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Hydro 129 Repower

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wtatge

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Apr 26, 2009
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William Tatge
Hey guys I have a cub cadet hydro 129 with the Kohler 12hp engine. Long story short the engine has been rebuilt at least once that I know of and I need to get the cub running again. I was wondering if anyone has ever put a different engine in one of these. It’s basically impossible to find another kohler where I am.
 

dschwandt

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Mar 31, 2012
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David Schwandt
Find out why it won't/doesn't run/start and go from there.
How do you know it has been rebuilt once already?
What part of the world are you in?
 

gary noblit

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Jul 22, 2020
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jonesville,mi.
not starting doesn't make it a bad engine...effort and knowledge required.....but you can put in a v8 if you wish to and you like a challenge...
 

wtatge

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Apr 26, 2009
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William Tatge
I know it has been rebuilt once because it happened in my lifetime. My parents had it rebuilt when I was a kid. Engine was bored out from the K321 to the next size up. It ran well for probably another 10 or so years before it blew the head again and in doing so it warped the head deck, cracked the head, and ruined the bolt holes that the head bolts go into. They are now stripped out in at least two holes. And I’m not a bum I know an engine that doesn’t run doesn’t always indicate a bad engine. However I have taken the block to more than one engine rebuilder who have suggested finding a new engine as opposed to trying to rebuild this one again. And yes I know I can technically “make anything fit” but that’s not what I am asking for. I want to get the tractor back running again but I also don’t want to spend thousands of dollars trying to do so. It’s just not really worth that to me. I just moved to Iowa however I have been looking in the Midwest for probably about 10yrs now for a different running engine.
 

hydroharry

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Jul 22, 2007
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Harry Bursell
William - if you're in Iowa there are surely some cubs around you that have a decent engine you could get overhauled. I'd start by posting a free ad in the Wanted section of the Forum. Also, please note the 12hp in your 129 would be a K301 (not K321 as you stated above). The K321 is a 14hp.
 

wtatge

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William Tatge
I have been looking and all the ones I have been able to find are over a grand and I’m not going to spend that much for an engine that I know nothing about hence why I asked if there is anything else that anyone has swapped in relatively easily. And you are correct the K321 is the 14hp. I have that one on my mind because when the engine was rebuilt it was bored out to use the piston and connecting rod from the K321.
 

hydroharry

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Harry Bursell
I have been looking and all the ones I have been able to find are over a grand and I’m not going to spend that much for an engine that I know nothing about hence why I asked if there is anything else that anyone has swapped in relatively easily. And you are correct the K321 is the 14hp. I have that one on my mind because when the engine was rebuilt it was bored out to use the piston and connecting rod from the K321.
WHOA!!!! I didn't think you could bore a 12hp K301 big enough to fit a 14hp piston. Maybe that's why the engine failed.
 

wtatge

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William Tatge
No idea except that the gentleman who did the rebuild had been doing rebuilds for over 40yrs and honestly it lived a pretty hard life. We used it to cut over 8acres of grass in the summer and snow blow the driveway in the winter not to mention pulling trailers around all the time. The fact that the little cub worked that hard for that long is pretty impressive in my book. It put in almost 50yrs of work before the engine finally gave up the ghost.
 

Allenpatterson

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Jan 11, 2021
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Michigan
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Al Pat
I haven't seen any common or simple engine swap repowers for the 1X9 series cubs. These garden tractors were built well and if I had to guess why there isn't many repowers done on these is because the Kohler K-series engines must have been one of the best small engines of that time period. So I would say that international harvester chose the right power plant for their garden tractors. Many have lasted and held up to the abuse right along with the tractor they're in just like yours did for so many years. I would love for my Kohler command pro 25hp engine in my 2020 Scag zero turn to hold up like the K-series engines have but I think that's probably wishful thinking on my part and unrealistic to happen? Plus I don't think the mower itself will hold up as long as these old cubs have even though I follow all the maintenance at recommended intervals. Good luck continuing the search for a decent and affordable donor engine! I am just glad I haven't kept track of all the money I have put into my 129. I know more will be dumped into it as more issues arrive along the way but it's probably my favorite tractor that I own at the moment so that makes it a little easier to keep spending on it.
 

kphill

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Jul 14, 2008
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Grove City, Pa.
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Kevin Hill
William, I went to facebook marketplace and not knowing where you live just put in Davenport Iowa.. There is a ton of Cubs on there and there is even a engine that is ready to drop in complete with generator and muffler as well.. They say it is out of a 127 and runs very good.. I have always thought of Iowa as ground zero for IH stuff especially cub cadets.. Just go to facebook marketplace and type in your hometown and what you are looking for.. You may be surprised..There are complete running tractors on there for around $300-350 and complete and running engines as well
 
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