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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just picked up a 6x4 with a 23HP B&S Vanguard engine. The replacement was prompted by the PO's frustration with the typical overheating issues associated with the water-cooled Kawasaki engine. The B&S runs fine and seems to be a suitable replacement for the Kawasaki, especially if it eliminates the overheating. I like it.

The seller included the original engine (condition unknown at this time), radiator and other stuff to go back to stock. Since I bought this thing as a "flipper", I'm wondering if it's worth the trouble and some minor expense to put the original engine back in, assuming it'll bring a higher price due to being stock. FWIW, I've always wondered why they went water cooled in the first place. Any thoughts?
 

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I would not think so. I think most buyers would see a value in a new motor, vs a 20 year old one. You should post some pictures of the install, its not a straight swap, there must have been some work done to make it all right.



To refurbish the old engine would prob run around $1000 if you had it done at Precision Engineering in Missouri or The Gator Guy in MD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Actually, the swap is pretty clean. The B&S occupies just about the same space as the Kaw and even uses the stock muffler with minimal mods. Primary clutch is a one for one swap, fuel pump is stock. I haven't explored too deeply, but it appears that a new ignition box has been installed. Air cleaner is ducted into the space under the passenger seat where the radiator used to live. All in all, a pretty neat package, especially without the hoses. I'll take some pics tomorrow.

As for value vs. the original Kawasaki, I tend to agree, most buyers want a well running, reliable engine regardless of the make. The exception of course are the John Deere purists who can't imagine anything but stock. Another factor in favor of leaving the B&S in place is that I can sell the Kaw and accessories. I do my own engine work and these things are easy and cheap to rebuild.
 

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wow cool, nicely done. looks like they fabbed a little block up to adjust cables as well. nice set up.


If I were in your shoes, id send the old block out for overhaul (unless you DIY), and hang onto it. Either sell it (prob a wash $), or just have it on hand for the next wrecked gator you buy, which you could sell for a premium for since it will have a fully rebuilt stock motor in it.



my motor has like 1600 hours on it, it refuses to burn oil or break down, but when it does I am driving it to Gator Guy in MD for overhaul.


I love the simplicity and cost for value of the old gators...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I agree with you, these older Gators are nothing fancy, built to work and somewhat affordable. I buy every 4x2 and 6x4 that comes up on Craigslist under $3G, fix them up and get them back to work. Trouble is, they're getting harder and harder to find, but to their credit, as soon as I put one up for sale it's as good as gone. Apparently, a lot of people appreciate a simple, reliable, affordable machine.
 

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I have a 1999 6x4 Gator. Spent too much money getting lots of things fixed 2 years ago at the dealer. One was an overheating issue that was a faulty water pump. Replacement lasted less than 2 years. Enough of this BS. So I just ordered the B&S Vanguard 23HP engine from the Small Engine Warehouse. Not cheap, but it includes wire harnesses, cables, etc. to make the transition. The new Vanguard replacement has the air filter on top (vs. the ducting under passenger seat in your picture). I understand that this additional height requires the "heat shield" welded on the bottom of the dump bed to be cut out to make room. Talked to the tech at Small Engine Warehouse - they had not received any reports of interference with the dump bed actuator. They have been selling about 100 a year since around 2012. Will find out shortly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have a 1999 6x4 Gator. Spent too much money getting lots of things fixed 2 years ago at the dealer. One was an overheating issue that was a faulty water pump. Replacement lasted less than 2 years. Enough of this BS. So I just ordered the B&S Vanguard 23HP engine from the Small Engine Warehouse. Not cheap, but it includes wire harnesses, cables, etc. to make the transition. The new Vanguard replacement has the air filter on top (vs. the ducting under passenger seat in your picture). I understand that this additional height requires the "heat shield" welded on the bottom of the dump bed to be cut out to make room. Talked to the tech at Small Engine Warehouse - they had not received any reports of interference with the dump bed actuator. They have been selling about 100 a year since around 2012. Will find out shortly.
I don't think you'll be disappointed with the B&S. I just sold the B&S Gator yesterday and the buyer was thrilled with the performance and simplicity of the setup. Never brought up the issue of "non original".

As for the question of fitting a power dump actuator, I have to backtrack on my earlier assertion that it won't fit. Before taking delivery, the buyer and I replicated an actuator with a piece of 1" board and it does indeed appear to just barely fit, the closest interference coming with the spark plug boot. This was using the dimensions from a cheap ebay actuator (they work just fine). Using the genuine JD actuator with the rubber boot may be a different story. Let us know how it goes.
 

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I also just did this, same motor and it was simple plug and play. I could not believe it. 12 yr old boy could do this. Works very well and very quiet. You can change these out in a couple hours. Just hope it holds up. Small Engine warehouse has been good for me. This is my 3rd motor replacement for other projects from them.
 

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QUOTE=Tuts;91101]I have a 1999 6x4 Gator. Spent too much money getting lots of things fixed 2 years ago at the dealer. One was an overheating issue that was a faulty water pump. Replacement lasted less than 2 years. Enough of this BS. So I just ordered the B&S Vanguard 23HP engine from the Small Engine Warehouse. Not cheap, but it includes wire harnesses, cables, etc. to make the transition. The new Vanguard replacement has the air filter on top (vs. the ducting under passenger seat in your picture). I understand that this additional height requires the "heat shield" welded on the bottom of the dump bed to be cut out to make room. Talked to the tech at Small Engine Warehouse - they had not received any reports of interference with the dump bed actuator. They have been selling about 100 a year since around 2012. Will find out shortly.[/QUOTE]

June-July 2019 - Finally got a round "To-It". The swap out with the BS Vanguard with kit from the Small Engine Warehouse went fairly well. But I overthought it. With the new engine, there is about a 4 - 5" play in the belt. Thought that the adapter plate was wrong. After many go rounds with the Small Engine Warehouse, I learned that the BS engine does not idle down as low as the old Kawasaki. Play in belt is needed to prevent driving of the transaxle/transmission when idling (more on this).
Two minor problems, 1) the provided choke cable was too short to be reinstalled in the location of the original - had to relocate next to the shift lever. 2)The engine-transaxle bar that ties engine to the transaxle was too short and off set didn't line up - flattened out the bar to lengthen and put a spacer between bar and transaxle mounting position to correct offset.
One step left out of the instructions - hook up of the negative wires back to ground/battery - a few days viewing schematics and testing to figure that out.
After all the dust settled, it runs and is much quieter than the original engine. Starts easily (don't know about cold weather). It seems to work even with the loose belt and will snap your head back if you don't ease on the gas.
But the engine still drives the transaxle even with the slack in the belt. OK when you first start it, but within 10 seconds the primary clutch and transaxle is engaged and you grind gears if you try to shift out of neutral. If you don't shift quickly between forward and reverse after stopping, you will grind gears. If you wait too long/not quick enough, you have to turn the engine off and restart and quickly shift into gear. The BS Vanguard engine idle is controlled by a governor. Came across info on internet regarding idle springs on the Vanguard engines - one for 1750 idle and one for 1100 idle. I have not been able to determine the idle speed this particular model or if the above springs are for this particular model. May have to look into new or different springs/weights in the primary clutch so it doesn't engage the belt at low idle. Did have to replace the starter solenoid in the first month- ??? not sure what caused that - perhaps turning engine off and on too quickly?
A note on space for the dump bed actuator – while I was at it, I replaced broken JD actuator with one from Northern Tool. Bottom connection on the new actuator was shorter than original JD. Had to grind down the mount on the frame to fit – works like a charm for 1/3 the cost. No problem with space with the new BS Vanguard engine.
 

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To each his own but personally i do not like the kawasaki small engines at all and they seem to be less trouble free than briggs.
Keeping a briggs running is a lot easier than fixing kawas
 

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Tuts... Have you considered purchasing a shorter length belt?
 

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QUOTE=Tuts;91101]I have a 1999 6x4 Gator. Spent too much money getting lots of things fixed 2 years ago at the dealer. One was an overheating issue that was a faulty water pump. Replacement lasted less than 2 years. Enough of this BS. So I just ordered the B&S Vanguard 23HP engine from the Small Engine Warehouse. Not cheap, but it includes wire harnesses, cables, etc. to make the transition. The new Vanguard replacement has the air filter on top (vs. the ducting under passenger seat in your picture). I understand that this additional height requires the "heat shield" welded on the bottom of the dump bed to be cut out to make room. Talked to the tech at Small Engine Warehouse - they had not received any reports of interference with the dump bed actuator. They have been selling about 100 a year since around 2012. Will find out shortly.
June-July 2019 - Finally got a round "To-It". The swap out with the BS Vanguard with kit from the Small Engine Warehouse went fairly well. But I overthought it. With the new engine, there is about a 4 - 5" play in the belt. Thought that the adapter plate was wrong. After many go rounds with the Small Engine Warehouse, I learned that the BS engine does not idle down as low as the old Kawasaki. Play in belt is needed to prevent driving of the transaxle/transmission when idling (more on this).
Two minor problems, 1) the provided choke cable was too short to be reinstalled in the location of the original - had to relocate next to the shift lever. 2)The engine-transaxle bar that ties engine to the transaxle was too short and off set didn't line up - flattened out the bar to lengthen and put a spacer between bar and transaxle mounting position to correct offset.
One step left out of the instructions - hook up of the negative wires back to ground/battery - a few days viewing schematics and testing to figure that out.
After all the dust settled, it runs and is much quieter than the original engine. Starts easily (don't know about cold weather). It seems to work even with the loose belt and will snap your head back if you don't ease on the gas.
But the engine still drives the transaxle even with the slack in the belt. OK when you first start it, but within 10 seconds the primary clutch and transaxle is engaged and you grind gears if you try to shift out of neutral. If you don't shift quickly between forward and reverse after stopping, you will grind gears. If you wait too long/not quick enough, you have to turn the engine off and restart and quickly shift into gear. The BS Vanguard engine idle is controlled by a governor. Came across info on internet regarding idle springs on the Vanguard engines - one for 1750 idle and one for 1100 idle. I have not been able to determine the idle speed this particular model or if the above springs are for this particular model. May have to look into new or different springs/weights in the primary clutch so it doesn't engage the belt at low idle. Did have to replace the starter solenoid in the first month- ??? not sure what caused that - perhaps turning engine off and on too quickly?
A note on space for the dump bed actuator – while I was at it, I replaced broken JD actuator with one from Northern Tool. Bottom connection on the new actuator was shorter than original JD. Had to grind down the mount on the frame to fit – works like a charm for 1/3 the cost. No problem with space with the new BS Vanguard engine.
[/QUOTE]
Did you have trouble with speed after. I did same install. All I get is 10 mph before I'd get 20
 

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Hi. I am new to the forum. I have two 6x4, one diesel and one old trail gator with its second vanguard. 23. Just finished installing the second one. The alternator went out in the first one. Not a big deal, just put it on charger each time I used it….no problem. That was fine till a branch came up into the engine compartment and got hold of the wiring harness And ripped out all the wires right at the block. So the engine had to come out. Decided to put a new engine in mostly to save time. I needed to get it running and getting the harness from BSwas filled with problems or so said my BS dealer.
When I put the first one in, it was an easy mechanical fit. Dropped right in with no modifications. Problem was that the engine was not matched to the machine. Due to epa requirements the vanguard idles mush faster than the old Kawasaki. So fast that the primary clutch was engaging at idle. The machine would creep and that’s using a mild term. It would take off if your foot wasn’t on the brake. And the only way you could shift was to rev it up and wait for the rpms to bottom out and then shift. Even then I still cringed every time I would. shift. Not being a mechanic I went down to the hardware store and bought a pile of springs and put more return tension of the throttle. It helped but it didn’t run worth a crap But at least could shift. I’ve had the latest engine in just a few days and have exactly same issues with this one. I have talked to small engine warehouse and they understand the issues but there’s no universal fix. Several options, move engine forward and drill new holes. (how far?), modify the weights in the primary clutch so it activates at a higher rpm.Went to two JD dealerships and they didn’t have a clue. Or get a longer belt. This last option seems like a good choice and the easiest way to go. If it doesn’t work it’s easily reversible.
has anyone tried a longer belt? If so how much longer? And, where did u get it.?
 

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Hi. I am new to the forum. I have two 6x4, one diesel and one old trail gator with its second vanguard. 23. Just finished installing the second one. The alternator went out in the first one. Not a big deal, just put it on charger each time I used it….no problem. That was fine till a branch came up into the engine compartment and got hold of the wiring harness And ripped out all the wires right at the block. So the engine had to come out. Decided to put a new engine in mostly to save time. I needed to get it running and getting the harness from BSwas filled with problems or so said my BS dealer.
When I put the first one in, it was an easy mechanical fit. Dropped right in with no modifications. Problem was that the engine was not matched to the machine. Due to epa requirements the vanguard idles mush faster than the old Kawasaki. So fast that the primary clutch was engaging at idle. The machine would creep and that’s using a mild term. It would take off if your foot wasn’t on the brake. And the only way you could shift was to rev it up and wait for the rpms to bottom out and then shift. Even then I still cringed every time I would. shift. Not being a mechanic I went down to the hardware store and bought a pile of springs and put more return tension of the throttle. It helped but it didn’t run worth a crap But at least could shift. I’ve had the latest engine in just a few days and have exactly same issues with this one. I have talked to small engine warehouse and they understand the issues but there’s no universal fix. Several options, move engine forward and drill new holes. (how far?), modify the weights in the primary clutch so it activates at a higher rpm.Went to two JD dealerships and they didn’t have a clue. Or get a longer belt. This last option seems like a good choice and the easiest way to go. If it doesn’t work it’s easily reversible.
has anyone tried a longer belt? If so how much longer? And, where did u get it.?
Are you certain the Primary Clutch is not sticking ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The clutch depends on a certain amount of friction to engage the belt. If you reduce the friction between clutch and belt it takes more "clutch" to grab the belt. Simply spray teflon lubricant on the clutch and belt as the motor is running and you'll watch as the clutch engagement is reduced and the belt slows. The downside would seem to be that the clutch would never fully engage. It's not a problem. I've used this hack on several Gators and it's never failed me.
 
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