Ariens GT17 garden tractor repower

Discussion in 'Chainsaws and Power Equipment' started by Horkn, Feb 13, 2019.

  1. Horkn

    Horkn

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    Well, the old Kohler kt17 engine on my ariens went South last summer while mowing.

    I'll have to check the hour meter to see how long it lasted. It was a series I. Then it was replaced under warranty in 84 with a new engine. It's been the same since then.

    I'm looking at Honda gx630, Kohler command pro, and Briggs and Stratton vanguard repower kits. The Japanese made Briggs ( daihatsu makes the vanguard) and the Honda are my top choices. Both have repower kits so that the process is simple to swap engines.

    I know there's repower kits, but man are they pricey. The Honda gx630 is nearly 2k.

    I live in Kohler country, it's possible that I could get the original engine running again. The engine cranks, just it won't run.

    I need to check it out to see what is really wrong. Maybe it just needs valves adjusted rebuilt, maybe it needs a coil?

    I hear that a Kohler magnum 18 will drop right in as that was really just a revised KT engine.

    I found this one. Will this bolt in? Magnum 18
    Kohler Command CH18 Engine 18HP T9 Shaft | eBay


    I think a key thing I need to find is a horizontal shaft. Most out there are vertical shafts.
    Screwloose I think you have knowledge on this topic of repowering garden tractors
     
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  2. Screwloose

    Screwloose

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    Yes, I've been in on a few repowers. First step in my opinion would be to diagnose the original engine. I believe the sentimental value the tractor has makes it important to fully investigate the possibility of saving the original. Once it's gone it's gone ya know. Any help I can give just ask.
     
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  3. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu

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    Yeah I'd at least make sure the old engine is actually junk before swapping...if it just needs a coil or something...kinda hard to justify a 2k swap for a $20 external part.
    I don't recall now, what did it do exactly when it quit?
     
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  4. Screwloose

    Screwloose

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    I'd start by pulling the plugs and check for spark first without the plugs, use a bolt or something. If you got a good blue spark then the coil is probably ok. Then a finger over the plug holes to see if there's any compression. They will run sometimes with a broken rod.
     
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  5. Horkn

    Horkn

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    Yes, I need to assess what's wrong with it. I recall it would smell gassy but not refire after it sputtered out. I changed the fuel filter out afterwards and that still didn't fix it, and that's when I smelled the gassy smell after cranking a while.
    I'd love to keep the kt17 in it. I have found gasket kits, with oversized pistons and rings or gasket kits with stock rings. I do hear that valve train parts are harder to come by though. Kohler has several plants around me, so there's parts around this area more so than most areas.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
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  6. Eric VW

    Eric VW Moderator

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    Gassy smell?
    Carburetor accelerator pump diaphragm tore up?

    Just spitballing.....
     
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  7. Horkn

    Horkn

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    I'll check that out, but it doesn't sound like a carb issue to me.
     
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  8. Eric VW

    Eric VW Moderator

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    That’s why I suggested the acc. diaphragm....
    :yes:
     
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  9. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu

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    Those didn't have an accelerator pump...the carb is pretty basic, jets only I do believe.
    Not sure when they switched over from brass to plastic floats, but a cracked brass float could sink and flood the engine out. Probably would see an external carb leak though...so likely not that.
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Eric VW

    Eric VW Moderator

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    Good to know, Brenndy... like I said above, “spitballing” cos I know as much about carbs as I do about tuning a chainsaw... :whistle:

    :yes:
     
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  11. Horkn

    Horkn

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    Yeah it's a simple carb, but due to it being on top of the block on the opposed twin engine, it's a pita to R&R.
     
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  12. Horkn

    Horkn

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  13. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu

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    Really? I have worked on a few of those type of engines (not that one though) and the carb was super easy to get to.
    As for the spark tester...get one with an adjustable gap...I like those a lot better than fixed gap or the ones that just flash...I have had that type give me a "good spark" flash but it didn't have enough spark to actually run. I usually just use a grounded spark plug to test though...
     
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  14. Horkn

    Horkn

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    I suppose it could be worse...

    Screenshot_2019-02-13-20-48-12~2.png
     
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  15. amateur cutter

    amateur cutter

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    Spark, fuel, & compression. Spark testers are very handy to have, a compression tester is cheap & useful as well. Post results & we can guide you easily enough. 100PSI minimum compression to run. 125 to 150 is pretty healthy yet.
     
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  16. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu

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    My money is on the coil...those old style coils love to drag up n puke on ya, just out of the blue.
    This engine is surely new enough to have electronic ignition, not points, right?
     
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  17. Screwloose

    Screwloose

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    Probably have a fuel pump to test also either a cam driven or a crankcase pressure diaphragm type. Both can smell gassy and both are known to take a pee in your crankcase.
     
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  18. Screwloose

    Screwloose

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    Didn't the Magnum mark the start of electronic ignition?
     
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  19. brenndatomu

    brenndatomu

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    I like it.
    Sounds about right...
     
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  20. Horkn

    Horkn

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    Points.... And the ones on it were problematic when I got this from my parents after it sat for 4 years. I'm starting with that after checking compression and spark. I'll just put new points and condenser in it.
     
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