How to Troubleshoot a Kohler Generator

by Zach Lazzari

Kohler manufactures gas and diesel generators in several different sizes. Although the engines are generally reliable, they can require troubleshooting and maintenance in order to maintain a functional running status. Regular maintenance will prevent mechanical issues but heavy use in industrial environments can cause the engine to clog and parts to malfunction. Troubleshooting can be accomplished with several basic steps that require only basic mechanical knowledge. If the engine is seriously damaged, it may require professional servicing or replacement.

1

Attempt to start the engine. Set it to half choke; turn the switch to the "On" position and push the "Start" button or pull the starting cord. If the engine is barely cranking before it dies, check the battery power with a voltage meter. Clean all of the battery terminals with a wire brush and test again. If the battery is not providing power, replace with a new battery.

2

Pull the dip stick from the engine and clean it with a rag. Place the dip stick back in the engine and pull it again to read the oil level. If the oil is below the full line, remove the oil cap, insert a funnel and add oil until it is full. If the generator is running but expelling black smoke, the engine is likely low on oil.

3

Pull the rubber covers from the spark plugs. Remove and replace the plugs with a deep socket wrench. Bad plugs can cause difficult starting and can cause sputtering while the engine is running. Kohler also recommends installing the spark plugs with gap. Use a micrometer under the base of the plugs to create a gap.

4

Replace the air filter if the engine shuts down after running for a short period of time. A clogged air filter will create a back flow of dirt causing the engine to die. Replace the filter by removing the panel that holds it in place with a socket wrench. Pull the air filter off the generator with your hands and push the new filter into place. Replace the panel.

5

Locate the fuel tank and check the gas level. Follow the fuel line from the tank to the carburetor. Check the carburetor for gunk and clogs. Remove the gunk with a rag; spray with carburetor cleaner. The carburetor may be clogged if the engine sputters and acts like it is not receiving an ample supply of fuel. Kohler also recommends checking your fuel supply for water contamination. The water will cause the engine to sputter and backfire.

6

Replace blown fuses if the engine is not producing electricity. If fuses blow on a regular basis, Kohler recommends checking the ground wires. A bad ground can cause an electrical short. If the ground cables are securely connected to a metal surface, the alternator may require replacement.

Items you will need

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera diesel image by Martina Berg from Fotolia.com