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Jeffluecke

Rookie needs 7117 Advice

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Jeffluecke
Lost my dad last year, he was a die hard Simplicity guy, and now we are having some problems with his 7117 Simplicity with a Kohler 17 series II motor and are not sure what to do. For the last couple years the motor has steadily been using more oil. My brother was mowing the yard a couple weeks ago when something popped and the motor started blowing a lot of blue smoke out of the exhaust. I'm pretty sure the motor has had it. It is kind of difficult to decide to fix or junk tractor. We have a 48" deck, leaf pick-up vacuum, a rototiller, and a plow for the tractor. We realistically only use the leaf pick-up, and maybe the rototiller once every 3 years. Sounds like a new motor is going to be $1,500, tough pill to swallow! Question is, what is the best route to replace the motor, is there another better/cheaper motor to adapt to the tractor than the KT17, or should we have the old motor rebuilt at @$1,000??? I don't mind doing a swap, but have no idea what would work. All attachments seem to be in decent shape, so we could consider parting out tractor and selling off all attachments to put toward a new tractor. I am concerned about taking that approach because I've mowed with new tractors and have heard many stories about people getting new tractors and still mowing with their old ones because they worked better. Bottom line is, we need something my mom can use to mow her 1 acre lot. Would really appreciate any sound advice. Thanks for your help. Best Regards! Jeff.

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hufhouse
I'm just a few miles south of you, Jeff! Down in Uniontown. I also have a 7117 that I bought used at the beginning of this season and I love it. I know what answer you are going to get from the folks here. There is an 18 horse Kohler that can easily be fit to the tractor. In fact, someone here will refer you to a website where you can order the engine and a kit that fits it right on the 7117. I already have that idea in my back pocket for the day that my 7117 gives up the ghost. However, if you don't decide to go that way, call me about the attachments! Especially the snowplow!! (I feel like a vulture!!) BTW, I bought my 7117 at A1 Mower at 619 and Arlington in Green. I think I overpaid, but I also think the dealer is as honest as the day is long. He actually forewarned me that I might not like how short the cut is on the 7117, and delivered it out to my house to have me try it before I bought it. They will do the retrofit engine there for about $1800, but there are many folks here at the discussion board who would tell you to do it yourself. Finally, sorry to hear about your Dad. I lost my Dad about 20 months ago and its tough.

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Kent
Yes, here's Al Eden's Repower Engineering that offers complete, bolt-in replacement kits. http://www.repowereng.com/ Some of our other advertisers such as Small Engine Warehouse offer just the engines, if you want to go that route. http://www.smallenginewarehouse.com/ I think the consensus would be to replace it with something other than the KT17, rather than rebuild it... even though the series II was supposed to have corrected oiling problems. To put the cost/value in perspective, should you be able to find a new, hold-over 2000 model Sovereign in a dealer's stock somewhere, the tractor would probably sell for about $5000, and perhaps more.... IMO, with those attachments, it is certainly worth fixing. With a new engine, it will still outlast any mower you'll buy in the $1000-1500 price range. The foot-draggin' Clubhouse Custodian...

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hufhouse
If you DO try the repower kit, please let me/us know how it goes. Like I said, I'm using a 7117 with A LOT of mowing hours on it. It doesn't use a lot of oil, but I'm using it to mow a couple of acres and to plow/blow snow in the winter, so its days are numbered. Also, I think I misstated about the local dealer price for a retrofit. That's not a retrofit, but a rebuild for around $1800. If this is your Dad's tractor, man, you gotta keep it! Also, you won't find a new machine anywhere NEAR this 7117 for under $7000...especially when it has a new engine.

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HubbardRA
There are lots of engines that can be used. Don't get stuck on the idea that it has to be the same exact one. I have re-powered 6-8 tractors, and none of them were any significant problem. I am currently mowing my lawn with an AC 716 (originally a 16 Hp Kohler) that has a 10 Hp B/S engine on it. It is a little low on power, but one or two Hp will hardly be noticed in most usages. Rod H.

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Leroy
Wow this is the biggest write up i have seen on the 7117. Im a owner of one too. But smoke could be just a set or rings But from what i hear the factory would bore the cylinders over size and fit new pistons/ rings/rods and bolts. those fall in around 250.00 up each + machine work and gaskets. To reiterate a previous poster the 7117 Kohler had oiling issues. sell the engine as a rebuilder and buy a new one. right now it runs. and it is worth more thanit would be in pieces. I bought a Used 20hp Onan and i am still attempting to install it. the bolt holes are 2.5 inch spacing on the kohler to tranny and the Onan has a 2.75 inch spaceing. I could have slapped something togeather and had it running but i dont want any extra vibration. BTW the engine pan had to be relieved to fit the starter on the Onan. Me recent searches of the 17 hp kohler have found that they are all dieing simular deaths. Controlled obsolesence? Make sure the one you replace it with does not have a history of oiling problems. Ps I lost my dad when i was 18 and in Camp Lejune doing the Military stint. Glad to hear your helpin Mom. Leroy

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roma3112
To begin with you gotta keep the tractor! I inherited my uncles 3112h when he passed away in 95. back then in "68" just the mach ine was $1,200 i have surely spent that much in then some in repairs and maintenance but to me keeping that thing running is still like having him around. Sentiment aside like kent said u could try to find a 2k sovereign left over fo 5grand or better and thats just for the machine! For my two cents worth i would put the old gal aside until you have decided on which way you want to repower the unit. i have been to al edens web-page and his kits seem to be well thought out and fairly reasonably priced. Hold onto everything you wont be sad you did, compared to whats out there today in the big box stores what you have is well worth the time and effort.

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gregc
Very sorry about your dad. I too lost my dad 20 months ago. You should, IMO, keep and repower the tractor. You can't get equal quality these days without spending several thousands. Each time these tractors are parted out the ones that are left are worth even more. I inherited a Big Ten from my dad that he got when my grandfather passed and I don't think I'll ever let go of it. It's still doing great today and I keep finding uses for more attachments and I'm sure you will also. Greg

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Woodydel
Jeff, If you try the link, you can compare physical dimensions of your engine with the line drawings. Pay attention to shaft sizes, front to back dimensions, side to side dimensions and distance from bottom of engine to shaft centers. Once you get an idea of what may fit you'll find that Briggs engines will save you quite a few bucks. They'll last plenty long enough with just regular maintenance. Once you find what you think will work then pick the brains of the engine dealers. They may let you know if your choices will work. It's nice to remember your Dad by using the tractor but he would probably want you to just do what's best for your Mom. Whatever you won't be using should be sold to offset the engine cost IF I were making the choices. So it's just my opinion. ADDED: Oops! forgot to enter the link. [url]http://www.tulsaenginewarehouse.com/drawings/[/url]

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MikeES
Jeff, don't discount the KT17. All of the Kohler boxer engines have breather problems. It could be as simple as the breather is plugged and pressurizing the crankcase. A rebuild could be much less than you think. Consider an engine rebuilder (automotive) instead of a Lawn and Garden dealer; in my neighborhood they are about 1/2 the cost. Example: 16hp Kohler single, new piston/rod, bored, turn crank, new exhaust valve, grind valves, new gaskets, seals = $365. I have a 917 that had a "blown" engine. Cleaned breather, new plugs, set governor, set carb. Runs great, burns very little oil. I was given a M20 that was "shot", I took it for possible parts. I took off heads clean up the huge carbon build up, lapped and set valves, put in new breather parts (it was a complete mess), and this engine is now winning tractor pulls in a 917! Good Luck! Mike S.

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MPH
Jeff, not sure how well you have checked out the "pop" before it started blowin smoke, but I had a 16hp briggs that would blow the dipstick out because the rubber stopper was hard as a rock and then she'd really smoke up the yard. Different dipstick and never happened again. Since traded the Gilson to a friend for checking my mail while I'm working out of town..MPH

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