Rebuilding my k161s

Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:36 pm

Hello all, I have recently received my family's old cub lawn tractor that has been sitting in a field for many years. This is my first restore project on a lawn tractor and may need some advice and suggestions. First off I need to rebuild the motor and can not find a kit for it. It is a k161s. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

Re: Rebuilding my k161s

Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:26 pm

Individual engine parts for the k161 are available from your auto parts store. Rings are available but the K161 pistons are no longer listed. You may be able to find a K161 piston on the internet - if needed.

Pistons for the K181 are still available from auto parts stores. Standard bore on K161 is 2.8750 inches. K181 standard bore 2.9375 inches. You will have to do some research to see if there are any changes need to the connecting rod if you use a K181 piston.

Edit: K161 aftermarket piston sets with rings are available in the $20- range. Also found a site with original Kohler pistons for the K161 for $120 and plus range.

Re: Rebuilding my k161s

Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:01 pm

Thank you very much for the info, what website were you able to find the piston?

Re: Rebuilding my k161s

Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:35 pm

Robottawls wrote:what website were you able to find the piston?
Just type in Kohler K161 piston in the search function. You will get quite a number of hits.

Before you purchase any parts, disassemble the engine and basically most of the tractor. List all needed parts.

Buying individual parts is expensive. Suggest looking for a parts tractor. I can frequently buy a complete narrow framed Cub Cadet with implements for less money than the cost of one part. Example: Mower deck spindles cost around $150- each for one complete set and a deck takes 3 sets of spindles, $450- if all three spindle are junk. Parts tractors sell in the $150 to $200- range, some times less in this area.

Since we don't know what parts you will need, basically suggesting looking for a complete parts tractor.

I'm partial to narrow framed Cub Cadets. That's just to warn you. Just about the only new parts I purchase for my Cub Cadets are engine rebuild parts.

Re: Rebuilding my k161s

Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:21 pm


Welcome to the forum! What Cub Cadet do you have, Original, 70, ?? Are you sure the engine needs rebuilding? I have brought several back to life with minimal cleaning of electrical connections, carb, new spark plug, change fluids and perhaps a head gasket (was a common problem to go bad). They were well built machines, probably OVER built, but simple to work on. I suggest you do a little cleaning and a good look over first, if you don't have success then as Eugene suggests dig deeper and evaluate your actual needs.

I am also partial to the narrow frames, I have a '61 Original I recently purchased for a "parts tractor" for the first month Original I am restoring. Well, it was too good to use for parts, piddled with it and got it to run, quite good at that! It has a replacement 8 hp engine in it, but the guy I got if from said he had another engine that probably went with it. Well, it was the original 7 hp engine, complete with the oil bath air cleaner. Don't know what was wrong with it but the valves were stuck, the head gasket appeared to be blown and the spark plug hole was stripped in the head, so I will tear into it and see what it needs.

Best of luck and look forward to hearing your progress,

Re: Rebuilding my k161s

Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:15 pm

This is it, not sure of the year
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Re: Rebuilding my k161s

Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:32 pm

OK, you have an "Original", made '61 - '63, you can identify the exact year (and month) by the serial number stamped on the right side of the reduction gear housing. ... ubfaq#f0r1

Suggest you also join (may need to join to see above link), it is a great site with tons of Cub Cadet information, many of the same members that are on this site.

Nice looking clean, original .... Original :wink: Has the oil bath air cleaner and pan seat, I would see if I could get it running before I tore into it (unless you know for sure of an engine problem).

Thanks for sharing, good luck,

Re: Rebuilding my k161s

Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:46 pm

That's awesome, thanks for the info. I remember mowing lots of lawns with this thing as a kid. I know it needs a head gasket and some tlc. I will post more when I know more. I really appreciate everyone's info.

Re: Rebuilding my k161s

Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:52 am

has been sitting in a field for many years.
Appears to be complete and in pretty good condition. I had been thinking that the tractor was probably scrap metal.

Another site with a lot of information on Cub Cadets. Lots of free down loadable manuals. You need to sign up to be a member, also free.

Re: Rebuilding my k161s

Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:22 pm

These first, early cub cadets are a lot of fun. They also work hard too. My cub cadet 70 is the ealiest cadet that i have so far. With a trailer i haul over a 1/4 cord of firewood. This way i measure the wood too at the sametime.

Re: Rebuilding my k161s

Sun Dec 02, 2012 6:34 pm

I'm excited to start on it