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  1. #1
    Gold Member
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    Dec 2001
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    292
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    Virginia, Eastern Shore
    Tractor
    JD 4300

    Default Kohler vs Briggs & Stratton

    Yesterday I was advised it is better to get a Kohler engine in a lawn tractor than a Briggs and Stratton engine. Specifically I was looking at John Deere L 120 which has a 20 hp Briggs engine. Salesman said buy a Kohler engine in the L110 (17.5 hp) or the L130 (23hp) . Would appreciate any input on the different engine makes and whether or not you feel they are really any difference. Horsepower is really not my concern.

  2. #2
    Elite Member
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    Jul 2003
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    3,373
    Location
    Goffs Corner, KY
    Tractor
    IH 2444

    Default Re: Kohler vs Briggs & Stratton

    There used to be more difference in the Kohlers and Briggs. Now a days I am not sure that there is that much difference. The recent model Kohlers have been known to have very oil sensitive lifters in them. Use very good oil, keep them full and change often in all small engines for longest life.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    1,092
    Location
    South Central NC, USofA
    Tractor
    Iseki TU1700f

    Default Re: Kohler vs Briggs & Stratton

    B&S didn't get to be #1 by accident.
    Their engines have been around many years. Parts are available everywhere...from dealers to Walmart to convenience stores.
    Can Kohler say that for their products?
    Both are good engines.
    B&S is less expensive. All the way around.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
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    Jan 2002
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    1,927
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    Home-1+ acres New Hope, TX / 24 acres-Fannin County
    Tractor
    JD 950

    Default Re: Kohler vs Briggs & Stratton

    I had a Murray lawn tractor with a B/S for over 10 yrs which I pretty much wore out. Not the engine, everything else. Never had a problem with the engine. I now have a Craftsman with a 19 hp B/S. I have had it for about 8 years and never had a problem with it. I could have bought a Craftsman with a Kohler for quite a bit more. I don't see any advantage to the extra dollars for the Kohler.

  5. #5
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    3,373
    Location
    Goffs Corner, KY
    Tractor
    IH 2444

    Default Re: Kohler vs Briggs & Stratton

    I have heard of more trouble out of the Kawsaki engines than either the Kohler or Briggs engines. Just an added thought.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    442
    Location
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Tractor
    Kubota BX1500

    Default Re: Kohler vs Briggs & Stratton

    I had a 1980 model opposed twin 17hp Kohler that lasted 20 years of mowing 2 acres. It was a great engine until it threw a rod. I replaced it with a Craftsman 20hp vertical shaft V-twin Kohler with hydraulic lifters. On the second mowing with the new Kohler I started noticing the engine was making a clattering noise. I determined it was the lifters. I ask the Sears service department if they had heard of this, they said no. Never got a chance to resolve this issue.

  7. #7
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    3,373
    Location
    Goffs Corner, KY
    Tractor
    IH 2444

    Default Re: Kohler vs Briggs & Stratton

    The valve lifter/clatter problem is a known issue with the Kohlers. You have to use the right oil. Synthetics seem to work the best. I can't remember off the top of my head what weight it was though.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    71
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN
    Tractor
    New Holland TC18

    Default Re: Kohler vs Briggs & Stratton

    It depends not only on the brand but on the model. Most of us are familiar with the L-head B&S engines that have lasted so long in the past. Those engines are still substantial, but I have noticed nylon parts being used for the oil slinger and starter ring on the flywheel. I believe B&S is beginning to cut corners. Internal engine parts for B&S have traditionally been made of very good metal, but I've been seeing more component failure over the last few years, even from the L-head engines.

    The B&S Twin (opposing cylinders) runs very well for a few hundred hours. Then the valve seats loosen and the engine will quit running after it heats up. For me, the V engines from B&S are not worth buying. Even though they have some pressure lubrication and filter, there are two many other problems from electrical to fuel pump.

    The Kohler Magnum engine (all cast block) were arguably the best small equipment engine ever made. The Kohler command series, however, is not nearly the engine of the Magnum series. It is cast aluminum with cast iron bore and has oil pressure and filter lube, but won't last near the time a Magnum series would.

    Parts are more expensive for the Kohler, too.

    With all that said, and realize I have worked on a lot of lawn tractor engines, if you can only choose between B&S and Kohler, I'd go with the Kohler is the price is comparable. That's considering the recent products both have made.

    Hope that helps!

  9. #9
    Super Member _RaT_'s Avatar
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    Northern CA.
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    none, nothing, nada

    Default Re: Kohler vs Briggs & Stratton

    "B&S didn't get to be #1 by accident"

    Being number 1 and being good are two different things. B&S made cheap engines for many things. Many folks buy cheap stuff, over and over. Briggs and Strattons biggest issues in my opinion was designing and building their own carburetors and arguably as bad as many of the Tecumseh carburetors. The recoil starters were arguably the worst design ever. Kohler had B&S and Tecumseh beat hands down. Then came along Honda and for a couple extra hundred dollars per engine, were still cutting into the market. Folks realized the quality of Hondas. B&S, Kohler, Tecumseh took notice. B&S has come a long way since it's "cheap" engines of the 60's, 70's 80's and 90's. When I wanted quality, B&S was at the bottom of my list, if I wanted cheap, B&S was at the top. Today, their is less of a difference. Being number one never meant having the better product, B&S proved that. Rat...

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    649
    Location
    West Virginia

    Default Re: Kohler vs Briggs & Stratton

    I agree with you and 5 string,I have gotten lots of service out of the Briggs engines,just keep clean oil in them and make sure the oil level is good and keep good/clean gas in them and they will last for years.

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