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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently my Case 442 w/ a 12hp Kohler K301 is sputtering to a stop and shutting down the engine after I've been using the tractor for about 30-45 min. If I choke the carb I can get it to restart for a moment but I cannot keep it running. I suspect that the coil is overheating. When the tractor dies the coil is super hot. I can barely hold my hand on the bottom of the coil for 5 sec. The heat shield closest to the coil is not nearly as hot. If I allow tractor to cool for about an hour it starts right up. Reading elsewhere in the forum I seem to suspect this also could be related to the timing of which I have adjusted daily for the past few weeks as I've been trying to get this figured out. I have been setting the timing with a test light set to the SP mark but I've since retarded it a few degrees as it seemed to run a bit better but still dies.

Here's a little more background. I purchased the tractor in 2014 and overhauled the entire electrical system at that time. I spent a bit of time on this forum and thanks to the great advice I had the tractor humming. A few months ago I was having some issues that I thought was related to fuel. I replaced the carburetor with an ebay recommendation from this forum. with the new carb on it's way I decided it was time for a tune-up. So just about a month ago I adjusted the valves, replaced the fluids and gaskets, replaced the carb, replaced the fuel pump which was leaking after just 4 years and replaced the points and condenser and set the timing.

Recent mods:
  • Ebay Kohler replacement carburetor
  • Bosch Blue 12v coil (less than 1 year old)
  • Transducer II electronic Ignition
    • Note this problem began before I installed the elec. ign. with a brand new condenser
  • Brand new kohler points

Now that summer is here, I'm desperate to have a working tractor so I can keep up with our pasture and the garden plot I've been working with the tractor. Please help!
 

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I'm not familiar with the transducer II electronic ignition. Does it still use points? If it does, are you using two condensers? I was reading last week on http://gardentractorpullingtips.com/ignition.htm that a high performance coil like the blue Bosch requires two standard or one high-performance condenser due an an increase in the number of primary and secondary windings when compared to the standard coils. Only using one standard type results in low voltage and weak spark.

Edit: I just saw that you replaced the points, so I guess that answers my first question :) Also made some corrections regarding the condensers.

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When you installed the Bosch coil did you install a ballast resistor? If not, the points, condenser, and coil are all suspect. I am not familiar with the Transducer II electronic Ignition. The Kohler coil is internally resisted. Automotive coils are not. If a ballast resistor is not used with an automotive coil on a Kohler K, all of the ignition components can get damaged over time.

I would recommend getting the correct coil, new points, and new condenser. Unhook the electronic ignition and see if the problem goes away running the stock configuration.

Good luck.

Edit - I forgot to mention that the new Kohler coils available today are more susceptible to heat and vibration than the originals. I have been mounting them upright and off the engine for a few years now with good success. Extend wiring as required.
 

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USNmechanic,

From what I've heard, some are and some aren't, depends on the part number. As far as automotive points ignitions go, I'm no expert. The last one I touched was in 1992, and that was to upgrade to HEI.

Some local parts stores sell internally resisted coils for Kohlers. I have had mixed results with them. I started using Stens 460-048 and only had one failure since. That coil was mounted sideways on a K301. Relocating upright and off the engine resolved the coil failures.

A while ago a relative brought a 149 cub cadet to me with a K321. It started to run rough, was low on power, and eventually would barely run with the choke on. He had changed all ignition components. When I went over it, the points were burned up. I checked the coil and it was a standard automotive coil. Even said "no internal resistor" on it. Installed new points, the correct coil, and new condenser. She has run great since then.

Just sharing my experiences. :roll:
 

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Thanks CobyDog$10, I’m definitely no expert either.

An easy way to tell would be to measure the resistance across the primary windings. If there’s no resistor, it should read close to 0 ohms. Anything higher would mean there’s a resistor in there.


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If the Transducer II hasn't changed since I last installed one, no condenser should be installed. Was yours purchased from Kirk engines? And the coil?
the one provided by Kirk is correct w/no external resistor.
There is a lot of discussion about internal resistor coils, but in my experience there is not an additional component in there, just more turns of wire to create the correct resistance.
If yours didn't come with the ignition, you should verify the resistance.
 

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Let's walk back a bit,

The motor was running quite well prior to the upgraded mods?

1) You added a Transducer II, (which work quite well by the way) and a Bosch Blue 12v coil. Like Ken, I'd ask where you purchased the coil from,, After this mod,, how did it run?

2) Next, new points were added,, how did you it time it,, using the Transducer to set timing? What is the timing set at, visually at flywheel and timing mark?

Since you upgraded to a bosh blue coil,, what did you do with the old coil,, if you still have it,, I'd stick it on, leave everything else as is and try it. (The Transducer will work with it as well)

I wouldn't install resistors and that kind of stuff. Your motor ran many years, without it, so why now,, The only reason to do that is if you deviated from what was stock, to some other type of coil which a few members here have gone this route, using automotive coils,, hence resistors.

What do you mean, when you say this? Do you still have a condenser on there? Note this problem began before I installed the elec. ign. with a brand new condenser
 

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It's interesting to note what David Kirk indicates about his blue coil,, (There's one thing not mentioned below, so I'd be asking him about this, (he answers his emails relatively quick),, note, he doesn't mention it's perfectly suited for the Pointsaver/transducer)

From competition pulling tractors to those used just for mowing, the Bosch Blue sets the standard in ignition reliability and high performance. Internally potted for vibration resistance, these coils are quality manufactured by one of the oldest and most reputable automotive electrical names in the business, Robert Bosch. Primary resistance is 3.2 - 3.5 ohms, which is slightly lower than the standard equipment Delco coil. This means the Blue draws more current (for a hotter spark) but can be used as an exact replacement coil using stock condenser and breaker points. No additional ballast resistor required.
Comes complete with plated mounting clamp and removable spade terminals on both primary posts. And it's finished in the classic electric blue paint that lets everyone know you're running the best! For use on all Kohler K-Series single cylinder engines equipped with battery ignition.

With his typical coil (clone coil) ,, he does indicate:
This coil is perfectly suited for operation with conventional breaker point ignition or for use with the PointSaver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
When you installed the Bosch coil did you install a ballast resistor? If not, the points, condenser, and coil are all suspect. I am not familiar with the Transducer II electronic Ignition. The Kohler coil is internally resisted. Automotive coils are not. If a ballast resistor is not used with an automotive coil on a Kohler K, all of the ignition components can get damaged over time.
No, I do not have a ballast resistor installed as far as I know the Bosch Blue Coil are internally resisted. I used the Bosch Blue for over a year now without any issues up until recently. The Bosch is mounted to the motor at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I checked the Bosch Blue that installed on the tractor and 2 other coils I have on hand, all check out at 0 ohms. One automotive type I have is even stamped "No External Resister Required"
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
If the Transducer II hasn't changed since I last installed one, no condenser should be installed. Was yours purchased from Kirk engines? And the coil?
the one provided by Kirk is correct w/no external resistor.
There is a lot of discussion about internal resistor coils, but in my experience there is not an additional component in there, just more turns of wire to create the correct resistance.
If yours didn't come with the ignition, you should verify the resistance.
I purchased the Transducer II from Kirk. I cannot remember why but I purchased the Bosch Blue from another dealer but verified the part number to ensure that I was getting the correct part. As I mentioned the resistance checks out at 0 ohms
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Let's walk back a bit,

The motor was running quite well prior to the upgraded mods?

1) You added a Transducer II, (which work quite well by the way) and a Bosch Blue 12v coil. Like Ken, I'd ask where you purchased the coil from,, After this mod,, how did it run?

2) Next, new points were added,, how did you it time it,, using the Transducer to set timing? What is the timing set at, visually at flywheel and timing mark?

Since you upgraded to a bosh blue coil,, what did you do with the old coil,, if you still have it,, I'd stick it on, leave everything else as is and try it. (The Transducer will work with it as well)

I wouldn't install resistors and that kind of stuff. Your motor ran many years, without it, so why now,, The only reason to do that is if you deviated from what was stock, to some other type of coil which a few members here have gone this route, using automotive coils,, hence resistors.

What do you mean, when you say this? Do you still have a condenser on there? Note this problem began before I installed the elec. ign. with a brand new condenser
I'm no mechanic or automotive expert, but I thought the tractor was working well for its age. I mentioned in my original post: "A few months ago I was having some issues that I thought was related to fuel. I replaced the carburetor with an ebay recommendation from this forum. with the new carb on it's way I decided it was time for a tune-up. So just about a month ago I adjusted the valves, replaced the fluids and gaskets, replaced the carb, replaced the fuel pump which was leaking after just 4 years and replaced the points and condenser and set the timing." After the tune-up I was still having issues with the tractor shutting down after 30 min to 1 hour of use. The only major mod after that was to add the Transducer II. After the addition of the Transducer II the tractor seemed to run smoother, but still would seem to overheat and shutdown.

Timing: Prior to installing the transducer II, I was setting the timing to the SP mark with a test light. With the Transducer II installed I began using the light on the unit.

Lionel: Good advice, I will install one of the spare coils I have and report back. Thanks!
 

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I purchased the Transducer II from Kirk. I cannot remember why but I purchased the Bosch Blue from another dealer but verified the part number to ensure that I was getting the correct part. As I mentioned the resistance checks out at 0 ohms
0 ohm primary resistance would indicate a direct short path from post to post with no wire involved. Check your scale, and if it is set correctly, the coil is definitely bad.

As a general rule a coil needing and external resistor should be around 1.5 ohms primary resistance and a 'true 12v' or no resistor needed coil would be around 3.0. Electronic ignition coils, like a GM DIS coil are as low as .6, but none are zero.
 

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Hello Group,

It seems that you are all following the potential ignition system failure as the cause of KS442's problem but although I could have missed it I don't see anywhere that he has checked for spark after the tractor dies.

Let me throw something else out there that is just a hunch from more than a few years of experience regarding high hour K series singles. To me it sounds like a textbook case of a sticking exhaust valve. As the valve starts to leak a bit at the seat through the years the heat that gets down around the stem and the guide burns the oil into hard deposits that sooner or later reduce the stem to guide clearance. Typically the engine will start and run good when cold but as things heat up and clearances tighten the valve hangs in the guide and the tractor stalls. After cooling down it will restart and repeat the process.

Just trying to offer another possibility as it seems that the ignition system has been covered.

Bob
 

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I was reacting/commenting based on this statement:
" I can barely hold my hand on the bottom of the coil for 5 sec. The heat shield closest to the coil is not nearly as hot."
and this one:
'I checked the Bosch Blue that installed on the tractor and 2 other coils I have on hand, all check out at 0 ohm's". That is either a bunch of bad coils, a meter set on the wrong range, or a defective meter.
And the fact that there is a condenser included in a Transducer install.
None should be present according to my old Transducer install sheet. Its' presence may contribute to the problem.

All of these point to a primary circuit issue. But, it is entirely possible that those conditions are not the cause of the failure to run.
As pointed out, the failure to run has all the earmarks of a sticky valve.

Easy enough to check, if a valve is stuck open when it quits, it should crank really fast when trying to restart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sorry to keep you all in the dark. Unfortunately after my last post on the 16th I had fallen seriously ill with debilitating headaches that had laid me out for over a week. I'll spare you all the details but I'm glad to be alive and back on my feet. But now I have knee deep grass to catch up on and hope to get back to the Case this weekend.

Here's the update:
~ The last time I restarted the tractor after posting this thread I heard a strange poof and then she started to really run rough. I think this may be related to the compression relief spring or the sticky exhaust valve. I had to reatach the compression relief spring about a year or two ago.
~ Had a low battery on the multi meter that gave the false reading on the coils. Nice diagnosis Kenc! The Bosch Blue and the oil filled coil both checked out at 3 ohms.
~ I installed the alternate coil and it still ran rough maybe worse. Now the tractor will not rev-up past a rough idle. I believe that It's time pull the head and take a look at the valves.

You guys have been super helpful thus far and I am seeking your further guidance in this next phase of diagnosis and hopefully repair. Thanks again eveyrone for weighing-in. I look forward to more advise and hopefully back to business with the 442 around our small farm.
 

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glad to hear your back in the saddle. this same situation happened to me but on my 446 onan. would run for 30 min or so then backfire and sputter out. check the valve lash for proper clearance. take the breather cover off on side of kohler and check both intake and exhaust valve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Update: After all of the advice on this forum and extensive reading on Brian Miller's site http://gardentractorpullingtips.com I made the following adjustments.
~ Adjusted the valves: Intake at .008" and Exhaust at .017" I went with the lesser tolerances after reading this quote from Brian Miller
The lesser clearance is for worn-in valve faces and seats, and the greater clearance is for freshly-ground valve faces and seats, or new valves with fresh-reground seats.
~ Set the timing at the SP mark with a test light.
~ Removed the Point Saver and installed a stock Kohler condenser which, oddly enough, seemed to make an improvement in the way the engine ran. The spark at the points was much more visible with the stock condenser.
~ Relocated the coil and condenser. I removed them from the stock engine mounted location and mounted them on the right hand side of the ?...Column? using the two battery tray bolts to mount the coil and condenser.
~ Replaced the spark plug.
~ Adjusted the new aftermarket Kohler carburetor.
~ Filled the tank with fresh ethanol free gasoline.

For the most part the tractor seems to run well. I ran it off and on for about 45 mins while making adjustments . My only concern is that the coil seem to keep generating a great deal of heat. I would drive the tractor around the yard with my hand on the coil and it just keeps getting hotter and hotter. As I mentioned in my original post this seems to be the culprit.

I also read on another forum https://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/gravely-ariens/197765-sticking-kohler-valves.html about a 12hp Kohler having similar issues as my original problem (tractor shutting down after 20-30 mins). Some of the recommendations were to use some type of De-carbonizing solution such as Blaster Small Engine Tune-up or Seafoam to help remove some of the excessive build-up on the valve and seat.

Questions ?:
~ Is it possible that the coil is bad or going bad?
~ is it normal for the coil to generate a lot of heat?
~ I cannot wrap my head around how a sticky valve or a heavily carbon charred valve or valve seat would cause the coil to overheat. Can some shed some light here?
~ What do you think about warming the engine and then pouring Seafoam in thru the spark plug hole. Allowing the engine to sit overnight and then draining the oil and filling the crank case with fresh SAE 30 oil. Has anyone tried this or something similar?

Thanks thus far!
 
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