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Gator 6x4 engine replacement

Post in 'The Gear' started by Foragefarmer, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. Foragefarmer

    Foragefarmer Member

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    So there is a farm that I have done a lot of work for over the years and as a result I have been given hunting and wood cutting rights on the farm. Their old 6x4 Gator has had a sick engine for a while and it finally seized. So they were out of the Gator and the farm manager uses it a lot. And I use it when cutting wood both for myself and the farm. I said let me check something's out and see what your options are. A new proprietary engine is $2600.

    Well I found Small Engine Warehouse, and they make bolt in kit using a 23 hp Vanguard engine for $1700. So the farm manager bought the engine and since it was a rainy day and I couldn't work outside I put the new engine in.

    Old John Deere exclusive Yamaha.

    [​IMG]

    New Vanguard.

    [​IMG]


    Gator back together.

    [​IMG]

    I had two issues with the install. First, the primary clutch is a bear to get off. Second, the idle was too high when installed, I finally realized that there was a tab I could bend out of the way and then the idle was perfect to allow the clutch disengage.
    smokinj and Joful like this.

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  2. Foragefarmer

    Foragefarmer Member

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    The instructions said it would take 8-10 hours, but it took only 5.5.

    Also I discovered why the old engine was sick when I pulled it. The engine was water cooled and there was zero coolant flow. The coolant in the engine was almost black. The local dealer had looked at it a number of times over the years but never noticed the issue.
  3. bigbarf48

    bigbarf48 Minister of Fire

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    The opposite usually happens for me;lol

    Good work on the install, im sure that thing is invaluable to you and the farm. Id love to have one of those 6x gators!
  4. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Original engine is a Kawasaki, and the same engine is found in the older Mule's. Very minor differences.

    Great Job getting that Vanguard in there!

    Even JD went air cooled instead of liquid on the newer 6x4's (TH Gator). What? Couldn't find a diesel to throw in there? ;) :p

    Gator cooling systems can be an absolute bear to service. Bleeding them out without special tools is a major pain. Sounds to me like your original engine make have suffered from an air-locked cooling system (causing no-flow) causing the engine to overheat constantly. First warning sign with a Gator is not hearing the radiator fan run occasionally.

    Special tool for that, basically a metric left-hand threaded bolt (IIRC) that pops the clutch right off. Access is through the knockout on the left side of the frame

    Gator's were also limited on the high-end to 2800 rpm. Your replacement engine is probably governed at 3200-3600 rpm. You might want to check that too. Or maybe not. ::-) ;lol
  5. Sean McGillicuddy

    Sean McGillicuddy Burning Hunk

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    Now they need new seats!!!
  6. Foragefarmer

    Foragefarmer Member

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    Right Kawasaki.

    The Gator is not mine, owned by a farm I hunt and cut some wood on. The farm manager gets me to do a couple projects a year as payment for the rights.

    I just know the manager had had the local JD dealer look at what was wrong with the engine a number of times and they had never really figured it out. The dealer wanted $4-5000 to put in a new engine so I got called for ideas.

    Yeah, I went online and found how to recreate the clutch removal tool. The instructions were different from what you are saying, but it worked after some changes on my part.

    The throttle on the new engine had a tab that once removed reduced the idle perfectly to the slow loping idle that lets the primary clutch disengage the drive belt and let you shift into forward and reverse without grinding gears.
  7. Foragefarmer

    Foragefarmer Member

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    Given that the farm manager feels like she has a new machine, she has ordered new seats as you suggest.
  8. Foragefarmer

    Foragefarmer Member

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    MM, given that the Vanguard idle is normally set pretty high and it is now down to the 900 rpm or so needed to get the clutch to disengage what is the consequence to long term life expectancy for the engine?
  9. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    So long as it's running good at that RPM, it should be fine. It's a pressure lube system so no worries on the oil side of things. So long as the ins are clean, cooling should not be a problem either.

    IIRC the primary should disengage long before 900 rpm, perhaps a phone call to your dealer just to confirm the spec?
  10. Foragefarmer

    Foragefarmer Member

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    Honestly, the local John Deere dealer sucks. The previous owner was forced out by John Deere and the dealership was sold to a wealthy local family, they installed an individual to run the operation with no experience in vehicle or equipment sales. That individual felt that service techs were a dime a dozen and some of the guys that had been there 20-30 years were over paid and they were forced out. Basically there has been a total turn over in service and parts. 3 of the long serving techs have gone into business for themselves.

    I really don't like the fact that they seem to resent the fact that you are buying parts to repair something yourself when you go up there. I don't get that at the New Holland dealer just down the road so why do I get it from them? I mean the markup on farm equipment parts is insane. I priced a PTO coupler at a dealer for $125 and found it online direct from the manufacturer for $19.99.

    Oh and they told the farm manager that the primary clutch would have to be replaced along with the engine in that Gator. Huh?

    They are also a Stihl dealer and I have had them say similar stuff about chainsaw parts.
  11. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Do they sell cars too? ;lol

    Seriously that is a sad tale of a lousy dealership and it's still far too common. I too am a displaced service tech (from a Deere dealer, ;lol) that was told he had "maxed out" salary wise. So your story hits pretty close to home.

    Perhaps there is a dealer that is more DIY friendly even if they are farther away?
  12. Foragefarmer

    Foragefarmer Member

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    If I really need help with a Deere product I call one of the guys that has gone into business for himself. They have the what I think of as institutional memory in that they have seen the problems that are common to a series of tractor or model of baler. So you can describe the problem over the phone and they will show up with the right part and not a fuel filter.
  13. mapman

    mapman New Member

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    Sir
    I have the same exact engine on a gator 6x4 but it is air cooled. The briggs engine you replaced the Kawasaki with I have a question please.I seen the same engine you purchase on the website. But I talked with the salesman Zandy and he said this engines wire harness was setup for a water cooled kawasaki. Was your engine air cooled or water cooled?
    thanks
    Jack
  14. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    In case FF doesn't read this for a while, he pretty clearly states above that it is a water cooled engine (original). This is confirmed by the picture of the old engine's lack of cooling fins anywhere.
  15. Foragefarmer

    Foragefarmer Member

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    It was the water cooled engine. Maybe Master Mech could help since he was a JD mechanic.

    I just got home from a sweltering work day.
  16. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Replacing the water-cooled Kawasaki with an air cooled engine should be no sweat. The ignition kill and fuel shut-off (if equipped), starter and charging sys connections will get reused but the water temp and oil pressure connections will be left open.

    New TH Gators are very close to the original 6x4 Gator and run air-cooled engines.
  17. mrghost

    mrghost New Member

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    Question for ForageFarmer. New member needs help. I need to replace the Kawasaki in my Gator 6x4. Being retired I'm short on the green stuff. I thought I could buy a motor and make the mounts etc. Would you be able to tell me the model number
    on the engine you installed? There is a lot of different 23 HP Briggs available and I don't want to buy the wrong one. Thank You in advance. Mike
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Foragefarmer hasn't logged in since Oct. 2013 and this thread is a year old.

    Click on "Inbox" on the top right corner and start a private conversation with him The system will alert him via email that he has a message here.

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