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mroman59

Seafoam and head gasket questions

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mroman59

I used some Seafoam in my lawnmower today, both in the fuel and oil. I was using it because a member suggested that it may clear up the white smoke blowing from my exhaust, possibly due to sticky rings, etc.

I cut the grass, about 1 1/2 acres today. Smoke continued out of the exhaust while riding, but not all the time. After cutting I let the engine idle and would rev the throttle up and down to see if I could produce more smoke and it did cause more smoke to appear.

Another member suggested that I just might have a fowled spark plug, so before cutting grass I put in two new spark plugs and examined both of them after cutting the 1 1/2 acre. As before, one spark plug (left side) what coated with heavy black carbon. The other plug (right side) was coated with a white deposit. Before putting in the additive the left plug was covered with black carbon and the right plug looked normal (brownish/gray).

How long I would have to run the tractor after adding Seafoam to get any results?

Since there seems to be no loss in power and the compression on both sides are equal (170 psi), I am assuming that the side with the black carbon on the plug is most likely a blown head gasket. The engine has 400 hours on it.

If I end up taking the head off and replace the head gasket on the left side, considering the number of hours on the engine, would you pull the other head off too for inspection and head gasket replacement?

Also, what causes a head gasket to "blow" and how does that create smoke out of the exhaust?

Thanks,

Mike

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RayS

Kohler Commands are known for blowing head gaskets if you allow them to backfire at shut down. If the motor has a fuel shut off solenoid on the carburetor it is suppose to be shut off at half throttle to wide open throttle as described in the motors operator manual.

When I first bought my Prestige. I thought it was nuts to shut off like the manual and the dealer told me to do. The dealer made it a point several times before I left the dealership. A week after the 2 year warranty went out. It blew a head gasket. It cost me around $325 to fix. I would have fixed it myself but was working 60 - 70 hours a week and didn`t have the time. So I just paid to have it fixed.

I didn`t have a loss of power but it would use 3/4 of a quart before I could get the lawn mowed. Not sure if you had backfire issues at all or the previous owner.

I have shut mine down for the last 8 years like I have been told and it hasn`t backfired since. I had both gaskets changed since they already had it torn down that far. This may or may not be the cause of your blown head gasket, but it was what caused mine. They later came out with a better gasket. I believe the Kohler repair manual states to replace the head bolts as well when changing the gaskets.

Is there oil in the muffler or blowing out the muffler when running?

The odd thing is I have a Honda GX620 that has a fuel shut off solenoid on the carb as well. Manual doesn`t mention any thing about a shut down procedure. It never backfires. No matter where the throttle is when turned off. Better motor as far as I am concerned.

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mroman59
Kohler Commands are known for blowing head gaskets if you allow them to backfire at shut down.
id="quote">

Wow, I think I would have tried to get the dealer/manufacture of the engine to take some off the price since it was so close to the warranty. I did that with Chrysler on an automotive transmission one time and they paid for over half the repair bill.

I wonder if I can shop around and get a better price that $325, but most likely I will make it a fall/winter project. I changed the head gaskets on my 26HP Briggs engine about same year of manufacture and I noticed that Kohler does not make it as easy to get to the bolts. I will try to remember to change the bolts, if necessary on my model. Also, I am going to check to see if they came out with better head gaskets for my model. If they did, would there be a part number change?

I didn`t have a loss of power but it would use 3/4 of a quart before I could get the lawn mowed.
id="quote">

There is no oil in the muffler pipe and I did not notice any blowing out of the muffler when I was watching it. What would be the difference between the two scenarios?

Thanks,

Mike

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RayS

Mine is a 2002. I believe by 2004 they had already went to the new gaskets since mine was fixed in 2005 with the newer style gaskets.

There was no sense in me trying to stick it to the dealer or Kohler. The manual states shut down procedure and the dealer told me more than once the day that I bought it. It was my fault. I didn`t listen. So, I don`t think the dealer or Kohler was obligated to eat the cost and they more than likely wouldn`t have to begin with under warranty because it is written. It is simply an operator error. There are consequences to not following directions.

They have set hours that it takes to do the repair. Like a auto shop. If the book say 4 hours they charge for 4 hours. Even if it takes 2. I am sure it can be done cheaper and a lot if you do it yourself.

The old head gasket is not made anymore. Download the repair manual from the Kohler website. It will tell in there step by step and whether or not on head bolt replacement.

Just asking on the oil coming out of the muffler. If it doesn`t burn it all, it has to go somewhere. Mine was pushing 3/4 - 1 qt. of oil on a 40 minute mow job. Just depends on how bad the gasket is, on how much is being burnt and how much is getting past the exhaust valve.

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mroman59
quote:The old head gasket is not made anymore. Download the repair manual from the Kohler website. It will tell in there step by step and whether or not on head bolt replacement.id="quote">
id="quote">

I looked at my manual and when it gets to the part for cylinder head removal it states:

NOTE: Cylinder heads are retained using either screws or nuts and washers on studs. Do not interchange or mix components, as cylinder heads may have different machining, unique to each fastening method.

1. Remove screws or nuts and washers securing each cylinder head. Discard screws or nuts and washers once removed. Do not reuse. Studs (if present) should only be removed if damaged or if cylinder reconditioning is necessary. Once removed, they must be replaced.

Well I guess you are right.

As far as the one spark plug being sooty and the other running normal, with a single barrel carburetor, I am thinking that I could have a weak ignition problem, which the manual states could cause a carbon sooty plug. I will check out the ignition module for resistance readings and clearance adjustment.

I just have a feeling that I have a dual problem.

A leak down test will at least tell me if the bad side (leakage) is on the same side of the bag plug, however it still could be a coincidence and two separate problems.

thanks,

Mike

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