The tractor's Kohler KT17 engine was an oil burner and we had to make sure to top off the crankcase whenever the gas tank was refilled. In July of 2006, we negligent in checking the oil level and, after a short time into the lawn cutting on that fateful day, there was a loud bang. The tractor began running rough and was way down on power. Upon further investigation, it turned out that one of the connecting rods broke.
Having checked out my options including Fordlord's conversion, I decided my best course of action was to repower my tractor with the Honda GX610-TXF2 kit (no longer offered) from the Small Engine Warehouse. One nice feature of the the Honda GX610 is that it is equipped with a low oil level shutdown. The Honda is rated for 18 hp compared with 17 hp for the Kohler.
This article is based on the forum topic I started on Jul 31, 2006: Farmall Cub - Repowering a Cub Cadet 782 with a Honda Engine
My Cub Cadet 782 with the Kohler KT17 showing the removed cylinder head.
The kit as it was shipped from the Small Engine Warehouse. SEW doesn't ship to Canada so I had to ship it to a friend's house in Buffalo. Luckily for me, he only lives about 20 minutes from my house.
The engine just prior to removal. At this point, the driveshaft, fuel line, and cables were disconnected. It took me a little while to figure out that there was no need to remove all of the sheet-metal shrouding from the engine. I found that after removing the front grill and removing all 6 bolts from the engine support plate under the tractor, the engine could be lifted out quite easily.
A Cub Cadet with no engine. Anyone need a spare Kohler KT8½? Doesn't run half bad!
A Cub Cadet with a new Honda engine. The wiring harness was slightly damaged in shipping so I soldered in a new splice to make sure I have a good connection. I also found that the new throttle cable did not have threaded mounting holes so I had to thread them with a #10-24 tap. My fuel line was a bit too short (and showing its age) so I replaced it.