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K161 governor mess

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JPrattico

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Cubcadet_107
In October 2020 I brought home a '61 Original with a rusty deck and big wide ag tires for $500. I have realized that this machine was a lot more of a project than what the seller claimed. They were a father and son with quite a lot of Cubs and Cub parts laying around, seemed trustworthy enough, but there is no way they put the work into this that they claimed they did. When I bought the unit it was running and driving but the governor was not working right and the engine would overspeed. It was assumed by both me and the seller that it "just needed some adjustment". About 9 months later, and some careful use of the tractor to make sure that I did not overspeed the engine, I finally found time to try and make those "adjustments" to the governor late August 2021. No matter what I did I could not get a functional governor. At that point I pulled the assembly apart, and that was when I quickly discovered that it did not need some adjustment, the entire governor gear was MIA. so, out came the k161. Drained the oil, and over to the workbench for disassembly.

This is where things got kinda weird. I have listened to and read countless stories of governor failure on Kohler K series engines, in every story the governor fails by flying apart into a bunch of small pieces. However this is not what I found, there was almost no debris in the oil pan. Instead, the governor was mostly intact, wedged up above the camshaft just right that the cam gear didn't hit it and you couldn't see it if you removed the governor arm assembly. This of course led to complete disassembly of the engine to remove it. Along the way I discovered that the connecting rod was pretty badly scored and would need replacing, its probable that the overspeeding may have contributed to this. But upon pulling the governor out, it only became more confusing.
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I have not changed anything with this governor. This is exactly how it came out of the engine. I do not have any idea how that weight managed to come out of where it's supposed to be. Besides that, the pins holding the weights have been pushed outward by impact on the opposite side. The gear teeth have been eaten away at by the retaining screw. There is a large gash on one side from striking something (this is what pushed those weight retaining pins outward). underneath the weight that is no longer where it should be is a deep gash in the gear teeth that seems to be where the retaining screw went through the gear when it came loose. The side of that weight even has a decent gash in it. Both weights have dents and dings at the edges, and the center hole where the gear rides on the governor shaft is wallowed out. I have been trying to figure out what happened first, but I am pretty well stumped. Did the gear rub against the retaining screw and cause the failure? Or did that weight manage to come loose and strike something, then causing the gear to hit the retaining screw and cause the failure?

Now I've been looking around for a replacement governor. Nowhere on the internet can I seem to find a governor that specifically says it will fit the k161. However besides the damage the governor I removed seems to match the governor in my k301 that I swapped into my 107. I guess I'm looking for good confirmation on whether or not I can simply use a governor from a larger K series since they seem to be the same. I need to know what I'm looking for. I also need a look at the retaining screw, because the screw I pulled out really doesn't look like a factory piece, but I don't know for sure.

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I purchased this governor off Fleabay just to see, and it arrived a couple days ago. The color is not age or use, but rather the color of the material it is molded from. It appears to be heavier, and a higher quality material than the governor I pulled from the engine. The only difference between the 2 seems to be the center tower, which appears to be a little better made on this governor. The center pin protrudes further but the tower is slightly shorter, so the 2 are still the same height. Everything else appears to be identical. Radius, # of teeth, etc. Will this work? Or do I need to find another? I only paid ~$12 for it, and if it won't work in the k161 I can probably stick it in the k241 when I rebuild it for the 107. So, thoughts?
 

jkoenig

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Jim Koenig Halfway between Harvester, MO and Cadet, MO
JP,
Sorry to hear about this, but at least it does not become one of the grenade statistics.

A trip to the Cub Cadet Parts Lookup shows that a K161 and a 127-era K301 use the same part number governor gear. If you don’t want to believe my markings, check out the muffler differences.

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lpalma

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new jersey
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Lewis Palma
What he said.

I need to know what I'm looking for. I also need a look at the retaining screw, because the screw I pulled out really doesn't look like a factory piece, but I don't know for sure.

Got a picture of the pin?
When I run into a situation as yours I check to see if there is a adjustment issue by checking the governor arm resistance when the throttle is increased.
 

JPrattico

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Cubcadet_107
Got a picture of the pin?
When I run into a situation as yours I check to see if there is a adjustment issue by checking the governor arm resistance when the throttle is increased.

I'll have to take a picture when I get home later. It didn't take me very long to find out that the governor was MIA, I very quickly noticed that there was no resistance at all on the governor arm.

Will get a picture of that retaining screw when I get home.

JP,
Sorry to hear about this, but at least it does not become one of the grenade statistics.

A trip to the Cub Cadet Parts Lookup shows that a K161 and a 127-era K301 use the same part number governor gear. If you don’t want to believe my markings, check out the muffler differences.

View attachment 148187 View attachment 148188

No need to doubt your markings. That is good news, as it means that I should be able to use the governor after all. In the meantime, still want to try and figure out what caused the old one to fail, so that I can make sure it doesn't happen again! And you're right, finally a governor failure that's different from the rest. And now I have an interesting conversation piece!

Side note, found a source for a replacement connecting rod.
 

Allenpatterson

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Jan 11, 2021
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Michigan
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Allen Patterson
I had a similar situation with my K301. Had a fly weight pin back out part way and the weight stuck and lost all function of the center pin that pushes on the cross shaft tab. Mine was also chewed up somewhat similar to yours. Would like to know just what went on in there when it happened?
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JPrattico

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Cubcadet_107
This is the screw that holds the gear in place. It has a single washer, if I install it without the washer the gear will hit the screw. I test fitted the replacement governor in the engine and it fit fine, and worked fine when I spun it by hand.
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lpalma

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Lewis Palma
That is not the correct screw, did you put the washer on the governor shaft between the gear and the block?

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JPrattico

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That is not the correct screw, did you put the washer on the governor shaft between the gear and the block?

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I did not, I believe that is the washer you can see laying on the engine block behind the governor in my pictures of it installed. The issue I see with the screw in your image is that it is way too long. I know that on the larger engines they use that long screw, and it sits towards the edge of the gear and holds it in place. But this is different, the screw sits inline with the very center of the governor and holds it in place there. It is just the right length with the washer to sit there and avoid interfering with the governor. Any longer and it rubs on the side of the gear so that it won't spin. Such a long screw like the one you've pictured would not even mount at all because it would have to run directly through the governor in order to do so.

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You can see in this picture that the end of that screw sits directly inline with the center of the governor.
 

1811Cub

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Jul 13, 2020
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Elkland, PA
This seems to be one of the very few weak links in the vast Kohler engine family. The KT/Magnum 17-20 hp flat twins have had their governor gear issues from day one. One issue might be is that the nylon is getting brittle due to heat cycles and age.
 

dkirk

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Fond du Lac, WI
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David Kirk
Kohler changed the design and material of the governor gear sometime during the K-series production. Picture shows the early-style gear on the left. This was made out of Nylon and used roll pins to anchor the weights. Over time, the Nylon hardens, the roll pins cause a crack in the plastic, pin loosens, works out, then destruction takes place. This doesn't always happen, but can with this particular design. The later and currently available governor gear appears on the right. This was made of a glass-filled thermoplastic that is white in color and more resistant to oil and heat than the original. Also, pins are now plain steel pins with peened over ends to prevent loosening. When rebuilding an engine, the newer style should be installed as they are more reliable than the early style.

Gov Gears.JPG
 

dschwandt

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David Schwandt
The long screw keeps the flap on the governor cross shaft from flipping outward when installed.

There is a thin shim under the governor between it and the block and a copper washer under the head of the screw.

The governor is the first thing that gets installed inside the block during reassembly and the last thing that comes out.

Did you reference the FSM before disassembly or just blindly tear into it?
 
Last edited:

JPrattico

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I followed the disassembly instructions just as the manual has them listed. This was not the first time I had disassembled a K series either. The governor, though nonfunctional, was still the last piece to be removed.
 
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