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Kohler CH18S Oil Gushing Out Front Seal


rwbuckn's Avatar
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03-29-07, 12:30 PM   #1  
Kohler CH18S Oil Gushing Out Front Seal

Looking for some opinions please. I've started this season off with a problem with my Cub 2185 with the Kohler CH18S at aprox 750 hours. I can run pretty much all day long as a tractor, pulling light loads in a trailer, moving my chipper around, etc. When I go to mow, however, I'm having a problem with oil spewing out the front oil seal, or at least I believe it to be from there. It's slinging off of the PTO. The thing is I can cut grass for 45 mins to an hour with no problem. Then with no change in speed, power, or sound, I have a quart of oil spew out the front in a matter of seconds. I can shut the engine off, fill it to the full mark, and drive it all over without the mower without as much as a drop of oil coming out. If I let it cool down, I can mow again for another hour. I did notice that this year I'm seeing a puff of smoke on accelerate and decelerate. There may be some burning during running but not enough to see. I haven't had a chance to do a leak down test or pressure/vacuum on the crankcase yet. I did check that I have flow from my breather tube. It seems to be both pressure and vacuum, don't know if that's correct. I'm guessing it's building up pressure while under load to the point that it blows past the front oil seal. Any ideas of what I should look for?

Bob

 
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03-31-07, 02:58 PM   #2  
If the occassional puff of smoke you are seeing is black, that would be excessive fuel and not necessarily a big deal, just a little too rich perhaps. If it's blue smoke, that would be oil and that could indicate failing rings. My first thought is a clogged or otherwise defective crankcase breather and if the shaft seal has blown out for whatever reason, it needs to be replaced.

 
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04-05-07, 10:08 AM   #3  
Sorry, forgot to mention the smoke is white/blue so I know it's oil. I didn't have any smoke last year. It seems to be new from the first startup this season. I'm wondering if a blown head gasket could be causing these types of problems. I've been using the tractor regularly since I've posted last with no leaks of any kind. I have NOT put it under much load such as mowing, however.

 
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04-05-07, 12:07 PM   #4  
Rings could have temporarily seized over the winter. I don't know the age of this machine; maybe the problem is just normal wear and tear. The real test will be when it is hot and running under load, i.e. cutting grass.

I wouldn't think the head gasket has anything to do with it.

 
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04-05-07, 12:11 PM   #5  
Irregardless, that front seal should be replaced. They're only good for about one blow-out. After that, it's on borrowed time. I still wonder about the crankcase vent, also.

 
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04-06-07, 07:27 AM   #6  
Thanks for the reply. I ordered a front seal earlier this week. Will install when I get it.
The motor has around 450 hours. The tractor is getting old, probably around 12 years use cutting in smooth lawn to rough wooded area. It's done more than it should and everything that I've asked of it. I now have a big hole rusted through my deck. I check on replacing it and apparently it is no longer available. I went ahead and bought a Kubota L2800 CUT which arrived yesterday but I would still like to use my Cub for smaller things.
As for the breather. I also ordered a breather hose because mine has a worn spot, causing a very weak place in the hose. Maybe it's clamping shut on vacuum! The filter is below the carb, between the cylinders. According to the service manual, I have to take the rear shield off which would require pulling the motor. I thought about stripping off the carb and other items on top and see if I can get to the breather without pulling the shield or motor. Do you know if that's possible?

 
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04-06-07, 08:39 PM   #7  
I don't think I'd spend too much time worrying about the filter on the breather itself. I don't think I've ever seen one stop up in all the years I've worked with small engines. The hose should be replaced, as you noted. It could just be a bad seal combined with poor PCV operation (bad hose). It's a strange problem you have for sure. Does the engine shaft have side-to-side play? Is the oil overfull? Wrong weight?


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04-07-07, 04:39 AM   #8  
I know that Kohler had issues with their vertical Command's relative to the crankcase breather but I'm not sure if they did on the horizontals as well. When I get to my shop I'll have a look. In the mean time, rwbuckn, post back with the spec(ification) and serial numbers from the CH18S engine.

 
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04-10-07, 08:53 AM   #9  
Posted By: cheese I don't think I'd spend too much time worrying about the filter on the breather itself. I don't think I've ever seen one stop up in all the years I've worked with small engines. The hose should be replaced, as you noted. It could just be a bad seal combined with poor PCV operation (bad hose). It's a strange problem you have for sure. Does the engine shaft have side-to-side play? Is the oil overfull? Wrong weight?
cheese,
No shaft play noticed but the only thing that I did was release the belt tension. I haven't pulled the PTO to really get to the shaft. Oil level is between the marks and I only run Kohler 30 weight oil.
Still waiting on my parts to come in so hose hasn't been changed yet. Still no leaks running around doing all chores that doesn't involve engaging the mower.

 
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04-10-07, 08:55 AM   #10  
Posted By: puey61 I know that Kohler had issues with their vertical Command's relative to the crankcase breather but I'm not sure if they did on the horizontals as well. When I get to my shop I'll have a look. In the mean time, rwbuckn, post back with the spec(ification) and serial numbers from the CH18S engine.
puey61,
Thanks for checking. CH18S specs: family SKH624U1G2RA, spec no 62509, S/N 2513612587.

 
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04-10-07, 07:21 PM   #11  
Dang it, I forgot about you rwbuckn. My memory isn't what it used to be. Stay tuned though. By the way, Kohler recommends 10W30 oil for warm climate usage and 5W30 for cold climates. Because the crankcase breather is designed for the thinner oils than you are running, it may simply be this. Change it out to Kohler's 10W30. Bear in mind that the purpose for the 10W is for the hydraulic valve lifters to pump up properly and function as required, not necessarily to prevent breather blow-by.

 
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04-12-07, 08:18 PM   #12  
Still waiting on parts. I checked the oil that I'm using. I thought it was 30 weight but it is actually 10W30 Kohler. Tractor working just fine as long as I don't engage the mower.

 
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