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Kohler 16 hp head gasket

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Yesterday I started the engine up with the hood open, and I noticed some vapor blowing out the front towards the muffler. Looked at it closer and there is some wet oily? residue in the center between the head and block :( Guess its the head gasket. Something else to fix, the wifes cub cadet 14hp briggs v twin, just started buring rich and no power also this weekend. Back to the head gasket, it looks like the cooling tin has access holes right above the head bolts. Is it possible to pull the head without pulling the engine and fan housing? Hints or is it straight forward?

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Yes, you can pull the head without removing the engine shrouding. They are made two ways, either with a removable piece of shroud above the bolt holes, or with holes in the shroud above each bolt. I have two 12 Hp engines and one is each way. I have swapped heads on 12 Hp and 14 Hp engines without pulling the engine to remove shrouding. If your head was leaking because of loose head bolts, you will still need to remove the head, even if you want to re-use the gasket. The gaskets have dimples covering them. When a head leaks the dimples will get oil and carbon particles in these dimples. In the area where the dimples are full of these substances, the gasket will not compress like it does elsewhere. You need to remove the oil and carbon before a gasket can be re-used. I have done this several times and ended up with no leaks.

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