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apeterson17

Close to Throwing in Towel- Sunstar 20

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apeterson17

Putting this up front: I know very little about small engines and nothing of tractors. I am technically inclined but have not been exposed to repair except through purchase and troubleshooting. Bought a Sunstar last summer, didn’t know what to look for or that the oil fill tube was modified to keep it billowing smoke like Cheech and Chong with a steel pipe and threaded cap. Has always smoked a little (White) but the more I learn the more I feel swindled.

Had fuel delivery issues- (noticed a ton of caked oil when removing the tins): solved by pump replacement

Was hunting- solved by carb clean and adjust.

Engine speed will always speed down- lever pulls down as I’m driving, so I have to hold it.

Hydro arm drift from forward movement to N as well. Makes for a***of a time steering maintaining movement and holding engine speed constant.

As I’m mowing in Sept,  ball joints fail- still looking for 1/2x80 right hand pair of ball joints- cup failed

Also noticed substantial white smoke as I’m pushing the Sunstar through the yard, steering the left wheel and kicking the right one, so I start to look closer at the engine. Oil all over, cant identify source. Coming out of breather tube when running, looks to be behind clutch, under manifold on right side (if sitting in seat), heads dry but farther back is oil covered, starter covered in sludge... I just don’t know what to do :( I feel like I am beating a dead horse and though I pride myself on my aptitude, I feel defeated. 

I would be very appreciative if you guys have a source of things I can review/watch and things  I can check. I don’t want to keep dumping money into this if it is pointless. Has about 1900 hours, assume it’s original...no identification anywhere, but the pump I replaced tells me that this power is a Kohler Magnum M20. Also just found a crack in the muffler where it comes out of the head, so that may be a part of the white smoke from under the hood: would this need replaced or welded?

I apologize for asking for so much, I am very close to calling it and feel like I shouldn’t 

 

 

Edited by apeterson17
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MARK (LI)

Depending what you paid for it would dictate whether you got gypped or not...the 1900 hours is a lot of hours and possibly the engine could use rings and valves...a good welder should be able to fix the muffler..I copied what you see from a small engine site

Blue or white smoke coming from your engine usually indicates burning oil, which can be caused by:

  • Overfilling the crankcase with oil

  • Incorrect oil grades

  • Operating engine at greater than a 15 degree angle

  • Inoperative crankcase breather

  • Crankcase air leak

  • Blown head gasket

  • Worn cylinder and/or rings

  • Turning/tilting the engine on its side for storage, oil change or any other reason

Note: If the engine has to be tilted, ensure the spark plug is facing upwards to help prevent oil from escaping the crankcase.

 

Other reasons for blue or white smoke from engines include:

  • Exceeding the engine’s oil capacity shown on dipstick

  • An obstruction in the breather tube (located behind the air filter)

  • Damages to the cylinder/piston rings

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Brettw

The only way to truly figure out the oil leaking origin is to pull and clean the engine.  It sounds like crank seals, but could be anything.  A bad breather will cause the issues you are speaking of, but a breather will only do so much if you have extreme blow by due to worn out rings, cylinder, etc.   The steel pipe and threaded cap is the standard oil filler on the Magnums/ KT series engines.  Pushing 2000 hours is getting up there on these engines, but not excessive, however, depending upon how they are maintained can have significant impact on their lifespan.

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dhoadley

"Engine speed will always speed down- lever pulls down as I’m driving, so I have to hold it."

I had this on my A/C 917. These guys pointed me to an adjustment bolt inside the dash at the lever. Had to tighten it up several times, but got it to stay put.

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ShaunE

Two tools to borrow if you don't have.  A compression tester & a cylinder leak down tester.  Those two tools will help you determine where your engine weak points are.  

https://www.manualslib.com/manual/1051744/Briggs-And-Stratton-272147.html?page=24#manual

I really do feel for you as I have bitten off more than I wanted to chew plenty of times with these old machines.  It gets tough to maintain a positive attitude.  

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MARK (LI)

If you buy at HF you can always get a 20% off coupon...just buy something for a dollar...when you check out they give you a circular with the coupon...if you don't want the dollar item...just hold onto receipt and return it...their stuff is generally crap, but for something like this it may be worth it

I would not just abandon the tractor though...keep your eyes on Craiglist...maybe find another tractor with a better engine for a decent price

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lugnard

I don't know about the magnum engine as I have a command but with mine it was very similar if not the same in the oil leaking. For me it was a head gasket and the heads were a bit warped. Easy fix but you need to pull the heads. To flatten them just get some fine wet or dry 3m sand paper(400 or 600) and a flat surface. I used my cast iron table saw bed and slowly and carefully slid the head back and forth till flat. Use some bluing or a sharpie on the head surface to see your progress. Could check ,too with a good straight edge and feeler gauges.

A known problem with the commands according to my dealer. Worked great. I also replaced the breather as well.

Harry

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ShaunE
6 minutes ago, lugnard said:

A known problem with the commands according to my dealer

Correct!!!  My engine machine shop said the very same thing.   .009" machined off mine & never blew a gasket.  New valve seals & seats too.  Runs a lot better.

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Alltractoredup

Definitely should clean all the gunk off engine as said before and also perform engines tests as stated.  If it were me, I would perform tests first and go from there.  Most likely, it needs new gaskets and seals.  I would pull the engine to get a good cleaning and inspection, but that's me.

Hope it works out for you.  Can you post pictures of engine and tractor?

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