Briggs vs Kohler, Which is better

tb113October 22, 2010

Hey all, just moved to Austin area on an acre, and have already purchased a lawn tractor from home depot.

They had a special on a 42" Ariens with a Briggs & Stratton 19.5HP. But when they delivered it, they delivered a tractor with a 19HP Kohler Courage.

So next I went online, and researched these Kohler Courage engine, and read a lot on how these twin cam's have a key part that is made out of either plastic, or nylon, and will go out in a matter of 50-100hrs. That they will start throwing rods, and are basically junk.

So I called Home Depot and insisted they send me one with a Briggs & Stratton Intek 19HP.

Did I do the right thing? What's better, B&S or Kohler.

Good day all.

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you will probably have different opinions on this question.

both of the manufactureres offer commercial lines, but the mowers from the home improvement centers are usually equipped with engines intended for homeowners. Camshafts on these usually have nylon gears to reduce the engine noise. Most owners will not experience problems.

You have already researched problems that have developed on the kohler. Some Briggs owners have experienced problems with head gaskets. The head gaskets are easy repairs, but still require a trip to the repair shops.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 10:24AM
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You are comparing low price point entry level consumer grade engines and neither brand will have a long service record to compare.

The complaints you read are a drop in the bucket when the number of these engines out there purring along are considered.

Both B&S and Kohler have been around for a long time and if either company had a model with a fatal flaw it would be addressed so if you're really undecided... but the one with the longest warranty..

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 11:05AM
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Have an old kohler command 20 engine.What is the valve gap an the procedure to adjust valves.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 8:43PM
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You can go to and "enter as guest" for free service manuals. Most Kohler Commands have hydraulic lifters and the lash is not adjustable as a mechanical tappet type. There are special bleed procedures if it has been apart however.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 12:35AM
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I remember when Kohler was the leading Manufacturer of Industrial (Commercial) Grade Ventilation System Engine Suppliers for the Mining Sector throughout the World .
Also Raced a few Snowmobiles with K Engines , back in the Day they were World Class ! As has been Briggs in the Small Engine Market . Don't recall any big issues with either Engine Design actually .

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 5:53AM
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IMO neither home owner engine is the design of yester year or the quality you once respected. Commerical engines are better built and course cost more. Most single home owner engine can be brought new for as little as 400 to 500 bucks naturally twins are twice as much or more due to the extra manufacturing and part beings you got two cylinders and have twice the chance of something going wrong IMO?!? so I wouldn't worry about the engine if you have to replace one due to seldom design failure. IMO most failures are from lack of pre-ventive maintenance mainly air filteration and running low on oil or not changing the oil. IMO once a year is not enough, but I am an clean air breathing oil changing nerd! when it comes to my engines!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 7:12AM
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From my limited experience of late RC , you are most likely rather concise within your summary .

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 3:23PM
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Do not buy a mower with a Kohler courage on it. There is problem with 4 bolts on top cover coming loose. After they are loose they crack the block on engine. From looking at other complaint sites Kohler knows about this, but did not put out a recall. My Toro is 2 1/2 years old & out of warranty with a cracked block.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 11:15AM
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Have had 2 riders in last 3 yrs. The one with 17.5 hp B&S will crank and run on the same gas that will not even start the 19 hp Kohler Courage engine. It seems less finicky that the Kohler and has a made in America sticker on which the Kohler did not. I recommend the American-made B&S engine.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 6:58PM
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Briggs makes so many different versions of the same basic engine, it's hard to tell which are the better ones.

I have something like 32 different IPL's for their 31 Cubic Inch engines and I'm quite sure there's a few of that series I don't have.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 11:34AM
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