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rbstuartjr

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rbstuartjr

This is regarding my Sovereign w/ 18hp kohler engine w/ps. So I have been using this tractor for about a year with unknown hours on it. She doesn’t burn any oil and runs fantastic. When I got her, one of the ps steering lines under neath was leaking oil, which was being sucked up by the engine fan. The voltage reg was not working and was completely caked with oil and mud. I replaced the voltage reg and blew out as much dirt and oil with compressed air and water as I could. I repaired the leaking ps line so no more oil is being introduced into the engine. After using it this past winter I noticed that I’m getting oil spray coming from the back of the engine onto the oil filter and some fins. The crank snout seal leaks a little and I’m sure the rear main crank seal has a slight leak as well. 

Do I:

1. Pull motor to remove tins, replace rear seal and clean the rear of the engine.

2. Leave everything alone and run as is because everything is working nicely. Possibly me messing something up and creating an issue during re install. Haven’t pulled a Vtwin only single cylinders, many times unfortunately.

3. A small part of me wants to pull the engine and repower with a new engine, that way I know the maintenance history of the engine. Plus I have a tractor, that needs an engine, and keeps staring at me.

I plan on keeping this tractor for as long as possible and will be my main blowing and mowing machine for a long time coming.

So just looking for advice on what you guys would do.

 

Edited by rbstuartjr

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steve-wis

If it is a command, I would pull it, clean it up, replace seals, check it over and put it back in.  Pulling the engine is not complicated, nor is re-installing it.  I have two commands and I like them both, I wouldn't replace them unless i had to.  JMHO

Steve

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Brettw

I would pull the engine, completely clean it and all of the fins, replace the seals, think about coils if it's a Command, (it might be a Triad being a PS tractor) and pop it back in.  I would do this especially because it runs so well.  One of the quickest way to kill any of these air cooled engines, is to get the fins all caked with oil and dirt (poor cooling and they eat themselves up running too hot), and low oil levels (even when keeping an eye on them, when they are leaking / using a fair amount of oil, it's hard to keep them properly topped off, all of the time).   Although it may seem like a chore, pulling engines in these tractors are not bad.  The worst part is the actual pulling, they aren't exactly light.  I start with, and recommend, pulling the hood, 2 bolts, unhook the headlight circuit and ground, 5 minutes.  The engine is 6 bolts including the driveshaft, fuel line, throttle and choke, and electrical connections ( harness, cable to starter, ground) ~20 minutes.  Sometimes the muffler needs to be removed first to wiggle it out from under/through the frame.  It depends upon the engine and the way the exhaust pipe is actually configured.  If they are running good, I would try to salvage any engine,  Repowers are not a cheap date even if you find the exact engine for replacement.  Go to a different flavor, and you are likely talking about different electrical, throttle and choke cables, exhaust, driveshafts, etc.  Good luck no matter which direction you go.

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rbstuartjr

Thanks for your thoughts, I’ll probably end up pulling it on a nice weekend this spring. About the coils, should they be replaced as a preventative measure. Didn’t realize there’s an issue with coils on these. This is an original spec’d engine based on the tractor model number and the engine date.

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PhanDad
1 hour ago, rbstuartjr said:

About the coils, should they be replaced as a preventative measure.

Assuming you have a Command, there are issues with the early ignition coils failing.  Not sure of the exact cause, but they have issues when hot.  

See this post for some discussion (and the correct replacement part #:

https://simpletractors.com/forums/topic/58776-ignition-module-question/

 

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ShaunE

All the above is great advice.  Remove the engine & all the tins & make sure all the cooling fins are clean.  I use a pressure washer with hot water after spraying with degreaser.  Others will argue that is a bad idea.  I just stay off the seal locations & have never had a problem. 

My concern is that if it is a Triad OHC / TH18 engine, that this may not be a crank seal problem.  It may be a failing oil pump.  The parts to rebuild that pump have been NLA for a number of years.  I don't want to scare you as you won't know until it is removed & the flywheel is off.  There will be a timing belt.  There are timing marks, a timing tool for the camshafts & a torque setting for the belt.  All the information is explained in the service manual.  They can be found in seconds with your Google wrench.  The good news is those engines are non-interference engines meaning if the belt comes off for any reason, you won't hammer the pistons into the valves.  Please keep us posted on your findings. 

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steve-wis

I agree with the coils, the first time i pulled my command was for coil replacement.  If you do change them, make sure you get the right ones.  The coils for engines with a sam module (spark advance) are different and will not work with an engine without it.  Don't ask how i know this.

 

Steve

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rbstuartjr

Thankfully this is a Command engine and not the dreaded tried. It’s a 1997 Sovereign with original Command engine. So when it warms up here I will pull the engine and take the tins  of. I will be ordering the front and rear crank oil seals and coils. I’ll probably take apart the breather system and clean / replace parts in there as well. I’ll let you know what else I will find. 

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Bill725

I suggest checking the compression. If a head gasket is starting to fail, it will cause increased pressure in the crankcase and cause the seals to leak and even push the seals out.

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rbstuartjr

Hadn’t thought of doing compression test. I was going to go through  and clean the breather assembly while I had it all apart. I can do that compression check this week when it warms up a bit.

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gwiseman
On 3/6/2021 at 5:55 AM, steve-wis said:

I agree with the coils, the first time i pulled my command was for coil replacement.  If you do change them, make sure you get the right ones.  The coils for engines with a sam module (spark advance) are different and will not work with an engine without it.  Don't ask how i know this.

Steve

What Steve said. I have a new set of coils on the bench unused because I ordered the wrong ones. Commands are known for coil failure.

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CarlH

To get the latest rev magnetos/coils go to OPEengines.com with your Kohler Command spec # and current coil part #.  You can find the latest rev there.

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CarlH

The Command should have an oil cooler.  It is the finned casting that the filter mounts on.  Later Commands had an automotive style oil cooler.

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Bill725

On my first Sovereign, which was powered by a Triad, I replaced the ammeter with an oil temperature gauge.  While mowing on a 90+ degree summer day, the oil would get up to 270 degrees,  after 45 minutes. I feel this is to hot, so I would shut off and let it cool down before mowing again.  Understand the Triad has an oil capacity of 1-1/2 quarts and the Command has 2 quarts. I run synthetic oil because it can withstand 600 degrees versus 450 for petroleum-based oils and I use the extra long oil filter, Kohler P/N 277233-S, for added oil capacity. Now both of my Commands have oil coolers. The only thing is in the winter, the oil does not get real warm, but I don't put many hours on my Commands in the winter.

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Brettw
14 hours ago, rbstuartjr said:

Sorry, another question, would you add an external oil cooler? I see most of the newer engines come with this.

If I had one available and could plumb it in (I think some of the cubs with the Magnums had a remote filter setup, so there's the way to plumb in a cooler) I would do so in a heartbeat.

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rbstuartjr
10 hours ago, Brettw said:

If I had one available and could plumb it in (I think some of the cubs with the Magnums had a remote filter setup, so there's the way to plumb in a cooler) I would do so in a heartbeat.

They do make a cooler that adapts to the oil filter location and runs lines to the fan shroud with a small radiator. The oil makes a loop there and back to the oil filter location. There’s is also one that just has added cooling fins to the block/ filter area. My engine only has cooling fins on the oil pan / filter area.

This tractor will be used year round for mowing , tilling and snow blowing. I have a small yard for mowing so it only takes like 45 minutes to mow. When I snowblow, I will usually run it for 1 to 2 hours. 
 

Thanks for all the information at this point. This has been a great thread with good information.

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CarlH

Sounds like your Command has the early oil cooler.  The newer installation requires a different oil filter base and ventilation of the flywheel shroud.

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rbstuartjr
6 hours ago, Bill725 said:

20210309_072725.jpg

Bill, that’s the oil cooler I was thinking about adding. What size K&N filter do you have on there? I have been using a Wix filter  that cross references to the longer Kohler filter.

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hurleyii

i had this same conversation with my dad today over his Magnum cub. Put new seals in it and drive it till it goes boom.

I can tell you rewiring from a triad to a vanguard including led lighting front and back cost me 250.00-300.00 Now I’m not a wire hack person that buys the 5.00 crimp packs. I buy heat shrink crimp packs and actual heat shrink to slide over that. I also purchased automotive quick connects that have seals built into them and use dielectric grease on them as well for all plug applications. With the muffler I bought for a Honda vtwin and modified to fit the vanguard,  the repower complete cost me just over 1,000 with a 350 hour 21hp Vanguard. With tractor purchase 1,350.00 minus selling donor deck and tractor the total cost was around 1,150.00 not including gas to pick tractor up.

 

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