If the start switch of your Kohler Generator doesn’t seem to be working properly, then chances are it may be because of an underlying fault. From spark plugs to fuel pumps, from the air filters to gas pressure there may be many reasons why your Kohler engine cranks but won’t start.

kohler diesel generators

Generators are the lifeline of any residential or commercial setup, especially in harsh weather. It is during extremely cold winters when you might face a power outage and having power back up to keep your important electronic items running is of paramount importance.

Whether the power outage happens in a residential property or a commercial unit, it can substantially damage the workflow and can put life out of bounds. Operating without power in harsh conditions is not something that we will advise.

Rather, it is wise to invest in a Kohler generator, one of the most popular brands when it comes to generators. Kohler is not only known for its durable products but its generators are also built to perform in the most challenging conditions. They are durable, efficient, affordable, and provide a long power backup, something very few similar generators is able to do.

However, what if you do have a generator that won’t start when the need arises? This is a situation that many of us do find ourselves in, but don’t particularly know how to handle the same. A cranking generator engine is a condition that can arise due to several reasons. Knowing what causes your generator not to start working and how to fix is the knowledge that all users must have.

In this article, we will tell you everything about cranking engines, fixes to follow if your generator doesn’t start, and other possible solutions.

Why won’t my Kohler generator start?

Kohler Generator

One of the most common reasons an engine does not start is wear and tear. There are certain parts of the engine that you can check in this case and you are most likely to solve the issue.

Display error codes and indications:

Error Codes Problem
Low Oil The engine oil level is low
Overcrank The generator has attempted to start too many times without success
Low Battery The battery voltage is low or the battery is failing
Low Fuel The fuel level in the tank is low or the fuel line is clogged
Underspeed The engine is not reaching the required speed to start the generator
High Coolant Temp The engine coolant temperature is too high
Overvoltage The output voltage of the generator is too high
Undervoltage The output voltage of the generator is too low

LED Status Indicator Displays

Controller Power
LED Color(s)
Operational Backlight Functional
No None Black/Green Low Power Auto
None Yes Black/Green/Red Low Power Auto
Yes N/A Black/Red Low Power Auto
No USB Powered Auto
Yes Battery Powered Auto
Running Green Yes Yes Battery Powered Auto
Running Green/Red
Yes Battery Powered Auto
No USB Powered Auto
Yes Battery Powered Auto
No USB Powered Auto
Yes Battery Powered Auto

Here are the top solutions to address Kohler generator problem(s):

Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are those parts of the generator that initiate the ignition process. As the name suggests, spark plugs function by creating sparks, and can therefore easily burn out, causing them to malfunction. You can start out by checking if the spark plug is burnt. A crack in the porcelain insulator can produce a lot of carbon built-up, damaging and burning the electrodes. The easiest way to fix this problem is by replacing the burnt plug. You can also use a spark plug meter to determine if it is faulty or not. A strong spark between the tester’s terminals during the engine’s cranking indicates that the spark plug is functioning fine. But if this strong spark is missing, it is time to act.

Kohler generator repair

Clogged Carburetor

A carburetor sends the engine a mix of fuel and air to make it function. The clogging of a carburetor is a very common phenomenon and most often fixing this will make your generator engine start. Clogging of the entire carburetor can happen if the machine is stored for a long period of time without being functional. This contaminates the fuel and when this contaminated fuel evaporates over a period of time, it leaves behind a thick, sticky substance that gets deposited onto your carburetor when you try to start the engine.

You can clean and unclog the carburetor and it will start functioning post repair. If the damage is too serious or clogging is too thick and stubborn, you might need to get a new one. One good option for refraining a similar problem from reoccurring is to use a fuel stabilizer, which helps the fuel from evaporating. Hence, there will be little to no clogging in the carburetor. A fuel stabilizer is really helpful if you wish to store your generator for a long time without using it. You can also use a carburetor cleaner for this purpose.

Ignition Coil

It has often been observed that most people tend to believe that their spark plug is faulty. However, replacing or fixing the spark plug also doesn’t solve the issue. It is likely that the issue is with the ignition coil. The function of an ignition coil is to produce a strong voltage so that the spark plug can produce a spark for the engine to start. However, if the ignition coil is not functioning properly, it will not create that high voltage for the spark plug to function. Replace the ignition coil if it fails to function. It is a common and easily solvable problem.

Gas Solenoid

The gas solenoid controls the flow of gas to a machine by using electric impulses. If your solenoid is faulty, your engine will only crank and not start because there isn’t enough electric impulse. In most cases, the fault in the gas solenoid occurs due to some loose wiring. All you need to do is check the wires and if you find any loose connections, you can plug them again for the gas solenoid to start functioning again.

Faulty Fuel Pump

In case, you notice that your Kohler won t start, or seems to be consuming more fuel than before, then it might be due to a defective fuel pump. Either the pump must not be delivering any fuel to the generator resulting in starter failure or sending in way more fuel than needed resulting in the fuel efficiency dropping drastically.

Empty fuel tank

This is one of the most obvious things to happen, especially in generators that haven’t been used for a long time. It is best to periodically keep checking if the tank has enough fuel at all times. If possible, avoid emptying your fuel tank as it can damage your engine. Then again, you must ensure that the fuel line is clean at all times and that the oil level is optimal.

Lower Oil Levels

Oil is vital for the health of your generator’s engine. It keeps the engine in good health. While most Kohler generators have oil sensors pre-installed in them, it is also good to check the oil level with the dipstick every now and then. If you see that the oil level has gone below the recommended level, you should immediately refill it as directed by the manufacturer. This is also a good time to replace the entire oil. Timely replacing the engine oil is a practice that will ensure your engine continues running for a long time without breaking down during emergency usage. It will also save you the cost of untimely repairs.

Defective Throttle Body

The throttle body in a generator is situated between the air filter and the intake manifold and is responsible for ensuring optimal airflow for the spark ignition. In case the idling speed of the throttle pedal becomes irregular, it can have an adverse impact on the engine running, and can even cause the engine to stall. The best way to get the throttle body working properly again is to get it calibrated by a technician.

Dead Battery

Just like your car engine won’t start if the battery is dead, your generator engine can face a similar issue. You can either replace it with a new battery or give it a jump start. The best way to keep the battery in good shape is to periodically use your generator.

Plug-in Cables to Your Generator

If your generator has plugged cords, it could be another reason for it not starting as desired. So, make sure you unplug all the wires before starting the generator. Even if these wires are not connected to any appliance, unplugging them will help.

Check the Choke

The choke is responsible for regulating the air level in the carburetor when the engine starts. If the motor is unable to turn over, the amount of air getting mixed with the fuel can be a problem. An engine that hasn’t been used for a while should have its choke completely closed. When the engine warms up, you can fully open the choke. If you are restarting your engine when it is still warm, you must the choke half open.

Our Take

If your Kohler generator doesn’t start even after reviewing all these conditions, it is best to call in a professional from the brand itself. And then, of course, you have the CS Diesel team to help you out with the maintenance of your equipment. Regardless of when you bought the generator, our team of trained technicians is always up and ready to help you out. Simply let us know the model number and the problem that you are facing, and we will ensure that it is all taken care of at the soonest. Our expert technicians can also advise you if they have good reason to believe that your generator needs to be replaced.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kohler Generator Starting Problems

Why should I call Technicians from Kohler when the engine doesn’t start?

These skilled technicians have complete know-how about the machines and they will be able to perfectly get your Kohler generator back in working condition. It is advisable to call in the technician from a Kohler service station as they are well-trained and more responsible than any other general mechanic, who might not have the same skills to handle the situation.

How long can you run a Kohler generator continuously?

The manufacturer recommends that the continuous use of the generator should be restricted to 500 hours at a stretch, which amounts to approximately 3 weeks of constant use. Of course, you will need to ensure consistent.

How do I manually start a Kohler generator?

In order to manually start the generator, simply push the Auto Start Switch. This will ensure that the generator starts within 3 seconds. That being taken care of, move the circuit breaker to the On position.