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kohler kt17 refresh


gravey72

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gravey72

So i bought a non running tractor with a kohler kt17 II in it. Got it running, sunk some money in it since it seemed like a great tractor. Not my sole tractor but mowed quite a bit with it. One day I started it and mowed less than 100' and it started blowing oil out from the flywheel (assuming coming from the seal). I tried to be optimistic and threw an updated reed valve breather in it, no luck. I'm assuming it probably at least needs rings. If my memory serves me correct Brett repaired many and probably others here as well. Once i tear down do i go the ebay (aftermarket kit) or Kohler oem kit? Just gaskets and rings if everything checks out? Honing job? Any help appreciated. Just trying to decide what to do. Thanks

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Chris727

@Brettw and @MikeES can probably shed some light on this. Luckily I haven't needed to open up any of mine yet but do have a core here I was considering rebuilding someday. @Austin has a series one he will be tackling sooner than later. 

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Tarheel

 I have a number of KT engines as well that need some love. I'll be following this thread.

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A leak down test will tell you exactly where the problem is.

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1 hour ago, Chris727 said:

@Austin has a series one he will be tackling sooner than later. 

I’ve been trying to act like it’s not there.. Funds aren’t there to fix it quite yet.

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My Series I did practically the same thing. Ran great for about a month after getting it. Always used a little oil but nothing too bad, smoked a bit to. One day I went to use it and I did the usual oil check to fill it up. I noticed it looked oddly low. Started it up and it puffed white smoke, barely ran, then blew a head gasket, and then I called it quits. I replaced the breather as it was original to the original 1600 hour engine. I have opened the head of the blown head gasket cylinder and scoring seems to be there but very minimal. My plan is to hone the cylinders, new rings, head gaskets, and maybe some other worn out parts will be replaced if funds can afford it. I personally would go with OEM Kohler, but I’m sure a trusted aftermarket source would work well too. From what I remember @Brettw saying when I brought up my machine, he said that most usually aren’t much more than a hone and new rings. But of course that depends on the machine and varying abuse. Just my $0.02, sorry for the rant!

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gravey72

I appreciate everyones input so far. I love these engines, others hate them. All the problems are always from poor maintenance from previous owners in my opinion. Air filters need to be cleaned, flywheel screen cleaned, engines cleaned and yes oil changes and such

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I have rebuilt several KTs and Magnum engines, usually the cylinders have very little wear.  So honing and new rings solves all the excess blowby (crankcase pressure) and smoking.  You can buy a gasket/seal/std. rings kit on ebay for under $150.  You do not have to split the engine to do a ring job, but you will have to split it if you need to replace the governor gear.   I have never bored out a cylinder that was scored heavily, the cost of oversized pistons is $$$.  There are so many of the KTs lying around with a blown rod that can be picked up for little or nothing I just swap in a different cylinder.   

Note:  It may not be excess crankcase pressure.  I have a M20 (Same as a KT) that one winter it blew out the seal behind the flywheel,  installed a new seal and it blew that one out in less than 10 hours.  I then glued the seal into place using Permatex Aviation form-a-gasket.  Running for years now.   

Why it blew out ??? no reason other than the old Kohler decided that I should clean out the area behind the flywheel, which it needed.

Edited by MikeES
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gravey72

Thanks Mike I really appreciate your input as I'm sure others do as well. I had a front seal blow out years ago on my first ever 7117 about a 79-80 model year and had to do the same as you. Of course this one is behind the flywheel... Ive heard others mention over the years mention about replacing the governor gear. How do you know if it needs done or is it one of those things you just do if you're doing a refresh? Thanks

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know how to determine the remaining life of the plastic governor gear.   When they get dark brown (probably from overheating) it maybe time to replace.   I have replaced based on dark brown and cracks in the plastic.  I have never really seen a gear that was worn.

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gravey72

Thanks again Mike and others for your input. I'm hoping to get at it soon. Like others I own more than 1 so it's not on my priority list and wanted your guys input. Hope to update in the near future

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