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Got a Sunstar.


simplewrench

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simplewrench

I posted about this in show and tell. I wanted to elaborate here and ask some questions. This was around 70 miles from me. Listing said and showed that the teeth were broken off thee ring gear (18 hp vanguard). I have a flywheel off a 16hp vanguard, ring gear is the same but I also have a 20hp vanguard on the shelf. Well this is my first SunStar so I missed a very important thing when I picked it up. The flywheel adapter was not with the tractor as the engine was setting loose in the tractor with the flywheel removed. I messaged the PO and since I’m going to be making a delivery within 20 miles of him tomorrow he’s going to leave a couple of missing pieces out for me to pick up. IMG_2465.thumb.jpeg.c8871203673ee86fcc9e8f44624719f3.jpegIMG_2472.thumb.jpeg.bc2dfdefff8a77f8d3917f363d3d370b.jpegIMG_2466.thumb.jpeg.acdf0d8a612d0d7495e4dbd8f719136d.jpegHe painted the tractor when he got it and it looks decent. 
Question for the experienced, while I have the deck off and the engine out what should I look for and be aware of before reassembly? The deck seems fairly solid I did see a spot that was welded near the lift bracket and the paint is peeling pretty badly. Probably clean up and paint after I’ve tried it out to see how the bearings are. So that’s the story. 

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simplewrench

Last night I got the 20hp Vanguard of the shelf (been setting there quite a while). Got the exhaust electric clutch and driveshaft adapter installed before I had to eat and go to a meeting. Tonight I got the oil drain swapped and a few other odds and ends cleaned a little, set it in the tractor and hooked it up. It started pretty easily and idled pretty well, didn’t want to speed up but did with the choke. Smoothed out some and I drove it around just a bit. Idled down nicely but when I tried to speed it up again it died. I’ll pick up a new battery tomorrow and see what happens. 

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simplewrench

Got it running, ran rough syphoned out the old gas which helped it was still low on power. Took the carb off took it apart cleaned it up some, still not enough power. Put it in the sonic cleaner and will have to get a couple of gaskets before I put it back together. Talked to a good tractor buddy even though he likes green and yellow tractors he suggested spark plugs so I’ll see what happens when I get it back together with the new and clean parts. 

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simplewrench

Another question what is the bulkhead seal made of. Pictures that I have seen have not been very informative. I’m referring to the seal that goes between the engine and the panel in front of the oil cooler. 

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simplewrench

Still haven’t gotten the engine running correctly seems to load up then spits and sputters like it’s lean. Did a compression test and I have 180# on the right and 130# on the left. Don’t think I have ever seen 180# compression before. And that’s the cylinder that seems to be missing but the plug shows good spark. I don’t know what to think. Cleaned the carb good, now waiting for a new bowl gasket. 

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 The seal you are speaking of is pretty much just the square cut, tape backed foam about 1 inch thick if I remember right. It fit between the blower housing of the engine and the hydro cooler bulkhead.

 The ones I worked on were the older Kohler Magnums so things may have changed.

 

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simplewrench

Ok thanks tarheel that’s what I was wondering. 
Ive adjusted the valves. My son in law suggested that with the left plug being wet the cylinder walls could be coated causing the compression to increase. I found that the kill wire had had the insulation chewed on was hoping that shrink wrap would take care of my spark issue but didn’t. With the spark tester on each side the right cylinder had good bright spark the left had spark but not as bright. I have a spare coil so will swap that out and see what happens. 

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as Ron said adjust the valves. theses briggs vangaurd engines are supose to have the valves adjusted every 250 hrs or sooner if they start running poorly. i have seen them as far as .030" out of adjustment.

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simplewrench

They were definitely out of adjustment and I can check them again just to make sure I got them right. 
As much as I liked the way, it looked with the tires in the wide stance I switched them so that it’s narrower and more practical in the process though found out that the rear tires are loaded on my SunStar. 

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Heya Simple. First off, congrats on finding a nice Vanguard powered Sunstar. They're not very common at all. As for your power issue and poor running. Check this video as a potential reason for poor conditions. I'd say many of the engine power issues are cause by this simple $15 diode wire. It's a two part video. Pay no attention that it's a vertical shaft engine vs. your horizontal. It's the same part number which is 844547. Simply Google Search "Briggs 844547" and you'll find plenty of purchase options. But watch my videos first! Also, I can forward owners manuals and engine manuals to you directly. Just email me at ZippoVarga@gmail.com. Cheers! Zip~

 

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simplewrench

Of course Zippo was absolutely correct in his diagnosis. Got my new diode wire today and it’s acting much better. Still seems to be some fuel issue. Ran for about half an hour then started to pop and sputter but then smooth out for a while then repeat, but definitely closer to what it should be. For anyone who hasn’t partaken of the treasure trove of videos from Zippo’s YouTube channel by all means take advantage. Zippo Vargas small engine medic. 

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simplewrench

The tractor did not come with the plenum that goes over the trans cooler so I had a lot of grass collect in there. Has anyone tried to use just a screen of some sort to keep the grass from getting down in there?

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simplewrench

Connected with the gentleman on Craigslist bought the replacement plenum and a rear sleeve hitch. Thank you Bill725. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/15/2023 at 9:49 PM, simplewrench said:

Thanks Zippo that sounds exactly like what is going on. Definitely hotter on the right cylinder. 

I'll take a stab at your fuel issue.. I've noticed a number of these rear tank large fuel opening type tractors like the JD 300 and 400 series, Sunstar's etc that end up with clogged fuel outlets. But it's not constant, so it acts like the engine starves for fuel once in a while when a grass booger gets in the way.. My suggestion is to drain the fuel tank and give it a good cleaning. A little tip, you can take the round metal disc off the top of the tank (under the seat) to gain great access to the bowels of the tank to get things cleaned up easier.

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If you take the tank out to clean it, might as well replace the fuel line while you are at it. Run into 2 instances now over the years where the fuel line from the tank to the pump was old and had partially collapsed inside the line restricting the fuel flow. Thats one of the "drive you nuts" type of problem to find. This last time I had replaced and cleaned everything with no results. Finally replaced the fuel line and the problem was resolved once and for all.

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Thank you gents. It ran better the last time I used it but I didn’t have much to mow. Haven’t had much precipitation but those things are good to keep in mind and implement anyway before you are scratching your head later and using course language in pursuit of stripes. 

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  • 6 months later...
simplewrench

Bill 725, I did order the check valve and will install before this year’s mowing season. 
 Unfortunately I didn’t get pictures of the process but the gentleman from whom I purchased this Sunstar had painted the deck while installed on the tractor and didn’t clean off any rust or loose paint. So I pulled it off and ground off the paint and loose rust enough to make it last longer not to make it look new. 65f0feda47202_IMG_3475Small.jpeg.b7dd33b8255ffa1f7115def83c90bbd7.jpegnow I’m wondering about the age old question, shields or no shields? On the sovereign decks I don’t use shields most of the time because I can usually get most of the grass cleaned off the deck more easily without. This deck with the gearbox and extra bracing is much more difficult to clean all the grass out in my experience. 
what do you folks with Sunstar experience think? I don’t currently have shields for the belts so I don’t know if the grass still gets underneath and sits there rotting out the deck. 

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Bill725

The 48" deck is the same as the Sovereign except for the gearbox drive. With the belt covers on, which are safety guards, grass clippings accumulate to the point there is no more room for any more. The moisture in the clippings cause the paint to rust. Removing the covers allows access to blow out ALL of the clippings after every use but, you have to be willing to accept the safety risk. If I had kids around, the covers would be on.

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