18HP Kohler Command Pro - Fuel/Carb Problems?

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Have a mower that for a couple years now missed every once in a while but otherwise ran OK. A couple weeks ago, it wouldn't stay started and acted starved for fuel. Changed the fuel filter and it made no difference. Found that spraying carb cleaner into carb would keep it alive as long as it was being sprayed so it was definitely fuel. Last week, my dad goes to start it and sees the gas tank is empty. It was full when parked. Starts it, a huge cloud of smoke and starts real hard. He then sees there's gas all over the engine and we smell gas in the oil. Is this a carb problem? I ordered a rebuild kit so hopefully it is.
 
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I suspect that the inlet needle in the carb is not seating and it is letting fuel drain through into the engine. Look for debris stuck in the needle seat or a worn out needle or possibly the float hanging up on something. The carb kit will most likely remedy the problem but you'll need to find the specification and technique to set the float level.
 

FusilliJerry82

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Apparently the kit comes with instructions. Wouldn't setting the float level be in them? I honestly haven't ever rebuilt a carb but I consider myself fairly mechanically inclined so hopefully it won't pose too big a challenge.
 
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I have experience with carb kits from Stihl which are just bags of parts. Hopefully Kohler does better than that and includes instructions with their kits. Perhaps you can post a picture of the carb; you'll probably be inundated with advice about rebuilding it.
 

JTK

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Kohler Commands can also be very finicky with fuel filters. The vac-pulse fuel pumps are not very strong, so fuel filters with too hi a dP wont pass fuel. I'd try to stick with OEM fuel filters. Joel
 

FusilliJerry82

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I don't think it's the filter. The whole time when it seemed it wasn't getting enough fuel, I took the line off after the filter and before the carb and there was definitely enough. Now it's getting way too much.
 
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 Originally Posted By: FusilliJerry82
Have a mower that for a couple years now missed every once in a while but otherwise ran OK. A couple weeks ago, it wouldn't stay started and acted starved for fuel. Changed the fuel filter and it made no difference. Found that spraying carb cleaner into carb would keep it alive as long as it was being sprayed so it was definitely fuel. Last week, my dad goes to start it and sees the gas tank is empty. It was full when parked. Starts it, a huge cloud of smoke and starts real hard. He then sees there's gas all over the engine and we smell gas in the oil. Is this a carb problem? I ordered a rebuild kit so hopefully it is.
If you lost that much fuel where did it go...it had to go somewhere. In the engine? You got a fuel leak? Check your fuel line..."unless everything is plugged up going into the the carb system and float rusted shut where it can't move"...This usually happens when engine has been sitting for a couple of years and needs a good cleaning...and the ethanol gas don't help.
 
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 Originally Posted By: FusilliJerry82
Have a mower that for a couple years now missed every once in a while but otherwise ran OK. A couple weeks ago, it wouldn't stay started and acted starved for fuel. Changed the fuel filter and it made no difference. Found that spraying carb cleaner into carb would keep it alive as long as it was being sprayed so it was definitely fuel. Last week, my dad goes to start it and sees the gas tank is empty. It was full when parked. Starts it, a huge cloud of smoke and starts real hard. He then sees there's gas all over the engine and we smell gas in the oil. Is this a carb problem? I ordered a rebuild kit so hopefully it is.
This isn't a small leak you had to visual see the fuel coming out when the tank was full. I can't see a full tank of fuel going into the engine. To lose that much fuel either you had fuel line leak or the inlet to the carb was plugged.
 
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Maybe it's comparing apples to different apples, but I had this happen twice to me with my B&S 18.5 v-twin. You really can lose lots of gasoline into the engine. :(:( There's one (very) small consolation......the cold oil runs out REALLY well when you have to change it out.
 
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