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1963 Kohler L600 Engine from 6.5M21 Electric Plant


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  #1  
Old 11-03-2018, 04:52:18 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default 1963 Kohler L600 Engine from 6.5M21 Electric Plant

A fellow Stak member spotted this and sent me the link. It seemed perfect for helping out with my other Kohler project., But it was in Modesto, Ca, around 350 miles north, so I delayed quite a while. It had been listed at $200, then dropped to $150. So I could no longer resist lol. We set out early yesterday morning and got back late last night. Overall it was a good trip, if not exhausting. It was good to get away from here and see some scenery. Stopped in one antique store and picked up some neat Unity spotlights.

The Kohler was actually at Beyer High School, and it was actually the small engine shop teacher Rich Wolfe selling it. Rich seemed like a nice guy, and it was cool to see a high school shop again. We chatted quite a bit and had a good time. He said it didn't belong to the school, but that he was going to use the proceeds to buy some hand tools for the shop.

The ad read as follows:
"Kohler 4 cylinder utility engine

Kohler four-cylinder engine from a generator used on a construction site to power lights. Engine only. Got this from a friend that was restoring it, but never finish the project. Currently needs spark plug wires, and a few other things to run. 98% complete.Please review the pictures and information plate for spec information. I need this thing gone, offers greatly excepted."

I also saved the pictures from the ad and will attach them.

Upon inspection, it was found that the water pump was seized, but I was still able to crank the engine with the belt slipping. No compression was felt, but the magneto impulse coupling was working. Since the plug wires were not connected I held the magneto stop switch down to avoid damaging the mag. Who knows how many times it has been cranked without doing that. I didn't check it for spark.

There was oil in the crankcase, fairly dark but not horrible. No water in the radiator.

The ad photos didn't show it, but there is a large taper lock pulley on the end of the crank. I don't yet know if they machined the crank to make it fit. But a taper lock normally fits a non-tapered shaft so.... We'll see.

The oil base had been broken and welded in two spots and is cracked in a third. I think it was dropped, and that may be what happened to the generator.

He said he had no actual knowledge of it's history, condition, or what may have been done in the restoration that was started but not finished, but his dad had recognized the engine as those used in light tower trailers in the '80's. I'm sure many did find their way into that service, as well as countless others, of course.

I explained that I was taking a gamble on a non running engine, and I offered 50 bucks. He countered at $60 and I accepted.

It was determined that it wouldn't fit in the truck with the muffler on it, and pipe wrenches failed to get it loose. We didn't want to break the exhaust manifold (which also has been broken and welded. But I had seen that in the ad photos).

I suggested merely pulling the manifold, and he really didn't want me to, thinking the bolts may snap off in the block. Looking at it, four bolts were not even drawn up, and only two were tight, so I said it would be super easy, and besides, I already bought it, so if I break it, I wouldn't blame him. Finally he brought some wrenches. The remaining two bolts are awkward to get to, but came out easily.

Ah ha. It had evidently sat out in the weather with the stack uncovered for quite some time. All four exhaust ports and the manifold are full of rust. Well... That explains the lack of compression.

While I was working on that, I also noticed that the thermostat housing was loose, the nuts only just started on the threads. Well... That explains the lack of coolant lol.

Nevertheless it's here now, still in the truck at this point. I'll post more as I learn more.
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Last edited by Vanman; 11-05-2018 at 03:19:15 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-03-2018, 04:55:58 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: 1963 Kohler L600 Engine from 6.5M21 Electric Plant

I forgot to mention that it had been cleaned up since the ad photos, probably with a pressure washer, as I found a couple areas still had some water present. Here's the last ad photo.
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Old 11-03-2018, 06:28:50 PM
Zephyr7 Zephyr7 is offline
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Default Re: 1963 Kohler L600 Engine from 6.5M21 Electric Plant

Itís nice to see some high school shops still operating. All the schools around here have closed their shop programs. Too many worries about little Johnny chopping off his finger I suppose. The trouble is no one knows how to work on things anymore. We get interns at work that donít even know which way to turn a screwdriver or even that there is more than one kind of screw head

Bill
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Old 11-04-2018, 03:03:15 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: 1963 Kohler L600 Engine from 6.5M21 Electric Plant

Yeah, we talked about people not working on things anymore, and how things are now made cheaply to suit that attitude. The focus is on first cost, not total cost of ownership, to suit the modern simple-minded, short-sighted buyer.

It's too bad too. If stuff was made to be serviceable and rebuildable, not only would it actually be a pleasure to own and use, but our economy would be much better off as well. It may have been easy to outsource manufacturing, but much less so service.
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:29:07 AM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: 1963 Kohler L600 Engine from 6.5M21 Electric Plant

Got this beast unloaded tonight, and got a little closer look at things. The paint job is super sloppy. It looks more like the kind designed to disguise than to make a restoration look good.

They painted the exhaust manifold, and the radiator hose and clamps black, in place. Also painted the mag, it's nameplate and cap and all. Can see where the seized water pump has leaked rusty water, and can see the rust in the four exhaust ports.

Can see the thermostat housing loose.... One head bolt is missing... Wonder why...
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:34:40 AM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: 1963 Kohler L600 Engine from 6.5M21 Electric Plant

Here's a shot of the output pulley that has been adapted to the crank. If it runs true, this is actually pretty cool. It's about 10" diameter, and looks to use B section belts. I do hope they did not modify the crank to make it fit.
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:25:33 PM
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Default Re: 1963 Kohler L600 Engine from 6.5M21 Electric Plant

Some more investigation today. The cylinder head bolts were not tight, yet the thing was painted with them loose. The head had been removed then dropped right back on, old gasket and all. Now I know with certainty that the purpose of the paint was nothing more than deceit.

The head bolts were too long or short or mixed up, obviously put back without any care. No thermostat is present. Bummer. I was hoping to get one of those. No spark from the mag.

But, the valves and cylinders don't look too bad from the top. Some valves move, some are stuck. It just may yet turn out that this block is better than my other one. And that's what I'd really like. One of the cylinders has some light oily / rusty mixture look to it, but I'm hopeful it will clean up.
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Old 11-05-2018, 11:37:51 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: 1963 Kohler L600 Engine from 6.5M21 Electric Plant

And here are some photos.

You can see that the rust doesn't look nearly as bad on top of the valves as in the ports.

The questionable rusty / oily cylinder next to a good one.

The mag painted black- sloppily all over and in place on the engine. It's not working, but hopefully it is just points / condenser.
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Old 11-06-2018, 12:13:03 AM
Zephyr7 Zephyr7 is offline
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Default Re: 1963 Kohler L600 Engine from 6.5M21 Electric Plant

Is that scale and pitting on some of those pistons and in some of the cylinders? Poor little engine must have had a rough life

Sounds like someone tried to work on it that didn’t really have enough skill to tackle the project so they gave up and Hastily slapped it back together.

Bill
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Old 11-06-2018, 12:57:51 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: 1963 Kohler L600 Engine from 6.5M21 Electric Plant

Yeah, it's seen some bad times for sure, but the piston tops actually look better than in the photos. There's just a littly oily carbon deposits on them. But I haven't shown the busted and welded feet yet.
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