Got a free riding mower Craftsman LT1000 w/ Kohler

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Mar 18, 2008
South Florida
A family member is downsizing and no longer needs their riding mower, so they dropped it off at my house and gave it to me. It’s a 2006ish Craftsman LT1000 with a 17hp Kohler command and hydrostatic transmission. Of course I will be doing my standard maintenance tune up and replacing all worn parts.

Today I changed out the unknown, thin looking “oil” and factory Kohler oil filter to Quaker State Defy 10W30 and a Motorcraft FL-910S filter. Kohler oil filter runs $12 and the Motorcraft runs $4, easy choice there. (Fram 3614, Purolator 10241, Wix 51348, and AC Delco PF53 also fit and work fine on these engines) As for the oil, mowing season is 70-95 degrees here for about 11 months out of the year and I typically run HD30 oil in most of my equipment. Kohler is pretty specific about this Kohler Command engine using 10W30 due to the hydraulic lifters, so I stuck with the factory recommended 10W30.

I also replaced the incorrect heat range spark plug with the factory spec Champion RC12YC, gapped at .30. The air cleaner also needs replaced. The replacement will be here in a few days.

Next up, the deck is uneven and needs realigned, the deck wheels are worn and need replaced, and the blades need sharpened.



Out with the old filter

In with the new filter

Parts used

I love my ~2008 model year LT2000. Looks just like yours, but it's gray. Mine has an 18 or 18.5hp? Briggs and the Peerless LTH2000 hydro trans, 42" deck. I picked it up on CL for $300 a year or two ago.

The Peerless hydros are kind of neat because they've got separate reservoirs for the diff housing and the hydro drive. Diff uses gear oil, hydro uses something like 20w50 motor oil.
Nice! Don't know how well the Craftsman tractor is put together, but the old JD LX173 I inherited from my folks has basically the same engine in a 15-horse rating. Still going strong, sneaking up on 20 years old now:

I have the same Kohler setup-1990 vintage-been very good. Put an inline gas shutoff by that filter-in case the needle/seat have any future sealing issues-you don't want to flood it out. Good luck
I've read on the internet that these are very sensitive to the fuel filter. Of course, the filter that is installed is the wrong part number. Also, last year the family member had a problem with this mower bogging down and draining the fuel line while there is still gas in the tank. That seems to be a pretty common problem on these. I'm not sure how he fixed it.

I plan on adding a fuel shutoff and weighing my options on the fuel filter issue that these have. Been thinking of running a Briggs style plastic white or red filter. Those always work perfect on my riding mowers and I always replace them yearly so doubt that it will clog up.
Good looking mower for 9 years old. The way you take care of it it may last another 20 years or more. Our grass has not been growing here for the past 2 months. We are in leaf pickup mode which I do with my JD rider and bag attachment.
I happen to use a HDEO in a 15w40 flavor for a year and change it in the spring before I get going.
I know proper inline fuel filters can be an issue with Kohlers equipped with the vac/pulse fuel pumps. More so than gravity feed systems.

My LT2000 had a horribly un-leveled 42" deck too. Real easy to adjust back into shape. I added a nose-roller kit to mine off eBay.
As to the Defy, I had it on the shelf. It is SL rated and non-energy conserving. Its a solid oil, and has a better additive package than your run of the mill SN 10W30 synthetic. Its almost an HDEO oil.
Nice score! I've worked on a few of these, and those Briggs filters you mentioned seem to work the best with them. I usually use the red plastic ones since I have a bunch.

I had one that drained fuel into the oil after sitting overnight, and it ended up needing a new needle and seat in the carb to fix the problem. I agree with using the 10w30 in these engines. In fact, on most of the Commands I serviced I have switched over to the Kohler 10w30 oil, which is formulated specifically for these engines. It seems to work really well.
Yep, I've seen a few single cyl commands just like this on commercial walk-behind units, with so many hours on them, they had long since rotted through their HD mufflers. Some serious patch jobs required LOL. That's a good engine.
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Originally Posted By: Alltherage
Why defy? Many have found full syn 10w30 PCMO and hdeo to perform the best in air cooled OPE. Just curious

As others have said, Defy (currently, anyway) is pretty close to an HDEO. I just use T6 5w40 in mine as in all my other OPE, but I do get a little bit of lifter clatter on a cold day (rare around here...)

I wish that I had a Kohler in mine instead of the Briggs junk. I will never again buy anything powered with a Briggs & Stratton engine.

Originally Posted By: bigdreama

I wish that I had a Kohler in mine instead of the Briggs junk. I will never again buy anything powered with a Briggs & Stratton engine.


I've never had a problem with a B&S engine other than the small (< 4 HP) ones with Pulsa-Jet or Vacu-Jet carbs. The Ferris zero-turn mower that replaced the Kohler-powered JDLX173 at the farm property is powered by a 28-horse Briggs V-twin. So far that thing's been a pure animal- great power, quiet, smooth, and cool (has an oil cooler on the side of the fan shroud). Its only got about 70 hours on it, but so far so good.
I am going to use QS Defy in my Kohler next year as I have it on hand in bulk for my vehicles, I just emailed QS to see if it was ok but your doing it so I feel more confident. I buy the QS filter on sale at Menards for $1.88 but they my not have Menards in Florida.
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