Craftsman Lawn Tractor - Kohler vs. Briggs & Stratton

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  #1  
Old 03-22-06, 08:57 AM
mtg
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Craftsman Lawn Tractor - Kohler vs. Briggs & Stratton

We have approximately 0.75 acre of grass to mow and considering purchasing a Craftsman Yard Series (YS4500) Lawn Tractor. I am trying to decide between model #27618 and model #27664. They are almost identical with the exception of the engines. 27618 uses a Kohler Pro 20hp Courage engine while 27664 uses a Briggs and Stratton 20hp Intek Gold engine. Both are currently on sale for $1399.99. Is there much of a difference between Kohler and Briggs and Stratton? Which manufacturer has the better track record for durability and reliability? Which is a better engine?

Thanks.

Model 27618:

http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...00&tab=spe#tab

Model 27664:

http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...00&tab=spe#tab
 
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  #2  
Old 03-22-06, 12:01 PM
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My thoughts would be to go with the briggs, thats just my thought and opinion, I just beleive they are easier to work on, cheaper to fix, and last almost or just as long.
 
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Old 03-22-06, 10:11 PM
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This is sort of a Chevy -vs- Ford type question, as everyone has their favorites. In my opinion, after working on small engines for nearly 20 years, I would generally prefer a Kohler over a Briggs for longevity and reliability. This, however, is based on my experience with the older Kohler K series/magnums and commands. The courage engines haven't been out long enough for me to have formed an opinion. I will state that I personally am not too fond of the twin cylinder intek engines, but some people have gotten decent service from them. Given Kohlers consistent track record, I would choose the kohler if it were me buying the mower. This is not a knock on briggs though, as Briggs has also built excellent engines.
 
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Old 03-28-06, 10:16 AM
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I considering one of these tractors too. As far as the engine goes the Kohler has a displacement of 597 cc while the Briggs is 502cc, so more power on the Kohler engine (if you really need more power). I would think it would be easier to find parts and cheaper for the Briggs.

There are other differences between the models as follows:

Briggs:
4 gauge wheels
Standard Steering Wheel
Hour Meter
Automotive style sliding seat (slides on an incline)

Kohler:
2 Gauge Wheels
Deluxe Steering Wheel
Hour Meter (Not sure if this one has one or not, Internet says yes, Brochure says no)

Not sure if you knew these difference already.. Sure you did...

If you need the power go with the Kohler, if not then go with the briggs..
 
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Old 03-28-06, 08:15 PM
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I went to the local Sears tonight and it looks like reality differs from their internet and brochure data. The revised data is below........

There are other differences between the models (other than the engine) are as follows:

Briggs:
4 gauge wheels
Automotive style sliding seat (slides on an incline)

Kohler:
2 Gauge Wheels

They both have the hour meter and have identical steering wheels. The sliding type of seat is not really that different. The only big difference is the 4 vs 2 gauge wheels. I am sold on the Kohler. Good luck!
 

Last edited by ngs428; 03-29-06 at 05:37 AM.
  #6  
Old 03-29-06, 06:13 PM
mtg
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We also decided to go with the Kohler. It is being delivered on Friday.

We knew about the 2 vs. 4 gauge wheels. We are planning to buy a pair of wheels and put them on ourselves. Will wait until we have the tractor so we can be sure we order the right part number.
 
  #7  
Old 04-03-06, 08:31 PM
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I hope you have better luck than I did with my YS4500 with the Kohler engine. I had it delivered last Thursday. It is being picked up tomorrow for a blown engine. This happened with 1.2 hrs on the hour meter. I special ordered this model with the Kohler. I would be curious to find out why the engine blew up. Yes, the oil level is fine and I actually read the owner's manual before I fired it up. I bought another YS4500 , however, I opted for the 24hp B and S twin cylinder model. I'll keep you updated on the operation of this engine.
 
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Old 04-03-06, 10:49 PM
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Wow! Please post back when you hear what ruined the engine. I'd like to know. Surely this is just a fluke, maybe a defective part (air bubble in a casting or something)? I hope this isn't a sign of the quality of the new Kohler line.
 
  #9  
Old 04-04-06, 06:35 AM
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I'm sure this is just a fluke. However, having worked on engines for the last 25 years, I can tell you this is the first time I have checked oil and found it to have a "red" tint to it. I checked the oil level before I started it. It wastn't until the engine developed problems that I started looking for causes. I noticed the white rag I used to check the oil had red tinted stains on it from the oil. Engine preservative oil maybe? I don't know unless there was a set up error at the factory and the wrong fluid was put in.
 
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Old 04-04-06, 11:10 AM
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The oil probablly had a dye in it, kinda like the briggs high moly break in oil with its green dye I drained from mine. Mainly to check for leaks. That was probablly a fluke with the engine though, would be interesting to know exactly what happened as well.
 
  #11  
Old 04-05-06, 04:19 AM
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I believe I heard at a past Kohler Update Seminar that they use a red assembly oil at the factory.
 
  #12  
Old 04-05-06, 02:20 PM
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They delivered my new mower yesterday with the Briggs 24 hp twin. I checked the oil and it was definitely an amber color. I also went to Sears and checked a few Kohler engines they had on the floor and they also appeared to have regular oil in them (not red) so I'm not sure what the deal is.
 
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Old 07-24-06, 10:25 AM
mtg
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Just found out the YS4500 is part of a recall. The fuel line can detach from the the gas tank possibly resulting in a fire.
 
  #14  
Old 07-24-06, 07:35 PM
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I just overhauled a Kohler CV17.5. This was on a 3yr old Scotts (John Deere) garden tractor. The rod had snapped. After analyzing the damage there was no sign of dirty oil or over speeding.
What I did find (from the notches on the side of the rod and the chip out of the bottom of the cylinder wall) was that one rod bolt came loose and worked it`s way down (not completely out). From the size(thickness) of a Kohler rod and the deep notches taken out of the side this rod it must have been loose for some time before the rod snapped. The owner claims that he did`nt hear any knocking but I`ve had too many customers hold back information for unknown reasons.
I like Briggs, but big jobs I`d prefer a Kohler. All Kohler engines, including on residential equipment, are built heavy duty. I will say that lately I`ve been hearing and reading more complaints on the newer CV model engines.
 
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Old 07-24-06, 10:07 PM
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I just worked on a Kohler courage engine. The valve adjuster nuts were snapped off at the ends, like someone tried to tighten the valves without knowing it had set screws in the nuts? Funny thing was that the ends that were sanpped off weren't in the head. There is not enough room for them to get into the sump. Apparently, whoever did it just left them like that and removed the broken pieces. I hope it didn't come new that way. The customer said it had been in for warranty work only once at Lowes. They kept it for a long time claiming they were waiting for parts, than sent it back to him. Maybe those adjusters were what they were waiting for, and they never came so they just sent it out with the broken ones. Needless to say, the valves were so loose it wouldn't even run.

I think this is a mechanic's fault (or rather, someone playing mechanic). I doubt it came new that way. I like briggs too, but still prefer Kohler. I think they try to build a good engine and will rectify any problem areas as soon as they show up.
 
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