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Multi-Cylinder Stationary Gasoline Engines and Power Units Waukesha, Buda, Climax, LeRoi and others.

Multi-Cylinder Stationary Gasoline Engines and Power Units

Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)


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  #1  
Old 02-03-2013, 08:31:12 AM
nutgone nutgone is offline
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Default Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

Right, I thought it best to start my own thread on this engine, as I have been writing on another thread, but it could end up getting confusing, so here goes.

Recently I won an old Kohler 4 cylinder over-head valve engine, which I believe would have originally had a generator strapped to it. It's now just an engine, but has a flat belt pulley.

The engine is in a pretty bad way, as you can see....





But I'm told it is complete, so I went ahead & bought it. I picked it up a couple of days ago & realised just how heavy these units are. I had to start to dismantle it straight away so my dad & me could lift it out of his car!

So off came the head, radiator & a few other bits....



& eventually it made it's way into our very crowded workshop, where I continued to dismantle it.

The guy I bought it off told me he bought it some 35 years ago with a job lot of classic motorbikes. He's not really an engine man, but he says when he got it, it looked like it had been restored, but he's never done anything with it.

Well I can tell you it was seized solid, & when I got the head off I found out that the exhaust valve of number 4 cylinder (closest to the rad) was stuck open. Fortunately he had stored it with a plastic tube over the exhaust, so despite it being left outside for a very long time it was reasonably dry inside, & when I emptied the sump there was only a couple of ounces of water under the oil.

But, as I was to find out, the owner previous to him may have made this engine look pretty some 35+ years ago, but there was no way it was a runner. The piston in number 4 cylinder was seized & smashed! Someone had tried to free off all 4 cylinders by hitting this one piston with something very hard & far too thin! (What a moron! I mean I've seen some retarded things in my time, but this really takes the biscuit!)

Also, all 4 pistons were at exactly the same height, so I thought there may be something even more sinister than a smashed piston here, maybe there was no bottom end to this little lot?

I made my attempts to look at the big ends & cranks, but after removing the timing gear case & the inspection plate in the sump I still couldn't tell, so I had to split the bottom end from the sump. Only trouble was all the bolts down one side had rusted to practically nothing! I managed to get 6 of the 7 bolts down that side off with various techniques, but the last one had to be cut, it later made a good place to start to split the 2 parts & I'm sure it will come out as there's still a good 1/4" sticking out of the sump.

Anyway, I got the sump off & joy of joys there was a full crank shaft in there with 4 untouched big ends (so this moron really had tried to free off a cylinder with the crank shaft still in there, & none of the other pistons were moving either).

So I removed the tray from the sump, to make space for the eventual pistons & rods to come through, then laid it all up the right way, resting on the sump, & poured in some of my home made easing oil/parts wash solution....



I also made up a piece of wood, specially shaped to fit the bores as close as possible.

(Continued on next post, I'm up to my 4 pic limit)....
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:34:19 AM
nutgone nutgone is offline
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

BTW, I also have a dedicated Photobucket album for this restoration, as I do with all my restorations, it can be seen here....

http://photobucket.com/nutgoneskohler

Here's a few pics of what I found when I split the engine from the sump, I will continue the thread in the next post....







& here's a pic of the magneto. It's a British made "Watford" magneto. Does anyone know if Kohler ever put these mags on their export models???

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Old 02-03-2013, 08:39:47 AM
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

The following day (yesterday) I had a play with the carb. It's a solid brass Zenith carb (I thought these all had Tillotson carbs?) & it still has it's auto choke, with an intact coil, which I'm guessing is 24 volt? (sorry, no carb pics yet).

I also had a play around with the magneto. I completely disassembled it & it looks like the coil may have been re-wound at some stage, but I can't be sure. Anyway, I gave it a quick clean up, it will need more work but I have a very overcrowded workbench at the moment & I really didn't want to lose any bits, so I put it all back together & gave it a quick test. There are sparks, which I'm really pleased about. here's a few pics of the mag....









Continued in next post (I'm up to my 4 pic limit again)....
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:01:14 AM
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

I also had a play with the radiator. I managed to get it out of it's cast iron housing, I removed the fan & dismantled it to check the bearings. They were all fine, very clean & rotating as they should (I'm starting to think someone may well have restored this engine about 35 years ago, as much of it comes apart easy & seems very light on wear)....





I also filled the rad up with water, capped the holes & blew into it for a quick pressure test. It seems to hold OK, but will obviously need further testing to be sure. It's solid brass from what I can tell, & was completely dry when I got it, so should be fine.

Then, yesterday evening I thought I would give those pistons a little tap with my special block of wood. I only used my small hammer, & wasn't expecting much joy, but I swiftly managed to get all 4 of them out, even the smashed one. I gave it a quick wire brush & sprayed it with some solvent brake & clutch cleaner to show up the cracks before taking some pics....





There is no damage to the skirt, only the crown. I'm starting to wonder if it could be repaired? Also it never leaked any of the easing oil solution, so it's pretty water tight as it is.

I have started to clean them up, one by one, & I noticed that not only are the con rods numbered, but so are the big end shell cases & the pistons themselves! Which is very helpful, now I just need to keep the big end shims where they belong, although I will be checking all that when it goes back together.

I also managed to remove the stuck exhaust valve from the cylinder head. I will be removing all the valves & grinding them back in, in due course.

I won't be doing much more with it this week, I've got a 1931 Briggs & Stratton RC to finish off, but that should be done by the end of the week, easy. Then I've got to tidy up the workshop, move a WW2 Homelite generator over to my brother's place, make some room & then I can get on with this Kohler.

I must admit I am very happy to finally have one of these engines, I've always liked these & have wanted a multi cylinder engine for some time now.

It looks like this one really just needs a damn good clean up on the inside, see about that broken piston, then get it back together & see it I can get her running.

I have given the oil pump a quick push & it seems to work. I also had a good look round the engine & there is no means to fit a mechanical fuel pump, but there is a pipe union on the carb for the vacuum fuel pumping system (which is obviously long gone, but maybe I could fashion one of my own with a vac tank from a small car or something?)

Does any of this help to date the engine? Does anyone here have any idea how old it could be? I know they were present in the 1925 Kohler catalogue, does the solid brass (or bronze) Zenith carb tell us anything?
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:06:03 AM
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

I also have a picture here of the engine plate from the radiator surround....



& I would like to ask if anyone out there has a spare piston for this engine, or where I might get one? I may also need some rings, as the one piston I have already worked on has a broken oil scraper ring.

I know postage from the states won't be cheap, but it's not like I need express delivery, I'm happy to wait for a slow boat.

Any help or information would be much appreciated. Thanks for reading this far & I will keep this thread updated as & when progress is made.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:36:31 AM
modelengineer modelengineer is offline
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

I have contacted otto gas engine works in the us, they have the correct size rings in stock, mine measured 2" x 9/64". I'm waiting on a total cost so I can order them
Dougie

---------- Post added at 12:36 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:31 PM ----------

That broken piston might be repairable by cleaning and brazing the cracks shut,
there is lots of clearance at the top of the bore
Dougie
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:51:10 PM
BHoward BHoward is offline
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

I agree, I think it could be cleaned up and brased .I would give you a piston if you could find a cheap way to get it there. I saw your P M. But have not figured out how to send one yet . I,m an old guy, 80 years old Ceers, Bill H.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:03:04 PM
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

Cheers Bill, & Dougie.

I suppose brazing would involve less heat than welding, so less chance of the piston distorting due to the heat. I have cleaned up this piston & managed to get one of the compression rings out intact, the other one broke though (my fault, it takes me roughly 30 minutes to an hour just to get one ring out, & there's 4 pistons in all!)

I was thinking of punching the bits of piston crown out to clean up all the edges, ready for welding or brazing. Now I'm starting to like the idea of brazing as opposed to welding, it's a lot less damaging & I can do it myself (although it's been a very long time since I did any, but if I remember right it's very much like high temperature soldering).

Bill, I will PM you my email address, maybe it would be easier to communicate that way?
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:15:43 AM
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

One quick question about brazing; would the braze be up to the heat? I don't know what temperature it melts at, but as it would be in direct contact with the combustion process I would be a bit concerned.

I still like the idea though, & will probably go ahead with it, unless something else turns up.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:02:52 AM
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

Hi Nutgon . Aluminum pistons don,t melt and I think brazing would be as high a temp. Maybe someone can tell us. Tried to send P.M. Don,t n know if it went . Cheers Bill. H.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:08:50 AM
modelengineer modelengineer is offline
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

The pistons should be cast iron and the brazing alloy will hold up to the heat no problem
Brazing takes quite a bit of heat, the iron wants to be almost red hot for it to flow properly I have plenty of sifbronze rods that would do the trick, I could let you have a couple to do the job
On the other hand, you could do the repair just as well with silver solder, it dosn't need as much heat and the silver alloy will hold up just as well as the brazing alloy

In both cases however you will need to make sure the surface that you want either alloy to stick to is clean and bright and use a suitable flux
Dougie
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:02:42 PM
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bhoward View Post
Hi Nutgon . Aluminum pistons don,t melt and I think brazing would be as high a temp. Maybe someone can tell us. Tried to send P.M. Don,t n know if it went . Cheers Bill. H.
Hi Bill. Thanks for that.

I'm afraid I didn't get your PM, not sure what happened there.

Thanks also to Dougie. I've had some shock reactions to the notion of repairing this piston, some say just throw it away & start looking for a replacement.
Thing is, money is tight, & I don't fancy spending the next 6 months worth of weekends digging through autojumble stalls, hoping to turn something up. I've already got broken rings to replace, & they aren't cheap (if I can find any).

No, I say; if it's a scrap piston anyway, I might as well have a little experiment with it. Everything else on this engine seems OK (apart from one valve which is stuck in the head, but that'll be out soon enough). I'm used to having these things running in a few weeks, I'm prepared to let this one take a little longer, as there are 4 times as many pistons, but I don't want it hanging around for months on end.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:26:02 PM
BHoward BHoward is offline
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

Hi Nutgone . The piston may crack while cooling ,so you have to prevent it from cooling too quickly . Next time I go to town will check on postage charges. Have a good day. Cheers Bill H.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:19:52 PM
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

Thanks Bill.

I'm an inpatient so & so aren't I? The end of my last post reminds me somewhat of a spoilt child

I do have projects that are hanging around, for various reasons. But due to a long term illness I can't work right now, so I have a lot of spare time on my hands, & I hate having nothing to do with it.

I can at least start to rebuild the head & eventually make a start on the massive clean-up job of all the internals (& externals) of this one. Hopefully I can source these parts as I go along.

There's plenty to keep me occupied, I just like to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:00:16 PM
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

I thought I would get started on this one tonight. I lifted the top half off the sump again & put the crank shaft back in, I need to get the cog off the governor shaft & can't hold it tight enough, so thought I might have better luck with the crank back on, but haven't actually tried to get it off again yet.

Instead I thought I would dig around in the sump & see if I could get the oil pump out to give it a clean. Well, I did & I did....



Then I took a look at the sludge in the bottom of the sump. I drew a small scraper through it, so you could see how thick it was....







Continued on next post (that 4 pic limit again)....
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:02:23 PM
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

I managed to scrape most of it out through the oil filter/drain plug hole & into a drip tray. I also scraped out the dried up oil & leaf litter from the flywheel housing. Then I gave it a good wipe out with some old rag & gave it a good spray with my new improved parts wash (I've recently added some AQF automatic transmission fluid to the mix, & it has really improved it), then wiped it out again. Then I gave it aonther spray & left it over night. here's what it looked like when I left it....









I've also cleaned the big end dipper tray & a few other bits & bobs. The sump needs a fair bit more work before it's properly clean, then there's the block, that's got no big layer of sludge, but it's going to be even harder to clean.

Will do a bit more tomorrow.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:02:06 PM
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Here we go with today's report. This one will be in 3 posts as it contains 12 pics....

I have continued my cleaning of parts. I started by removing the governor/magneto drive gear. It's a job I've been struggling with. In the end I put the crank shaft back in, cut myself some wooden wedges, wedged the flywheel & took a long bar to the big nut on the gear cog. Eventually it relented, I had to use a puller to get it off, then knock the shaft out to remove this....



I took it apart, cleaned it all up & replaced all the split cotter pins. i also cleaned up the cam shaft while I was at it....



Just for good measure, here's a pic of that oil tray I cleaned up yesterday....



I then decided to remove all the little bits & bobs from the crank case. This involved removing each tappet, in turn, cleaning it & marking it with a number so it goes back in the right place (note the oil pump tappet on the end of the row)....



Continued in next post....!
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:05:30 PM
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

I also removed the oil lines from inside the engine, which involved bending them a little as there's a 4 way cross soldered piece in there, but nothing was broken & it will all straighten out as it goes back in. I ran some parts wash through it all, but I will clean it properly later on. At least now I have an empty crank case, ready for cleaning....



Now nicely stacked away next to the sump (which received another clean out & is coming along nicely)....



Then I decided to clean some cleaner stuff. So i turned my attentions to the carb. I don't think it's solid brass now. I'm actually starting to think it might be bronze (did they make carbs from bronze?) It almost looks like copper, but doesn't really resemble brass (although it looks like brass in the pictures because I can't get a decent colour balance on my new phone's camera)....





Continued in next post....
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:10:08 PM
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

Anyway, I've left the float in a jam jar of neat petrol over night. it was still floating when I left it, so it's looking good.
Interesting how the float needle works. The fuel comes in the bottom & the float acts on 2 arms. Don't think I've seen one like it before....



That's all been taken apart, cleaned up & put back together (as in the pics above, I couldn't get it any more shiny really, not without a lot of work). I'm not sure which way round the 2 jets go now though. they are both the same size (or both have the same number stamped on them), but one has a long tube coming off it whereas the other is just a normal jet. I've put them where I think they go, but I'm sure it'll soon become evident if I've got it wrong when time comes to fire her up.

Last part of the evening was spent dismantling the magneto (again). This time I had a nice clean & clear bench to work on, so I can take my time & do it properly.

I've managed to release both bearings, which will be cleaned, & have managed to completely dismantle the whole thing....





I've also cleaned up the slip ring & the earthing ring & cleaned up the spinning coil centre....



I took some readings & was getting a reasonably steady reading on the HT side, in the megohm range. I've now taken it indoors & put it on a radiator to completely dry it out & see if I still get readings. I think it will be OK, so far so good anyway. I think I've been really lucky with the magneto, especially considering it's been left outside for so many years (possibly up to 35 years). But I have a feeling this mag has been reconditioned before at some point.

Anyway, that's where I've left it. I will finish off cleaning up all the mag bits tomorrow & get it all back together.

I'm putting off cleaning up the crank case, but I suppose it will need doing reasonably soon, so I have somewhere to put all these bits as I clean them. Otherwise I'm going to start running out of boxes, pots & tins to put bits in
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:28:49 PM
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Default Re: Kohler 4 Cylinder Engine Restoration (in the UK)

Yesterday I carried on cleaning various parts, concentrating mainly on the governor bits. I also stripped down the magneto for a complete refurb (I have taken it apart once, but didn't do the job properly as the workshop was in a mess & I didn't want to lose anything. Now it's cleaned up & I'm more organised I thought it was time to do it properly).

Basically I am painting all the exterior faces of the aluminium parts silver, as the actual metal won't polish up. I am also going to paint the horse-shoe magnet black, but it's quite badly pitted in places, so first I'm building up layers of primer & sanding back, in an attempt to fill the pits. I will add some pics of the finished magneto when it's done, there are some pics of the various bits on the album (http://photobucket.com/nutgoneskohler)

I also promised on the other Kohler thread that I would include some more detail pics of the carb, so here goes.

Here it is as it comes off the engine....



It then splits into 2 bits with the removal of just one bolt....



The flange half contains the throttle butterfly & the venturi, which can now be removed....



The float chamber half contains 2 jets, which can just be seen in place here....



This is where I have to start another post, as I'm up to my 4 pic limit in this one....
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