These days, maintaining a fleet of golf carts and utility vehicles is more likely to be a matter of topping up battery cells than checking spark plugs and mixing fuel and oil. The majority of golf carts sold in the past decade or so has been electric. Electric golf carts, goes the traditional wisdom, are cheaper to maintain, easier to manage and less trouble in the long run than the models powered by small gas engines.
Despite the popularity of electric golf carts, however, most pros agree that there are some jobs that require the power of a good gas engine. It’s not unusual for most course fleets to include at least a few gas golf carts that have been converted to utility vehicles for hauling and other purposes. What do you do when the motor on one of those starts to go?
It used to be easy to replace those with a used utility or golf cart when the engine started to go – but not anymore. Used and rebuilt gas-powered golf carts are rare – and replacing them with a new gas-powered cart could run you between $12,000 and $20,000.
The solution is simple. Don’t replace – repower. Repowering a utility vehicle that you currently own rather than replacing it with a new vehicle makes sound sense in many ways.
1. By repowering a vehicle that you own, you extend the useful life of that vehicle or piece of equipment. There’s no need to scrap a perfectly good piece of equipment that just needs a bit of a boost in the engine department.
2. Repowering a vehicle with a new motor can expand its usefulness. You can turn an old golf cart into an all-purpose hauler or plow by fitting it with a more powerful engine.
3. You get a new warranty for your new upgraded engine. Depending on the dealer, you may find a Kohler engine repower kit that contains all you need to upgrade and includes a two-year warranty, or a Honda small engine to replace one that’s on its last legs, with a warranty for parts for up to two years.
4. A repower Kohler engine or other small engine could save you money on fuel, especially if you upgrade to a cleaner burning fuel. And it will certainly be kinder to the environment.
5. Speaking of kinder to the environment, check your state’s grants and proposals web site if you’re considering replacing old motor equipment. Many states offer substantial incentives if you choose to repower a high-emissions piece of equipment with a lower-emissions engine. The same holds true if you choose to refit an engine with after-market parts to reduce its emissions. In some cases, you can even apply for a reimbursement grant that will pay for a repower engine or the refit parts, along with any parts needed to fit the new engine into your tractor or utility vehicle.
6. If your new repower engine does need repair, it will be far easier to get parts for a current engine than for an older model. Spare parts support is yet another reason to upgrade your engine with a repower.
Repowering is also an excellent way to update your greens-keeping equipment. Little has changed in the business end of mowers, rakers and other turfcare equipment. Why replace a piece of equipment that’s in virtually excellent condition when a repower kit will upgrade it and keep it running in tiptop shape for years to come? Kohler makes repower kits for Toro, Jacobsen, Club Car and Cushman turf care equipment. All of the kits include with everything you need to drop a new engine into your trusted machine and update it to perfect working order.
© Ben Anton, 2006