kohler 7000 series vs Kawasaki FR series

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Nov 26, 2005
Possibly finally looking at getting a new mower soon and trying to do some home work. Looking at a Gravely zero turn right now. Its offered with both of these engines. I think in a 52 inch cut the Kohler is a 25hp and the Kaw is a 23 hp. Things change so quick and names and series numbers change a lot also so its hard for the average guy to keep up. I know neither of these engines are top grade motors but we are only mowing a yard so I doubt it matters all that much. From what little I know I am leaning to the Kawasaki but that is only because a good friend had a Kaw FH series on a Yazoo that went over 1000 hours with no real trouble. I believe the FH series (which is no longer made) was a true commercial engine but I could be wrong. Looking for some opinions here on which you would pick and why.
You are ahead of the game because you understand and accept that neither are, "top grade motors". Having said that, both will serve you well for what it will be used for. I have almost 400 hours on my Kohler with the only problems being a broken flywheel keyway and a leaky valve cover gasket; both I fixed myself. My neighbor has a Kawasaki with a couple hundred hours with the factory oil. He's real abusive to his equipment. He's had no problems with the engine. Do yourself a favor and at least look at the "professional grade" stuff. Might be too much money and guarantees nothing, but the HD stuff are built better.
The Kohler 25hp engine on my John Deere has only needed a head gasket in the 600 hard hours of use it has seen. I say "only a head gasket" because there was a giant mouse nest that was blocking air flow to that cylinder, which likely overheated and blew the gasket. This engine uses no oil, and has seen use from snow blowing at below zero temps to mowing in 100 degree weather. My grandfather has the same engine but with 22hp on his Scag 3-wheel commercial mower. His also has 600+ hours of run time on it. His machine uses a bit of oil, but he also changed the oil "when he remembered" before I started maintaining it. If it was me I would choose the Kohler. I don't have too much experience with Kawasaki engines, but the experiences I have had have left me unimpressed. Just small stupid issues that shouldn't happen on a new motor like starter parts being installed upside down, electrical issues, and other annoyances. When they run they run great, but I don't think they are what they used to be, and parts seem pretty expensive compared to the Kohlers.
The FR and FS series Kawasaki motors are fairly similar with only subtle design changes of the FS series if you run all day every day. For example, do you mow commercially, need dual element filters and thumb snaps to make off site maintenance easier? No? The prosumer Kawasaki is fine. The FH series is a heavy duty horizontal shaft. They still make them. If given a choice, I will go Kawasaki over Kohler 100% of the time. For how little you're going to use it, It doesn't matter if you have the prosumer over the professional.
Originally Posted By: PhilsSmallEngine
If given a choice, I will go Kawasaki over Kohler 100% of the time. For how little you're going to use it, It doesn't matter if you have the prosumer over the professional.
I agree 100%. Kohler is not what it used to be.
Well, I posted this also on a small engine forum and one of the the guys there that I really respect his opinions said the Kaw FR series was the worst engines Kaw has ever made. The guy is well respected and a mechanic by trade and works on all sorts of small engines. I dont know what to do. WE have about a 5K budget to buy a zero turn mower and hoping to get a 48 to 52 inch cut. Seem like until you have 10 grand or better you get the cheap motors from all of the companies. So, we may just have to take our chances.
I have a Kawasaki FC series with 1300 hours on it, and a FD series with over 2500 hours on it. The FD is used nearly daily. I wouldn't think about anything but a Kaw at this point.
The worst Kawasaki small engine ever made was the early FD series with that horrible plastic cam gear. That was almost 30 years ago and has seen tons of revisions. My grandfather has the very first release FD590V and even that one took 600 hours of abuse over 10 years before it blew. Since I rebuilt it, another 800 hours and still running using the updated parts at the time. Think of the complaints of Kawasaki in many regards to the complaints against the Tecumseh Snow King engines. When you outsell your competition 20+:1, of course you're going to come across more problems and more often as well.
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