Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)/ch20 bending pushrods


hello i have a kohler ch20 that i just overhauled. on first startup we gave it ether. it instantly bent all 4 pushrods. we have checked cam timing and made sure the valves were not hitting the pistons. we straightened the pushrods and put them back in. it had compression until we gave it ether. it bent the pushrods again. we tried to start it without ether but it still bent them. ideas would be appreciated. thanks

If they bent once then they will bend again as they are weak.  I've read several articles where folks said using ether can damage today's OHV small engines.  I just use regular gas for priming engines.

You will need to replace all 4 push rods.  Some engines have specific push rods for intake and exhaust valves.

I would check the mechanical timing, cam shaft alignment marks, and verify the flywheel key is not sheared.

Did you download the engine service manual from Kohler's website?


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Eric A. Jones


Lawnmower Repair . Certified Master Service Technician from B&S. Have 23 years experience on B&S, Lawn Chief, Weed Eater, Echo, Peerless, Wheel Horse, Snapper, Atlas, MTD, McCulloch, Homelite and many other numerous brands. Specialize in electrical repair.


Born and raised in the midwest. Started tinkering with engines when I was about 14 on my Suzuki RM-80. I began lawn mower repair at a small hardware store. I knew absolutely nothing. I read lots of repair manuals and met an older fellow who taught me many lessons. I continued working on small engines through high school and paid my way through college working on mowers at the same hardware store. Decided to get away from the midwest and mower repair so I joined the Air Force. I repaired air traffic control electronic equipment and ended up in Hawaii where I got a part time job at Small Engine Clinic. I gained a lot of experience from the Small Engine Clinic and had a blast repairing small engines. I then took the Briggs and Stratton Master Service Technician test and earned my MST. I then traveled to Wisconsin where I attended the factory update training seminar and received formal training. Continued working on mowers part time as I completed 20 years of military. Retired from the military on a Friday and continued in the lawn and garden industry the next Monday.

MAS Aerospace Operations BA Mathematics AAS Electronic Communications AAS Electronic Technology

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