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Old 01-07-2019, 01:07 PM
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Default Kohler Engine Break-in Procedure

Proper Break-In Procedures for Rebuilt Kohler Engines

Proper break-in of your engine is vital in assuring long life and dependable performance. Follow the procedure below to accomplish this.

1. Fill crankcase with 1.5 quarts of 30 wt. non-detergent oil. This is usually available at farm supply stores and most automotive parts stores.

2. Start and run engine at a fast idle for 15 – 30 minutes. Shut down and allow to cool to ambient temperature (takes about 2 hours). Re-torque cylinder head bolts to 30 ft-lb. Failure to do this can possibly result in a blown head gasket in a relatively short period of time.

3. Run engine as you normally would. Do not “baby” or run at slow speeds…keep the rpm up as this provides proper airflow for cooling and assists in ample lubrication.

4. After 5 operating hours, drain crankcase oil while engine is hot. Replace drain plug and refill crankcase with 1.5 quarts of 30 wt. non-detergent oil.

5. After 5 more operating hours, drain crankcase oil while engine is hot. Replace drain plug. Refill with 1.5 quarts of a name-brand, 30 wt. detergent oil (do not use 10W-30, only straight-weight 30).

6. This oil may be run for 25-30 hours before changing, which is the normal change interval for Kohler engines. Always change oil when the engine is hot…this removes more particulates. At 50 operating hours, the engine can be considered fully broken in.

Change oil at 25 – 30-hour intervals for the life of the engine. If this is done faithfully, the engine will last many thousands of operating hours. Always use a good grade of 30 wt detergent oil for summer operation. If operated in the winter, 10W-30 may be substituted to allow easier starting in cold weather.

Another option after full break-in is to use a multi-viscosity, full synthetic oil. Synthetic oils are much more suitable for use in air-cooled engines due to their higher operating temperature capability. Their chemical stability at elevated temperatures maintains viscosity over time (they don’t “thicken” as quickly as mineral oil) due to less oxidation. This is evidenced by how little the synthetic oil darkens over the change interval as compared to the mineral counterpart. I have run Mobil 1 10W-30 year-round in my K301 Kohler since 2001. The engine cranks and starts easily in the coldest of weather and oil consumption during the summer months is virtually nil. The change interval of 30 hours is maintained (about what I log in 1 year). I highly recommend this oil based on my experience with using it.

Make it a habit to always check oil level before using the tractor! An air-cooled engine will use some oil during operation – this is normal. Keep crankcase topped off at the “full” mark on dip stick.

Always check flywheel blower screen for grass clippings and chaff that can block cooling air flow. Don’t let buildups occur – this can drastically shorten engine life by causing overheating.

David Kirk - ME
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Cub Cadet is a premium line of outdoor power equipment, established in 1961 as part of International Harvester. During the 1960s, IH initiated an entirely new line of lawn and garden equipment aimed at the owners rural homes with large yards and private gardens. There were a wide variety of Cub Cadet branded and after-market attachments available; including mowers, blades, snow blowers, front loaders, plows, carts, etc. Cub Cadet advertising at that time harped on their thorough testing by "boys - acknowledged by many as the world's worst destructive force!". Cub Cadets became known for their dependability and rugged construction.

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