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Kohler Generators "For Dummies"?

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I am still trying to get my Kohler 5E to run. It starts with switch held but doesn't stay running. I did find the impeller to be in dire need of replacing, no fins left on it. Hoped that was the problem but still dies when start switch released. I have gotten some info to try from these threads. Plus have mechanic scheduled to look at outdrives, will probably just have him look at it.

But last time I tried to start it I did see some water coming out the valve at the top of the siphon break. I don't think that is suppose to drip inside the boat. So I will leave it to a more knowledable person, even though I am a DIY'er.

Sometimes less expensive that way!

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@ chopperjon

Do you know who makes the water pump for Kohler 5E, and their part number for the impeller. I am trying to find a replacement and while searching by Kohler part number (359978) I am getting back too many choices ... some must be OEM, and some are substitutes. I want to buy an original (OEM) part. TIA for your help ... :)

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@ chopperjon

Do you know who makes the water pump for Kohler 5E, and their part number for the impeller. I am trying to find a replacement and while searching by Kohler part number (359978) I am getting back too many choices ... some must be OEM, and some are substitutes. I want to buy an original (OEM) part. TIA for your help ... :)

I have ordered several from here and they arrive in a Kohler box...actually received my latest spare yesterday.

FWIW, I have also used the cross-referenced Sherwood (ie non-Kohler) impeller with no issues.

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95% that it's your battery, but while you're down in the engine compartment,

1) Check your screens - one for the Gen set, one for the AC. TURN OFF the intake valves, loosen the butterfly nuts, take out the screens and make sure they're clean. When you put them back, you might need to rotate them a bit to make sure they are seated correctly. Tighten the butterfly nuts and DON'T FORGET TO OPEN THE VALVES back up.

2) Make sure you're holding your Gen START button in for a few seconds, don't press & release right away.

3) Another checkpoint: Keep your engine(s) running in neutral and try starting the Gen - bet it cranks right up.

4) Buy a spare impeller and keep it on the boat with the correct tools & some soap. If/when you need to replace, might need to undo both hoses and clean out the housing. You want to make sure you don't have any broken "blades" that clog your H²O flow. The soap is to lube the new one - MUCH easier to install.

5) After the all of the above, reach in the back of your fridge, pop a Coldie & admire your Work! :beer-7687-1:

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I have ordered several from here and they arrive in a Kohler box...actually received my latest spare yesterday.

FWIW, I have also used the cross-referenced Sherwood (ie non-Kohler) impeller with no issues.

Yay ... that's what I was looking for ... thanks a bunch ... :beer-7687-1:

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Well.... we were out this weekend and the genny would not start at ALL !!! Last week it took the hubby about 10 min and lots of TENACITY - but he got it running ... this weekend... nothing.... we keep getting the OC.... and he thinks the Fly-wheel is seized... so... off to the Kohler Mechanics AGAIN...

Boooo.... just ONCE - I'd like to have a trip out on the boat where EVERYTING works, nothing gets damanged/STOLEN.....

hmmmmmm....

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I have ordered several from here and they arrive in a Kohler box...actually received my latest spare yesterday.

FWIW, I have also used the cross-referenced Sherwood (ie non-Kohler) impeller with no issues.

Hey, what a coincidence! I just ordered two impellers and a fuel filter from the same place!

Little tip on on the impellers. Husband replaces it every year, regardless of what it looks like. They're made of neoprene (I think), crack and get brittle in storage, and inevitably one of the vanes breaks off and goes floating into your cooling system. Store any spares you have in a very cool, dry, and dark place.

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Well.... we were out this weekend and the genny would not start at ALL !!! Last week it took the hubby about 10 min and lots of TENACITY - but he got it running ... this weekend... nothing.... we keep getting the OC.... and he thinks the Fly-wheel is seized... so... off to the Kohler Mechanics AGAIN...

FWIW .. our Kohler genset stopped working suddenly during the final on the water tests in Idaho. Started and stopped again a few times ... and went dead. It felt like it was running out of gas. With a half full tank of gas on the gauge, the suspicion was that the fuel level sensor is not working correctly ... and it was not, incidentally it had a dead/slow spot between 1/4th and 1/2nd level. So, when we fueled the boat in Ontario, the assumption was that there is less than 1/2 tank ... wrong ... the tank was half full in fact and we spilled some fuel. In the conclusion ... the genset fuel pickup might only reach 1/2 down the tank, and the genset might stop working when fuel level drops to around the half tank level.

BTW, what happened to the 1/3rd rule ... 1/3 of fuel to go out, 1/3 to get back, and 1/3 just in case ... ;) ... to cut a genset off at half full tank is a bit too cautious IMHO.

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FWIW .. our Kohler genset stopped working suddenly during the final on the water tests in Idaho. Started and stopped again a few times ... and went dead. It felt like it was running out of gas. With a half full tank of gas on the gauge, the suspicion was that the fuel level sensore is not working correctly ... and it was not, incidentally it had a dead/slow spot between 1/4th and 1/2nd level. So, when we fueled the boat in Ontario, the assumption was that there is less than 1/2 tank ... wrong ... the tank was half full in fact and we spilled some fuel. In the conclusion ... the genset fuel pickup might only reach 1/2 down the tank, and the genset might stop working when fuel level drops to around the half tank level.

BTW, what happened to the 1/3rd rule ... 1/3 of fuel to go out, 1/3 to get back, and 1/3 just in case ... ;) ... to cut a genset off at half full tank is a bit too cautious IMHO.

I recall being told that our Kohler would not run with less than 1/4 tank of fuel...a few weeks ago, we ran until the SmartCraft fuel alarm went off (which indicates you'd better be within sight of the fuel dock :D).

So, the only consistency I see is...inconsistency. How can this be so varied from boat to boat?!?

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I recall being told that our Kohler would not run with less than 1/4 tank of fuel...a few weeks ago, we ran until the SmartCraft fuel alarm went off (which indicates you'd better be within sight of the fuel dock :D).

So, the only consistency I see is...inconsistency. How can this be so varied from boat to boat?!?

I know for a fact that mine is just right at a 1/4. As for it being varied from boat to boat, you seem surprised. When I checked with the dealer about the 1/4 level, he indicated that the pickup could be moved to be more or less. Not sure how that is done.

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As for it being varied from boat to boat, you seem surprised.

Yes, I'm surprised at the variations. Unlike snowflakes and fingerprints, boats aren't supposed to be entirely unique :D.

I can get to the fuel tank access fairly easily on the 290...maybe I'll take a look and see what I can tell as for "adjustability" of the genset pickup.

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Our appointment with the Kohler people is first thing tomorrow morning. *Fingers Crossed* that, 1) they can fix it and 2) not too many deer are killed!!

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ok - so the hubby is with the Kohler Mechanics now.... there was water in the engine AGAIN !!!

(Has new siphon valve on exhaust)

Boat is on trailer, not in water, so they have hose in strainer for cooling...

The ONLY thing I can think of is a leak in the cooling system would allow water to enter the engine ....

Thoughts ??? cause they have been at it for 2 hours now... and they can't figure it out.

(good news is - engine and/or flywheel are not seized ! )

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As a side note bonus...they opened up the fuel line for the generator and discovered that the plastic intake line for the generatror fuel had cracked and broken 3/8 of the way down the line...therefore our "safety shut-off" was when our tank reached 5/8 full. Even 1/2 tank fill was too low of fuel to reach the generator fuel line.

We now replaced this with a new line that is only 1/2 inch above the bottom of the tank!!

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... the plastic intake line for the generatror fuel had cracked and broken 3/8 of the way down the line...therefore our "safety shut-off" was when our tank reached 5/8 full. Even 1/2 tank fill was too low of fuel to reach the generator fuel line ...

So ... was this a source of all other problems, or something else?

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Definitely not the source of all other problems...fixing th sis was just a side bonus... No more, oops, the fuel level is below 1/2 tank...can't run generator. Now fuel level is irrelavent

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I had Kohler trained service person come out to the boat since I could not find out how to get it to stay running. I did find that one of the ceramic fuse holders did not really lock in tight. Turns out they did replace that and the fuse. Plus replaced the siphon break. Now I have some black streaks down the side of the boat from exhaust, but have not run it for any length of time. Though the service invoice said they ran it for 1/2 hr.

BUT it now starts with no problem and keeps running. Only ran the AC for a few minutes to see if it worked and it did.

I bought another spare impeller from the local marina that is a Kohler dealer. but the box is on the boat so I don't have the part number for it.

Seems my generator battery is connected to the SB engine battery. I always turn that battery off when on the hook so at least that engine starts. The radio runs off the Port engine battery. Still trying to figure out what each battery runs, even the cabin lights run off the Port battery, not sure what the house battery does. I only have 3 batteries, will turn everything on and see what doesn't work when I turn each battery off. May take a while but at least I will know then. Need to see what the fridges (2) run off so I don't kill the batteries running them. Although I usually turn off the cockpit fridge and leave the cabin fridge running.

I also learned about the 1/4 tank or below won't run the generator.

Jon

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So.... 771 loonies (mostly LABOR COST) later and here's the skinny on the genset...

because the fuel pick up was basically disintagrated (PLASTIC ?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME - yet another cheap out on Chaps part??) ... we could not draw any fuel from about 1/2 tank or less ( norm is 1/4 tank)

the pistons / cylinders are not sealing properly and are allowing for "blow back" ... so when trying to start the genset, and it not being able to draw fuel to start, it would continue to crank & crank which was allowing water to flow back into the engine... the engine needs to be running in order for the impeller to spin to get the water over & through the syphon break ...

so....had total overhaul on genset ( new filters, oilchange, spark-plugs, starter (which was on its last leg), new METAL fuel pick up (down to within an inch of the bottom of the fuel tank) and some other odds & ends and she's up and running again....

Mechanics suggested for us to open Thru hull once genset starts and to keep it closed when NOT using it ...

Change oil more frequently to reduce any water that may find its way in...

they said is should last us a few more seasons if we baby it....(keeping in mind this genset has over 500 hrs on it... is that alot ?? )

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So ... in a way, a cheap but inexpensive plastic fuel pickup killed a quality and expensive genset.

Saving of a few dollars on one hand, and loss of hundreds on the other (or from others' pocket) ... not smart!

Thanks for the report ... yet another thing to add to a punch list but better safe than sorry.

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So ... in a way, a cheap but inexpensive plastic fuel pickup killed a quality and expensive genset.

Saving of a few dollars on one hand, and loss of hundreds on the other (or from others' pocket) ... not smart!

Thanks for the report ... yet another thing to add to a punch list but better safe than sorry.

Yup. That's the best way to put it.

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I know for a fact that mine is just right at a 1/4. As for it being varied from boat to boat, you seem surprised. When I checked with the dealer about the 1/4 level, he indicated that the pickup could be moved to be more or less. Not sure how that is done.

We had to unscrew the elbow value from the tank and pull the line right out of the tank. This is when we discovered that the line inside was plastic and it was all cracked through the entire line and had broken off at the end. Our tank is about 18 inches deep...and the pickup line for the generator fuel line was only about 7 inches long, max. We replaced it with new, metal tube (17.5 inches long) and re-threaded the elbow back on and re-connected the fuel lines.

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...they said is should last us a few more seasons if we baby it....(keeping in mind this genset has over 500 hrs on it... is that alot ?? )

I certainly don't want this to come across as being negative although it would appear so on the surface; however, this just doesn't seem right to me. I have never had a kohler that had to be "babied" or had the water ingestion problems you guys have experienced. It is impractical to think you would have to open the sea-cock every time you wanted to use the genset and close it when done. I couldn't imagine having to dismantle the rear bench seat and cockpit table every time I wanted to start/stop the generator.

At any rate, I do hope you can eventually and permanently correct these troubling issues.

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