Worth replacing head gaskets?

arhickOctober 30, 2013

My brother asked me about doing his head gaskets in his riding mower with a Kohler Cv730 engine and I'm unsure if I am up to task on this. A local shop wanted $400 to do the repair. Are these Kohlers worth the repair and do they normally go well?

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mownie(7)

Best way for you to determine the correct answer to that question (the "unsure of capability" part) is to go to the Kohler website and download a free PDF copy of the service manual for that engine family.
The Kohler manuals are good and when you study the procedure in the manual you will be better able to decide if it's you or not.
One thing you want to be sure to do if you try it is to shoot plenty of pictures of everything before you remove the first part and after that, shoot pictures at every step or part removed.
How many times have folks gotten themselves into a bind because they didn't record the disassembly process?
You might even check the videos on yoo toob to see if there is something on the exact engine. But do get the Kohler manual first and start studying.
There are other members here who make their bread money working on Kohlers and will probably offer encouragement too.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 12:38AM
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tomplum

Yes, review the manuals. It will take a 3-4 hours of your time if you are mechanically experienced -of course depending on the application. Some just take longer. If you have good dexterity and a set of gear wrenches, you can cut down the time and keep exhaust pipes on many times. That is if the heads on your engine are retained by bolts rather than studs.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 11:42AM
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arhick

Thank you for the suggestion, gents. I will get the gaskets ordered. Please stand by!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 3:55PM
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tomplum

Time to figure out your cleaning supplies. Clean up is the most tedious part as you need to not gouge the aluminum. My favorite is the course, kind of plastic looking scuffing pads. A gentle removal w/ a razor blade to get the bulk of the gasket away first, then use your scuff pad or scotch brite. When all the debris is gone, wipe down with some spray carb clean or mineral spirits on o towel. Remember to lower the piston slightly to get at any bits out that found their way in there. You also want to clean the chamber of the hard deposits and refresh the spark plugs too. Plug the push rod galley with a clean towel and put the piston at the top to help keep contaminants out. have fun!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 1:26PM
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arhick

I wanted to report back that the repair is done. In watching a Youtube video, I saw where they scraped the head gasket off w/ a puddy knife and didn't do further clean up. I went further as you suggested and it was amazing how much more gasket material came off. Thank you, thank you. I'm much more confident that the repair will last. I would go poor doing these for a living as it took over 5 hours. I felt that I had to remove the exhaust pipes even with it having bolts that held the head down. The gasket blew out in between a small hole that went through the head and the large cylinder hole. I see that the gasket is mad differently now so I would hope it is meant to last. I winged it on one part where the instructions said to install the gasket with the numbers up. I assumed that it meant towards the head and that maybe the instructions were meant for the side shaft models that the heads are on top. Did I do good? Thanks again everyone for your support.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 11:55PM
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mownie(7)

5 hours is "student time", you are a student.
The word "UP" defines as "toward cylinder head" in this case.
Your score is nearly 100%.
Good results.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 7:35AM
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bill_kapaun

5 hours is much faster than 4 hours twice.
Being slow & methodical for a "learning experience" is usually a much shorter path to a successful outcome.

I build bicycle wheels. When I take a methodical approach, I end up with a GOOD, evenly tensioned wheel much faster.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 9:57AM
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