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Kicking it up a notch: Kohler's Command Pro now available with 40 hp rating; more Courage engines for consumers.


When it unveiled its largest Command Pro 34, 36 and 38 hp V-twin engines a little more than a year ago, Kohler promised that it was only the beginning and that bigger things were going to follow.

The company has delivered on that promise, unveiling a new 40 hp rating of that engine, targeting a range of commercial and industrial applications, including commercial mowers, generator sets and pumps among others.

"This is a planned evolution of horsepower," said Richard Koehl, director of marketing and quality for Kohler Engines. "It started at 34, went up to 36 and 38 and now is up to 40. Hopefully, next year, it will go beyond that.

"We're hoping in the future to drive the under-1.0 L engine to the potential horsepower that we believe it can truly achieve. We don't really want to say what that is, but we believe we know where it can go. We know what the best automotive engines can do and there's no reason that ultimately these types of engines can't perform similarly.

"For now, we wanted to make sure we maintained our drive toward relentless performance. The Command Pro 40 hp is in production, in both vertical and horizontal models."

The Command Pro 40 engine is a 90[degrees] twin-cylinder, overhead valve design with an electronic ignition system, two-barrel carburetor and mechanical governor. The engine has a displacement of 999 cc, with a bore and stroke of 90 mm x 78.5 mm, and it incorporates several industrial-grade features designed to provide a high level of durability and reliability in myriad applications. These include an aluminum block with cast-iron cylinder liners for extended service life; maintenance-free hydraulic valve lifters designed to ensure full power over the life of the engine; larger sleeve bearings on both the flywheel and PTO side designed to accommodate heavy loads; a heavy-duty air cleaner with integrated rain cap; and an integrated oil cooler mounted under the cylinder access cover, designed to provide improved cooling while still maintaining a compact profile.

Dry weight ranges from 127 lb. for vertical shaft engines to 132 lb. for the horizontal shaft models and overall packaging dimensions are roughly the same as the 38 hp engine, the company said.

The Command Pro 40 engine also incorporates several features intended to make engine service simpler. Chief among these is Kohler's top access oil filter, a Kohler-patented design in which the spin-on oil filter canister is mounted in an inverted position between the cylinders. The system is engineered to ensure that oil in the filter drains completely before the filter is actually separated from the filter base, incorporating a spring-loaded cup that maintains contact with the filter seal as it is being loosened for removal. Oil change intervals have been extended to 150 hours and the cylinder access cover is easily removable to promote cleanout of debris, Kohler said.

"In commercial applications, uptime is king," said Koehl. "For a commercial cutter, his thinking is if he can mow more lawn today, he can make more money. So these service features let him maintain the engine much more easily."

Along with the Command Pro 40 engines, Kohler has also launched new versions of its Courage gasoline engine for consumer applications. The new vertical shaft, twin-cylinder Courage Pro engines are available in 20, 23, 25 and 27 hp models and target lawn tractors, yard tractors, garden tractors and zero-turn radius mowers. All of the engines have a bore and stroke of 83 mm x 67 mm for a displacement of 725 cc, which Kohler claimed is the largest displacements for twin-cylinder engines in consumer turf applications.


"We've always been a player in the premier end of the consumer market," said Koehl. "Now we're moving into the midtier market and that creates a whole new set of challenges. We've been focused on commercial-grade products and in the commercial mindset, you want everything to last forever. And we've got some engines out there that are 30 and 40 years old and still chugging away.

"But with these engines, the goal is to dial it back just a little--to still keep longevity and durability in mind, because that is where we operate the best--but to downscale it to meet the needs of the consumer market, where the guy may use the tractor two or three hours a week."

Contributing to longer engine life and enhanced performance, Kohler said, are larger air, oil and fuel filters, along with an internally vented carburetor and heavier crankshaft bearings. The company also focused on simplified maintenance, and no tools or knobs are required to view or remove the air filter. The major service points, including the air filter, oil filter and dipstick, are all located in easily accessible positions, the company added. Finally, the Courage Pro twins require only annual maintenance.

The Courage XT-6 and XT-7 single-cylinder engines are the company's first products for the push-mower market, available in ratings of 3.5 net hp and 4.5 net hp, respectively. Engineered in the U.S., the vertical shaft engines are built at Kohler-YinXiang Ltd., Kohler's Chongqing, China-based joint venture with YinXiang Ltd.

"Kohler is now a player in the walk-behind market," said Koehl. "We're confident that our approach in taking the appropriate and successful features noted in our commercial turf engines and maximizing those to work well with the end user, result in a favorable new engine choice for consumers."

The new air-cooled engines incorporate an overhead valve design, with cast-iron cylinder liners and forged crankshafts for better durability. Bore and stroke for both engines is 70 mm x 45 mm for an overall displacement of 173 cc and both share the same external dimensions of 16.1 x 13.9 x 11.0 in. (L x W x H).

The new walk-behind engines meet or exceed the SAE Small Engine Test Code J1940 horsepower requirements, Kohler said.

If that wasn't enough activity, Kohler will launch its diesel program at the World of Concrete show in Las Vegas later this month. The move represents the next step of its integration efforts following its acquisition in early 2007 of Italy's Lombardini.

"We wanted to make sure that we took into account the product lineup and all of the OEMs currently using Lombardini and had everything squared away before we made any announcements," said Koehl. "We have been listening to what our customers have to say and are redeveloping products in view of having a diesel lineup that truly meets the needs and the cost points our customers are looking for. And we anticipate being able to announce some good, game-changing products in the upcoming years for both the commercial and construction markets. It's going to be exciting."
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Author:Brezonick, Mike
Publication:Diesel Progress North American Edition
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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