Not much will typically go wrong with a Kohler engine. Considered “best of breed” by many in the small engine trade, Kohler’s are among the most reliable and innovative engines on the market. However, not unlike all engines in this class, problems do occur. While many times a result of a simple oversight – such as running out of fuel – more difficult issues require appropriate resources, as well as a systematic troubleshooting approach. Knowing where to locate needed resources, and applying sound troubleshooting steps, will get the engine back on line.
Even the most experienced small engine technicians rely on engine specific documentation to adequately diagnose a Kohler engine problem. This engine manufacturer, unlike some of its competitors, produce service manuals specific to every engine they manufacture. Acquiring one is as easy as a call to the manufacturer with the model and size of the engine.
Probably one of the most informative small engine manufacturer websites online is the Kohler engines’ site. Not only does it provide comprehensive troubleshooting steps specific to the application and engine symptom, a brief read of the material results in a combustion engine fundamentals refresher. A list of common problems is provided both online, and via online manuals, with details of probable causes and solutions.
Familiarity of the Engine
Kohler engines can be somewhat different on the surface than their competitors. But under the engine cover, they are fundamentally the same. Merely making oneself familiar with the engine’s basic components and their locations improves the troubleshooting process. Parts such as: Carburetor, air breather, fuel filter, fuses, battery, oil fill/dipstick, and starter solenoid and motor.
There are four possible problems associated with smaller, lawn-mower sized, engines: Will not start, starts but runs rough, starts but then dies, runs good for a while but dies unexpectedly. All share many of the same causes. Checking or inspection the condition of these suspected components will likely result in the culprit’s identification. They include: air breather dirty; fuel filter stopped up; dirty fuel or water in the fuel; safety switch in the seat or parking brake not making proper contact; dirty battery terminals or low battery; engine oil too low or too high; and spark plug or plug cable faulty or loose.
If after checking the above the problem persists, then the list of probable causes become more specific to the symptom. In which case a thorough knowledge of the Kohler engine is needed, or the Kohler specific reference material available through the source mentioned earlier.
Troubleshooting Electrical Circuitry
When getting into the “gloves are coming off” troubleshooting mode, a voltage-ohm meter is a valuable tool to have available. Mentally break the engine circuit down into sections and verify continuity and voltage through each section independently. Make it a point not to move on to the next section until verification is complete in the current part of the circuit.
An example is checking continuity from the battery to the ignition switch. Once confirmed, follow the circuit through the safety switches to the starter solenoid – reading for both voltage and continuity. Continuing through the engine’s electrical circuit – with the aid of proper reference material – will quickly validate if the circuit is good or not.
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