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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

Does anyone have any strong opinions on the quality of Kawasaki engines vs. Kohler engines?

Specifically in the 18 - 22 hp range, on a riding lawnmower.


Thanks in advance!
 

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Hey, Jimmy

How about unsubstantiated rumors :D?

Kawasaki, like all Japanese engines are notorious builders of strong, reliable and dependable equipment. They did have some models, equipped with phenolic cam gears that wore out prematurely...but, I think they have since rid themselves of that problem.

Kohler, also a fine engine builder, have had their problems with a relatively newer engine model, the "Courage" line. Often said "It takes Courage to buy one". They seem inherently weak and reported to break rods and/or governors long before their warranty ends. The company does stand behind their warranty and, I understand, have replaced hundreds without question. The problem remains...what do you have once the same engine is under your hood??

A few years ago, I purchase a Husqvarna with a great hydro transmission. The rider, in excellent condition, was bought AS IS because it had a Kohler Courage engine that let go at 31 hours. After reading up on forums like this one, I took the risk and bought it anyway....plus, I had a spare single cylinder, 13 HP Kohler waiting in the winds. The machine has performed flawlessly since the transplant. My wife uses it to mow 3 acres about every ten days and it still has the original blades, belts etc...here is a link to the engine swap and blown Courage: http://www.mylawnmowerforum.com/for...forum/679-first-time-buyer-buying-used-2.html

You may want to take this with a grain of salt because everything I've written is only what I've heard :).

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That was good feedback - Because the Kohler I've been looking at is a "Courage". There is a really big price difference - so I was a little suspicious.

I do NOT want to waste money just because of a name, but I also don't want to work on this every week before I cut my grass, or have to replace this in 3 years.
 

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Both are nice. Other than the Courage, I don't think you could go wrong with either.

I have always found the Kawi's to run a little on the smoother side than anything else, not too mention quiter. Climb aboard a machine with a liquid cooled Kawi, be that a rider or a zero-turn for example, fire it up and and you hardly feel any vibrations comming from the engine at all, they are just super super smooth running engines like Hondas. They used to always be my favorite small gas engine other than Honda in the machines when I worked at a John Deere dealer.
 

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On the other hand, I have always considered Kohler engines to be pretty bullet proof and an engine that you can depend on.
 

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Personally I think the two engines you are comparing are both good, solid engines. The only experiance I have with these engines is with my tractor which has a Kohler engine and my rototiller which has a Kawisaki engine. Judging between the two I would definately put the Kawisaki a notch above the Kohler in smoothness and reliability.

However, the reliability of all engines is somewhat dependant on how well they were maintained.

I hope we are not getting you confused; like I mentioned earlier, both the Kohler and Kawisaki engines are top-quality. You mentioned not wanting to waste money on the brand name which is understandable. However, in the comparison between these engines I would be inclined to get a good one...you'll never regret it!

Hope this helps!
 

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I too have heard bad things about the courage model - a buddy of mine got one that was a mess right from the factory - burned oil by the gallon right from day one. Their command line seems a bit better, but there are certain of those that evidently have issues with the head bolts coming loose.

Generally, I think people really like the Kawasaki's - i've had a few of them but have not faired as well as i'd like, They seem to burn through rings/valves faster than kohlers of the same age - but then I buy 20 year old machines so what can one expect?

So far, my "part-for-part" repair costs have been about the same for either line - kawi's may be a bit more.

One thing to look out for, (IMO) if you ever buy used, kawasaki tends to discontinue models more frequently than kohler or briggs in recent years. I have 4 of the Kawi FC and FV models - between 10 and 25 years old - all strong engines - all discontinued.

Now - if you want to go back to a 1972 Kohler K321 or K341 - well NOW you're talkin' engine!! :)
 

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I did some additional research and found that the Kohler Courage series engines are a knockoff from the rest of the Kohler engines. For the most part, the rest of Kohlers' engines are good solid engines, but the Courage was added to the line as a cheaper alternative. I found numerous complaints about the reliability problems with the Courage engines. Not saying that it is what we call junk, but when comparing to Kawisaki it is by far the bottom choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the good advice from all.

I believe I'm going to go with the John Deere. I'd rather err on the side of too much quality.


I can't talk the local guy down one red cent though. :(

What has your guys' experience been with negotiating for new lawn mowers. Is it common for them to not move off of their price at all?

Is there any other place to get a new X model John Deere aside from a John Deere dealer?

Thanks again!
 

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Thanks for the good advice from all.

I believe I'm going to go with the John Deere. I'd rather err on the side of too much quality.

I can't talk the local guy down one red cent though. :(

What has your guys' experience been with negotiating for new lawn mowers. Is it common for them to not move off of their price at all?

Is there any other place to get a new X model John Deere aside from a John Deere dealer?

Thanks again!
The X series line up you are only going to find at an authorized 'Deere dealer.

Typically our dealer would negotiate one of two things into the asking price of the machine and they were; A free first service at X number of hours by said date and or free home delivery of the machine.
 

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I did some additional research and found that the Kohler Courage series engines are a knockoff from the rest of the Kohler engines. For the most part, the rest of Kohlers' engines are good solid engines, but the Courage was added to the line as a cheaper alternative. I found numerous complaints about the reliability problems with the Courage engines. Not saying that it is what we call junk, but when comparing to Kawisaki it is by far the bottom choice.
Speaking of "knock offs", I've noticed the Kohler name appearing on walk-behind mowers and pressure washers. Some have a sticker that says "crafted in China".
The 2-stage air filter(paper with a foam pre-filter) from my 15 year old Honda fits it, as does the spark plug and muffler.
Is Kohler asking for a black eye?!
I guess, if you're going to copy someone, copy the best!

LawnRanger
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ended up getting a John Deere X300 with a Kawasaki engine.

This is a great machine! Lot's more horse power and torque than I'm used to. After one cut, it's obvious that it's going to make the job go a lot faster, and keep the yard looking good.

Thanks for the thoughts and advice from all on this forum.
 

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Ended up getting a John Deere X300 with a Kawasaki engine.

This is a great machine! Lot's more horse power and torque than I'm used to. After one cut, it's obvious that it's going to make the job go a lot faster, and keep the yard looking good.

Thanks for the thoughts and advice from all on this forum.
Congrats on the new machine, you're going to enjoy it!:)
 

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I have equipment that has both. My Craftsman garden tractor has the Kohler Pro line of engine. It is about 6 years old now and I have never had a problem with it. My Exmark has the Kawasaki engine in it.

In my opinion they are both good engines, but the Kawasaki is better. My last Exmark had a Kawasaki engine that had almost 2,400 hours on it when I traded the unit in. The Kawasaki engine runs smoother, is built stronger, and designed for commercial use. But then so are the Kohler commercial engines.

I would suspect that Kohler would last as long as the Kawasaki, but I do not have any equipment that I put the same amount of hours on to compare. Exmark does include Kohler engines on their machines too.

I imagine you can find a cheap line of both engines as well as a commercial line. Maybe the question should be which line/model of a Kohler or Kawasaki engine that has more relevance than which brand? Just thinking out loud here.
 

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Kawaski vs.Kohler Courage Engine

I have just purchased a Cub Cadet with the 21 hp Kawasaki Engine. Will let you know how it cuts, etc. when I have some experience with it. During my research I spoke to a number of small engine repair technicians. They said to stay away from recent Kohler Courage engines as Kohler has begun using plastic parts within the engine to save money. They also said the Kohler Command engine has been and still is a great engine. They all said the kawasaki engine was a quieter engine and a smooth running engine. I will shortly see. One reason I chose Cub Cadet was due to the 3 year warranty vs the 2 year on most other manufacturers. Feel there was a reason why they have a 3 year one. Good luck to all.
 

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Ended up getting a John Deere X300 with a Kawasaki engine.

This is a great machine! Lot's more horse power and torque than I'm used to. After one cut, it's obvious that it's going to make the job go a lot faster, and keep the yard looking good.

Thanks for the thoughts and advice from all on this forum.
I run a motor like this kawaski with three pass"s on a 100' long yard before she gave in and burned up Dumb me forgot to put the new oil back in at the same time of the draining old oil.:soap: I replaced it with a bolt in 14 kaw from "small engines" inc in indiana, You just can't beat these engines USA made or not koehler isn't the same company . all though i have 77 cast iron 14 hp. and it runs like it was new.The kaw will do the same i believe . That was a $900 .00 mistake 8 years ago,
 
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