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Kohler makes the gas powered engines for many different riding mowers & garden tractors both for home owners and professionals.

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Craftsman LT2000 Kohler 17.5hp Motor - Trouble Idling, Power Issues

So can anyone diagnose what may be the problem with this mower? I inherited it and the previous owner reported it was very hard to start and took 10-15 minutes of cranking before it would catch. I took apart the carburetor and cleaned that real well, replaced the spark plug. It drives around ok but when at the top of a small hill started losing power and nearly stalled out. When I finally got it to start it was very loud and just my opinion sounded like what I think is a timing problem, but I apologize for the vague question I’m not sure where to start. Can someone tell me if that’s a good guess, how to fix it, and what other things I might look for if that’s not the problem?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcJW9KzR...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVGS0ike...

Update (01/24/2020)

This is my motor information

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Is your muffler plugged or your breather

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If you hear a clinking or clanking noise internally that's definitely not normal and sounds like metal against metal which will at some point be fatal to the engine . Some engines won't idle or run very well if they are low on oil also . Safety feature so it doesn't get blown up .

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The EPA has required the manufactures to pass clean air emissions in the small engine industry . They are running the engines so lean that after some break in periods they run like crap or are hard starting . Most no longer have any adjustments for the carburetor . The small hill issue very much points to that . If your dealer can’t or won’t fix it , lookup a new carburetor part number on kohlers web site . Use that part number on Ebay to find an adjustable replacement carb . The other option is use jet drills and make a larger hole in the main jet (jets ) . Not recommended as an owner operator fix .

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Adam Schaeffer  that sounds more like an issue with either the valvetrain or the piston (rings etc.)Craftsman used 3 different Kohler engines on this model. Kohler Command Single CV490S-27508 and CV492S-27506 as well as Kohler Courage SV490-0004 We’d need to know the exact engine used on yours. Do a compression test on your engine as well as a leakdown to see if it has valve or piston issues. I would suggest you pop the valve cover off and take a look at things on there. Check something like this manual for a better understanding Kohler CV engine servic emanual

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Thank you. I downloaded a mower manual but that isn't very helpful. This service manual is far better. I'll post a photo of the motor information plate below, if that helps narrow any advice down.

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@Adam Schaeffer thanks for the picture. It validates that we posted the right manual. It will not narrow this down. Troubleshooting things are the hardest part of the job. I am still leaning toward the top end having issues.

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I have a 97 wheelhorse with koler 12.5 commander I just bought it sounded like a timing or valve train problem pecking a little and not running smoothly and would not idle

I still not sure what's wrong but it has something to do with the governor I just happened to be checking carb and I grabbed the governor and reved the motor heard a metal clank and it smooth out completely and idles fine and Everytime I start it now I just reach down rev motor and it runs fine till I shut it off

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Possibly has water in the fuel. Especially if it's been sitting for extended periods…

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