Author Topic: Gen set concerns and questions  (Read 2410 times)

Offline chuckd

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Gen set concerns and questions
« on: February 19, 2011, 12:29:26 PM »
I am including a couple of pics of my kohler control box showing the scorching on the outside, and a difficult to see picture of the transformer that caused all the problem.  The history of this unit, worked fine when I bought it, transformer started to overheat, replaced same with a new transformer that cost $940!  I will try to find Sean's post on what he said this particular transformer does, but it is on the output and all the current flows through the device, others in PMs have said that it is a unique design, not readily available except from Kohler.

Assume I have to buy a new one, assume that there is a few hundred dollars in repair to the box, what to do?  (i.e. at least 2000 to repair)

Do I try to find a used Kohler gen set, not engine just the generator portion?  (I am assuming the Perkins is okay)

Do I find a way to get a gen set from Wirco?  More than I can afford right now.

Do I replace with a couple of honda inverter type?  (Not real feasible, I have an all electric coach)

Needless to say, I am a bit frustrated with this.  There is also the obvious issue, that something is causing these transformers to overheat, which maybe difficult to trouble shoot.

I am incredibly open to any ideas, and where I can find a Kohler expert, not sure if one exists at Kohler based on my struggle to get the right transformer.

Thanks in advance as always.

Chuckd


« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 12:32:06 PM by chuckd »

Offline Len Silva

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Re: Gen set concerns and questions
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2011, 12:56:23 PM »
Do you have diagrams for this unit?

What is the transformer's function?  Is it part of the regulator or some other function?

I remember you talking about this expensive transformer and I was concerned then, but you had already purchased it.

If the generator gens, then the rest of it should be fairly easy to troubleshoot and repair, even if it means going with an entirely new type of control system.

Just changing parts without knowing why they failed can be an expensive proposition.  Chances are that something else is bad and the transformer over heating is because of another problem.  The transformer failure is just a symptom and not the problem.

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Offline belfert

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Re: Gen set concerns and questions
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2011, 01:15:30 PM »
You might want to find an authorized Kohler service place to look at it.  You are here in Minneapolis so I would recommend staying away from Interstate Power Systems. 

They couldn't figure out why my Kohler standby generator for my house won't start consistently.  After the second visit it wouldn't start at all when the tech left.  I looked at it after the tech left and had it running in five minutes.  It ultimately turned out to low compression that was fixed by simply running the generator for 2 hours at full load.  (It had low compression from not being broken in.)

I don't think I would buy Kohler again partly due to bad design and partly due to the cost being higher than other brands on the market.
Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN

Offline papatony

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Re: Gen set concerns and questions
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2011, 01:28:21 PM »
Brian gave you the best advice. don't get a Onan either they are great units until they break down. they will cost a fortune to fix. I have an Onan and if I could I would trade it off in a heart beat. and its running now.   Tony

Offline chuckd

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Re: Gen set concerns and questions
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2011, 01:34:13 PM »
Sean's response about the purpose of this particular transformer:The transformer in question is more likely the one which provides voltage to the exciter.  If this is a transformer-regulated type set, then this transformer is also responsible for output voltage regulation.  In either case it is important that the transformer be properly matched to the generator head.

I believe this is the function of this transformer, and everyone is correct the reason's for the failure have become important.

I just don't know whether to throw more money at this or ???

Chuckd

Offline Barn Owl

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Re: Gen set concerns and questions
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2011, 04:33:54 PM »
I often see wreaked RV Onan gensets on Craigslist for $400 to $800. I know Onan is not everyone's favorite (so far I have been lucky, mine has worked great), but it might be an acceptable fix until you can get the money for what you want. Then sell the Onan for what you paid for it.
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Offline desi arnaz

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Re: Gen set concerns and questions
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2011, 05:36:17 PM »
this is just me saying this but i would scrap the p/o/s and buy a honda brand new.
you are just throwing  good  $$$$ after bad  right down the poop chute.
 the $900 you spent is just wasted......
thomas f  Bethlehem n.h

artvonne

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Re: Gen set concerns and questions
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2011, 06:30:01 PM »
  I dont know anything about a Kohler, but I will say Interstate up there in MN, if its the same Cummins/Onan outfit over in New Brighton, they got pretty independent after Cummins got their nose in it. When it was Onan, they were very helpful and knew their stuff. Afterwards, its was a different story. I think they threw all the old books out and forgot they ever made the older stuff. I have a Onan 6.5 with a 1800 rpm liquid cooled Kubota diesel motor. Any time ive tried to talk to Cummins about it its like it came from another planet.

  Anyway, I would call Kohler national HQ and talk to someone about it. If you bought a $490 part and it fried in less than 30 hours and almost set your Bus on fire, and its the second time, I would hope they would stand behind it. Maybe if they learn its being discussed on a national forum by a group of people who buy a lot of generators they will pay more attention?

Offline oldmansax

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Re: Gen set concerns and questions
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2011, 07:00:23 PM »
this is just me saying this but i would scrap the p/o/s and buy a honda brand new.
you are just throwing  good  $$$$ after bad  right down the poop chute.
 the $900 you spent is just wasted......

I'm not a big fan of Kohler, nor am I against Hondas, but there are Kohlers around that have over 20,000 hours on them. Of course they have been professionally maintained. The Perkins is loud and leaks oil (sounds like a DD!   ;D ); but they run a long long time. I had several in old NWD Thermokings. They are tough engines.

TOM

Offline belfert

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Re: Gen set concerns and questions
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2011, 10:23:22 AM »
Interstate Power Systems has nothing to do with Cummins or Onan.  Interstate sells and services generators.  They are also the authorized Detroit dealer here in Minneapolis.

I've had no problems with Interstate on the Detroit side, but generators is another story.
Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN