cub burns some oil while mowing

Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:52 pm

i noticed this the first time i mowed with it but i never posted anything about it. i plowed my driveway all winter and did odd jobs around the yard, when i put the belly mower on it i noticed that i smokes a little. it only appears to smoke after it gets hot after being loaded down with the mower for a while. it also doesnt appear to be smoking constantly only when idled down and throttled back up again. occasionally i have to add some oil, maybe after every 3 or 4 hours of heavy use. its weird because this tractor never smoked under lightly used conditions but did when i started to work it hard. its also a little on the gutless side when its cold, it will mow but i run it in 1st gear for the first few minutes once she's warmed up she has plenty of power and will mow alsmost anything in 2nd gear. the way i see it she should last a few good years before she gets really tired then i have a couple options.
- just do a "ring job" and hope for the best. this could be done in the tractor by just removing the head and the oil pan... simpliest cheapest way might last a couple more years
-remove and rebuild engine
- buy another good block, rebuild that engine install rebuilt engine. would probably go this route if i did a complete overhaul.... minimal down time on my only tractor/mower. could probably swap engines in an afternoon.

is there anything i can do to reduce the oil consumption for now, its not really bad but i just dont like oil burning. does anybody run high mileage oil in their cub? example valvoline maxlife? problem with maxlife is that i do not believe they make in 30W which is what i run in the summer.

i have had quite a few people tell me that these tractor tend to burn oil when they get high in hours and they will continue to run for years burning oil. the engines only turn at 1,600 RPM so wear progresses much slower then say a single cylinder engine that turns at 3,600 RPM.

also does oil burning on the C60 always mean worn rings or can it be valve seals? do they use valve stem seals like a chevy small block for example.

if i ever did a rebuild i would want to do it to the point of upgrading my engine's performance as well. if the C60 in the 184 and 185 are virtually the same engine, it should be possible with an early C60. i think that would mean different pistons and the zenith carburator.

someone also told me that parts avialable today are poor qaulity and will not hold up like the originals, is that true? or do rebuilt C60's have the ability to run as long as they did when they were a new engine? is it a waste of money to rebuild one?

sorry for the long post

Re: cub burns some oil while mowing

Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:38 pm

You can try a thicker oil, either a single viscosity like 40 or multi-viscosity like 20w-50, and see if that reduces your summer oil consumption. I do not recommend keeping it in the crankcase when the mower comes off.

My guess is the cylinders are worn, rings are worn, rings are stuck - or some combination of these three. The valves are in the block rather than the cylinder head, the oil flows back down to the crankcase rather than up to the combustion chamber.

Re: cub burns some oil while mowing

Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:40 pm

what is the cost of rebuilding a c60? i would guess $1,000-$1,200. rebuild kits are $499 complete kit. then you have machine shop work which can run $4-500 i am guessing on that number. i have done kohler k series but never did a 4 cylinder tractor engine. my cub doesnt smoke too badly but enough where its noticable. i would think she will last a little while longer. it would just be nice to know what i am getting into. are the rebuild parts good quality and could i expect to get another lifetime out of an overhaul? would be nice to get another 30 years on an overhual, and at about $1,000 i would consider that to be a bargin

Re: cub burns some oil while mowing

Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:22 pm

Just getting my feet wet with these Cubs, but maybe consider Seafoaming the engine through the gas and intake. The solution will assist with removing the 50+ years of carbon buildup and maybe loosen up the rings. I Seafoamed mine but can't say it had any noticeable effect.

Re: cub burns some oil while mowing

Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:07 am

I have one that smokes lightly any time you throttle up, probably to some extent when loaded as well. I have NO intention of rebuilding anything at the moment, because I believe this cub will continue to run well for many more years. Once you do decide to rebuild, you have the prices approximately correct. I don't know about the longevity of the rebuild parts, we rebuilt my son's cub in 2007, and it is still running like new; it's only job is mowing. As Carl stated, no valve seals since valves are in block. Also the seafoam is a good treatment to apply to any cub engine, and may help some, but no miracles. I don't have to add a lot of oil, maybe once between changes....

Re: cub burns some oil while mowing

Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:41 am

The Cub I mow w/seems to use oil until it's down about 1/2 qt. then doesn't drop much after that -Think it's just the nature of some engines to maintain a certain level of oil in the crankcase?? Oil is cheap compared to a rebuild - as long as it has decent power to do the job and runs smooth - NO Problem!! Dusty B

Re: cub burns some oil while mowing

Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:50 am

You can buy a lot of oil for what a rebuild will cost.

It's true that these old engines will run great burning a little oil for years and years. All the big tractors on the farm use some oil, and they've been that way since I was a kid, so I personally don't consider mild oil consumption to be a cause for alarm.

You will probably never see the oil consumption get so bad that a rebuild will be absolutely required. Just keep it topped off.

Keep the rebuild idea in your back pocket. For a lot of people it is a fun project and you learn a lot. Save up the $$$ and keep your eyes out for a good deal on a long block.

Re: cub burns some oil while mowing

Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:11 am

Conduct compression tests on cold engine, dry then wet. Also, oil pressure when engine is fully warmed up. This will provide an indication of engine condition.

Agree with Matt Kirsch, mild oil consumption is not something to worry about. A bit of oil consumption is normal.

Re: cub burns some oil while mowing

Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:45 pm

First I would try another brand of oil in 30wt. I would also add seafoam to the crankcase and gas tank. And run it for a while. Using seafoam it will lube the valves and guides since its an upper life. It will also free stuck rings and repeats them. I'd check the compression before and after using the seafoam. I swear by using it. It's no rebuild in a can but it can bring some engines back to life. The seafoam will let you know it's working when the idle rpms pick up.

Second I would also make sure the valves are adjusted correctly too. It doesn't take much on the intake stroke for the valve to open later degree wise meaning it could draw in a little oil past the rings till the valve opens. Now as far as heat goes I'd check the timing too. Plus the fan belt being tight too. It does draw air threw the radiator.

In all my c60 engines right now that are rebuilt I been using the 15/40 Mobil Delvac the million mile oil that's recommended for trucks with gas or diesel engines. This is for the summertime. For the winter time it's the Mobil 10/30wt oil. It's in the cub manual.

My 122 cub cadet was using oil then I put 30wt in it with seafoam and it hasn't used any oil since.

I did test motor oils on my new truck back in the 70's. It didn't use a drop of oil inbetween oil changes using Mobil super 10/40, Kendal 10/40 and Pennzoil 10/40. But with Quaker state, valvoline and castrol had to add a quart between oil changes.
I changed my oil every 2,000 miles. I mainly used Mobil oil since I worked there. I let the oil change go till it needed a quart using Mobil oil and it had 7,500 miles on it. I'm not sure what's the difference in the brands of oil is but it proves it can be the oil
Too. I was upset a first when I used valvoline and it needed a quart of oil. But when I put Mobil oil back in it no extra quart was needed. This prompted my oil test. So my results are it's not the engine but the oil.

I'm not sure if the original piston rings are chrome but the new replacement piston rings are chromed. This means we need to use a tighter cross hatch with the hone plus a longer break in time is needed but the chrome rings will last longer time wise.

Maybe a cubber will jump in here? I believe there is a difference between the higher compression dome pistons in the 154,184,185 in the head combustion chambers. To use the higher horse power domed pistons you need the head to go with it.

Re: cub burns some oil while mowing

Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:39 pm

i have been using the case/ih non-detergent 30W oil in my tractor. the dealer is 3 doors down, literally walking distance and this is what the reccomend in the cub. however i do question their advice on some things. the suggested that running that same oil in the winter. i strongly disagree with them on that point. engine cranks much, much harder with that grade of oil and i believe it is much to heavy for winter use. i run 10W30 in the winter. as far as oil pressure goes, at full throttle the needle with be around the i position in the OIL writting on the gauge. its the original factory gauge so i have no idea what PSI that would be. around low idle on a hot engine that's been worked for a while it will drop to an indication above red, kind of on the low side but still safe. i dont know what these tractors are supposed to have for oil pressure.

Re: cub burns some oil while mowing

Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:34 pm

Oil use is almost always a result of a lack of sealing at the rings. Seafoam is one of those chemicals that seems to do a good job of decarboning and freeing stuck rings. I have also Restore with some limited success.

Re-ring is relatively cheap - Head Gasket set is under $30, Rings are either about $30 if you buy the cheapies or about $100 if you buy the chrome rings (pretty sure factory was chrome). Plan on buying new bolts and while there, touching up the valves and seats. I'll loan my flex hone for the price of postage....

Why anybody in this day and age would use a non-detergent oil in these engines is beyond me. 15W40 Diesel oil for me all year round and neither tractor uses a quart a summer mowing grass, 2 acres at a pop.

Re: cub burns some oil while mowing

Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:40 am

I've never thought of using diesel oil in the Cub. Ive got about 5 extra gallons of 15w-40 just sitting around. No adverse effects of using the diesel oil?

Re: cub burns some oil while mowing

Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:00 am

My 53 was smoking a bit and annoying me while using it....I put in some " No-Smoke" from Walmart ( using the ratio I needed )....It hasn't smoked since (1 year)...( I had used it on an old Lincoln with 365,000 miles on it...worked fine)....I also have diesel oil in the crankcase....10/30.....I know the purists won't like the additives but you gotta do what you gotta do....Dave

Re: cub burns some oil while mowing

Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:02 am

I run Shell Rotella in my cubs all the time; I like it because it still has the "old-time" additives that used to be in all oil, but are no longer in "car" oils.

Re: cub burns some oil while mowing

Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:44 am

Shell Rotella 15W40 in all my tractors.