractors for 30 years. When i described the problem, the first thing he mentioned was the governor. However, he has an old cub cadet there with similar problems that he hasnt been able to figure out. He lives just a few streets away so i can just drive the tractor over to his place. I'll probably drop it off in the next day or so and see what he has to say. I would hope it's something simple that doesnt require engine teardown. Not sure how difficult a valve adjustment is .... it was pretty easy on my ingy with valve covers right on top. The wife is already frustrated considering I had lots of engine issues with my last Ingy before it finally seized.

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MikeES
Get a good tach, and set the governor for 3600 rpms. If your digital tach in a mini-tach, most mini-tachs don't work with the kohler battery ignition engines (at least I could never get one to work). The Briggs will work at lower rpms, but the Kohlers will not.

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Louofm1
Guess what ..... the old man got her running great! I went over to pick it up this morning and he said that it wasnt the governer .... basically there is a small bracket that holds the throttle cable in place (on the engine, just under the air cleaner). He showed me that it wouldnt hold the cable well enough and it would slip whenever you'd try to to make an adjustment ...so the cable wasnt going all the way. With the handy use of a large washer and screw, he was able to create his own bracket on the side of the engine (to hold the cable in place). He also made some adjustments to the points (i have no idea how to do that). He also stated that my blades were way too low and even scalp the ground at times. He adjusted the deck up and more level ....and showed me where to make the changes. Also, he verified that my deck lever cable is way too long ...by about 3 inches. He said "i bet thats the wrong cable". He suggested i get a new one or take it in and see if it can be readjusted. Currently, the deck sits on the ground after just the 3 notch in (you have to hit your legs just to get the deck up a bit) That baby runs soooo much smoother and strong now! It no longer drags or feels like it's going to stall in moderate grass. It no longer feels like a "labored" engine ....more like a strong machine. The tach I have is now working better and was registering "over" 3200 RPMs...with little affect when the blades run. In fact it can run all the way up to 3600. He told me to "not" run the lever all the way to the top because we can actually exceed 3600. I used a screw on the dash to attach the digital tach. I'll probably run her in the 3200-3300 rpm mark I have a few more adjustments to make but it's all small stuff. Thanks for your help!

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MikeES
The OEM cable lift for the deck IS too long. And there is no OEM alternatives. You can make or own cable or: I have slid the clevis up the cable and clamped a cable tie/slug underneath the clevis to use up some of the cable. This 3/4" spacer makes a big difference on how far the deck lifts.

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Louofm1
Thanks Mike! Got a birthday party today for the twins and have to work all day tomorrow. I'll remove and try to mess around with the cable early next week .... probably one afternoon when they are napping. It'll be tough "estimating" how much slack to remove off the cable. I guess it'll have to be through trial and error Thanks for the information and a solution. At least I know it's a common problem and not the result of something else wrong with a pully, etc

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Al
Hi, Those cables have always been too long in my estimation, they need to be long enough to allow the mower "follow" the ground through valleys, but new they barely lift the mower. I take a piece of 3/8 rod about 3/4 inch long and bore a hole through it that will just allow the cable through it and cut the end of the cable and slide it through the hold. Then I crimp it, but you could use a big hammer and a heavy piece of iron. Really helps. Was at our local farm store and they have kits with a piece with two holes where you take a cable and run through it and loop it around a thimble and back through the 2nd hole and crimp or smash it to make an "eye" on the cable. They also have round pieces with a hole that are used for "stops". These are just like I make only shorter. They are available for several sizes of cable from 1/8" up. Be careful not to raise the deck too much or it won't mow the vallleys. Also on the 48" deck on the 7100s if the mower is running when raised too far, it can cause the belt to roll land then break. There were some belt life problems on these units if the mower was run at full height. The factory sent me a hub and 2 pulley disks to make a pulley with a pulley below the regular one on a 48" deck I was having belt life problems with. Then you could run the belt on the bottom pulley when mowing at maximum height. Al Eden

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Louofm1
Thanks fellas Had removed the cable and pully. The cable was about 3/16 thick. This afternoon I went to the hardware store and purchased a 3/16" cable clamp. Pulled about 2 1/2 inches of cable down through the holding bracket already on the cable and attached the clamp as a stop (this shorted the cable, with the excess sitting harmlessly on the mowing deck. Worked perfectly! I just have a few minor things to do to the deck (replace some missing bushings, etc ...then im good to go!! I might start another forum but the deck has a few small rust holes. Wondering how best to patch them

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Allis_914_Owner
quote:
Originally posted by Al
Also on the 48" deck on the 7100s if the mower is running when raised too far, it can cause the belt to roll land then break. There were some belt life problems on these units if the mower was run at full height. The factory sent me a hub and 2 pulley disks to make a pulley with a pulley below the regular one on a 48" deck I was having belt life problems with. Then you could run the belt on the bottom pulley when mowing at maximum height. Al Eden
Stop the presses! This is the first time that anyone has given credence to this problem that my 914 has always had. My grandfather used to replace the belt from the PTO to the deck far more than he thought was appropriate, but everyone blew him off. I have mentioned this, and others have surmised that the pulley must be bent. Nope. We just cut our grass high . . . and that must be the problem. Can you give a little more detail on the fix that you got? Is there a part number that I can order? This has been the achilles heel on an otherwise good machine for us. Thanks, Al.

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sammiefish
not that this will help... but... I did find a source of a possibly decent belt that im using on my 310 now. I finally lost my deck belt and my local simplicity dealer did not have one in stock. I went to the "tractor place" and picked up a HUSKEE belt. It is blue in color and is labeled as having a Kevlar cord for strength. I was very hesitant to buy it but I needed a belt immediately. the cost was $13 so I figured I'd try it... Ive used it a number of times now on acres and so far it seems to be performing pretty well... I imagine it is significantly cheaper than the Simplicity.... the tractor place had a cub cadet belt for the same right angle pto and that was $80.... Just a suggestion while you get your belt issues worked out... the only thing i can recommend that may even remotely address your problem specifically is to be sure your belt guards are properly spaced from your pulleys... if not... the belt may partially slip off the pulley when the pto is disengaged and when applying the pto to the belt small nicks will occur as the belt "jumps" back on the pulley.... this will pre-maturely age your belt for sure.... i know this from my experience

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xenon172
quote:
Originally posted by MikeES
Get a good tach, and set the governor for 3600 rpms. If your digital tach in a mini-tach, most mini-tachs don't work with the kohler battery ignition engines (at least I could never get one to work). The Briggs will work at lower rpms, but the Kohlers will not.
Kohler K series engines fire on every other stroke. Tiny Tach explains this on their web page. They make a special tach just for the Kohler K series engines

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