Been throwing around the idea...
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    Mudrig150's Avatar
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    Been throwing around the idea...

    I've been throwing around the idea of buying a 318 or 316 and swapping the onan for a kohler 16 horse. What would be the biggest challenge? I know I'd have trouble with the driveshaft, and the exhaust. Seems like most of the 300 series tractors around here have blown engines, and it's impossible to find a running one for anything under 900$. Even the non running running ones are expensive, 500-700$!

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    I agree ! Way over priced ! And getting rid of that Onan and putting a kohler on would be the best move you could do. I’m not sure about the swap issues you’d face but keep us updated as you go.
    Mudrig150 likes this.

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    Mudrig150's Avatar
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    Reasons:
    Kohler parts are way easier to find
    Kohler parts are less expensive
    Onans are always broke, worn out, and blown up here in PA
    Kohlers in general are easier to find parts tractors for
    Kohler are easier to work on

    Onans are smoother and have slightly more torque, but still... You can get the same thing with a Kohler magnum.

    Win win situation, basically.

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    Been throwing around the idea...

    I think the crank height is higher on the kohler.

    And pto shaft size. Easily solved with a different pto clutch.

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    IndianaJim's Avatar
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    I assume you are talking about an old 16hp Kohler single, as I dont believe they make a twin that small.
    You are giving away quite a bit of power. Sure it worked in the 300, but there is a reason they went to a larger twin with the redesign.
    I hear people complain all the time about the cost of parts, but a well maintained Onan will outlast most others. The trouble is, they are almost NEVER properly maintained.
    Parts arent all that much more if you arent buying them from Deere. If you are, theres your trouble. There are a number of people who hear the rumor they are crazy expensive to rebuild and pass it along without ever looking. They are more expensive part for part. You likely wont need as many parts though, as the cranks are generally harder than others.
    Now, they have their issues, and they like their fuel, but they are anything but unreliable. There are welder/generators running 30+ year old Onans on them that run just as good as the day they were built.
    I looked into rebuilding my P218 a while back, and was just about to do it, but found a smoking deal on a P220, so I bought that instead, or Id have rebuilt the Onan.
    Rebuild vs repower with a newer engine is a no brainer price wise. Power, efficiency, longevity, ease of service, parts availability down the road? Not so much...

    Now, if you want to throw a 20hp Kohler twin in there, have at it. That would be a great upgrade.
    And you can get a pretty much drop in kit with one.

    Back to power, you give up 11% of the torque to the Onan going with the 16hp. Thats significant to me, but maybe not to others.
    Specs on the newer engines should be easier to find.

    K341 - 16hp/23.5ft lb @3600rpm peak torque 28.25ft/lb @ 2600rpm
    P218 – [email protected] rpm 31.7 ft/lb @ 2400 rpm

    Of course if you have all the parts already, and dont plan on working it, have at it. It cant hurt, and will certainly be one of a kind.
    BigJim55 likes this.
    Jim B.

    318, 49 Thrower, 2 80 Carts, 17AT cart, 54 Blade, 12" Brinly Plow, 30 Hydraulic Tiller w/extension & Briney 3-Pt hitch, 50 deck w/JRCO Cart Bagger.
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    Mudrig150's Avatar
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    I completely forgot about the magnums, I might just put a magnum twin in from a wheel horse or something like that. I'm tired of dealing with the crap from craigslist sellers and their 900$ blown up 318s. I'd rather pay 350$ for a 318 roller and buy a 200$ engine and have something that probably runs better.
    1982 John deere 317, powered by Kohler Magnum 18
    1969 John deere 140 "One eyed Larry", powered by Kohler K241, H2 hydraulics
    1963 Burns B-60 Suburban, serial 1328

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    IndianaJim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mudrig150 View Post
    I completely forgot about the magnums, I might just put a magnum twin in from a wheel horse or something like that. I'm tired of dealing with the crap from craigslist sellers and their 900$ blown up 318s. I'd rather pay 350$ for a 318 roller and buy a 200$ engine and have something that probably runs better.
    I guess around here I dont see too many junk ones for those prices. Usually they are really cheap if they dont run. If they do run good, and look even half way decent, people tend to want a small fortune for them...which is kind of crazy too.

    The Magnum twin would be a good option too I suppose. If you could find, or have, the KT17 Series II from a 317, that might be ideal.
    As to the PTO height, it should work fine with a different belt. Since they used the KT17 in the 317, and it uses the same front attachments, and the decks are similar with different lift arms, you could likely just use belts for the 317 if you had a complete series II engine.
    Jim B.

    318, 49 Thrower, 2 80 Carts, 17AT cart, 54 Blade, 12" Brinly Plow, 30 Hydraulic Tiller w/extension & Briney 3-Pt hitch, 50 deck w/JRCO Cart Bagger.
    2025R, 120R loader w/Kens Bolt On Hooks, 260B backhoe w/8" & 16" buckets, Titan 36" forks, Imatch hitch, Weight Bracket/Hitch.

    Exmark Lazer Z HP 52"
    Husqvarna 550XP, 562XP, 55 Rancher

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    A kt-17 crank is higher then a p-218, causing driveshaft alignment issues.

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    Mudrig150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndianaJim View Post
    I guess around here I dont see too many junk ones for those prices. Usually they are really cheap if they dont run. If they do run good, and look even half way decent, people tend to want a small fortune for them...which is kind of crazy too.

    The Magnum twin would be a good option too I suppose. If you could find, or have, the KT17 Series II from a 317, that might be ideal.
    As to the PTO height, it should work fine with a different belt. Since they used the KT17 in the 317, and it uses the same front attachments, and the decks are similar with different lift arms, you could likely just use belts for the 317 if you had a complete series II engine.
    I'm planning on swapping an m18 or an m20 in, mainly because they're the easiest to find, so I think I would need different belts.

    Quote Originally Posted by rydplrs View Post
    A kt-17 crank is higher then a p-218, causing driveshaft alignment issues.
    Worse case scenario I have to modify either the engine or the frame. I hope I can find something with the bolt on coupler for the driveshaft.


    Edit: So according to kohler the M18 has 29 ft/lb of torque and the M20 has 33 ft/lb, so if the Onan P218 has 31.7 ft/lb that would be an increase in torque.
    Last edited by Mudrig150; 10-17-2018 at 01:41 PM.
    1982 John deere 317, powered by Kohler Magnum 18
    1969 John deere 140 "One eyed Larry", powered by Kohler K241, H2 hydraulics
    1963 Burns B-60 Suburban, serial 1328

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    Mudrig150's Avatar
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    So for 18 hp engines, the Onans have more torque,
    but for 20 hp, the Magnum 20 has slightly more torque.

    Either way I'm going to do the swap.
    1982 John deere 317, powered by Kohler Magnum 18
    1969 John deere 140 "One eyed Larry", powered by Kohler K241, H2 hydraulics
    1963 Burns B-60 Suburban, serial 1328

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