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Garden Tractors and Mowers Vintage lawn and garden tractors, mowers, snow blowers, snowmobiles and other old machinery that is driven by small air cooled engines.

Garden Tractors and Mowers


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Old 06-13-2019, 07:55:35 AM
Skelflyer Skelflyer is offline
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Default Troybuilt/Kohler

I picked up an old Tiller last week that has a Kohler K161t engine.owner said it had been to a shop last year and they had it running fine but after sitting a year he thought the gas had gone bad. anyway I pulled the new carb they had installed and though it was clean checked everything over. all good except no spark through the new plug.I replaced that,cleaned and gapped the points and had a fairly weak spark but could get it to idle roughly.finally pulled the flywheel to check the key,and it is good,marked the timing marks on the flywheel and checked the timing.when the points close which seem to be the way these engines actually fire it is about 2" plus ahead of the S timing mark which is where it should be.if I open the points enough to be close to the mark when closing it will not fire.I am wondering when I get new points and condenser if it is possible to shim the point bracket a little farther from the block and maybe delay the opening on the old K model engines so that with the proper gap of .020" and have the timing come in closer.anybody have experience with these old engines got some advice? sorry for the long post. I'm new to the site
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Old 06-13-2019, 12:29:25 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: Troybuilt/Kohler

Sounds like maybe the flywheel magnets are not in the correct position relative to the magneto armature when the points are set to open at the correct time. Is the magneto backplate adjustable on these engines?

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Old 06-13-2019, 12:36:47 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Default Re: Troybuilt/Kohler

Spark should occur when points open. If I remember correctly, gap should be .in the area of .016 to 018". The plug should fire with the piston about 1/8 to 3/16" before TDC. I have seen several K161s with weak flywheel magnets. You might check with a good mag shop and see if they can be re-charged.

What color is your spark? It should be a bright blue. A thin blue spark may indicate a bad mag. Thin whitish or reddish may indicate a bad condenser. As that is the cheapest part, besides the points, I would replace that first.

Another critical point is the points themselves. Make sure there is no corrosion where the point meets the mountings. Corrosion there means you need replacement, as the corrosion means resistance and produces weak spark. Make sure the points meet flush and are absolutely clean. Kohlers do not like any interferance on the point surfaces. Use a white business card between them and draw out slightly, then open points and remove. The card should come out absolutely clean. Any black or grey residue, they need to be cleaned.

Let us know how you make out.
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