Kawasaki U / FAQs

Welcome to Kawasaki U!

This is the place to learn everything you need to know about Kawasaki Engines. Keep coming back as we add more content that will help you take care of your lawn, run your business and keep your engine running strong.

First things first:

How does a 4-cycle (or 4-stroke) engine work?

In a four-cycle engine, the piston takes four cycles or strokes to complete its movement cycle. First is the Intake Stroke where the piston slides down the cylinder, opening the valve allowing air and atomized fuel to rush into the cylinder. When the piston hits the bottom of the cylinder, this is known as Bottom-Dead-Center (BDC) At this point the second stroke, or the Compression Stroke begins by sliding back up the cylinder causing the piston to compress the air locked in the cylinder. When the piston reaches the top, this is Top-Dead-Center (TDC). It is at this point the spark plug arcs and ignites the compressed air and fuel and causes and explosion which pushes the piston down on the third or Power Stroke. When the piston again reaches BDC, the exhaust valve opens and the piston slides back up pushing all the hot gasses out of the cylinder into the muffler. This final stroke is also called the Exhaust Stroke. Once this stroke is complete and the piston reaches the top and the exhaust valve closes and the intake valve opens, the cycle of stokes begins again . . .

What makes a good engine?

When you’re looking for a good engine, horsepower and torque are important factors in considering how well an engine will perform. But overall value, ease of maintenance, durability, and reliability are equally important factors to consider. They’re what you need to ensure you have what it takes to get the job done, all season long. 

When you are comparing engines, it is important to make sure you are comparing the same size engines. To get and “apples-to-apples” comparison, make sure to check both the horsepower and the displacement. For example, if you are looking at a Kawasaki FX850V. This engine has 27HP but when comparing with a 27HP competitor engines, you must check the displacement (which is a fancy way of referring to the total volume or total size of the cylinder. Displacement is typically noted as “cc” for Cubic Centimeters or “cu. in.” for Cubic Inches. Kawasaki FX850 has a 852cc displacement, if you find a competitors engine with a lower displacement, it means that engines had to work hard to have the same HP.

Here are some other important features to consider when comparing engines:

Oil Volume: How much oil does the engine hold? The more oil it can hold the more lubricated the internal parts are for longer life, and the cooler those parts remain to assure maximum engine life. Quality engines hold a greater amount of oil.

Cooling Fins (air-cooled engines only): How many cooling fins can you count on each head and on the back of the block? The more cooling fins, the more heat the engine can dissipate to keep it cooler for a longer total engine life.

Engine Weight (especially flywheels): Typically, when looking at two equally sized engines, the heavier engine indicates a heavier flywheel and more robust internal components. When manufacturers skimp on internal components, the engine will not last as long. The flywheel weight is critical. The heavier the flywheel, the smoother the engine runs with more power through the non-powered strokes of the piston. The lighter the flywheel the more shake is felt while the engine is running and the more hesitation under the heavy load due to losing engine speed (RPM) during the non-powered piston strokes.

Air Filter Size:  the larger the air filter element, the more protection against dirt ingestion and the more is allowed to rush into the pistons for more power.

Oil Filter Size:  The larger the oil filter, the more oil can flow through it for cleaning, and the more heat can dissipate out from it, and the longer the oil filter will last for optimum filtration capability.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but these critical features hold true in general and are a quick and easy way to help you identify a quality engine and choose the best one for you.

What is torque? I thought only horsepower matters.

Torque is a measure of twisting force and is measured in ft. lbs. (foot-pounds). In engines, this means the measure of twisting force produced by the crankshaft. .

Horsepower is measuring the torque of the engine over time. It’s based on the mathematical assumption that a horse can move 33,000 lbs at a rate of 1 foot per minute (or 550lbs per second). Basically, the horsepower lets you know how much work is being done in a given period of time.

In terms of small engines, both horsepower and torque are important. In thinking about your lawn care needs you may be looking for speed (horsepower) however since terrain changes and density, height or even type of grass can change from lawn to lawn (or within the same lawn) the higher the torque, the better the engines ability to not slow down, or bog down with these types of changes. That means the speed can be maintained and your machine can be more fuel efficient.

Most Kawasaki Engines have been rated, tested and certified as Critical Power which gives you a truer sense of the horsepower for the engine. In looking at the engines on our website you will notice we provided you with the torque specs as well as the power curve chart to help you decide what engine to choose.

What is Kawasaki Critical Power?

Critical Power is a more precise way of measuring power output. Only Kawasaki engines use this high standard for proven power. This means your favorite Kawasaki engines, are power-rated to a tight, automotive-caliber spec: SAE J2723.

Critical Power engines deliver at least 98 percent of rated horsepower. The typical horsepower rating method used by some turf engines permits wide tolerances, but Critical Power is a strict, precise SAE-certified test standard with automotive-tight tolerances.

To ensure accuracy, Critical Power horsepower testing is witnessed and verified by a third-party, TÜV Rheinland Group, a global testing/certification agency. With engine output tested, rated, and verified to a higher standard, it’s more than just horsepower; it’s tried, proven and trusted power you can count on for your toughest jobs. You can learn even more about Critical Power and how we test on our Critical Power page.

Kawasaki manufactures our engines to a tough and precise standard, from the engineering to the precision molding and finishing of each engine part all the way through to the assembly. We take pride in our engines and we want them to help you do your lawn care work to your own high standards.

We also know that time is money and nothing throws a wrench in your time like an engine that needs repairs.  Kawasaki offers a full 3-year Warranty on our engines that have been purchased from an Authorized Kawasaki Dealer. Any repairs you need during that time are on us. For complete details regarding our 3-year Engine Warranty, check out our Warranty page to download a copy.

I need a replacement engine. What are my choices?
When it comes to small-engine replacement, we’ve got options. A Kawasaki engine assembly brings bedrock-reliable power to your machine. Talk to your local Kawasaki engine dealer about which engine works best with your mower and to order. For our FS and FX engines, we now offer short block engine assemblies. Short block engines are a sub-assembly and include the portion of the cylinder block that is below the head gasket, including piston, connection rods, camshaft, solid lifters, oil pump assembly, and crankshaft.

Short block engine replacement saves money on your repower while extending the operational life of your machine. It’s a shortcut that doesn’t cut quality. Our short block assembly for FS and FD engines come with a gasket kit and attached oil filter.  Short blocks can be purchased from your local dealer 

How should I maintain my engine?

Kawasaki engines are built to stand up to your toughest lawn care challenges. Engineered for strength and performance, they are made to last. Extend the life of your precision-crafted machine with factory recommended maintenance and care. We recommend that you use only Genuine Kawasaki parts and oil for the routine maintenance of your engine, as well as following our recommend maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual.

Make sure your engine is properly cooled and lubricated by using specially-formulated K Tech engine oil . Extend the life of your engine by using a product that’s been tested and approved by Kawasaki engineering and refined in the USA. Our K Tech oil is certified by JASO and API and is available in SAE 30 and 10W-30 synthetic blend.

When it’s time to tune up your engine, our Engine Tune-Up Kits include everything you need in a timesaving package. The oil, oil filter, fuel filter, air filter, and spark plugs are all included and can be purchased from your local dealer. No need to waste time finding all the individual parts at the store, no worry about forgetting an item or getting the wrong item. All parts are tested and approved by Kawasaki Engineering for top performance.

Genuine Kawasaki oils, parts, tune-up kits and Service Manuals can be purchased at your local Authorized Kawasaki Dealer. If you need an owner’s manual for your engine, see our Manuals page.

Kawasaki's Recommended Maintenance Schedule

To keep your engine in tip-top shape, we recommend the following maintenance schedule as well as using Genuine Kawasaki Parts.

Daily (or after each use)

  • Check air inlet screen and clean if needed
  • Check for any fuel or oil leaks
  • Check for any loose or lost nuts or screws
  • Check your battery electrolyte level (not applicable to all models, check owner’s manual)

First 8 hours of use

  • If you are using a brand new engine —either after a replacement or in a new mower— we recommend that you change the oil and filter after the first 8 hours of running time.

Every 25 hours

  • Replace FS engine air pre-filter

Every 100 hours

  • Clean the air cleaner’s paper element
  • Clean any dust, dirt or debris from the cylinder and cylinder head fins
  • Tighten all nuts and screws
  • Clean and gap spark plugs
  • Change engine oil and filter

Every 200 hours

  • Replace air cleaner paper element (not applicable to FX engine air filters)
  • Change fuel filter
  • Change spark plugs

Every 250 hours