Life Expectancy for the Kawaski air and liquid cooled engines?

cjsm5nys(5)February 21, 2009

Here is my question.....

With proper maintenance and no abuse, how many hours can one expect to put on a mower with either one these two engines?

First engine = Kawaski 18 hp air cooled

Second engine = Kawaski 17 hp liquid coooled

The engines are from John Deere's LX280 and LX289 models with the K61 transaxle. I may purchase one of these models. I have my eye on two '05 models with 49 and 100 hours respectively and will use primarily for mowing 1.1 acre, pulling a tiller for a small garden(not attachment) and minimal use of a blade.


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I have serviced commercial mowers with these engines exceeding 2000 hours, and these are abused. You cannot find a finer engine in a Deere, unless someone repowered it with a Honda.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 5:11PM
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I understand the differences between the LC engine and the air cooled. With your experience servicing these two engines are the costs of maintenance and repair of the LC engine not worth the ownership? One should expect a longer life out of the LC engine but I question the extra costs of maintaining and any repairs of the LC over the life of the engine may not be worth it? What are your thoughts? Thanks again

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 9:13PM
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In commerical applications, I think the L/C *could* last longer. But like the above poster, the costs associated with an L/C engine may not balance that out. I personally go A/C due to the low maintenance and lower cost. Run a synthetic oil, change it often, and you'll be fine. If you get a killer deal on the L/C, then go for that. It's basically a wash.

Neither engine is rated to last longer than the other. I think they both are 1,500 hour engines, but I've seen them last much longer (and shorter). It depends on the care they receive.

One nice advantage of the L/C is totally subjective...they just sound nice and are quieter.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 3:15PM
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I have an air cooled 12.5 horse Kawasaki in my 1986 John Deere 165 that runs like brand new. It doesnt have a real lot of hours on it since it was not used but maybe 5 years of the 23 that this tractor has existed. I am told Kawasaki is one of the best that there is.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 1:03AM
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johnml(z5 WI)

I bought a LC Kawasacki (GX345).

My key consideration was this. I once was a bit knowledgeable about industrial engine design and maintenance (stationary generators). To improve longevity, much effort went into keeping the engine operation at a very stable temperature.

I think that little engine on a tractor goes through a lot of heat cycles. We can afford the weight. Let liquid cooling maintain a more uniform temperature.

I don't know whether reality will agree with me, but hey, it is a theory.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 11:20PM
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I have a JD GT262 which was used commercially by a real estate management corporation for 15 years or so. Hours unknown but you can bet it's over 2k. It's a little banged up but the air-cooled Kawi still runs great. I also have an old JD 165 with a dead transmission, original deck rusted through (replacement trans and deck are sitting next to it, waiting for a rainy day), but the 460cc one-lung Kawi still runs like a Swiss watch. I think air-cooled Kawasaki is the way to go. A radiator in a lawn mower just seems like a ridiculously complicated situation to me.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 11:37PM
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I agree with Johnml, but I think either choice will long outlive anything it is attached to. My LC Kaw. was born in '94 and the only thing that has needed replacing was the fuel pump last year (it still worked, but the seals were leaking after sitting all Winter). They are awesome engines and purr like kittens.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 11:44AM
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I have a JD 265 with a 17hp Kaw. that is air cooled and has about 1000 hrs on it. It runs great now but the guy I bought it from replaced the rings before he sold it. I have no idea how well it was taken care of because the guy I bought it from repaired and resold them. I started it up every couple weeks during the winter and it always started good except once when it got to about -5 degrees. It has a real powerful sound. Hoping to get a johnny bucket to test the package.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 6:06PM
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