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Kohler K321 Balance Gears


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  #1  
Old 05-04-2011, 11:21 PM
Tim0477 Tim0477 is offline
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Default Kohler K321 Balance Gears

Hi,

More progress on the K321. It is now completely disassembled. The balance gears have some wobble on their shafts. Is it worth replacing the bearings on them or can the balance gears be left out completely like a lot of the garden tractor pulling people recommend? Half of the sites on the net I have visited say leave them out and half say they have to be used. Anyone ever tried it without the balance gears? I don't have any intention of entering any tractor pulls, I just want this as a back up mower in case my old Kubota breaks down.

Thanks,
Tim
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:48 AM
K D Redd K D Redd is offline
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Default Re: K321 Balance Gears

If the Kohler engine has balance gears, the counter weights on the crank are not as large a engines NOT equipped with balance gears. IF the engine is originally equipped with balance gears, they need to be repair NOT removed.
Kohler DID NOT install them just for the h&// of it.

Kent
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:21 PM
Ed Radtke Ed Radtke is offline
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Default Re: Kohler K321 Balance Gears

It seems like I read in the Kohler manual to remove them as they were problematic.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:38 PM
Tim0477 Tim0477 is offline
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Default Re: Kohler K321 Balance Gears

Thanks Kent and Ed for replying.

Ed, the service manual I downloaded from Kohler's website doesn't say anything about removing the gears, but does mention a updated version of them. The tractor pulling guys say to remove them, but as far as I can tell its a issue with turning higher than stock RPM.

Will have to call around tomorrow and get prices for the governor gear and the gaskets to put this thing back together. Will price out the bearings for the balance gears as well. If it turns into a case of needing both the updated gear and the bearings to go with it, out they will go.

Thanks,
Tim
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:59 AM
dkirk dkirk is offline
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Default Re: Kohler K321 Balance Gears

Tim,

My recommendation is to dispense with the balance gears. They have a bad reputation for failing and when they do, they usually take out a perfectly good cylinder block. If you do decide to reinstall them, replace the stub shafts, needle bearings, thrust washers, and snap rings.

I offer a counterweight plate that can be installed on your existing crankshaft and will restore the 50% reciprocating balance factor that the balance gears contributed. Check out my link if interested.

www.kirkengines.com
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Old 05-06-2011, 11:07 AM
SMertz SMertz is offline
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Default Re: Kohler K321 Balance Gears

An old engine repair man I am good friends with told me they always just removed the balance gears when they started getting too noisy. Take that for what it's worth.
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:55 AM
K D Redd K D Redd is offline
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Default Re: Kohler K321 Balance Gears

You DO NOT need to replace the gears UNLESS they are damaged. Kohler has a repair kit with new needle bearing that you PRESS into the gears. I have used the kit a few times. You do not want to buy new gears unless you ABSOLUTLY have to. I bought a set for a K-341 about two years ago. Each gear was about $100.00. The engine was going into a JD 140H3 that Dad bought on EBAY.

Kent
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Old 05-12-2011, 01:53 AM
Tim0477 Tim0477 is offline
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Default Re: Kohler K321 Balance Gears

Got my parts in today from the local Kohler dealer. I have the old style balance gears that have the two grooves in them. The bearings for these based on the spec code of my engine were quoted at $35 ea ! ! The part number is 236506-S I think. The other needle bearing Kohler lists for a K321 (part number 47-030-01-S) are about $12 ea. I took a chance and ordered the cheaper ones. They didn't work. The original bearing O.D. measures 0.683 and the new ones I got measure 0.688. They look identical to the eye and can even be pressed into the gear, but the fit is so tight it locks up the needles. Just a heads up to anyone else who may be working on one of these. If you want to use the cheaper bearings with the old style gears, you will need a way to ream out the gear.

Given the cost of the correct bearings, and my lack of tooling to ream out the old gears, into the junk box they went. I will report back on how much it vibrates without the balancers. Going to be busy at work, so it may be several weeks before I get it back in the tractor to try it out.

Tim
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:33 AM
K D Redd K D Redd is offline
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Default Re: Kohler K321 Balance Gears

WHY did you NOT buy the CORRECT parts to begin with?

Kent
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Old 05-12-2011, 01:33 PM
Tim0477 Tim0477 is offline
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Default Re: Kohler K321 Balance Gears

Kent,
I was not willing to spend $70 + tax for 2 needle bearings. I already have close to $100 in this thing and all I got was the governor kit, the gaskets to put it back together, and the two bearings I took a gamble on.

Tim
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:51 PM
chzuck chzuck is offline
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Default Re: Kohler K321 Balance Gears

I took the balance gears out of my Kohler some 5 to 8 years ago. Engine runs fine and have had no problems.
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:57 PM
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John Newman, Jr. John Newman, Jr. is offline
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Default Re: Kohler K321 Balance Gears

If the new (but incorrect) bearings are only .005" too big on the OD, can't you bore out the gear to accomodate them?
Send the stuff to me and I would take a stab at it.....
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:34 PM
Tim0477 Tim0477 is offline
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Default Re: Kohler K321 Balance Gears

Thanks John. I already put it back together without the balance gears. If it ends up having a objectionable amount of vibration, I may take you up on that offer. It will be a few weeks before I get it back in the tractor to try it out. I will also have to search the net for bearing suppliers and see if I can find the correct size. I find it interesting that I can find aftermarket rebuild kits for these engines on Ebay right around the $100 mark. I wonder if the quality is any good.

Tim
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:17 PM
smitty316 smitty316 is offline
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Default Re: Kohler K321 Balance Gears

Tim, I'm wondering if you got that K321 back together yet and how much it vibrates. I'm in the process of rebuilding a K321 for my Wheel Horse and have read everything I can find on this topic of balance gears. I see the concensus is that it's ok to toss them, but it might cause some additional vibration. It's this last part that bothers me. I don't like the idea of additional vibration and part of me just wants it to be stock. I went ahead and ordered the new bearings for it, but I'm still sitting on the fence about putting them in. My machinest who is an experienced Kohler smoker builder thinks I should put them in unless I'm willing to have it static timed.

Thanks, Smitty
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