Dixie Chopper with Generac Engine

   / Dixie Chopper with Generac Engine #1  

Semper Paratus

Gold Member
Dec 18, 2017
Newport News, VA
New Holland 3930
Ok guys I'm a little light on info but here goes. I inherited from a 2005-2010 Dixie Chopper Industrial from a deceased 3 war 101+ year old retired Army Aviator Colonel. It has the Electric lift 54" ish deck and a Generac Engine (28 HP I think). When I picked it up I had to pull it up on the trailer because it would not start. Cranked right over, output shaft spinning but did not sound right. No knocking but just didn't sound like it had compression. As a bit of additional info I ran and maintained (grease, oil changes, hyd cooler cleaning, hyd filter changes and top ups, belt changes, spindle replacements and blade changes) this unit up until three or four years ago and it started, ran and cut fine on 5ish acres every couple of weeks a pasture edges (80 + acres) a couple of times a year. Then for a couple of years people less interested in keeping up the maintenance than I. ( Blown out front tires, front wheel bearings ungreased and coming apart blades worn to nubs and belt well frayed. and would not start) ran it with little maintenance. I trailered it home and have finally gotten around to trouble shooting. I can't tell you for sure what engine it has because the Generac sticker has pulled mostly off with just Generac visible.
Here is what I know:
There is oil in the sump looks relatively clean and between the dip stick marks...Was reported to have a bad oil leak...appears to have been a loose filter. Got 1/4 + turn by hand in an awkward position. Filter was covered in dirt and oil.
Plenty of spark on both cylinders.
No detectable compression on either cylinder. ( I was able to put my finger completely covering the spark plug hole and felt zero compression). Would not even try to pop with a little snort of starting fluid into the intake.
Not sure about fuel. Looks to have an electric fuel pump mounted on the fly wheel shroud but seems moot until I have compression. Tank valves are open, fuel in tanks , and fuel visible in inline fuel filter.
Here is what I don't have or know:
A solid ID on the engine. Are there stampings somewhere that will help me identify the engine in the absence of most of the sticker?
A solid ID on which chopper I have (label plate etc)
Service Manual for the Engine/unit
Any idea if it is worth trying to fix a generac engine/ that has obviously been mistreated. Are parts available/affordable?
Is a Kawasaki or some other type of reengine a good idea?
What should be the next step?

   / Dixie Chopper with Generac Engine #2  
I would re-engine with Kawasaki, mine has been trouble free for 15 years with regular maintenance.
   / Dixie Chopper with Generac Engine #3  
Yes those 2005 - 2010 range Dixie Choppers are tough mowers. They came with Kubota diesels, Kohler and Generac gas engines. Knowing your serial number on the mower would be a tremendous route to successful information and critical parts. Call these guys and tell them your problem, they are the experts on Dixie Choppers. Have your serial number when you call. They can cross reference the manufacturer database and know everything about your mower, and probably have a rebuild kit(piston+rings+valves) on your doorstep in 48 hours.

Kawasaki engines are strong reliable engines, perfect for zero turn mowers. However, i think your Generac is a good engine and probably can be rebuilt. It is worth saving.

Welcome to Dixie Chopper Parts Distributors - Genuine Dixie Parts
   / Dixie Chopper with Generac Engine #4  
Before you pull the heads, you need to try a real set of compression gauges, and check valve clearances. Without knowing exact engine, its hard to, say what valve clearance should be, but generac generator engines are set to .002 - .004”. I just have no idea what yours should be without knowing engine. Generacs gas generator diagnostic manual shows the following for gas generators. Correct valve clearance:

Correct valve clearance:
   / Dixie Chopper with Generac Engine #5  
I’d definitely pull the rocker covers and make sure the the valves are moving, and that they have the proper, or at least some clearance. I had a Kohler on an Exmark Lazer mower that had the cam gear on the crank split and fall of into the sump.
Obviously, it had no compression, but the cause was a new one to me.
   / Dixie Chopper with Generac Engine #6  
Dixie Chopper Model & Serial Number Locations

Dixie Chopper Mowers usually have a basic model number decal attached to the frame on the right side of the mower towards the front. Dixie Chopper Mowers usually have an additional large sticker with more detailed information attached to the underside of the seat. This sticker is usually protected from the elements.

Also, all Dixie Chopper manuals are available for free download in PDF format at the following location, and you will need model number.

Owners Manuals - Dixie Chopper
   / Dixie Chopper with Generac Engine #7  
I have a 2008 and a 2012 if you need pictures.
I’d check valve adjustments and if they are moving first.
Then reverify that compression check.
If still no compression, then it’s
“Off with her head(s)”
   / Dixie Chopper with Generac Engine #8  
Like others said, pull valve covers and make sure valves are going up and down. If they are check clearances. If no it is probably timing gears.

Not familiar with Generac engines but look into whether or not they had plastic timing gears. Kawasaki had some that people would change to metal. Looks like both Generac models supply the gear with the camshaft.

Generac Engine Parts

Generac Engine Parts for Dixie Chopper Mowers | Power Mower Sales
   / Dixie Chopper with Generac Engine #9  
Not sure how you made out with this but it's very possible that your engine has a decompressor. If so you have to spin the engine fast enough so it stops holding the exhaust valve slightly open before you can check compression. I have a cheap Chinese made Briggs (I think Generac engines are made in China too) and it's a pain to start simply because you have to really get it spinning to start it.
   / Dixie Chopper with Generac Engine
  • Thread Starter
Well guys its been three and a half years. Unfortunately quite interesting times. Covid related stuff, retirement (don't know how I ever worked with everything I do as a volunteer) a house build (with most problems now resolved) wife's thyroid cancer and frankly some depression to go with other minor health issues....
I did not remove the heads but used a HF boroscope (pretty neat little rig) to peak in the spark plug holes....Rolled the engine by hand and no piston movement. I have the dreaded Generac con rod failure. BTW the valve moved nice and smoothly and had about .004" -.006" max clearance.
Looks like a new 33 to 36 HP replacement engine is going to be 3 grand and up, plus labor of $7-800, plus tires and probably an electric clutch...All told mid to high fours to get it running. It is an Excalibur unit so an in kind replacement is $20K+. Truly more machine than I need as a non-commercial home owner.
I have a property management acquaintance, since the pumps and wheel motors appear to be good, who would offer me something to make a whole unit with one of his Choppers that has a good engine and leaking pumps and motors.
If I sell it off I have to replace it with something. My walk behind at the current house is 40 years old and near played out. Besides, at my age, I don't really want to cut an acre walking. I can't cut the acreish house lot with the 3930 because of the septic and drain fields. So on a weekly basis I will be cutting an acre, every other week that will become 2.5 to 3 with the orchard and pasture spaces and a few to several time a year additional grass clipping along the right of way in. I acknowledge that with the exception of the house lot the 3930 can do a lot of it.

So what are your recommendations (brands and models) and approximate price points? With the exception of the big box store equipment most of the local guys won't discuss price over the phone. Looking to save myself a little time and gas running all over the countryside to talk to people who just want to sell something and not hear what I want or need. With your recommendations maybe I can cut down to one or two brands.
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