Back in 2020 my Simplicity Broadmor tractor with a Kohler Command 16 engine was running really bad and I suspected the carb was having issues so I bought two Chinese carbs off Amazon figuring one would work. They were different brands and about $19/each so I figured “why not?” Well, kind of wish I hadn’t so let me tell you what happened.
I replaced the carb but it really didn’t make a difference. I tried all kinds of stuff with no improvement and decided to use a small engine repair shop that shall go nameless. Turns out the ignition system had a known problems. The flawed Kohler Digital Spark Advanced Ignition (DSAI) was replaced with a Magneto Digital Ignition (MDI) model. Had I known about those issues and that the MDI part number was Kohler 12-707-01-S, I would have done it myself. But I didn’t, they did and they replaced the ignition.
So, let me recap – I had installed a Chinese carb and got it kind of working and the shop installed the MDI upgrade, got it running and called it even. On one hand it was running but it was rough, hard starting and often would backfire when either starting or stopping plus the power felt lower – it bogged down more when I got into tall grass. It got to the point that I had to do something but I wasn’t thrilled with the repair shop either.
Ok, so what did I do? I start reading up on the Command 16 engine in earnest – what I should have done the first time. The most likely culprit was the Chinese carb. The more I read about folks using Chinese carbs was that their quality was hit and miss. Guys who got them to work knew about how to tear down and rebuild a carb to fix what was overlooked by the factory. The guys who didn’t have that level of knowledge – like me – tended to run into problems. Hmmm…. yeah, I was definitely betting on the carb at that point.
I still had the original carb but it had been sitting empty for over three years and I wasn’t sure how the seals would be so I started digging on what OEM Kohler carb I should buy. Turns out that my original 12-053-83 carb was superseded (replaced with a new model) by the 12-853-93-S carb so I did some digging and found it on Amazon for $201.89. Yeah, it was a fair amount of money but buying a new tractor is a fortune these days so I took the gamble.
Replacing a carb on a Command 16 is very straight forward – remove the emissions hose, the two nuts that hold the air cleaner assembly in place, remove the fuel hose, the red electrical wire for the fuel solenoid and then you pull the carb off far enough so you can then move it around and remove the throttle and choke stiff wires. It took maybe 30 minutes – I was taking a photos too so that always slows things down.
The new Kohler carb ran like a champ. I wish I had just spent the money on it to begin with – yeah, it is expensive but worth it. I mowed our 1.5 acres the next day and what a difference it made! It hardly slowed down going through thick grass and I haven’t heard it run that good in years.
My recommendation to you is that unless you know small engine carbs and want to pull a cheap Chinese model apart and check it before you install it, spend the money on a Kohler as it is built right. By the way, I am not the only person who reports the Kohler carbs literally work right out of the box!
I hope this helps you out!
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