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CJBennett, Small Engine Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 625
Experience:  Briggs and Stratton Master Service Tech, Kohler, Tecumseh, Kawasaki certified. 18 years exp.
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I have a Kohler Magnum M20 engine. I am trying to install

Customer Question

I have a Kohler Magnum M20 engine.   I am trying to install a replacement starter and cannot get it to fit.   Do I have to disassemble the engine to install the new starter?   Do you have a procedure for installing the starter on this engine?

Thank you.
[email protected]
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  CJBennett replied 7 years ago.
Do you have the old starter out?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Yes I do. But the old starter was broken at the bendix drive shaft. So it was shorter and came out with great difficulty. The new starter just will not go back in. There is a rear bracket on the engine that has a small diagonal bracer (cast into the engine) that makes it impossible to install the starter becauise it holds the back of the starter away from the engine. After the starter would be installed the rear of the starter would clear this bracket. But it can't clear because the starter is not installed and the starter cannot be installed with this bracket in the way. A catch 22.


Surely, I hope, I do not have to completely disassembly the case of the engine. I have the factory service manual for the magnum M20 Kohler engine but it does not address replaceing the starter as a unit on the engine.


Norm Johnson

Expert:  CJBennett replied 7 years ago.

To install that starter the flywheel has to come off. That way you can angle the starter gear up through the hole, then clear that bracket. You'll need a puller to remove the flywheel.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.

That would mean removing the engine. cowling, and as you say pulling the flywheel. Since engine is mounted in a tractor, this would be a major undertaking of at least 8 hours for me to perform and rental of pulling equipmenmt and an engine hoist.


I have found a better way and it has worked. Here it is: tape very carefully the starter so that the front and rear housings cannot separate from the starter body. Carefully back off the two starter mounting bolts until the bolts clear the front of the starter. The slip the starter into its mount. Run the starter bolts back out and carefully re-establish the torque on the two bolts. Cut away the tape holding the end caps. Seat the starter and then install two 1/4-20 nuts on the bolts and torque to spec.


Took me about 1 hour total after I got all the tools together. Thanks for trying to help me. I wish Kohler had a procedure for this install. It would save much grief.


Norm Johnson

Expert:  CJBennett replied 7 years ago.
No problem
Customer: replied 7 years ago.



I want to comment on the fix you gave me to pull the flywheel. Actually, if you pulled the flywheel, you still could not mount the starter. The reason is that the starter has to fit between the front casting of the motor and the rear motor mount. The space between this front casting and the rear motor mount is exactly the same as the length of the starter body with only about 1/4" to spare. So if you took the flywheel off, wihich is in front of the starter front casting, it would do no good. You would still have to back off the mounting bolts on the new starter to get it into this space between the front casting and the rear motor mount.


It was infact when you told me about the flywheel removal that I could see that the only way to get the starter into the space was to back out the mounting bolts. So although you fix was not correct, it did lead me to the proper solution which I did on my own. So I will accept the fix and pay the $9 for it. Thanks. XXXXX

Expert:  CJBennett replied 7 years ago.

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