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Oil in a Kohler KT17 ?? Regular or synthetic?

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andy r

Joined: 07 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:54 am    Post subject: Oil in a Kohler KT17 ?? Regular or synthetic? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I thought I would change the oil in this new to me Duetz Allis lawn tractor. Looks like Kohler really wants straight 30 wt. in these engines unless it is really operating in cold weather. I think it pretty much states 10w - 30 down below freezing. I can understand that. My question pertains to the superior lubrication of synthetic oils. Would it be OK to run a synthetic oil in an aged Kohler KT17 ? Don't know much about the engine yet except it looks original to the tractor, starts great, idles great, sounds good at high idle and doesn't smoke. Thanks for your comments.
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Joined: 03 Jan 1998
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:37 am    Post subject: Re: Oil in a Kohler KT17 ?? Regular or synthetic? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I've run Mobil1 10-30 in all my OPE engines for YEARS, including a couple like yours, and, while I can't prove it's done any good, it sure doesn't seem to have done any harm!

I'm gonna go duck and cover now, 'fore the usuals come along saying how bad that is, and quoting 40 or 50 year old owner's manuals as still relevant to today's oil.Sad
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Oil in a Kohler KT17 ?? Regular or synthetic? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I think I would follow the owner's manual recommendations if you have a snow blower or blade for it use 10W-30 in the winter and 30 weight in the summer. About the time this engine was made the popular belief was multi viscosity oils didn't hold up to the higher temperatures of an air cooled engine, in fact I knew folks that the only multi-viscosity oil they would use was Aero Shell (Shell's light aviation oil). This was further reinforced by John Muir, the writer of "How to keep your Volkswagen alive a manual of step by step procedures for the complete idiot" who espoused the opinion that air cooled VWs should have straight 30 weight and to stay away from the multi-viscosity oils, for a while the heavy duty diesel oils didn't come in Multi-viscosity, further perpetuating the belief that the multi viscosity stuff isn't as good or only good for light duty stuff. Since the tractor is new to you but not new try it either way and look for indications of what it prefers like sound, oil consumption and temperature. Years ago due to poor planning on my part I ended up trying to plow for wheat in August and dad's Super M was struggling with it, it was running hot and using a little more fuel and oil than normal. It was due an oil change and instead of 30 weight I picked up a couple of gallons of 40 weight, the tractor did a lot better, it was running cooler and in some spots I was able to take it up a gear, the only change was the oil, the only downside was trying to get it started in December with 40 weight in the crankcase, we changed it back to 30 weight. Again our choice of straight weight oil in our gasoline tractors may of been from Dad's and Grandpa's experiences running gasoline powered garbage truck in the 1950's, they did better on the straight weight stuff, especially their International KB-7s, of course multi-viscosity was new and some of their issues were from trying 20 weight oil in the winter to make getting those big 6 cylinder engines to turn over on 6 volt systems. I may be guilty of hypocrisy because I'm running 15W-40 in the Onan in my Wheel Horse usually a Delo or Rotella depending on what's on sale and I'm also using the same oil in our 300,000 + mile Honda Accord, but then I usually don't put the lawn deck on the Wheel Horse because it's a pain as well as pulling the cab off so I mow with a Cub Cadet model 72 it gets straight 30 weight in it.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:12 am    Post subject: Re: Oil in a Kohler KT17 ?? Regular or synthetic? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I use synthetic in my Kohler Command 20 HP . Regular or synthetic the out come is all the same. Synthetic starts better I think.
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