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JD Rider Tractor/Mowers ? …. Re-Power from Onan engine ?

CRAFT

Senior Member
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Jan 6, 2010
Messages
929
Location
100 M H,BC,Canada
Occupation
30 yrs Owner/Operator
Thought I'd throw this one out here ???

Is there …. are there any guys out here that have had a larger JD rider tractor/mower that had an Onan engine in it, which Blew up, found out that Cummins/Onan no longer builds these engines or produces any parts any more ????? ….. Hmmmmpff !

And now has/had to re-power with a Kohler engine ???? ….. I'm Looking for parts that adapt the Kohler in place of the Onan …. such as a proper fitting Muffler, need a hub adaptor that connects the Flywheel to a drive shaft for the hydraulic pump, Wiring diagrams to be able to retain all of the JD OEM electrical features of the machine (kinda simple stuff).

I found a guy that posted pics on Photo Bucket that seems to have done many of these conversions, showing like 246 pics of how he did it …. "BUT" ….. he shows parts that out West here virtually don't exist, according to parts suppliers ….. he goes by a handle of "86deereguy" …… sure would like to hook-up with him, but on PB they don't show or have an email link to be able to contact them ???

According to the most local JD Ag dealer, to replace my unit would be over $12,000 c/w mower attachment …. my tractor only has about ~1200 hr on the chassis, not even close to being worn out.
It is all possible to convert, but would be easier to be able to not invest into $$$$$ machining expenses and be able to buy "ready made" with out R&D costs to build.

Anyways ! …. thought i'd throw this out here on the most Knowledgable Knowledge network going !!! …..LOL….. Cheers Guys !
 

Scrub Puller

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2009
Messages
3,481
Location
Gladstone Queensland Australia
Yair . . . CRAFT. That sucks mate, when you go with home grown you would sure expect to be able to get parts!

I can't imagine it would be more than a few hundred bucks to have a shop make an adapter . . . well worth it I'd say, in my experience that sort of quality gear should be good for six thousand hours or more . . . we have Kohler 16hp Magnums in Jacobsen mowers with over seven thousand hours.

Cheers.
 

CRAFT

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Messages
929
Location
100 M H,BC,Canada
Occupation
30 yrs Owner/Operator
Thanx Scrub ! …… Yah that's exactly what I thought about "Home Grown" ….. but after calling Cummins and how quietly (almost under his breath) saying that there were no good excuses for why Cummins shut down that division, he used expressions like "Obsolete" rather than NLA ….. After their excuses I've come to the conclusion that I SURE would not want to have paid a TON of $$$ and bought a Diesel pusher coach or Toyhauler with an Onan Genny in it and they (onan Genny's) were not cheap either, and have it calf on you to be told by cummins that all parts are "Obsolete"…. to ONLY be told "BUT We can sell you a NEW one"

I Can't confirm it, But, Rumour has it that the newest engines in the Onan generators are powered by "Robin Subaru" …..don't know alot about them.

The engine i am about to install is a Kohler CH22 that came out of my big Bandsaw Mill back in '04, when I repowered it with a VW Rabbit Diesel …… that Kohler had just over 5,000 hrs on it when I removed it.

Cheers back atchya !
 

Big Dave

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Sep 17, 2013
Messages
15
Location
Goshen, OH
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Retired
Thought I'd throw this one out here ???

Is there …. are there any guys out here that have had a larger JD rider tractor/mower that had an Onan engine in it, which Blew up, found out that Cummins/Onan no longer builds these engines or produces any parts any more ????? ….. Hmmmmpff !

And now has/had to re-power with a Kohler engine ???? ….. I'm Looking for parts that adapt the Kohler in place of the Onan …. such as a proper fitting Muffler, need a hub adaptor that connects the Flywheel to a drive shaft for the hydraulic pump, Wiring diagrams to be able to retain all of the JD OEM electrical features of the machine (kinda simple stuff).

I found a guy that posted pics on Photo Bucket that seems to have done many of these conversions, showing like 246 pics of how he did it …. "BUT" ….. he shows parts that out West here virtually don't exist, according to parts suppliers ….. he goes by a handle of "86deereguy" …… sure would like to hook-up with him, but on PB they don't show or have an email link to be able to contact them ???

According to the most local JD Ag dealer, to replace my unit would be over $12,000 c/w mower attachment …. my tractor only has about ~1200 hr on the chassis, not even close to being worn out.
It is all possible to convert, but would be easier to be able to not invest into $$$$$ machining expenses and be able to buy "ready made" with out R&D costs to build.

Anyways ! …. thought i'd throw this out here on the most Knowledgable Knowledge network going !!! …..LOL….. Cheers Guys !
That's bad news about Onan and it's the first I've heard of it. As for your particular problem, I'd recommend asking the same question here: http://gardentractortalk.com/ You might even find the person you're looking for.:)
 

Scrub Puller

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2009
Messages
3,481
Location
Gladstone Queensland Australia
Yair . . . One of the common engine powered 225 amp bush welders were powered by a twin opposed Onan. They always were temperamental . . . I seem to remember points being operated by a pushrod. I never realised they had been bought out by Cummins

Robin Subaru seem to have a good name over here.

Cheers.
 

Tinkerer

Senior Member
Joined
May 21, 2009
Messages
9,485
Location
The shore of the illinois river USA
Craft; what model JD mower do you have ? There are conversion kits available for some of the Deere mowers. Some models of Onan twin cylinder engines have a dreadful history of failure. Valve seats coming loose and destroying the block were all too common. I know this from experience. The valve seat problem was not just in riding lawn mowers but other applications as well. Onan came out with a sheet metal revision to improve the air flow on those engines but it was too little too late to help me. I paid over $1400 for a short block and gaskets to repair an engine with less than 400 hours on it.
Here is a link to a website that has the re-power conversion kits. http://www.smallenginewarehouse.com/Repower-Old-Equipment/John-Deere-420-Category/ The #420 is what gave me all the grief. That same original motor of mine also had a camshaft gear failure prior to the valve seat problem. That event also destroyed the crankshaft gear and oil pump.
 

PhilDirt

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Joined
Jul 10, 2011
Messages
133
Location
Lancaster PA
Craft; what model JD mower do you have ? There are conversion kits available for some of the Deere mowers. Some models of Onan twin cylinder engines have a dreadful history of failure. Valve seats coming loose and destroying the block were all too common. I know this from experience. The valve seat problem was not just in riding lawn mowers but other applications as well. Onan came out with a sheet metal revision to improve the air flow on those engines but it was too little too late to help me.

I have an Onan 6500 generator in a trailer, it has an opposed twin, how do I find out if it's one of the problem engines, and what to do about it?
 
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Bumpsteer

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Front seat on the Struggle Bus
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Another problem was the cam bearings spinning in the end plates, took me forever to figure out why the points wouldn't stay adjusted.

:Banghead


Ed
 

CRAFT

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
929
Location
100 M H,BC,Canada
Occupation
30 yrs Owner/Operator
Craft; what model JD mower do you have ? There are conversion kits available for some of the Deere mowers. Some models of Onan twin cylinder engines have a dreadful history of failure. Valve seats coming loose and destroying the block were all too common. I know this from experience. The valve seat problem was not just in riding lawn mowers but other applications as well. Onan came out with a sheet metal revision to improve the air flow on those engines but it was too little too late to help me. I paid over $1400 for a short block and gaskets to repair an engine with less than 400 hours on it.
Here is a link to a website that has the re-power conversion kits. http://www.smallenginewarehouse.com/Repower-Old-Equipment/John-Deere-420-Category/ The #420 is what gave me all the grief. That same original motor of mine also had a camshaft gear failure prior to the valve seat problem. That event also destroyed the crankshaft gear and oil pump.

The engine WAS in a JD 318, it happened to be a later version called a P218G …. the #2 cyl rod broke at a dead idle ….. the engine only had about 1200 hrs on it, we have owned this tractor since new, so it was maintained well ….. Even tho I was told that apparently at 500 hrs of running time Onan said u'r supposed to de-carbon the Engine …. WTF …. who ever came up with that memo (which I never got) was a Rocket scientist ….. had to be because i've NEVER in over 40 yrs of working on small engines of my own and 12 yrs in a shop heard of something so stupid ……. on another knowledge network (forum) I was told that it was to prevent the piston from hitting the piston top so the rods won't get damaged ….WOW ! you learn something everyday Hmmmm ! …… never mind the potential to break a valve tho …… I'm not going to go on and on about this POS engine ….. rebuild parts are available in the USA but a total rebuild kit before shipping, tax's and labor was $1800 plus , and if you had a damaged crank that was on top of that ….. You can buy a COMPLETE re & re Kohler kit, muffler, motor mounts, cross over wiring harness (to match up to the JD) flywheel adaptor for the drive shaft, PTO shims to space up the electric clutch …. the whole kit on a Brand New 3yr warranted motor for ~$1868.00 …… yup yup i'm gonna get on the re-build kit right away for an OBSOLETED engine, just to have bragging rights to say its all original ….. "NO-THANX"



I have an Onan 6500 generator in a trailer, it has an opposed twin, how do I find out if it's one of the problem engines, and what to do about it?

Well my thought were exactly the same thing about someone that has an Onan Genny when I found out that parts were a sucker to get …. "God Help You All" …. Because no one else will when it poops the bed ! ….. but Genny's usually don't rack up the hrs too bad, and if it is true about a carbon issue that'll save the engine, then maybe a guy should pull the heads off and clean it up …….
 

Tinkerer

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The shore of the illinois river USA
Craft, there must be thousands of us that had to repair those POS Onan engines. I can't imagine how much they made by selling parts to fix them. Did you have problem with dirt binding up the starting motor ? I did. Starter repairs required removing the engine on my POS John Deere 420. The starter was inaccessible in the tractor frame channel.
Phildirt; I can't help you with an answer as to which series of those engines had the sheet metal revision. I do remember that the replacement sheet metal wrapped farther around the engine.
 

CRAFT

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
929
Location
100 M H,BC,Canada
Occupation
30 yrs Owner/Operator
Craft, there must be thousands of us that had to repair those POS Onan engines. I can't imagine how much they made by selling parts to fix them. Did you have problem with dirt binding up the starting motor ? I did. Starter repairs required removing the engine on my POS John Deere 420. The starter was inaccessible in the tractor frame channel.
Phildirt; I can't help you with an answer as to which series of those engines had the sheet metal revision. I do remember that the replacement sheet metal wrapped farther around the engine.

No I did not have starter problems …… in the last few years the elec PTO clutch (on a 318 and not the 420, I think) the clutch would not immediately engage once it was hot, when it was cold it never happened (since all of this began I found out that its mearly a clutch clearance adjustment) ….. The only other p-off was the oil consumption issue it was increasing to a point like a ratio of mixing gas/oil in a chainsaw ….50:1…. then it became 40:1 … and so on LOL …. there is a collector JD web site (it seems to be a collector site only) …WFM… and don't ever call an Onan a POS ……you'll never get a straight answer after that …… What I don't get is if the Onan was such a great Highly engineered Engine then WHY did they go out of production ???? …….

Anyways ! ….. most reasonable guys are re-powering with the Kohler
command engines , there are other brands of motors available to convert …. its a matter of personal choice I guess.

One thing I learned about was that incredible want to get a JD 420 now …..what a sweet unit that was !!! …….

There is an outfit that offers a complete Kohler Engine package …. and I do mean complete for just under $1900, pending which model you've got, That price is Cheaper than going to this Onan parts outfit and just purchasing the re-build parts kit …… ( I will not post the names of these companies and give them free advertising) …. but if you need to know I can "E" it to you ….

Since I originally started this thread I've gotten pretty much a plan established what i'm going to proceed with …. it's all about the $$$$$

Cheers to you Tinkerer !
 
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Tinkerer

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Thanks for the good wishes Craft :) After I got that POS Onan back together I traded it off for a John Deere 425 with the fuel injected Kawasaki engine. it was the best money i have spent so far for a lawn mower. Over 500 hours and all I have done is change the oil in it.
 

Mike Van

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May 23, 2011
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215
Location
Kent Ct.
The Kawasaki on my 285 has 2200 hrs on it - Last fall I had an antifreeze leak that took 30.00 worth of gaskets & a half day of mine to fix. Other than that, it just keeps running -
 
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