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Just thought I’d throw together some pictures and clips I took while we rebuilt (and re-installed) the Kohler Command 22 HP engine out of my grandfather’s Cub Cadet GT2550 tractor. With only 600 original hours, the valve seals went bad on the right-hand cylinder, causing it to burn a lot of oil, constantly foul the spark plugs, and run quite poorly. Since we bought it in 2008, my grandfather has used it to mow his lawn weekly, mow his vacant property once or twice a month, mow my lawn one whole season while my Deere LA150 was down, and I’ve used it one or two seasons to mow and fertilize all my customer’s lawns around the neighborhood. Occasionally, we have also used it around town to mow large properties for a couple people. It’s been a pretty hard worker but my grandfather does tend to work it like a farm tractor and so it’s always lugging and doing heavy work. My uncle offered to rebuild the engine for him over the winter, since it would be a fairly simple project, although the opposite actually occurred.
We steam-cleaned the whole tractor, tore everything down, and were surprised to find a minimal amount of carbon build-up on the cylinder heads, pistons, and valves. And the piston rings were not broken, which is what we were expecting to find. Also, we found out they don’t use any bearings between the connecting rods and the crankshaft, which makes you wonder how these things even hold up in the first place… but we ordered two cylinder head kits with gaskets and valve seals, as well as a set of piston rings, and then sent the block to a local machine shop to have the cylinders honed, new piston rings installed, and have the pistons and connecting rods put back in the block. My uncle spent a day putting the timing cover, heads, carb, intake, and muffler all back together. Then I came along and installed the rest of the shrouding/tins, throttle and choke linkage, some electrical parts, and put two new spark plugs in.
We dropped the engine in the frame, and after pondering and screwing around with the poorly-engineered mount and driveshaft coupler setup, we got the driveshaft hooked up and managed to get the block bolted down to the frame. Hooked up all the electrical and linkages, except for the choke cable which apparently broke into pieces. Put fresh gas in the tank, filled with two quarts of Pennzoil 10w-30, and she fired right up and ran really good!
There were a lot of questionable engineering flaws on this machine which I kind of expected considering it’s built by MTD. I certainly would not buy one of these but technically it’s not my tractor…so I didn’t have a choice when buying it. My grandfather was skeptical of buying a used tractor, and he wanted a machine with Kohler power and a shaft-driven transmission. This was reasonably priced too, but still doesn’t hold a candle to John Deere’s high-end garden tractors. This was a great learning experience for sure. Now I know why I want to become an engineer – so I can improve the many dumb design flaws we faced when trying to mount this engine up and get it ready to go! More trouble than it was worth….I guess most equipment these days is just designed to be thrown away, especially an MTD-quality machine like this. We all agree these are nothing like the IH Cub Cadets. Let’s see how this rebuilt Kohler runs, given the quality of the parts it was built with, and the quality of the machine it was installed in.
My grandfather’s MTD Cub Cadet from 2008 has been a hard worker the past few years. It currently has 600 hours, which is a lot of hours for any modern aluminum block engine, in this case a 22 HP Kohler Command v-twin. Today I drove it up to the shop where we will begin to tear it apart and rebuild the Kohler because it started using a LOT of oil this season. It would smoke when throttled up, down, or when a load was put on it – primarily mowing. We believe it either has bad piston rings or the hydraulic lifters have sucked in oil and somehow seized up (no valves/rockers on the Command motors). After a half hour of mowing, it will use a decent amount of oil and foul up the spark plug, then run on one cylinder. So we will likely hone the cylinders and replace the piston rings, lifters, and anything else that may have been worn out prematurely due to using too much oil. We figured we’d take care of it now while it’s winter season and raining outside.
This tractor has done a LOT of mowing in it’s life, including both our lawns and several lawns around the neighborhood, as well as a few rough vacant lots where it was used as a bush-hog and really worked hard. So it’s had some good use in it’s 7-year life span. My grandfather bought it with plans of really putting it to work.
Unfortunately this was one of Cub Cadet’s top-of-the-line garden tractors when it was new in 2008 and despite being Kohler Command-powered with a heavy duty shaft-driven transmission, it just doesn’t have the same quality and reliability as the IH Cub Cadets did (REAL Cub Cadets). Completely different animal when it comes to quality, and unfortunately that’s because MTD builds a cheap economy product using the Cub Cadet branding that everyone knows has been around for a long time. This is what you get from a new MTD “quality” machine after just a few short years of use. They don’t make them like they used to.
Briggs and Stratton engine strip down and rebuild time lapse. This is the narrated version of how to rebuild a mower engine. This lawnmower engine rebuild is a 4 horsepower Briggs and Stratton built on the 2nd February 2001 Engine Code: 010202 This is part one of an engine rebuild short series. In this lawnmower engine rebuild video we are tearing down the mower, inspecting and checking for any damage and then I will rebuild it again in the next part of this engine rebuild short series.