Kohler vs. Briggs & Stratton Engines

For people looking for comparisons of different lawn and garden tractors, nothing is more important than the reliability and quality of the engines (be it Kohler, Briggs & Stratton, Honda, Tecumseh, or another small garden tractor engine). In this classic post from our lawn tractors/garden tractors forum entitled “Kohler vs. Briggs & Stratton engines”, consumers visiting our site review and compare their experiences with these lawn tractor engines.

Nick I have made my decision, I am going with one of the Sears Craftsmans 25+hp 54 in deck. What is the best engine, the Kohler or Briggs&Stratton? Even if you feel I could purchase a better garden tractor then the Craftsman to cut 2 1/2 level lot is please let me know. Thank You
daviddude get the briggs its a much better engine
Rob So it’s between the 27HP ELS Briggs and the 26HP Kohler Pro? Both are very good engines and are priced nearly alike. I prefer the large Kohler in this instance. More because it’s in the DGT 6000 rather than any big time quality difference.
Ron Briggs & Stratton, for sure. When you get the tractor, read the manual cover to cover, do all the required maintanance just like it says, and you will be very happy with your purchase.
John I’ve had experience with both Briggs & Kohler engines, my personal favorite is the Kohler, but either will give you great service if maintained properly.

daviddude kohlers like to toss right cylinder rods
rifraf in Canada I have a Craftsman 25hp with a 46inch deck and I LOVE it lotsa power,starts great,good on fuel,and it sounds like a V8, rifraf in Canada
Bonza So is it a briggs or a Kohler !!!
Dave Maybe an older kholer would be better, but the new ones are too untested, and unexperienced. Briggs has a good rep, and makes a fine engine. My grandpa has a reel mower with an old Briggs on it, about 60 years old (the engine, that is), and it’s still running fine. And all he did was give it proper maitenance. He still cuts a lot with it. So, get the Briggs, and if you listen to what John and Ron say about maitenance, you’ll have that engine and tractor for 20+ years, no sweat. Good luck!!
Nick
I am going to go with the DGT 6000. Thanks

bontai Joe I’d base my choice on how expensive and how available parts are for each in my area. The engines are both good, and each company also has a chance of a bad one sneaking out. Unless you particularly like the sound of one vs. the other, or can see that changing the oil is much easier on one than the other, I’d go with what I can get parts for easiest. Many of these engine discussions are based on opinions of old design engines we have had experience with that have no relation to today’s product. I love the old Kohler “K” series single cylinder cast iron block engines, but that has no value in answering your question, because those engines are not put into today’s machines.
Gerald Crane 2yrs ago I bought a Sears GT5000 with a 26hp Briggs and Stratton ELS. Jan this year, still within the 2year warranty time my engine started smoking and knocking. I took mower to Sears and got the run around. Took it to a Certified Briggs dealer after a month. He reported Broken rod, scared cylinders. Diagnosed no oil, no warranty. I took engine off of tractor to find that the Quick oil change fitting was finger tight and had dumped the oil in a pan that made this problem hidden. Took motor back to sears and showed them. They would take no action. Took it back to Certified Briggs Dealer. He told me Yes, that was obvious from seeing the oil mess but that it was a Sears problem because they add the oil dump valve not Briggs. My yard needed mowing and I was getting the run around. So I bought another Sears 5000 GT with the Kolher 25 hp. I did this reluctenly, as I now dislike Sears and Briggs. I will use my beatiful broken GT5000 for parts. At least the Kohler had used a thread seal at this oil drain fitting. P.S. I have 14 honda engines, most have low oil shutoffs. Most have over 10 years of use. Not one has ever, given me a problem.

Tom FYI everyone. The 24 & 26 hp Briggs engine from 2004 & 2005 has a design flaw in the intake manifold. It sucks in RAW, DIRTY AIR around the filter.Scars the piston rings and cylinder.

Briggs won’t admit it and will give you a runaround you won’t believe but an honest service center will admit it and have the engine replaced with a brand new one.

I’ll never buy another Briggs after the runaround I got from them.

Husqvarna Riding Lawn Mower HUSQVARNA ROCKS!

Gary I have A 04 GT5000 with the 26hp briggs. I have a little over 100 hours on it and have not had any problems at all.
I don’t see anything wrong with the air filter system on mine. I guess time will tell.
Guy down the road has the kolher and 3 head gastets so far. His is a 01 same tractor.
At one time Kolher was a great engine, now days I’m not so sure.

911 The Military Machine (in any country) needs to breathe, so instead of a military coup, they tell to the Govt. “Give Us War” and Govt. finds them a WAR to go to. So the Shrub had to give his military some WAR to play at. And for WAR there must’ve been a REASON. So they MADE a reason by hiring some “terrorists” and some EMPTY planes to hit the WTC. Even if the planes were really hijacked (how terrible for the Govt. is to do that!!) (or perhaps Larry Silverstein hired the hijackers), the WTC was ARTIFICIALLY “attacked” be it Govt. or Silverstein.
The Pentagon attack was definitely the job of the Govt. (military wingless rocket) for a reason to go to war. WTC was BOTH – SILVERSTEIN, MAFIA and GOVT. Silverstein, and MAFIA wanted the WTC gone in order to PROFIT from insurance scam and to build new “WTC” there with better offices etc. GOVT. wanted out of this WTC “attack” a REASON for going to WAR.

Tom Gerald, I had the same problem with mine. Sears and Briggs won’t be getting any of my business again either. My 26 HP Briggs lasted only 2 years. It replaced a Kolher mower of 22 years at only 12 hp. The GT5000 also eats belts.
Robert Sears 25hp intek All maintenance performed by sears when required. Last year starts to smoke and knock.(Only 212 hrs) in 4 years. Not going to buy fake tractors any more. Just bought 23 year ole cub cadet only 375 hrs It will replace craftsman mower when it goes to the landfill.
Dan Same thing. I have a 25 hp intek. Sears replaced motor once, replace carb. twice and now service came and said it was the fuel pump. Guess what yep that wasn’t it either. Still doesn’t run. No more Briggs or Sears!!!!!!!!!!1
P. Rhed I have had the kolher in a Sears gt5000 for 5 years, not a problem at all yet. The secret is change oil about every 50 or so hours, new fram filter, and keep the blades sharp. I mow over 8 acres with it and it does the job well
rjs kohler is way better than briggs and stratton my gosh wake up kohler is the best
Joe I have a 24HP Briggs with 97 Hours on it. Run Synthetic oil, do regular maintenance. Lost a cyl today. Pulled off valve cover. One valve bent way bad, other completely gone. Guessing in bottom end of engine now. Who knows why. Not impressed.
mjd Don’t even THINK about a Briggs and Stratton.In first 2 years I had a Craftsman with 26 hp ELS twin cylinder Sears had to put on 2 Briggs engines. 1st engine smoked horribly; replacement threw a rod. Sears and Briggs both refused to do anything since out of warranty. Took to Briggs dealer; told there’s a serious problem with the air intake filtration system on Briggs causing the problems. Replacing would be $1500. They said to trash it; recommended getting a Kohler or Kawasaki.
MDJ ID have to say Briggs over kohler. I have a 1984 model Yardman and has the briggs and stratton 14hp engine. The machine is fine runnign and all I have done to it is change the oil and filter, other than that nothing and its still like brand new. Now KOhler not to sure about them but like a vehicle not every engine is perfect, sometimes depends on the operator too.

17 Comments

  1. IN Joe:

    I have a Husqvarna with the Briggs & Straton, which is almost identical to a Craftsman my father bought a year later. The 24HP Briggs has bent lifter rods every 50 hours or so after the first season regardless of how careful I am with operation and maintainance. The head’s oil drain hole is also located so that the push rod, once bent and loose, will slide right down into the bottom of the engine. This requires disconnecting the engine from the chassis and removing the bottom housing to retreive the rods. The second time this happened, I fab’ed up a little guard to place in front of the drain hole that doesn’t impede oil flow, but keeps the rods laying in the head. If you add the drain hole guards to both heads, it is a cheap and easy fix, but I expect both better designs and performance out of my engines. When I can afford to buy a new mower, I will make sure it doesn’t have a B&S engine in it.

  2. Otto:

    Modern BS or Kholer or Tecumshe are, in my opinion, pure garbage. in the farm, I have sixteen different machines all equipt with Honda gasoline or Lombardini diesel engines. Never had a single issue in over ten years.
    One Lombardini has over 12000 (yes, you are reading correctly: twelvethousand hours) and still run like new.
    Were I to purchase a used machine, the very first thing I would do is to remove the engine (send it to the local auctioneer) and install a Honda GX series for light duty application or a Lamborghini (very pricey) for heavy duty ones.
    If you want a cheap solution, then go the BS way and suffer the consequences….
    Regards.

  3. scootersid:

    I have a Husqvarna tractor model GTH2548. After 58 hours something went wrong and I ended up with a pencil size hole in the engone block. I would like to find some information on how to remove this engine from the tractor. is this the right place?

  4. Steve Schmidt:

    I have a 2005 Husqvarna 48″ YTH 2448 with a 24 HP Briggs and Stratton ELS engine. About 80 hours on it. Fall of 07 the exhaust pushrods went inside the engine and damaged the #2 head. The B&S rep takled about replacing the engine but instead they fixed it. June 2008, same thing happened and my 2 year warranty expired. Also, the tractor has been in the shop for 7 weeks now because the head is back ordered. Called B&S and the factory doesn’t have the part. So for they are working on it. Does anyone know what could cause this or if this is a design flaw?

  5. Richard Jauch:

    I have a Cub Cadet rider, 1045 model, 46″ deck (3 blade) and a Kohler Courage 20HP motor. It has been junk from day one. The compression release didn’t work from the start, it was into the shop 4 times and wasn’t fixed right at any time. The engine is now in the shop waiting for a short block because it was one of “those” that were coming apart. I stopped it when I heard a rod knock, lucky for me. I will follow this in a week to announce what they sent the shop, how much it will cost me and whether or not I am satisfied. I have been a home mechanic (race cars in the ’50′s) for 52 years and I don’t like these engines at all.

  6. Al Wynn:

    I have a GT5000 I bought in april 2004. The Kohler command pro 26hp has performed trouble free. Oil and filters at the start of the season. Lost one belt due to a idler brg failure. The brg should not have failed but sears wasn’t interested at the 3year point. Happy with kohler and sears so far.

  7. Niki Waterman:

    We have a 2006 Husqvarna 48″ with 24Hp Briggs and Stratton with 300 hours and it is now complete junk- They are telling us there was a defect with the 24 hp with the air filter, it lets the dirt in and now it was using a quart of oil every time we mowed. So now we have a expensive pile of junk! I do not reccomend the briggs 24 hp at all- Husqvarna is basically a Sears Craftsman painted orange.Seems they are making the stuff cheap but putting a high price on it!Anyone that wants to buy this new piece of junk let me know!

  8. Gary Of Texas:

    All I know ‘is’ after knowing a man that has a small yard service business, and he has had me work on his equipment for the past 14 yrs; is that every briggs engine he own never lasted longer than a yr and half yr without starting to smoke. He did service every 25 hours or whatever the engine manual said. I even convinced him to buy new engines with ‘socalled industrial commercial quality’ Briggs. Still only last about 2yrs before smoking and using oil.
    I convinced him to buy a Kholer Engine rider mower over five years ago. I just replaced some deck pullys for him and ect… He has worn out a set and half a set of tires on it. The engine does not smoke or burn oil after all these yrs and no telling how many hours of use in small yard business he has. Sorry briggs ur history and Briggs u better do better if u want to stay around.

  9. John from North Carolina:

    Husqvarna and Sears both made by the same people (Electrolux home products). They also make several regional brands. I retired last year after 39 years with a couple equipment manufacturers, the last being John Deere. I spent most of my career in the turf industry. I would not recommend a Briggs engineexcept on a homeowner unit under 20 hp. Kohler engines are fine except the Courage series. You cant beat the Kawasaki or Honda engines.

  10. James L Moak:

    am in possession of a Craftsman single cylinder engine logoed (Craftsman cast iron extra long life engine Solid state ignition) equipped with Timkin bearings the # stamped in blower housing is 143-642022 ser #4108E no one seems to be able to identify! electronic ignition has failed. Any help appreciated. Jim Moak Corning CA

  11. Ottis Young:

    I have a husqvarna yth 2448 It backfired and almost immediately started smoking real bad. It burns oil rapidly since then. I suspect it broke a ring or something else happened. Sad thing for such names as Husqvarna and Briggs and Stratton.

  12. Mark Shinsky:

    I have gt5000 26hp 48″ 3seasons old approx 150 hrs.
    I fed the beast almost 1gt of oil each week 1hr mowing time all last season. Started this season with new spark plugs no oil change it now does that it self. After 2 uses it foud 1 plug so bad it was running on 1 cylinder.
    The tractor it self works very well with no other problems. I looked in to replacing it with a kolher for the toone of 1200 to 1500 and no one could tell me what mods would be needed. So I went to my local Briggs dealer to order a new engine. To my suprize thy had it in stock and not just 1 thy had 22 yes 22 in stock at the store at $649.00. I bought 1 24 hp put it on yesterday filled with b&g oil it started right up. Im keeping the old one for parts. By the way since when does anyone keep 22 of any thing in stock, this should tell us something. By the way the problem is the air cleaner design. Im going to fix that and keep my fingers crossed.
    Stuck with B&S junk

  13. John Young:

    I too have had a bad experience with a 25hp Kohler Command Pro engine on a Sears GT 5000 although the oil and filter and air filter were changed about every 25-30 hours of use mowing a flat 2 acre yard. Last year the right side of the v-twin motor began fouling out the plug and one day it just decided to quit when the electric clutch fried itself. The tractor still looks new but is probably only worth a couple of hundred unless I can part it out. Can’t give Kohler’s design a very high mark.

  14. Evie Weidman:

    Have Husqvarna 24 hp with Briggs & Stratton motor(2006). Will never make that mistake again! First 3 months had to hire my neighbor to mow the lawn. Repaired bent rod and valve replaced. Now I am going on the 3rd season with this tractor and I am hiring my heighbor again.Sears wants $300.00 dollars just to show up! It’s not a rod this time but the motor is clacking fiercely. Repairmen suggested a magnet that falls off and rattles around in the motor, if I still have compreshion. Last year I found a cross threaded bolt in the mower deck. Repair men replaced it but didn’t line up the star on the mower blade. So I fixed it with a dremel tool.
    FED UP WITH JUNK!!!!

  15. C Meekins:

    I have a cheapie tractor with a briggs I/C 15 ohv.This engine became hard to start and I quickly learned the valve clearances were ‘tight’.
    the repair manual suggests a expensive method of adjusting these valves.
    my technique for adjustment requires that you first prep. the engine by removing spark plugs and turning the crank until valves are closed. Now measure the clearances with feeler gauge.if tight then remove the large nut holding rocker arm. an experenced tech. maybe needed to grind a small amt. from the rocker arm just where the valve stem contacts rocker arm. I certainly do mean a small amount! Now reassemble rocker arm and torque nut and re-measure gap with feeler gauge.If the gap is still to small then repeat this procedure until you get the gap correct.I recall the intake and exhaust valves are both set at .oo7 inch. however you should verify the valve clearance specs. for your engine model! that’s it.

  16. Rockinroller:

    After purchasing several lawn tractors and mowers over the past 40+ years and having basically 3 engines: Kohler, B&S and Honda, at varying price points and features, I would conclude from all of that experience that the IDEAL purchase from an economic standpoint is to buy a reasonable “low end” machine (i.e. $1200 for a 16-18hp/42″ cut lawn tractor) and expect it to give you good service for 5-7 years. If you plan on approximately $200 per cutting year in “costs” (routine maintenance, occasional belt replacement, oil/filter changes,blade sharpening),including depreciation, I would think that is a reasonable expectation. The problem with the better (read: more expensive) mowers is that they share negative issues with even the most inexpensive varieties: metal (rust), tires (leakage, punctures, etc), blades that dull, oil and lube requirements, gas usage, etc. To me: I’d rather spend $1200 for a “cheap” lawn tractor and have it last 5 years and reselling it at that point in time for a couple hundred bucks, than to spend $5000 on some decked-out model, both being exposed to the elements relating to lawn cutting.

  17. Chris:

    Have a Push mower, but both with Briggs&Stratt 5hp and 5.5hp both 3 years old, just off warrenty, and both broken, one miss’s so bad can’t mow lawn, the other won’t even start, changed coil, plug and air filter, gets gas, air and spark, still won’t start, has been in the shop 4 times under warrenty.
    Looking for new mower, but was going to get a Toro, but saw they have Briggs on them, so thinking LawnBoy or Ariens both with Kohler, what do you think?

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