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Engine pieces in magnetic drain plug

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mstreet

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Feb 12, 2018
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Mark Street
We have a Cub 1650 that's been in the family since brand new in 1975. I use it mainly for throwing/blowing snow with a QA36A in the winter here in Western NY. This spring I've been hauling soil and sand as I level our lawn. I change the oil at least once a year and usually just before winter as that's when the 16 HP Kohler gets it's heaviest workout throwing snow at 3600ish rpm. So just drained the oil. Have a David Kirk (sponsor) magnetic oil drain plug (Along with several other of his wonderful upgrades) and just found these engine pieces (ring pieces?) stuck to the magnetic plug along with the usual amount of sludge stuck to the plug. Hopefully the pics post and show the 2 pieces well. Any idea what they might be and is my 45 year old, never rebuilt engine on it's last legs? It still runs absolutely perfectly with no issues.
 

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mfrade

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Mike Frade
I can't make out what they are, and I'm at work so I can't download them to zoom in. Someone will be along to offer a real opinion!
 

mgonitzke

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Matt Gonitzke
Those pieces are too small to be readily identifiable as being from a particular part of the engine to me. If it were me, I'd be at least taking the oil pan off and seeing what's going on in there.
 

spndncash

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Jan 19, 2020
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Medina, Ohio
I would think if they are piston ring pieces you would not be able to run the engine. short of a hole in the piston or a complete piston failure, I don't think a chunk of the ring(s) can get into the crank case on a 4 stroke. maybe piston skirting, main roller bearing caging, rod dipper (not sure if this is the right name. My father calls it the dipper- the extension on the rod for lubrication). does the metal look cast (porus) or stamped?
 

dkirk

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Mark - thank you for the kind words. Happy to see the magnetic plug did it's job. Looks to me that you have a balance gear-equipped K341 and gears are starting to fail - these look like gear teeth from the photo. The fact that they stuck to the magnetic plug indicate they are ferrous metal, indicative of iron, the material used in the gear set. I agree with David Schwandt, don't run the engine any more. You can remove engine from the tractor and pull the oil pan for a look inside - not a bad job. If the balance gears are indeed failing, you can remove them without tearing the engine down. However, running a K341 without balance gears will be an unpleasant experience in transmitted vibration.
 

mstreet

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Mark Street
Thank you all for the advice. Normally, I wouldn't have even discovered those metal pieces until just before this upcoming winter when I did the annual oil change. Then I would have had to scramble to remove the engine before the first snow. Removed the engine for the first time about 3 years for a solid inspection and frame painting. Found and welded a half inch crack in the frame beneath the engine. That's about when I upgraded to David Kirk ignition, spark plug wire, hydro filter, muffler brace, side cover knobs, foot tread screws, magnetic drain plug, HD tie rod ends and Super Steer kit for our beloved Cub.

Last summer I retired after 30 years in the airlines so about a month ago started addressing a long desired job: Leveling our very bumpy lawn. The additional hours on the engine from this caused me to change the oil 'early' and here we are. I use a Cub ZT2-50 for mowing but don't want to use that for hauling dirt. Though I may have to if/when I remove the engine from the 1650.

So, balance gears. I've thought of removing them many times over the years. I think I finally decided that I probably didn't have them. Laziness may have contributed to that idea. Plus, it vibrates enough as it is with the gears, if I have them. I know I could look up the many discussions on balance gears and probably will. But still, any thoughts?
 

snicklas

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Scott Nicklas
Mark - thank you for the kind words. Happy to see the magnetic plug did it's job. Looks to me that you have a balance gear-equipped K341 and gears are starting to fail - these look like gear teeth from the photo. The fact that they stuck to the magnetic plug indicate they are ferrous metal, indicative of iron, the material used in the gear set. I agree with David Schwandt, don't run the engine any more. You can remove engine from the tractor and pull the oil pan for a look inside - not a bad job. If the balance gears are indeed failing, you can remove them without tearing the engine down. However, running a K341 without balance gears will be an unpleasant experience in transmitted vibration.


Dave,

Just to verify, the K341AQS that is in a 1650 has balance gears? I‘m just trying to verify as I was under the impression that once they went to the ISO Mounted engines the balance gears were no longer used. Last year my 1650 started to “feel funny” when I was using it. I parked it and switched over to my 1450, and haven’t had a chance to look at the 1650. If it does have balance gears, that is something to check, as it was a vibration-y odd feeling. Do the 1450 have them also? Just trying to cover all my bases.....
 

kharvey

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Kendal Harvey
If not balance gear teeth it could be from cam gear or crankshaft gear. At any rate it's time for a look inside.
Please let us know what you find.
 

mgonitzke

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Matt Gonitzke
Dave,

Just to verify, the K341AQS that is in a 1650 has balance gears? I‘m just trying to verify as I was under the impression that once they went to the ISO Mounted engines the balance gears were no longer used. Last year my 1650 started to “feel funny” when I was using it. I parked it and switched over to my 1450, and haven’t had a chance to look at the 1650. If it does have balance gears, that is something to check, as it was a vibration-y odd feeling. Do the 1450 have them also? Just trying to cover all my bases.....

Some did and some did not. A sudden change in the vibration of the engine could be due to engine mounting bolts coming loose, disintegration of an engine mount, etc.
 

dijohnson

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Don Johnson
Anybody have a opinion on what overhead engine would be a good replacement for the 341 in a 1650? I sure don't like the way this one shakes, raddels while it is rolling.
 

dkirk

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David Kirk
Scott,

As Matt stated, some did - some didn't. I think all the K341's had balance gears though, due to the highest recip mass of all the K-series engines. Usually the gears give advance warning when they start to fail, in that they make a "rattling" noise at certain engine speeds. This is not always the case however.
 

snicklas

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Thank you Dave and Matt. Gives me more things to look at. It was early last season when it happened, so I backed it in the garage, drained all the fuel and ran it until it died for lack of fuel, and pulled the battery (needed to replace the one in the other tractor) and there it has sat. Been a busy year, but hope it look at it soon.

I will check the bolts and ISO mounts, but the mounts are fairly new as Dad an I pulled the engine, did the cradle mod, put in ISO‘s and put one of our modified bolts in the front axle. That’s partially why I was checking for other possibilities. If the pan bolts, ISO’s and the driveline checks out, looks like the engine is headed for the bench to pull the pan...... If so, that may be a weekend trip to Mom and Dads, once this lockdown is over. His garage is much better equipped for this than mine is.....

I know how everyone feels about balance gears, but with as bad as they vibrate with the gears, on a 16 do you think they should be kept? I know the 14 we pulled the gears out of really vibrates now.
 

mgonitzke

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Matt Gonitzke
Anybody have a opinion on what overhead engine would be a good replacement for the 341 in a 1650? I sure don't like the way this one shakes, raddels while it is rolling.

Have your replaced the engine mounts with new OEM and welded a strap between the rails? The 1650 I used to have was almost as smooth as my 782 after those mods.

Most modern engines are not going to fit in there well without hacking up the frame.
 

dschwandt

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David Schwandt
I'll vouch for that.
It sure smoothed out the 341 I did last winter for my 1650.
Smoothest running IH Cub I have now!
 
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