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7117 driving me over the edge

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I need some help with my 7117 before I break out the sledge hammer and charge $1 a pop. For three years now I've had the same problem. It will run rough, missing and backfiring. I have to choke it half to full to get it to run at all. Eventually it loses power and dies completely, usually when trying to mow. Each year I've taken it in for service at $200-$300. They replaced the points, plugs, and condensor, done the carb kit, etc. I have also cleaned out the tank, replaced the filter and line, and cleaned out the carb bowl (many times). It will run ok for a while, usually to the next summer, and then the problem will reappear. This year, it ran for about 3 weeks after service. I've about had it. I love the tractor (besides the engine) and have done many repairs myself, but this problem is driving me nuts. I'm not wasting any more money at the repair shop. Would a new carb be likely to solve this problem? I'm not sure what it would cost, and I've already thrown away about $600, but I'd like to know if this is worth considering. If it's unsolvable, I plan to repower. Has anyone put a 18 hp Command in one of these? I know Al Eden has kits with a different Kohler, but it costs $1900. I was hoping it could be done cheaper. This engine can be bought for around $1100 and I hope it doesn't need $800 of parts to fit it to the 7117. Thanks for any help.

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Hi & Welcome! Sounds like overheating. Just a few thing to check; Are all the cooling fins clear & fan blows on it all? Have they had the flywheel off, if so is the keyway ok? Has anyone checked out the coil? When it's about to 'die' what sort of spark? Red, blu, white none? Does it have the 'right' plugs? Try that for a start & I'm sure some of the 'real' pro's will give you some more ideas. Keep us posted..... JP

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If you have to choke the engine, then it is running lean. If it is running lean then it will run hotter. As it gets hotter, it runs even leaner. Sounds like you have a problem common to many engines with fixed jet carburators. I had a similar problem on a Vanguard. All I had to do was get a set of very small drill bits and enlarge the main jet in the carb slightly. I only went .001 larger. Totally solved the problem. You will need a very small set of drills. I purchased mine from American Science and Surplus. Do a WEB search for this company. I think the set of drills was about $15. If you do this, be very careful because you can't put the metal back. The jet is not sold separately, so a screw-up will cost you a new carb. I would start by checking the size with the smooth shank of the bits. When you find a tight fit, then make the hole .001 larger. Remember, this is a very tiny hole. Clamp the drill bit in a pair of vice grips or a vice, and turn the jet with your fingers. When the bit is through, use the smooth shank of the bit to polish the hole. Then use a larger bit to remove any burrs at both ends of the hole. If you want to mail me your jet, I will drill it for you and send it back, no charge. Rod H.

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