7 Common Kohler Courage 20 Problems(With Solutions)

When it comes to lawn mowers and outdoor power equipment, the Kohler Courage 20 engine is a popular choice among homeowners and professionals alike.

Known for its reliability and performance, this engine has earned a stellar reputation in the industry.

However, like any piece of machinery, it’s not immune to issues.

In this post, we’ll explore some of the common Kohler Courage 20 problems that users may encounter. We’ll also provide solutions and maintenance tips to keep your engine running smoothly.

Let’s jump into it.

Kohler Courage 20 Problems

Kohler Courage 20 Problems

Common Problems and Solutions

1. Starting Issues

Problem: One of the most frustrating problems users encounter is difficulty starting the engine.

Solution: Starting problems can often be traced back to issues with the engine’s ignition system.

Kohler Courage 20 Problems

Here are some steps to troubleshoot and address this problem:

  • Check the spark plug. A fouled or damaged spark plug can prevent the engine from starting. Remove the spark plug and inspect it for wear or deposits. If it’s in poor condition, replace it with a new one.
  • Inspect the fuel system. Make sure the fuel tank has an adequate supply of clean, fresh fuel. Old or contaminated fuel can lead to starting problems. Also, check the fuel filter for clogs and replace it if necessary.
  • Examine the carburetor. The carburetor may need cleaning or adjustment. If you’re unfamiliar with carburetor maintenance, it’s best to consult your engine’s manual or seek professional assistance.
  • Verify the choke operation: Ensure that the choke is functioning correctly. A stuck or improperly adjusted choke can hinder the starting process. Adjust or repair it as needed.

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2. Overheating

Problem: Kohler Courage 20 engines can overheat, causing damage and poor performance.

Solution: Overheating is a serious issue that should be addressed promptly to prevent engine damage.

Here’s how to tackle this problem:

  • Clean the cooling fins: Over time, dirt and debris can accumulate on the engine’s cooling fins, reducing their effectiveness. Carefully clean these fins to ensure proper heat dissipation.
  • Check the cooling system. Inspect the cooling system for leaks, blockages, or damaged components. Repair or replace any faulty parts to maintain efficient cooling.
  • Ensure proper airflow: Adequate airflow around the engine is crucial for preventing overheating. Keep the engine’s surrounding area clear of obstructions, and avoid operating the equipment in high-temperature conditions when possible.

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3. Low power output

Problem: Some users report a decrease in power over time.

Solution: If your Kohler Courage 20 engine seems to have lost its power, consider the following remedies:

  • Replace the air filter and spark plugs. A clogged air filter or worn-out spark plugs can lead to reduced engine power. Regularly replace the air filter and spark plugs to maintain optimal performance.
  • Throttle and choke adjustments: Check the throttle and choke settings. Ensure that they are correctly adjusted to provide the engine with the right air-fuel mixture for maximum power output.

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4. Excessive Vibration

Problem: Excessive engine vibration can lead to discomfort and potential damage.

Solution: Loose or damaged components can be the cause of engine vibration.

Here’s how to address this issue:

  • Inspect engine mounting bolts: Check the engine mounting bolts for tightness. If they are loose, tighten them to secure the engine properly in place.
  • Examine the engine assembly: Inspect the various components of the engine assembly for any loose or damaged parts. Pay particular attention to the crankshaft and flywheel. Replace or repair any parts as necessary.

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5. Oil Leaks

Problem: Oil leaks are not uncommon with Kohler Courage 20 engines.

Solution: Oil leaks can be messy and, if left unchecked, can lead to engine damage. To address oil leaks:

  • Inspect gaskets and seals. Carefully examine the engine for any visible oil leaks. Check the gaskets and seals, especially around the crankcase and oil pan. Replace any damaged gaskets or seals.
  • Monitor oil level: Ensure that the engine’s oil level is within the recommended range. An overfilled or underfilled engine can contribute to leaks. Adjust the oil level as needed.
  • Regular maintenance: Performing routine maintenance, including oil changes, can help prevent oil leaks. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for oil change intervals.

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6. Uneven cutting

Problem: If your lawn mower isn’t cutting evenly, it may be related to the engine.

Solution: While uneven cutting is often attributed to mower deck issues, the engine can play a role. Here are some steps to address this problem:

  • Sharpen mower blades. Dull blades can lead to uneven cutting. Regularly sharpen the mower blades to ensure a clean and even cut.
  • Level the deck: Check the mower deck’s level. If it’s not level, adjust it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. A level deck ensures an even cut.
  • Set the cutting height: Adjust the cutting height to your desired level. Cutting too low can cause scalping, while cutting too high may result in an uneven lawn surface.

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7. Fuel problems

Problem: Poor fuel quality or contamination can affect engine performance.

Solution: Fuel-related problems can be prevented with proper fuel management. Here’s what you can do:

  • Use high-quality fuel. Whenever possible, use pure gasoline without ethanol. Ethanol-blended fuels can lead to carburetor and fuel system issues in small engines.
  • Fuel stabilizer: If your equipment will be stored for an extended period, consider using a fuel stabilizer to prevent fuel degradation and carburetor issues.
  • Regular fuel system maintenance: Periodically inspect the fuel lines, fuel filter, and carburetor for any signs of contamination or clogs. Replace components as needed.

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Routine Maintenance

Maintenance TaskDescription
Change the oil and oil filter regularly.Regular oil changes are essential to keeping the engine’s internal components well lubricated. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Clean the air filter after every 25 hours of operation.A clean air filter ensures proper air intake, preventing engine damage and loss of power.
Inspect and tighten bolts and connections periodically.Vibrations and usage can cause bolts and connections to loosen over time. Regularly check and tighten them to maintain the engine’s integrity.
Keep the cooling system clean and free of debris.Ensure that the cooling fins and radiator are clean and free of dirt and debris. Clean them as needed to prevent overheating.
Store your equipment in a dry, sheltered area.Protect your outdoor power equipment from the elements by storing it in a dry, sheltered location. This prevents rust and prolongs equipment life.

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Final Remarks

The Kohler Courage 20 engine is a reliable workhorse, but it can encounter problems over time. By understanding these common issues and their solutions, you can keep your engine running smoothly and extend its lifespan.

Regular maintenance is key to a trouble-free outdoor power experience.


How often should I change the oil in my Kohler Courage 20 engine?

We recommend changing the oil every 25 hours of operation, or at least once a season. Regular oil changes are crucial for engine longevity and performance.

Can I use ethanol-blended fuel in my Kohler Courage 20 engine?

It’s best to avoid ethanol-blended fuels, as they can lead to carburetor and fuel system issues. Opt for pure gasoline if possible to prevent fuel-related problems.

Why does my engine smoke during startup?

Smoke during startup is normal to some extent, but excessive smoke may indicate an oil or fuel issue. Consult your user manual or a professional technician to diagnose and address the problem.

How can I prevent my engine from overheating?

To prevent engine overheating, clean the cooling fins, check the cooling system for issues, and ensure proper airflow around the engine. Overheating can lead to severe damage, so address it promptly.

What should I do if my engine continues to have problems despite maintenance?

If issues persist despite regular maintenance, it’s advisable to consult a qualified technician. They can diagnose and address any underlying problems that may be affecting your Kohler Courage 20 engine’s performance.

George Bill
George Bill

George Bill is a Mechanical Engineer by Profession and an avid gardener and has been mowing his lawn for over 20 years. He has used a variety of different mowers during this time.
George is an expert at maintaining his mowers and over the years, he has learned many tricks and techniques for getting the best results from his mowers and is always happy to share his knowledge on this site.