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Kevbo

Kohler Engine Life Expectancy?

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I have been favoring as many of you have, the Kohler engines in most of my Wheel Horses. I just recently traded my C-160 Tecumseh for a C-120 Automatic strictly because of the Kohler engine. Here is my question:

 

What is the average amount of hours a Kohler can take if you maintain basic maintenance such as oil changes, spark plugs, air filter, etc. (I do not mean valve jobs or carbon cleaning...just basic maintenance).

 

What is the longest amount of hours that you have heard of a Kohler running efficiently?

 

:thanks:

 

 

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Long, long time

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Long, long time

 

lol

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I've had a some of the older singles and a few of the k-series/magnum twins from the late 70's to mid 80's come into work that had over 2000 hrs on the meter and still running strong with only a little smoke at start up.  And one that had around 3300 on it that I rebuilt and it now has over 5500 and still running strong.         Stewart

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I put a new rod and piston in my 704 a couple years ago just because i was bored. It was the original motor and had  never been touched. It was starting to puff a little smoke. Most tractors dont have an hour meter so its really hard to tell. keep them clean and serviced and they will last a life time.

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Kevbo,

 

My Dads 12 auto hasnt been touched since the day it rolled out of South Bend. I would say it has 6000+ hours on it. Just figuring mowing 2 hours a week for 8 months a year multiplied by 40 years. It might be a bit more than that with plowing snow and tilling the garden plus I used it for my neighborhood landscaping business when I was young. The only thing not original to the tractor is the 48" deck. Its off my 416 becase the original 42 from 73 had seen better days and needs to be patched an rewelded in a few areas. I'd say they're pretty bulltproof when taken care of.

Edited by hodge71

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Hodge that is unbelievably awesome! :bow-blue:

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The accuracy of this will vary based on many conditions.

 

Too much idle time, or cold start with extended idle will shorten life, and oil / air filter change intervals will too.

 

In generator applications, 2-3k hours is typical but they do get worked more.

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If you keep them clean on the outside, and use compressed air to blow out the cooling fins and air passages, change oil, and air filters, with a good eye on oil level each time you use it.  They will last a real long, long time.  My 1976 10 horse runs great.  I have no idea how many hours are on it, but I've never seen a briggs go that long.

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If I'm not mistaken the military MTBR (Mean time between rebuilds) for the K singles was 2000 hours.  This goes back several decades.  But, there is no reason a K series with regular maintenance that is ran within its HP limitations shouldn't last at least 2000 hours.  As noted there are a lot of variables.  The longest hours are totally unknown to me, as most of the tractors that used the singles didn't have hour meters, and on a lot of the twin cylinder IHC Cub Cadets I repaired the clock-hand style hour meters quit working long before the KT twins did.  On the K181 my father in law used, I estimated he used it about 50 hours a season for 40 years, making 2000 hours when it blew. 

 

-Mark-

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I have a k161 on my 753. When I bought it, it had an hour meter on it that read 1737 hours. I know hour meters didn't come stock on these so that makes me think it has at LEAST that many hours on it. I don't know if it has ever been rebuilt or not but I know it doesn't smoke one bit even at start up. So that leads me to believe it may have been but not sure.

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We just got rid of a toro workman with a 23hp Kohler V-twin in it and it had just over 7000 hours on it. Thats the most I have seen here at work. No smoke and runs like a sewing machine.

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I know they will last for a very long time if they are taken good care of.

Years ago i was working at an Mink farm (those furry little critters) one of my daily duties was to feed all 12000 of them.. the feed truck (i don't know the right word for it )  was called an "mink-o-matic"
It looked similar to this :

http://image.nettix.fi/extra/machineimg/1263301_1263400/tractors-muu-merkki-1263303_l_06db5459bc8f8d44.jpg

It had an 14hp Kohler and hydro transmission, it looked just like an Wheelhorse transmission but with foot control ?  I can't tell for sure but it was really strong and had no problems hauling 1000pounds of "food" in the tank around the farm, most of the time at full throttle.

It took ~ 2 hours  to feed all the animals + cleaning the truck each and every day, all year round.  It was 7 years old when i started working there and i know it was still going strong 6 years later when the owner passed away.

So at the very least it had been running for 2 x 365 x 11 = 9490 hours.  And in real life much longer as it was also used several hours each day for about 14 days when harvesting the mink.

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Years ago (70's & 80's) when I was in the lawn and garden business we were told this in some of the schools that I attended -

 

Straight aluminum engines 1,000 hours

 

Aluminum with cast iron sleeve 1,500 hours

 

All cast iron 2,000 hours

 

This was with average use and care.

 

 

And this is what we told our customers that were looking at tractors and comparing Wheel Horse to Work Horse and other brands. :)

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Worth mentioning, you do need to decarbon the kohlers so you do not ruin the top of the piston.  A lot of people don;t do this, and oil burning begins.   

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I've never put 1,000 plus hours on a Kohler or any other garden tractor engine.  Probably if I only had one tractor I would have been over that mark by now.  I'm amazed at the high hours lots of folks get on the Kohlers.  My personal expectation of the engine for reasonable service (anything less and I'd be disappointed) is - cast iron Kohler singles 1,000 to 1,200 hours.  Command twins and probably magnum/k series twins, 2,000 hrs to 2,500 hrs.

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my 312A with an M12 has 2,700 hours showing and doesn't use any oil.  I can't vouch for the hours as I bought it second hand, but when I removed the head to decarb it all looks original.

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I have a 1988 312-8 with almost 1,200 hours.  It runs like new and doesn't burn a drop of oil.  My neighbors are in awe of my Wheel Horse, one of them has been through 3 tractors and I still have my original one.

 

The only thing I have done throughout it's life is to change the oil every 20 hours and the plug every year.  The cylinder head has never been serviced.

Edited by Dizz1979

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Dizz1979

 

I have another comment towards this -

 

I love :wub: (especially older) Kohler engines and along with the other great parts of the Wheel Horse, yours has lasted.  I loved your story, that is what I like hearing, buying something and having it last and last!  I hate the use it for a while, then throw it away for junk stage, that we're living in today!

 

Back in the early eighties when I was selling these beautiful and rugged tractors, we had a lot of customers that were shopping many of the different brands.  Many of these folks would bring in their Sears flyers and would compare Sears to our Wheel Horses.  The difference in price was often asked.  Depending if I had time to show them all the features our tractors offered, I would most always at least have them compare the weight of the Sears tractor to the Wheel Horse.  This quickly let them know a big difference in the two.  This really says a lot about "you get what you pay for"!

 

C-85

 

 

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You better believe it, my tractor was $2,395 and the deck was $400.  that was a lot of money for a 12 horsepower tractor in 1988.  Funny thing is, when I got divorced, all I wanted was my Wheel Horse.  I may have another wife now, but I still have my tractor!  Oh did I mention that I snow blow my driveway and my neighbors every winter with that very same tractor.

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You better believe it, my tractor was $2,395 and the deck was $400.  that was a lot of money for a 12 horsepower tractor in 1988.  Funny thing is, when I got divorced, all I wanted was my Wheel Horse.  I may have another wife now, but I still have my tractor!  Oh did I mention that I snow blow my driveway and my neighbors every winter with that very same tractor.

 

Heh Heh Heh, easier to replace a wife than a good Wheel Horse....

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