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James W
James W, Small Engine Troubleshooting Expert
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 3708
Experience:  7 years as Mechanic & Parts Manager for Brother who has Owned Lawn & Garden Repair shop for 35 years
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Cub Cadet riding tractor ltx1050 kohler courage 23 hp engine

Resolved Question:

Cub Cadet riding tractor ltx1050 kohler courage 23 hp engine turns slightly and locks up during start. Seems to be draining electrical system. With ohv covers removed can hear air straining to escape engine during pressure stroke. Tested starter with jumper cables from battery with spark plugs removed, engine turns. Ran 12V from battery with jumper cable to solenoid and volts are getting to engine. Attempted adjustment of clearance valves to .004, with this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cWoEk5Guos&feature=relmfu. Seperate issue, ignition switch is became disabled. Please advise.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  James W replied 5 years ago.

James W :

Greetings, My name isXXXXX and I am here to help the best I can. My goal is 100% satisfaction. Let's get started.

James W :

if you take the spark plugs out, will it spin up fast as normal?

Customer:

with plugs removed it does

James W :

the briggs adjustment is different than the kohler

James W :

do you have the model number of the kohler engine?

James W :

I can get you a complete service manual

James W :

the correct adjustment procedures are nbotmally in chapter 10

Customer:

i did get that one

James W :

but sometimes in chap 9 or 11

Customer:

valve clearance is the issue?

James W :

If it spins with the plugs out

James W :

and not with the plugs in

Customer:

i had adjusted with the flywheel key at top

James W :

then the compression release is not activating at all

Customer:

and then withe flywheel key aligned with pistons

James W :

easier than that, you probably did it wrong

James W :

with the plugs out

James W :

just spin the engine back anbd forth until the valves are at their widest gap

Customer:

i had turned engine to where both valved are completely closed

Customer:

valves

Customer:

on either side

Customer:

and then adjusted to .005

James W :

adjust one, then make sure that yu spin it so the other one is at its widest gap

Customer:

.004

James W :

the .004 or .005

James W :

not that critcal

James W :

book may even say .004 and .007 depending on whether intake our exhaust

Customer:

that had been done

James W :

but if the gap is too wide, the valve will never open prematurely at low rpm

James W :

and you WANT it to

James W :

after you get it adjusted

Customer:

so that had been done

Customer:

everything adjusted to .004

James W :

at it widest point

James W :

so if it still spins with the pllugs out

James W :

and wont spin with them in

James W :

there might be an obstruction that stop it form spinning

James W :

such as a large piece of carbon

James W :

or a loose screw from the carburetor

Customer:

so engine will spin with plugs out past that obstruction

James W :

ONLY if the problem is too long of new spark plugs

James W :

I have seen that

James W :

Or if the screw had embedded itself in the top of the piston and was hitting the plug

James W :

but I will bet you a dollar that if you RECHECK the valves

Customer:

pressure is built up inside engine while turning by hand

Customer:

difficult to at two points

Customer:

difficult to turn at two points

James W :

that al least ONE of them will be open wider than the .004 at its widest point

James W :

I would be worried only if the problem was the same with the plugs IN

James W :

I am saying You have this problem nailed, and don't kniow it...

James W :

Unless the muffler is 100% clogged

James W :

and there is no place for the exhaust to go

Customer:

engine is difficult to turn by hand with plugs in all valved adjusted to .004

Customer:

.005

James W :

either way..

James W :

If one of my mechanics were telling me this.. I would listen, then if they argued with me

James W :

I would bark at them to CHECK IT AGAIN...

James W :

I will buonce this off my brother who has a bit more experience than I and get back to you...

Customer:

two adjustment methods are there

Customer:

center nut on the rocker arm

James W :

did you say you already had the SERVICE manual for the engine?

Customer:

and end style adjustment

Customer:

service manual is there

James W :

I want to make sure you do not have hydraulic lifters

James W :

If you had hydraukic lifters, all bets are off

James W :

There is STILL a possibility that you have a problem with the cam shaft or the ACR (automatic compression release system).

Customer:

i can check acr/

Customer:

model number is XXXXX

Customer:

i was mentioning two menthods valve adjustment

Customer:

center style adjustment and end style adjustmnet

Customer:

they can be combined?

Customer:

to reach .004?

James W :

Does not matter how you get there..

James W :

as long as when you are done and you spin the engine round and round that the widest gap on any valve is .004

James W :

just test after all the work is done

Customer:

i can check something else?

James W :

Let me convert to Q&A

James W :

then I will contact my brother

James W :

and see what he has to say, then get back to you

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Available in the early afternoon. Let me know
Expert:  James W replied 5 years ago.
ok
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
maybe we would go over it now
Expert:  James W replied 5 years ago.
Have you learned anything more at all?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
your brother gave some information?
Expert:  James W replied 5 years ago.
Yes, he did.
In fact had conference call with him and his head mechanic.

Neither one of them are much in love with these "cheaper" versions of Kohler engines.

They both had strong remembrances of a service bulletin regarding this problem..

There is a "weakness" in the construction of the system and they wear cam shafts prematurely.

It is not a big enough problem to be called a recall, but is a source of frustration.

They both agreed that the problem is likely that you need to replace Both cam shafts..

(unless the valves are slipping out of adjustment), which is not what I am hearing you say...
That would only be if something is stripped.

Replacing the cam shaft is Not a minor repair..

as soon as I asked the question, they both said in unison..

"IS IS UNDER WARRANTY"..

As it, they hoped for your sake that it was...

Otherwise... Ugh... Not a fun problem..

If you remember, I did remember the cam shaft earlier, but I listed as kind of an outside chance of a problem..

But they both acted like in this case, based on your "story" then it is LIKELY a problem with the cam shafts.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I would also add air can be heard escaping as the compression happens in the cylinder, something there?
Expert:  James W replied 5 years ago.
Well, of course, that can still be valve related.

BUT, the compression release is supposed to work that way..
It lifts the valves up on lower RPM's to allow some of the compressed air/fuel mix to escape making the engine easier to turn over..

This is normal...

But, perhaps the cams are worn down so much, that the LIFT is not high enough and it is harder for the mix to escape..

Consistent with the expected problem..

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I can inspect the cam shafts directly with some certain sign to look for for wear?
Expert:  James W replied 5 years ago.
By the time you take the engine apart far enough to see the cam shafts, you will not want to even think about putting the engine back together without replacing them...

Also, the best way to 'examine them" is with a new one side beside where you can use a micrometer to measure the multiple points on the cam..

This is a Major repair..

How old is the engine?

Any time I have every had an engine apart this far, I have always thought it a good idea to also replace the rings...

The service manual will show you how... If you have it, great..
If you need it, let me know and I can get it for you. But I would need the exact model number of the engine..
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
engine is before 2009. There is a link to that service bulletin?
Expert:  James W replied 5 years ago.
They could not find the exact bulletin.

but it was enough for them to remember it..

It was not an instructional bulletin...

More of a notice to help with problem identification.

It did not give exact repair details since these are detailed in the service bulletin.

Please do not kill the messenger... This is what we have.
Expert:  James W replied 5 years ago.
When looking online for the bulletin, I found this line as a post on a blogg

09-13-2007, 02:26 PM
The Courage also has a bulletin for the acr on the camshaft. Sounds like a dealer needs to go in & take care of both issues

Just thought you would like to know.
Expert:  James W replied 5 years ago.
Did I ever mention that this engine also has a problem with sheering flywheel keys??

If the key is sheered, it will have spark, but the spark will be out of time..

I would check this before diving into the cam shaft.
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