Cub Cadet Honda Engine Conversion Kit

Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:43 pm

I recently swapped out the original Series I Kohler KT17 in my Cub 682 with a brand new Honda GX610 18 HP V twin from Small Engine Warehouse. It’s cost was about $1300.00, much less than the cost to replace with a new KT17 Series II which are approximately $2200.00. While thoroughly researching this swap beforehand, some people were saying the Honda engine would not have the bottom end torque of the KT17. I could find no torque spec on the KT17 from Kohler or anywhere else, but that rumor was unsubstantiated when I did find the torque spec of the KT17’s big brother Magnum 18, which is listed at 29 ft/lbs. The torque of the Honda GX is 31.7 ft/lbs, and makes that torque at even a lower RPM than the Magnum. Kohler’s Command 18 horizontal engine is much more on par with the Honda than the KT’s or Magnums and was considered. Not being a Briggs fan due to previous bad luck with some of their smaller HP engines, I did not consider the 18 HP Vanguard engine, with a torque spec of 30 ft/lbs. I would guess the torque of the Kohler KT17 to be 27-28 ft/lbs. So on a strict number-crunch, the Honda replacement handily comes out ahead in power and torque over the KT17.

So how does it run? Let’s just say like a Honda! I have 7 hours of testing on the GX610. It starts much easier, (Let me say instantly) runs quieter, runs smoother, runs cooler, and uses about half the amount of fuel as the KT17, along with having a fully pressurized oil system with block mounted automotive sized (not lawn-mower) oil filter, oil filter is a remotely mounted option for KT17 series II. I came across forum posts on various websites where people were saying that even by using fully pressurized lubrication with the KT17 Series II engines, due to the sump pickup some still had rod and cylinder lubrication issues when using their tractors on grades and generally less than 1200 hour life spans which along with the absurd cost and dated design finalized my decision to not replace with a new KT SII. The Honda engine is rated to last in excess of 2000 hours, my old KT17 was pretty tired showing compression at 80 PSI at 700 hours on the clock. I think those big cast iron cylinder jugs on the KT/Magnums do little more than just add a lot of excess weight to the engine, and the I-head design was also noted for having sticky valve issues. When the decision came down between the Honda GX or Kohler Command, the Honda won out with its sheer reputation- I couldn’t find anything, anywhere, where someone had something bad to say or report a catastrophic failure with a new Honda GX. It was close, the Command looks to be a great engine too.

SEW’s kit fits the Cub 682/782 perfectly, under the hood it looks like it was made just for this tractor. There were a few minor modifications I made and one electrical problem I came across with the conversion, but in general anyone with good mechanical skills can install one of these conversion kits in a few hours, and I highly recommend them if you have that old tractor that you just can’t part with. The SEW Honda engine kit comes with a 2 year manufacturers warranty, and a new muffler and cooling shroud mounted, you only have to swap on your old PTO clutch, mount it and hook everything up, then Ride ‘em Cowboy!

-Fordlords-

Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:21 pm

Here is a link to the page regarding the different 'repower' kits:
http://www.smallenginewarehouse.com/Rep ... &Model=782

Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:27 am

Thanks, I'm gonna look into thsi for a 782. It's got a rather tired 21HP KT taken from a farmboy bobcat in it. Sadly... it's showing it's age. :cry:

Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:46 am

Be sure to check out the repower engines for other Cub Cadets as well, ya never know when you might need one :(