How to Fix a Kohler Courage XT-7 that’s Not Starting

Often the reason for the Kohler Courage XT-7 not starting comes down to either the auto choke feature or a blocked carburetor. If this isn’t the cause, you’ll need to look into the traditional problems like a faulty spark plug, clogged air filter, or aged gasoline.  

Auto Choke Failure

The choke on the Kohler engine operates the same as it would in any other engine. It blocks the air intake if the engine needs a richer fuel mixture.

When the engine is cold, the choke would close the valve, restricting the airflow, which makes it easier to start. 

This is a common problem with the 173cc engine of the Kohler Courage XT-7. You might have to pull the cable a bunch of times before you get your engine started. But if the choke were to be the problem, the mower should run fine once it is fired up (the engine starts). 

There is an easy way to test the functionality of the auto choke feature on the mower.

Start by removing the air filter which should expose the air intake. Then use a heat gun on the cylinder part behind the muffler to heat it up.  (You can quicken the process by using a blow torch, but it has its risks since the gas tank and other fuel-containing components are close by).

If your auto choke is working, once the heat is applied, your choke should open. If it is open before you apply heat, then it is a clear indicator that your auto choke has failed. 


To fix this issue, first, you need to understand the auto choke system.

The auto choke reads the engine temperature using a bimetallic strip. Then a series of levers and springs work in order to open the choke. 

You might have noticed that the auto choke is a system that comprises many moving parts. These parts tend to get corroded or stuck, leaving the choke open. This often happens when the engine hasn’t been used in a long time or if it has been stored incorrectly.

Often, lubrication should solve the problem if the moving parts of the auto choke are stuck. If it doesn’t, chances are that one or more of the components of the auto choke have worn off. Usually, it is either a bimetallic strip or a spring.

If this were the case, you’ll have to find out the faulty component and replace it individually, or replace the entire unit. 

Carburetor Problems

Lawnmowers or the other equipment that uses the XT-7 engine aren’t put to work very regularly. Which results in the carburetor getting gummed.

The issue is caused by the fuel inside the carburetor. Though fuel is not pumped through the carburetor when the engine is not fired up, the leftover fuel can be harmful. When fuel expires, it clogs the main jet, blocking the fuel flow through the carburetor.

There is an easy way to check whether your carburetor is faulty!

Remove the spark plug and pour some gas directly into the engine. Put the plug back in place and fire up the engine. If the engine starts, then the problem is certainly with the carburetor.

Cleaning the carburetor isn’t easy work. You can’t just spray some carb cleaner over it and hope to solve the problem. The carburetor contains multiple small pieces. They all need to come off and be cleaned individually before putting them all back together

Cleaning a carburetor can take upwards of 2 hours. So, if you do not have the time or effort to put into cleaning a carburetor, replacing it with a new carburetor is a cheap and easy solution.

How To Store Lawnmowers

If you are not planning on using your lawnmower for an extended period or if you are bracing up for winter, you need to know how to store your lawnmower. Replacing or cleaning your carburetor every time you need your grass cut is not ideal!

To avoid this you need to ensure to drain every ounce of gas from your Engine. One way to do this is to run the mower/power washer until the tank is empty.

But if you have too much gas in your tank, you’d have to siphon it out. Once the tank is empty, run the engine to use up the fuel in the carburetor and the fuel lines of the lawnmower. 

If you go the extra mile, once you drain the gas from the mower, you can fill it up with stabilized fuel. 

Faulty Spark Plugs

The spark plug in your Kohler engine is just like the spark plug in any other engine, they produce a spark to ignite the air-fuel mix.

If you notice that the spark plug is dirty, use a brush to clean the dirt off. If you notice cracks in the porcelain or your spark plug is caked in dirt and beyond cleaning, you’ll have to replace the spark plug.

Often when you are not getting a spark when needed, the most likely culprit is the spark plug itself. But what if your spark plug is working fine, yet you are still unable to get a spark? In this case, the problem might lie in the ignition coil.

Look for any damage in the ignition coil. If no damage is visible, go ahead and test the ignition coil to verify that it is working properly. Replace it if needed.

Blocked Air Filter

This is a common problem with the 173cc engine of the Kohler Courage XT-7.  This is because a lot of dirt and debris is sucked in when you are working in your garden. The air filter keeps it away from the engine but the dirt gets accumulated around the air filter blocking the airway.

The solution is pretty simple. All you need to do is remove the air filter and clean it thoroughly. This should allow air to flow through the filter freely and let you start your Kohler Courage XT-7.

Make it a practice to clean your air filter every 25 hours of operation.

Bad Gas

Once gas sits in your tank or is stored for a long period, its chemical bonds start to break up, altering its chemical properties.

Once this happens, the gas is no longer effective. So no matter how much you try, you won’t be able to start your lawnmower with expired gas. 

If your gas is older than 3 months, you will have to flush the fuel and replace it with fresh gas. If you want your gas to sit for a long time and be functional, consider using a stabilizer. Stabilized gas can last upwards of 3 years.

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