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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bought a Cub Cadet (XT1 Enduro Series LT 42 in. 18 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Gas Front-Engine Riding Mower) in 2017. Kept up with maintenance of the tractor and never had an issue. A few weeks ago, engine raging when mowing and started to shake. Shut it off called Cub Cadet, told me to bring it to repair guy licensed with Cub Cadet. Four weeks later I hear from the repair guy that the engine seized with no explanation besides an "oil issue".

I don't get it. I changed the oil BEYOND what the manual recommends...and the engine had just hit 50 hours!?! The repair guy says it's beyond the warranty.

ANY HELP!?!?!
Thank you.
 

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I think you are screwed but I'm sure Bob will come along and comment. I had that happen with a Honda, tossed a rod with 10 hours on it and the Honda shop told me it was a lubrication issue as well and they (Honda would not warranty it) so I removed the engine, tossed it in the trash and put a $99 buck Harbor Freight Predator on the unit and all was good. Been 7 trouble free years now. I'll never buy anything with a Honda motor on it again.

When you say 'engine raging', I hope you don't mean flat out wide open over the governor because if that was the case, not surprised it came apart.
 

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Hello tractorguy, welcome to the forum.

Did you get an explanation from the repair guy of what the "oil issue" was? Normally, a seized piston indicates a lack of lubrication / oil.
 

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All motors, any size (we used to drag race) run their best 10 seconds before they seize!
No exception.
I check the oil level before use every time.
They'll probably get out of the warranty because it's been four years, not the hours.

Sent from my SM-S205DL using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think you are screwed but I'm sure Bob will come along and comment. I had that happen with a Honda, tossed a rod with 10 hours on it and the Honda shop told me it was a lubrication issue as well and they (Honda would not warranty it) so I removed the engine, tossed it in the trash and put a $99 buck Harbor Freight Predator on the unit and all was good. Been 7 trouble free years now. I'll never buy anything with a Honda motor on it again.

When you say 'engine raging', I hope you don't mean flat out wide open over the governor because if that was the case, not surprised it came apart.
By "raging" I mean the loudest I have ever heard it, disturbingly loud (both idling and riding). Vibrating/shaking came after that. I thought of contacting Depot (where I bought it) to see if they would help. Your issue seems worse! Glad you were able to fix it!
Obviously you know, but it was a really expensive investment that I thought I'd have for a couple thousand miles!! Ugg
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hello tractorguy, welcome to the forum.

Did you get an explanation from the repair guy of what the "oil issue" was? Normally, a seized piston indicates a lack of lubrication / oil.
Thank you for the welcome!
I am hoping to get more in writing when they send it back to me tomorrow, but he just said it seized and asked if I had ever changed the oil. When I told him that I had been changing it, he just said it was shot and that I'd have to get a new engine ($1,200.00 estimate to replace). Then followed with, 'if it were me, it wouldn't be worth it. I can sell you a.....".
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
All motors, any size (we used to drag race) run their best 10 seconds before they seize!
No exception.
I check the oil level before use every time.
They'll probably get out of the warranty because it's been four years, not the hours.

Sent from my SM-S205DL using Tapatalk
Thank you. That's what I'm afraid of. I would like to think that either Cub Cadet or Home Depot would stand by their product. Maybe that's too much to ask these days....
 

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I suspect it has no warranty. Far as a replacement engine, 1200 bucks is way too much. The mounting bolt pattern is pretty universal all you7 have to do really is match the shaft diameter for the drive pulley / mag clutch.
I'd have for a couple thousand miles!! Ugg
You mean hours and those engines only typically las a couple thousand hours anyway, even with the best of care.
 

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All motors, any size (we used to drag race) run their best 10 seconds before they seize!
No exception.
I check the oil level before use every time.
They'll probably get out of the warranty because it's been four years, not the hours.

Sent from my SM-S205DL using Tapatalk
10 seconds is slow. Have a buddy who runs 6's and it stays together just fine,
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I suspect it has no warranty. Far as a replacement engine, 1200 bucks is way too much. The mounting bolt pattern is pretty universal all you7 have to do really is match the shaft diameter for the drive pulley / mag clutch.

You mean hours and those engines only typically las a couple thousand hours anyway, even with the best of care.
Yes, I meant "hours". I thought it would certainly last more than 50! I may not know a lot about engine repair, but I do keep up with all that I own.
I thought $1,200 was high. This guy was a "certified cub cadet repair guy" and didn't really have any explanation besides asking if I changed the oil.
 

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Certified by who? Probably a lawnmower shop jockey. Not much complex about small engines anyway. At the least, I'd want a detailed explanation of what exactly failed or the engine to come back apart. A number of replacement engine retailers around like Jacks Small Engines for instance and a new replacement engine will be 100% bolt up so long as it's the same engine. Not rocket science really.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Certified by who? Probably a lawnmower shop jockey. Not much complex about small engines anyway. At the least, I'd want a detailed explanation of what exactly failed or the engine to come back apart. A number of replacement engine retailers around like Jacks Small Engines for instance and a new replacement engine will be 100% bolt up so long as it's the same engine. Not rocket science really.
Thank you for your help.
 

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Curious to find out the final word on the engine. if you would post some pictures I at least would be appreciative, curious to see the damage.
 

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Unfortunately, that engine is going to be out of warranty BY AGE, not hours. That SV series (Courage) was not Kohler's proudest engineering moment. Interesting they are telling you it's an "Oil Issue".... They had some really serious problems with governor gear failures on the SV engines a few years ago(2017 for instance). Heat from the oil would bake a bad run of plastic governor gears, it would get hard and develop stress cracks. The governor gear would shatter and then the engine would run away, and throw a rod ("raging engine"?). This usually happened about 125 hours. Tell them you want to see the governor gear and watch the look on their face for signs of an "Oh Crap" moment, because if they are a certified Kohler shop, they should be well aware of the issue......

$1,200 for a replacement engine is BS also..... Here's the best deal I know of right now on a 18HP Kohler single-cylinder that would be a direct drop-in replacement on your XT1(See "Fits these models" at the bottom of the listing). Comes with a 2-year warranty from Kohler. It wouldn't suprise me if this is where your "Dealer" was planning on getting your replacement and slamming you with the huge mark-up. You'll need your old muffler/exhaust gaskets....

KS540-3012 $469 + $61 shipping = $530. I've bought a couple of dozen replacement engines off these guys, in fact I have a Dealer Account with them, and they are a legit deal. Engine will ship out of Muncie, IN and FedEx will drop it on your doorstep in 3-days.

Hope this eases the pain a little......

Kohler KS540-3012
 

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Should be basically 'plug and play' as well. Ordinary hand tools and a bit of time and back in business. On a side note, my wife has the Kohler 'Courage' on her zero turn and I'm not impressed either. The Kawasaki on my zero turn has been flawless with routine service and valve adjustments.

Bob, I do have a question about the Honda GC engine I blew up (rod through the casting at 5 hours a few years ago). Was there an issue with them? Honda would not warranty it so I reman'd it with a HF Predator. 99 bucks. Been good for a few years now.
 

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Should be basically 'plug and play' as well. Ordinary hand tools and a bit of time and back in business. On a side note, my wife has the Kohler 'Courage' on her zero turn and I'm not impressed either. The Kawasaki on my zero turn has been flawless with routine service and valve adjustments.

Bob, I do have a question about the Honda GC engine I blew up (rod through the casting at 5 hours a few years ago). Was there an issue with them? Honda would not warranty it so I reman'd it with a HF Predator. 99 bucks. Been good for a few years now.
I haven't seen, or heard of, many catastrophic failures with the Honda GC series engines. I gave up on working on anything with a pull rope years ago. Honda has been out of the "riding lawnmower" business for a while. The biggest Vertical V-twin they make is the GVX670 (24hp) and I've only seen one of those come through my shop. It was on an older Swisher 60" zero turn. Honda makes it tough for guys like me to be authorized to do their warranty work.

"Certified by who? Probably a lawnmower shop jockey"


He's probably talking about a Kohler Authorized Service Center. It's not all that easy to get and is kind of a PITA with their paperwork and inspections to maintain. In order to get "authorization" to do Kohler warranty work and actually get paid, the warranty claim has to be signed off by a "Certified Kohler Technician". To get/maintain a Kohler Technician Certification, you have to have 2 years experience actually working in a small engine shop, attend the week long Certification Service School ($450 + travel expenses), pass a two hour test with a 70%, attend the Service Update School every year ($250 + travel expenses), and pass the Update School test every year also.

Both the Certification and Update School tests are no joke. Even though guys think they know Kohler engines forward and backwards, they are designed so you have to attend the week long service schools to pass (Update School is 40 hours of going over Service Bulletins, failure analysis photos, and trouble-shooting trees). You best be paying attention while you're in those schools, both test have about a 30% failure rate, and that's from guys who's careers are on the line with the shop that sent them. Boss spends $1,200 to send you to certification school, you flunk and come back with the "Stamp of Stupid" instead.... Boss spends $1,000 to send you to recertification school and you flunk, you're worthless to him for warranty work..... CEM (Career Ending Move).

Most big-time Kohler Service Centers, in bigger cities, are at least $90 an hour service rate now days. A good Certified Tech can get 40% flat rate on the billable hours he produces. If you're fast/good and produce $1,200 in service tickets in an 8 hour day(possible during the "Season" March-October) ...... $480 day / 8 hours = $60 an hour. Most of the work, at that level in the shop food chain, is bench/air lift work in the AC/heat. Really good Certified Techs often get a guaranteed $30 x 40 hour "off season" rate, because the Owner/Boss doesn't want to lose them to the competition, or have them go out on their own.

An experienced Certified Kohler Tech can be a $75K + job and most of the work is done on either a bench or air lift, in a climate controlled shop, with a 3/8" butterfly/palm gun, or 18V electric ratchet.

"lawnmower shop jockey":cool:
 

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10 seconds is slow. Have a buddy who runs 6's and it stays together just fine,
You misunderstood. I didn't mean we ran 10s...I said "run their best 10 seconds before they seize" which I'm making a joke.
If the OP changed oil and it was the correct oil for engine at proper level it should not have seized. We all know that.
If oil level was fine, sounds like the repair shop is not on the level and trying to sell him another mower.
I've had best luck talking respectfully with store manager (Home Depot), I'd call Cub & Kohler higher-up if no resolution.
Only two motors I've ever had seize was a 13.5hp Briggs on a small Sears mower replaced under warranty and a 70s Yamaha 400 2 stroke Enduro trail bike I revved to the moon after porting, expansion chamber, etc. which didn't seize it grenaded .

Sent from my SM-S205DL using Tapatalk
 

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"lawnmower shop jockey":cool:
Tongue in cheek' reply Bob....

Kind of like my Kubota dealer and ongoing 'education'. I know Dennis spends a lot of time in Grove City, Ohio at 'school', keeping up on the latest and greatest improvements (mostly emissions related) and I specifically don't want anyone but him working on my Kubota's and the owner always grants my wishes. Dennis has been a personal friend outside the dealership for many years and I trust him 110%.

Having said that, for general disassembly, they usually have someone else in the shop do the 'grunt' work', which is usually a dirty deal because most owners don't maintain their tractors like I do. I don't want or need Dennis (or anyone else in the shop), getting dirty / greasy from my equipment and candidly, I don't want to either.

Bought both my Cub Cadet zero turns there and my CC reverse tine tiller (the one I popped the engine on that American Honda would not replace). Never been a fan of electric start small engines, modern solid state ignitions always fire hot so a quick pull is usually all that is needed anyway.

Interestingly, my Kubota dealer has 2 shop rates, one for preferred customers (like me) and another for walk in or tow ins or bought somewhere else but wants it repaired at my dealer. and his preferred customer rate is very, very reasonable.
 

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A lot of really good small engine mechanics are like your guy.... They have "followings" like hairdressers. Women don't want their hair done but by certain people and guys don't want their equipment worked on but by certain people. I was fortunate when I moved here in that several of the big shops had developed an attitude of "I'll fix it when I want, the way I want, and charge you whatever I want" because there wasn't any real competition. Left the door wide open for a guy like me. I started out with CL and Facebook ads and would take anything that came up the driveway. As my reputation grew, I started picking and choosing the customers/jobs I wanted. I've stolen about 30-40 of their better former customers that have the higher ends zero-turns out of warranty, and those guys are more than willing to pay me rather than go back to those arrogant bigger shops. Neighbor works at the Toyota plant and he sends me guys with good jobs and the newer ATV's. It's all the work I want, or need.

Don't need to work on a 25 year old Murray, or Craftsman that's worth $300 and needs $400 in repairs any more. That kind of customer usually wants it fixed cheap and with a lifetime bumper-to-bumper warranty, even if I just did an oil change, or put a tube in a dry rotted tire. The only time I work on old junk is when it's a senior, or the single women the church sends me. I come across decent old mowers all the time. I'll grab them up for $100 and go through them. When one of the seniors or single-moms have a mower that finally gives out, I'll sell one to them for $300. I usually give a $50 down - $10 a month payment plan to those people. People on $800 a month SS, or that have 3 kids to feed and a husband in jail, still has grass to mow.
 
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