I've got a Simplicity Sunstar with a Kohler 20HP that has logged over
a 1000 hours. Needed electronic ignition module a while back and
output clutches needed adjusting then. Starts and runs just fine. We
also use a couple of 13 HP riders on ditches, B & S powered, hundreds
of hours on each. Work fine. Never did go along with all the moan and
groan over Briggs. IMO, the complaints are due to self generated owner
neglect and incompetence.
I have had good results with the much defamed Tecumseh engines. My 35 year
old roto-tiller has a cast iron Tecumseh engine on it. Repairs easily, and
parts are still available despite it not being manufactured for many years
and the company out of business.
Kohler engines are *very* good and durable and the company really stands
behind their product. I have an old Deere riding mower with a Kohler
engine, and had trouble with it once (turned out to be some crud in a
fuel line easily fixed).
I looked on the Kohler site and found manuals for their newer engines,
but none for the model I had. I didn't expect much, but I entered the
model and serial info in their email page and sent it off about 3pm. The
next morning at 9:18am I got an email back from them with links to PDFs
of the full owner's, service and parts manuals for the 32 year old
engine, along with a note to watch out for part numbers that may have
been superseded more than once.
Clearly when this engine was built the manuals were not in PDF form nor
had PDFs been invented. Kohler cared enough about supporting their
products to take the time and effort to scan and archive all the old
manuals to support their customers. I'd certainly pick a Kohler engine
any opportunity I got. This is also the same Kohler with generators,
bathroom fixtures and faucets, and apparently a couple golf resorts.
Ditto. I have always had good luck with Briggs. Just bought a B&S
generator that got great reviews. As they age, filters, parts, etc
are affordable. On the other hand, Honda will break you when you
start buying parts.
I have never seen a bad motor. Briggs is good, Kohler is a good brand.
I've had many different makes, all were good. Toro, Power Product,
Honda, Briggs, Kohler, Tecumseh, Homelite, Jonesred, and a few more.
Maintenance is what makes them last. Don't change the oil, air filter,
spark plug, clean the water and crap out of the gas tank (i'm careful
not to spill crap in the tank from the gas can) oil the wheels and pivot
points, grease the wheel bearings, sharpen the blades, clean the dried
grass, dirt or crap off the implements tigten lose bolts, replace
missing ones; don't do any of that and it will be broken in short time.
You don't have to be stupid to know stupid when you see it.
Most folks don't know to adjust the valve clearance to keep small
engines running. I used to service a lot of Generac 8kw hard wired
home backup systems with the B&S Vanguard engine and after a few years
or a few extended run times due to power outages, the valves needed
adjusting which was easy on the overhead valve Vanguard engines. The
smaller valve in block or L head engines are more difficult to service
but it can be done. Of course I like the overhead valve engines better. :-)
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