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  1. #1

    Default Air Cooled Engines: Kawasaki vs Kohler

    Does anyone have feedback on a preference between a 25 HP Kawasaki - Kohler. I've heard some die hard Kohler folks say they're better but I've also heard the Kawasaki is tough and there's not a dimes difference between the two. I've finally settled on a 61" Bush Hog commercial ZTR and need to know what engine choice I should make. Hope I've posted this in the right place. Thanks in advance for any feedback!

    Chris

  2. #2
    Super Star Member
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    Default Re: Air Cooled Engines: Kawasaki vs Kohler

    <font color="blue"> Hope I've posted this in the right place. </font>
    Thread moved from General Buying to here.

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    Default Re: Air Cooled Engines: Kawasaki vs Kohler

    Just my 2 cents but I have some mowers &amp; generators with Kohler engines and some kawasaki..I know I can get Kohler parts just about everyhwere..But finding Kawasaki parts has been a challenge. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]

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    Veteran Member Spiffy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Air Cooled Engines: Kawasaki vs Kohler

    When I was looking at the specs for 21HPs, it seemed confirm what I read about the Kaw having a better torque curve than the other "usual suspects"; but with 25HP driving a 61" deck I don't think you'll have to split hairs anyway.

    I read [think another post on TBN actually] the KAW may use more fuel, but never compared apples to apples myself.

    Are you more familiar with one or the other? As Mark1 stated, will one or the other have better parts availability for you? Are both units in stock? Any price difference?

    Don't think you have a wrong choice!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Air Cooled Engines: Kawasaki vs Kohler

    Chris,

    Congrats on getting your ZTR.
    I have about the same size model and I'm running the 25hp Kohler.
    I asked the guy I bought it from about the differences between the 2 and he said that there is very little difference and honestly recommended the Kohler just for the price difference. Haven't had any issues with mine whatsoever. If you do go with the Kohler, just watch the shutdown steps to avoid backfire (mine requires idle for a bit before shutdown).

    Brian

  6. #6

    Default Re: Air Cooled Engines: Kawasaki vs Kohler

    In my opinion, you have to compare apples to apples. Kohler is a fine product when compared against its main rivals Briggs and Tecumseh. However, Kohler cannot stack up against Kawasaki. Before I go on let me say I always try to buy American products and I would buy a Ford over any Toyota any day of the week. However, in the small engine world KAW is hard to beat. For me I could care less about 1-2 horsepower and power curves in small engines. What I care about is reliability, quality, ease of maintenance, and parts availability. KAW just like Honda are experts at building small engines. Being a Japanese company, they have taken what they have learned from years of building motorcycle engines and perfected the small engine market. I have seen people with 800-1200 hours on 18hp KAW engines never having to do more than change the oil with no problems. The engines start just like day one. As for finding parts I can agree with the previous post KAW parts are harder to come by, but just think why for a second. If your product breaks less often this creates less demand for parts, which in turn less dealers are willing to keep inventory on hand. You don't have to worry about waiting weeks for parts like some people that own tractors from India and the former Soviet states because the Japanese already have an extensive supply chain here in the USA. I am not sure if KAW uses plastic internal engine parts like Kohler does (cam gears). But then again how often does one have to tear down a KAW.

    [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Air Cooled Engines: Kawasaki vs Kohler

    I had major problems with my Kohler engine (16hp) on my Craftsman. But the Kohler company shipped me a new engine which I've run for a long time with no issues.

    As for the Kawi. Never had one so I'll not comment on that

  8. #8
    Veteran Member Nasty135's Avatar
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    Default Re: Air Cooled Engines: Kawasaki vs Kohler

    Simpkinc, I have to say when I started looking for my ZTR, I originally had seen only kohler powered units, and from a historical perspective I figured that was probably the way to go... BUT then I basically stumbled on a kawasaki powered unit (25hp) and started to ask questions about longevity maintenance and such. These questions were directed at owners of kawasaki powered mowers and not one had anything bad to say...("Starts right up everytime")These are the guys that use them everyday to make a living...

    So as said before,You probably won't go wrong either way... Good Luck and happy mowing [img]/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]

    OH BTW, I don't have any experience with gas consumption on the kohler line, But my 25hp kawasaki is thirsty if compared to my 33hp diesel tractor... I would say at least 2 to 1 for hrs used

  9. #9
    Veteran Member JTKub's Avatar
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    Default Re: Air Cooled Engines: Kawasaki vs Kohler

    We had a 17hp kawi single on our JD GT262. A very smooth, quiet and powerful engine. Summer or winter it never skipped a beat. Being a vertical shaft, it would occasionally belch an oil smoke cloud on startup if parked nose down, but that was it. It was like new when we sold it w/ 7yrs and 500-600hrs on it. As with any 'high-end' engine (kawi, honda, onan, etc..) parts tend to be more expensive. Other than that, I think all the V-twins are good. Single cyl, I like kawi, honda or robin/subaru best.
    G/luck
    Joel

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Air Cooled Engines: Kawasaki vs Kohler

    I have a kawi, good engine.
    Its very powerful in the low revs, I will say it is a bit particular about how you use it. It likes a very particular start up procedure or it chugs alot. Seems like a very good engine. My mower was bought second hand and I know it had a hard life before and after I bought it. It must have done hundereds, probably nearing if not in the 1000s of hours. I came by it because the previous owner had smashed the gearbox in. Just shows the kind of abuse its put up with and it still sounds great and doesnt smoke atall. It burns no oil and is very powerdul, I would possibly add that it seems more powerful than my same HP briggs engines though if you over do it it lugs very quickly whereas the briggs are harder to lug down.
    I use it everday very hard. It doesnt miss a beat going full tilt across newly ploughted areas, its still runs fine after being rolled while still running, I just resatred and drove back. The biggest probelm I have is its habit of stalling when going up hills in high gear towing something, the briggs dont stall out, must just be nature of the beast. it is also set out poorly for serviceing, but they may have addressed this now, it is a '89 engine I believe. Another thing is that it uses unusual spark plugs and it can get pricey compared to the briggs.
    Having never owned a kohler i cannot compare but general concensus around my area is that both are good engines but kawi are just that little bit better. Around here its easier to get kawi parts, but I accept that it is vastly different where you are.
    I hope these comments help [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

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