**Always follow the instructions in your repair manual when doing repair or maintenance work on Outdoor Power Equipment. Manuals can be found at the manufacturers website.**
Most people check for proper engine spark by removing the spark plug, attaching the plug wire and grounding the plug to the engine while spinning the engine over and looking for a spark to jump across the spark plug gap. This method is not always reliable. The amount of voltage needed to jump the spark gap set at .030″ with the plug removed from the engine is about 2000 volts. The amount of voltage required to jump the same plug gap with the plug installed in the engine and operating under operating conditions is about 8000 volts, so it is possible to see a spark with the plug removed, but not have a spark with the plug installed.
A more reliable method is to remove the spark plug wire cap, and hold the spark plug wire approximately 3/16″ away from the spark plug and spin the engine over. A good ignition system will produce a orange/blue spark from the end of the spark plug wire to the spark plug. The problem with this method is it is easy to get shocked and hard to turn the engine over while trying to hold the end of the plug wire 3/16″ away from the plug. The benefit of this method is it is more reliable then the first method and doesn’t require purchasing any special tools.
Another method for checking the ignition for proper spark is to purchase the Briggs & Stratton Spark Tester, part #19368. This tool can be used to check for spark with the plug removed and using no hands, so the engine is easy to spin over and there is no risk of being shocked. The tool can also be used to view the spark while the engine is running. This is very valuable when trying to diagnose a rough running engine or a engine with intermittent problems.
Hey guys this is a video on how to rebuild a small engine clutch. There are different clutches then this but you can get the idea. We do not suggest taking a clutch just to do it. Only do it when you need to.
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.
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