Have a 3 year old Craftsman 25hp Kohler engine riding mower. My dad
ran it dry on oil - didn't notice that the oil filter came loose
and ran it without oil till it died (unfortunately he has vision
problems and was unable to notice this)
Anyways- Sears has diagnosed that the engine seized and wants $2200
to fix - for $100 more I can get a brand new mower.
Has anyone run into this or have thoughts as to if this could be done
more reasonably by a small engine repair guy? Or do I bite the bullet
and buy new?
Jeez, you can get the old Chevy rebuilt for that. Talk to small engine
places out in the country that need business. Or, look into buying a
"short block" (no carb, starter, ...) and put that in yourself. It's
I agree. A short block or complete new engine is the answer. $2200
is outrageous. One reason I dont do business with Sears.
If you are handy, you could possibly rebuild the engine yourself and
for little money. Small engines are not that hard to work on. But it
depends on the damage done.
Just for grins, pull off the engine head and look at the cylinder
wall. Likely, the rings wore a groove in the aluminum cylinder wall
and siezed on some of the aluminum. The aluminum ususally is the
first to go.
This is a true story. 20 years ago my dad drained the oil on the push
mower in fall. In spring he forgot to put oil in it and started
mowing the lawn. It siezed and he was pissed. I popped off the head
and found the piston rings wore a groove in the cylinder wall. It was
not worth spending the money for a new engine on a $100 push mower.
Dad was going to toss the mower in the trash, so I decided to tear it
apart and save the carb and other stuff. Just for the heck of it, I
took a hammer and block of wood and pounded on the piston after
putting oil on the piston top. Soon, the piston came loose and I
sanded off the high spots in the cylinder wall. The engine then
turned easily. I replaced the head, filled it with oil, and the
mower started right up. It burned lots of oil at first, but soon it
seemed like it "wore in" and while it always burned some oil, it was
not all that bad. Well, that was 20 years ago. I still have that
mower and still use it as a spare.
What most of the posters here are ignoring is that it is a Kohler.
Those have to be one of the most rebuild-able engines around. It should
have at least steel or iron cylinder liners. My bet is if he can get
some oil to it and knock it free, it will start and run. the rings will
never have the right temper again and as it gets older it may use a
little oil, but the immediate problem would be solved. even it it broke
a rod as one poster suggested, rings and rods wouldn't be prohibitively
expensive, less than $500 with the needed gaskets would be my guess.
I don't know how mechanically capable you are, but many times small
engines just don't have the power to really chew themselves up. It
isn't like a V-8 where you have seven others pounding on the stopped
one. I'd try; put thin oil in the crank case, atf would do, then fill
it with penetrating oil through the spark plug holes & let it sit for a
couple of days (leave the spark plugs out). Then try turning it back
and forth with a wrench a little at a time. If you begin to gain a
little, stay with it till you get full revolutions. Once it begins to
turn easier spin it with the starter till it turns easily by hand with
the plug still out, drain the crankcase change the filter and refill
with your regular oil, replace the spark plugs. If you are lucky it
should start and run now, if you are really lucky it won't knock or
dang.... sorry for you and your dad......
I had the dip stick pop out on two craftman mowers of mine...one a push
mower and the other my rider....didnt lose all the oil though but I
lost quite a bit in both......and neither were hurt by the
experience...... the push mower died because of just being old and
abused...10 or 11 years old.... of course my old monkey wards 3.5 hp
POS mower is abused on a weekly basic but is still kicking it after 25
years.....~:> rough yard...some places I have to jam the old monkey
wards under brush etc.... and lots of hilly uneven spaces...mower is on
a 30 degree incline sideways during most of its use...and I use it as
my trim mower....25 years....one of monkey wards bottom dollar
mowers....that says a lot. When that mower finally dies Im still gonna
keep it. 26 actually...bought it in 80 ..used it that summer.
getting all misty eyed...sorry.......~:>
I'd probably just get the new mower.....and I'd try to do a check on it
every so often for your dad so this doesnt occur again. Maybe you could
sell the old mower and possibly make at least a few bucks for some
I'd think a small engine repair shop _might_ do it for less, but will
Sears stand behind their work? I think you could probably by a
complete replacement engine for roughly $1500 and be a little ahead.
However, before I leapt into either of those scenarios, I would try
Eric's suggestion--I was going to suggest it would be worth seeing what
you could do to "unseize" it before investing a bunch as you're really
not going to be any worse off than you already are and if it doesn't
run or knocks badly or blows/burns a lot of oil you're not going to
want to spend the money on it anyway--a new one would be far better
investment. Don't know how good the mower itself is, I was never
particularly enamored of the Sears stuff I have seen, but by the time
they're putting in 25 hp engines, maybe they've built the platform up
to it. If so, and is only three years old, then the new engine if look
hard and find a decent deal might be worth it--sorta' gets to be a
judgement call on whether you'd like a whole new, shiny beastie or save
a few hundred bucks, maybe...
Anyway, bummer!!! :(
I have the same mower & engine and my filter came loose also. Luckily
I noticed it before any damage was done. Point being that Sears may
have a problem with that engine (or filters) and are not telling
anyone. You might push the issue with a letter to corporate
I also have a Sears 18hp mower whose engine is just about wore out. I
priced parts from a small engine shop for a rebuild and they ran
approximately $1500. Thats why I bought a new mower. A new 25hp
V-twin Kohler engine from Northern Tool & Equipment costs $1700 plus
shipping - cheaper than Sears but still not worth putting on a used
Point being a rebuild of the existing engine or a new engine just isn't
Sorry about that.
You already learned the lesson of never having Sears service anything.
I'd try a small engine guy. Some are really good at getting things going at
reasonable cost. We used to have a guy in town that did it as a sideline.
I think he just liked the challenge of making it run again as he worked so
If that does not work out , you may have some luck selling it for a few
bucks (yes, someone will be interested) and buy a new one.
You should be able to buy that engine for about $900 and bolt it on
yourself. Go here to find a dealer in your area.
http://kohlerengines.findlocation.com/search.aspx He'll need your spec #
serial# and any other numbers on that plate.
"mar10" < email@example.com> wrote in message
I had a similar problem. I found that...
1. Sears is ridiculously expensive
2. Kohler is ridiculously expensive
I wound up replacing the 18 HP Kohler with a 25 HP Tecumseh for less than
half the price of the Kohler. One source...
Try www.TulsaEngineWarehousecom They were very helpful with my shortblock
replacement and tolerated my non-professional questions. This link might be
your engine which is about $500 cheaper than Sears is quoting you.
I don't see your engine listed but a shortblock for the 23HP is about $750.
Give them a call. Also, call a shop to see wha they will charge you to dis
and re-assemble the engines. It could be that it's not worth it.
I don't know if all of the suppliers do this but they also have free
shipping on orders over $100.
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