More good and bad news

Well, got back out to the garage tonight after the kidlet was tucked in and I had all the laundry put away, with the intention of getting started tearing open the 8 horse Kohler outta Wally… I figured, I could at LEAST put in some effort, but based on how long it took me to get the flywheel and pulley off Bror, I wasn’t holding my breath that I’d actually accomplish much… So, THAT’S the good news… Either I’ve gotten REALLY good at this small engine stuff, or Bror was just SUCH A NASTY that everything else after him has been easy… (I’m betting it was the second one…).

So, figured I’d start with the flywheel… Big 15/16″ wrench and the persuading mallet popped the flywheel nut off in no time, so out came the puller. I was kinda dreading this one, because Bror’s flywheel took me 3 days… Strapped on the puller, and after one false start where I didn’t have the 3/8″ bolts in tight enough, heaved on the puller with the 3/4″ socket and….

Cool! It still made an almighty bang when it came free, but it sure didn’t take as much cursing! So, fine, but if I REALLy wanted into this engine I had to get the pulley off, right? Well, since I’m not too emotionally invested in this engine I figured what the heck, pull the set screw then go to with the persuading mallet again… ten minutes of solid beating with the mallet and…

NOW we’re cooking! Okay, so if this Kohler is like the Tec, I pull off the panel behind the flywheel, then open the side of the crankcase… I can do THIS!

Well, what the heck! Pull off the panel, and danged if there isn’t a bearing assembly there and a big hole through which I can see the crankshaft and… uh oh…

But how the heck do I get INTO this to actually see what’s going on? Oh I remember! You Kohler-type guys talk about the oil pan! I gotta take off the BOTTOM of the engine, not the side! So I flip the engine onto its side, which is when I hear the “clanky-clank” of loose bits… Pop off the bolts holding the oil pan on and…

Pull the crankshaft out through its funky access hole so I can inspect the crank race, and…

I dunno folks, looks like I’m in the market for a new connecting rod AND a new crankshaft. Pulled the piston itself, and IT looks beautiful. Rings are good, wrist pin looks like new, cylinder walls are pretty pristine… So I’m GUESSING based on what I’ve learned over the past couple years reading on here, that the oil gallery on the connecting rod wasn’t, well, oiling, and things went dry, then very hot, then the connecting rod slagged onto the bearing race. Is this a common thing for the K181? Is that what I’ll find if I ever get time to rip into Cranky?

So, on the upside, its been a LOT less work that I thought it would be to get to this stage. On the downside, this engine is toast, I figure… So, question time:

– What do you guys think? New crankshaft? Or can the race be cleaned up and refaced? DEFINITELY need a new connecting rod… What would parts run for this guy?
– Or should I just swap all the hydraulic bits over to Ernie and make Wally a donor? Alternatively, I suppose I could swap Ernie’s engine over to Wally… THAT might be less work, except that I dunno if Wally’s drive train is good… I know Ernie’s leaks…

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