The old Kohler is getting tired and in need of an overhaul. Wondering about the quality of after market Stens engine internals, con rod, piston, and rings, camshaft. Any suggestions here? Would it be better to stay with oem Kohler parts?
I've used STENS parts on rebuilds before. I used a conn rod and rings in a K181 years ago that runs great. The shop that honed the bore and ground the valves said I should replace the exh valve and that was an OEM Kohler part along with all the seals and gaskets.
When I rebuilt a K241 3 years ago, Kohler parts were so expensive I used Stens piston, rings, exh valve, gaskets and seals. Only Kohler parts were the new conn rod and head gasket.
Both engines started right up, have always ran well, pulled good, broke in quickly, and burn no oil.
What I've typically done is buy a kit from Jim's, then round out the rebuild with Kohler parts. I feel better with a Kohler governor gear and connecting rod for sure. I've done this for a 10, 12, and 14 hp Kohler.
Harold, I've used the Stens rod, piston, rings, and gaskets in a few K series singles. Each piston and rod measured right in line with Kohler book specs. To me the quality is there. I've never had new Kohler parts at the same time to make direct comparisons, but the std. Stens rod was better finished with less casting parting line flash than the used Kohler part. I like to smooth off the flash and sharp corners on any of them.
Gaskets, seals, and valves were fine too.
In the past, Stens didn't have -0.010 rods or governor gears and other gov. parts available so have had to go OEM with some parts. Don't know if they have them yet.
It would be nice if someone rebuilt two original, identical engines, used for identical work, one with the OEM and one with Stens parts. We might not be around long enough to find out the results though. :-(
At about 550/600 hrs these engines are in bad shape. That is from a full-out like new rebuild. With excellent care of constant oil changes...fresh plugs/points and air filters/valve adjustments etc.etc.etc.. That is seven years time for me at the home front with two acres of lawn.
At that time frame the rod is knocking and the valves are shot.
Stens now has ten and twenty undersized rods. I just took apart another K Kohler for a full-out rebuild. The cyl bore is well worn out. It has good power, but burns oil. Smokes. Knocks. It has had it. I could use it like some do and push the hours up on it. No problem but it is dying.
The 500-600 hour life expectancy may be about right on a K161/181 Kohler. They have to run flat out for most any bit of work they do. The first two garden tractors Dad had both had K161's in them. Three years use mowing two large farm yards and they needed a rebuild.
A K241 or 301 would have lasted 10+ years if not longer because they would only use roughly half their potential HP.
It's really too bad Kohler has jacked up repair parts cost so high. Parts prices have gone up over five times the pace of inflation. Two years ago a +.010" K241 piston, rings, & wrist pin was $200. It's now $250.
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