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Kohler K181....oil on top of piston-pictures-

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After reading the kohler owners manual id thought id get all the carbon buildup out from the head and piston top. Took the head off and this is what i found. How bad is this? There seemed to be wet oil on top of the piston. Is this exceptable?

I cleaned all the carbon build up off both the piston top and head using a plastic scraper and some elbow greese. its about as clean as it can be without blasting it.

Do i have to replace the head gasket? this one is not torn in anyway.

Should i consider a rebuild based on the pictures? do they show trouble in the future? Unfortunatly i do not know the history of the machine and or motor. The guy who owned it passed away 15 years ago. The tractor was in storage before he passed. I didnt have to do much to get it running.......but im considering a complete rebuild to ensure another 40 years of use. Hey its a '66 and still running.

Opinions guys? like i said she runs pretty good. a little smoke when i take it from idle to 1/2 + throttle but other then that she runs fine. Should i do what i think is the right thing and rebuild it since i dont know if its been done, or whats been done.

i just want to make sure as long as she is in my garage that she is always reafy to go. here are some pictures of what the piston lookes like and the valves, etc. i did notice one valve was gunked up the other.....almost a whitish curust and sorta clean. why differant colors on the valves?

kohlerK181003.jpg

kohlerK181002.jpg

kohlerK181004.jpg

kohlerK181005.jpg

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is the piston tight in the bore?? clean it up put a NEW gasket in it, run it for 10 m in. or so let it cool retorque the head, if it smokes you might need to rering it, I've had worse looking run great and did no more than clean and install a new gasket.

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Is the head bolt broke off next to the exhaust valve?

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ok i will get a new gasket in it and run it. she doesnt smoke bad at all really when running at a steady throttle. the piston seems tight but.....there seems to be more gap on one side then the other. the gap is on the side of the piston.

i have 3 brokn fins on the head. should that be of any concern? what are the tourque specs for the bolts and pattern to bolt the head back on? there are no broken head bolts.......YES THERE IS!!!! :thumbs:

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u better plan on a rebuild unless your loking for a band aid. look at the cylender wall it is glazed n shinny from hardning thus the rings r unable to do there job. do to use they have shaved at least a 5 over bore size. i bet if u measure the cyl.. it will have to go 10 over to clean back up :thumbs: if u r looking to keep motor for any number of years. n u have it that far down just do whats right. so u want say kohler sucks mid way threw summer. when u could prevent sayin that by a rebuild

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....almost a whitish curust and sorta clean. why differant colors on the valves?

whitish exhaust valve = (more or less) complete combustion and evacuation of high temperature unburned hydrocarbons before the exhaust charge gets cooled enough to condense out the unburned hydrocarbons (black deposits)

dirty intake = cooler surface due to the incoming temperature of the fuel air mixture and heat transfer from the valve stem into the block thru the (usually) tighter fitting valve guide. This lower surface temperature allows unburned hydrocarbons the best opportunity to condense . This is why you see exhaust valves burned more frequently than intake valves.

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yes i was kinda leaning towards having it rebuilt. i have a few questions as ive never rebuilt a motor before.

1. Are the stens kits ok or should i spend the extra money on the kohler stuff?

i can buy a kit, gaskets, pistons, etc from stens for what i can find an OEM kohler piston for................

2. if i go with a .01 over piston do i have to change the connecting rod or antyhing else?

3. Do i simply take the cylinder with the new piston and rings to a shop for the work or is there more to it then that?

4. is there a manual for a K181 that shows how to rebuild the motor?

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A good complete rebuild will cost you $500 to $700, aftermarket parts are ok, but I would buy the kohler stuff if you can aford it, machine work will not be cheap, make sure they grind the valves, and check the crank out, if going that far you want to make sure you don't need the crank ground and a new rod.

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wow that much. the tractor was free to start with. if i do the math and this machine runs another 40+ years........then it doesnt look to bad using kohler parts. im not sure what to do. the stens kits are under $100 complete. gaskets, valves, piston, rod. everything needed for a complete rebuild. The difference in the price of stens vs. kohler is insane. heck i can rebuild the motor three times or more for the price of one rebuild using kohler. wow..............kohler must be making bank on parts!

so........if i do deside to rebuild it......will i need a bigger rod with the bigger piston?

im not sure how this works.

kelley.....thanks for the feedback on the parts.

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wow that much. the tractor was free to start with. if i do the math and this machine runs another 40+ years........then it doesnt look to bad using kohler parts. im not sure what to do. the stens kits are under $100 complete. gaskets, valves, piston, rod. everything needed for a complete rebuild. The difference in the price of stens vs. kohler is insane. heck i can rebuild the motor three times or more for the price of one rebuild using kohler. wow..............kohler must be making bank on parts!

so........if i do deside to rebuild it......will i need a bigger rod with the bigger piston?

im not sure how this works.

kelley.....thanks for the feedback on the parts.

The way I do it is if I'm keeping the motor for myself I always use Kohler parts inside, and if I'm just going to sell it I will use Stens parts.. Remember the old saying "you pay for what you get" You will need a Bigger piston to go 10 over, and Again this is just me but I always put in a new rod when I rebuild an Eng..

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i use the sten and i aint skird at all. i dont think u will be drivin it like a car for goodness sakes. and if there parts where that bad they would be out of buisness. for the amount of hours you will actually put on it redo your math with sten parts and u will go that way at 4000 rpm it aint gonna come appart no ways. take it to the machine shop and see if 10 over will clean it up befor u buy the parts

kohler is WAY better by far and i do use KOHLER parts.

but if ur on a budget for a working tractor what diff.. does it make? none its a worker remember

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:thumbs: hassman35 had me thinking today........i only took out 6 bolts from the head. so i go out to the shop and look and low and behold there is a broken head bolt!!!!! great! figures all i do is try and do is get the crud off the piston and head and now i find this. what the heck do i do to get a broken rusted cant even see the bolt out? there is a 1/8" by 1/8 nub there.................... :)

im not used to a "jug" or cylinder that is part of the case. not like a snowmobile motor where you can seperate the two. what do i do now. this went from running great, to not running great, to running ok, to me trying to clean it up, to me considering a rebuild and now..........a broken almost nothing head bolt. great!

what are my options here? besides drag the old girl out back and put a bullet in her and light it on fire? :wh:

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Careful here.

The valves look great, and that area of the chamber is fine.

The Spark plug color reads like a good running engine. (carb and ignition)

The piston top is not caked - just wet. Nothing scary yet.

I'll bet that someone shot some oil in the cylinder to protect it. Button it up - start it up and then decide. If it runs clean - do a compression check - then, if necessary, a leakdown check.

Once warmed up - if its using oil you will know it. :thumbs:

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should i worry about the broken head bolt? it didnt seem to have any effect on it when it was running good.

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If you dont trust yourself to do it take it to a machine shop they will drill it and take it out with a easy out or euivelent. If you take it upon yourself be carefull not to break the easy out, because it is hardened and undrillable and becomes a hard out.

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After reading the kohler owners manual id thought id get all the carbon buildup out from the head and piston top.

READING! Well there's your problem right there.

Use of "Cheep Parts" - 1999 low mileage dodge intrepid with a 2.7, I replace the timing chain, gears and guides with "Value Priced Parts" 5k later, chain skips and timing goes out and bends all the valves. Tear it back down failure is due to a broken timing chain guide. It was made of a type of nylon, not the pot metal like the original. End result, $800.00 spent on timing parts / water pump / oil pump / gaskets and fluids wasted. I'm reminded of the old saying "The sweetness of a low price is often soon replaced with the long term bitterness of equally low quality"

Broken Stud - Ouch, you mess this up, you're gonna pay more for your efforts to fix it than to just have it done by a professional. At the very least, I would recomend you soak it in a pentrating oil for a week or so, tapping it ocassionally, then grind the "nub" flat. Broken stud flat and even, not flat to the surface of the cylinder. Center punch it for a perfectly centered drill starting point and use a drill press so your hole stays straight and doesn't run into the cylinder itself. Have it done by a machine shop if you have doubts in your ability.

Just my opinions from the school of "Been there, done that"

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Use of "Cheep Parts" - 1999 low mileage dodge intrepid with a 2.7, I replace the timing chain, gears and guides with "Value Priced Parts" 5k later, chain skips and timing goes out and bends all the valves. Tear it back down failure is due to a broken timing chain guide. It was made of a type of nylon, not the pot metal like the original. End result, $800.00 spent on timing parts / water pump / oil pump / gaskets and fluids wasted. I'm reminded of the old saying "The sweetness of a low price is often soon replaced with the long term bitterness of equally low quality"

.

Just my opinions from the school of "Been there, done that"

that 2.7 is junk, sorry to say it. Canada won't even let dodge to sell it in country, As a mechanic we wouldn't even touch them in our garage that I worked in. Had brand new engines blow up after 1000 miles or so. You could have put in the most expensive parts you could have found and had same problem. The oil passages are so small that the engine will starve for oil and just eat itself. And the time chain is the first sign that is going to happen.

I would use the cheaper parts. Sometimes you have to do that. but maybe use better parts were it is most important, piston rings, piston.

The broken bolt is an issue but don't be sacred to bad. Spray it for a couple of days and get a good reverse drill bit. With a good steady hand and some luck It may just back itself out. Remember to let the drill do the work don't push to hard and bend or break the bit. makes for a bad day. Also if the bit doesn't back it out then try an easy out. Don't get to happy and try to break it lose right away. just put a little pressure on it and some love taps on it with a small hammer. keep doing that and it should come out.

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that 2.7 is junk, sorry to say it. Canada won't even let dodge to sell it in country,

It was not my intent to make a claim that the dodge 2.7 was or is the best engine ever, I was simply using it as an example that buying and using low cost parts can and often do come back to bite you in the butt. The feeling of "I sure hope this thing holds together" is one I try to avoid whenever possible. Paying a little extra for the better quality parts is like having a bit of insurance that you'll not soon be repeating the job. The end of the Dodge story though is that I had a total professional rebuild and now drive it worry free with a great warrenty from the shop. I could post pictures if you like but its really off topic here. :)

I remembered another trick after I posted my 1st response. I've seen folks soak the bolt, then weld a junk wrench or old piece of rebar to the broken bolt. The soaked in oil along with the shot of heat from welding on it ofter breaks them free.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out. :thumbs:

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this a good post that has many opinions. i will voice mine, however, i already feel out numbered. i have 8 or 10 kohler k series engines that run. some are worn out. they knock slightly. smoke pretty bad. but still run good. these are the engines that i am almost certain have the original kohler parts. some of the original engines still perform flawlessly. i realize the hours on them are unknown to me... the few kohlers i have rebuilt, contain proper machine work, $25-$30 aftermarket pistons/rings. after market valves. and aftermarket gaskets. they also perform flawlessley for the last 100+ hours. now, it may not be neccessary, but i do use a kolher rod. the aftermarket rod just looks weak. but the kolher piston compared to a $27 piston from tulsa engine appears and functions identically to me. maybe someone here knows, but i dont know that kolher does not have someone make there pistons now. this stuff happens. jimmy

i recommend using kohler points.

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[

I remembered another trick after I posted my 1st response. I've seen folks soak the bolt, then weld a junk wrench or old piece of rebar to the broken bolt. The soaked in oil along with the shot of heat from welding on it ofter breaks them free.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out. :thumbs:

I forgot that trick to! This works have done it a couple of times. Only thing I can say is protect the cylinder and valves from splatter!

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If you want the easy way out, I hear there's a "new" K-181 short block currently on eBay. :thumbs:

If you opt to repair/rebuild your current engine, find the TP-2379 Kohler manual and study it first. You'll find all of the torque values, tolerances, clearances, etc., in that manual.

Not to scare you but these things are not Legos or Erector sets, so if you screw up, you just can't take it back apart and try again - unless you have a lot more money than I do. :wh:

Perhaps finding a "tutor" that will help you through this might be the best answer.

That being said, where are you located? :)

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Guess we all forgot the weld trick. But instead of a old wrench or rebar set a nut over the nub and weld the inside of the nut to the stud then you can use a wrench on the nut to back out the stud :thumbs:

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Not sure I have ever seen a head bolt break above the deck surface. :thumbs:

That kinda makes welding anything to it pretty tough.

My vote: Drill it out and tap it.

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well this is to give you an idea of what im looking at. kinda sucks! it doesnt even look like a bolt hole was there.....if ther is a bolt in there it is the most rusted bolt i have ever come across. i really think my only option here is to drill and retap. PB blaster just sits in a tiny little pool aound that nub....or bolt.....or whatever it is. if that is the bolt.....it sure has seen better days!

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i live in CT. Northern CT to be exact. Does anyone want to help me with this rebuild? i know its a long shot to ask that of someone but hey........these sites seem to breed good guys that are willing to help so its worth asking. Or are there any shops around that i could bring this motor to......maybe supply all the parts and have it rebuilt. bored, etc, etc? although i think that is the easy way out as id like to learn how to rebuild an engine. maybe we could barter something in exchange for someone to be my "teacher".?

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well this is to give you an idea of what im looking at. kinda sucks! it doesnt even look like a bolt hole was there.....if ther is a bolt in there it is the most rusted bolt i have ever come across. i really think my only option here is to drill and retap. PB blaster just sits in a tiny little pool aound that nub....or bolt.....or whatever it is. if that is the bolt.....it sure has seen better days!

002.jpg

001.jpg

003.jpg

i live in CT. Northern CT to be exact. Does anyone want to help me with this rebuild? i know its a long shot to ask that of someone but hey........these sites seem to breed good guys that are willing to help so its worth asking. Or are there any shops around that i could bring this motor to......maybe supply all the parts and have it rebuilt. bored, etc, etc? although i think that is the easy way out as id like to learn how to rebuild an engine. maybe we could barter something in exchange for someone to be my "teacher".?

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