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Kohler Generators

1951 Kohler 350M21 350 Watt Generator Set #154768


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  #1  
Old 05-02-2017, 02:57:30 AM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 Watt Generator Set #154768

Just a baby at 350 watts, but nevertheless substantial at 75 lbs.

I've been wanting one of these for a long time. Here is the story on how I finally got this one:

https://www.smokstak.com/forum/showthread.php?t=166086

I got a few minutes to tinker tonight, so I set the unit on a folded up towel (need to get some rubber feet. Any suggestions?), removed the broken air cleaner, plugged in a nice old fluorescent lamp because it was handy, figured out which way was off for the choke, squirted a little ether down the carb, and on the second pull I heard signs of life!

Next time I was ready with the ether, and kept just a *tiny* bit drizzling down the carb to keep her running. Held speed nice and steady, sounded good, and low and behold the fluorescent lamp blinked to life just like it always does. Success!

Next will be to test the fuel system, and I noticed ether leaking out of the carb to intake gasket, maybe just slightly snugging the bolts will be sufficient for that.

Here's the set up inside the garage. It's dwarfed by the 1A21 armature. It's pretty crowded in there these days!!!
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Old 05-03-2017, 02:12:51 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

Having been motivated by the successful​ starting​, running, and generating test, I decided to start looking for the few parts necessary to make it completely operational.

First on the list- an air cleaner. The plastic "clear view" is broken. It may be repairable, but I don't think it's original, and I don't like plastic anyway. I don't want anything modern, and it's unlikely I'll ever find a correct original, so I bought this little guy, which I am reasonably certain will fit, and certainly looks the part.

http://m.ebay.com/itm/162491137137?_mwBanner=1

Keith
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Old 05-03-2017, 09:56:17 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

Meanwhile I've been looking for some feet. I want some nice soft ones that will allow for the considerable vibration inherent to an 1800 rpm single cylinder four stroke, and be able to make it stay put lol.

I really like these, but the mounting holes are only 5/16, and I really don't want to be drilling on the antique.
https://www.mcmaster.com/#60855k71/=17h01rw

I wish they came in 5/16. They'd probably be less stiff too.
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Old 05-03-2017, 10:00:55 PM
Steve Dawkins Steve Dawkins is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

That generator is a cute little thing. Looks like a fun project. And...your garage looks like mine.

This would be a cheesy solution, but maybe you could insert a 5/16" flat head machine screw up through the bottom of the vibro isolator. The head should fit inside the cup of the isolator, and still provide ground clearance. Too bad there isn't something like a helicoil to adapt the threads from 3/8" to 5/16".

Last edited by Steve Dawkins; 05-04-2017 at 12:50:39 AM.
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Old 05-04-2017, 03:15:53 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

You know, that's not a bad idea! It has simplicity going for it, and one would never know once it's assembled.

I've actually been looking for a bushing, but 3/8 and 5/16 are too close in size. McMaster Carr does have a 3/8-16 to 1/4-20 or 28 bushing that I have been considering. But then a 1/4" bolt in a 5/16" hole is also cheesy. So then add a sleeve to the parts list, and it starts to look pretty convoluted. And the 1/4" bolts wouldn't look as nice as 5/16". All this just for some feet!

So, after all of that deliberation lol, I'm going to order those feet, and deploy your excellent idea.

Update: The feet have been Ordered!

Keith

Last edited by Vanman; 05-04-2017 at 04:33:40 PM.
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Old 05-04-2017, 05:27:07 PM
Steve Dawkins Steve Dawkins is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

Happy Kohler-ing.

I'm glad you posted the specs on the vibro-isolator. I probably wouldn't have thought about using the flat head bolt without seeing the catalog cut sheet. Visuals always help.
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Old 05-06-2017, 01:52:49 AM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

Wow, McMaster Carr doesn't mess around! Check out my stylish new feet!

I made a brief test run with them, and they work GREAT!

I want to change the oil, but I need to figure out what weight of oil is correct.

Does​ anyone know what model of engine this is? I know it is a Kohler, and it's quite small lol. Though definitely larger than a Briggs WM.
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Old 05-06-2017, 02:02:13 AM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

Here are some more engine photos. Anyone know the model?
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Old 05-06-2017, 10:16:56 PM
Ken Karrow Ken Karrow is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

I would use 30 at oil when I do not know for sure. Is it possible this is a Lawson built under contract or licence? Carb & muffler on opposite sides and pattern of head bolts. Just a thought kind of out of the box.
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Old 05-06-2017, 11:47:28 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

I'm *pretty* sure that by this time Kohler was building their own small engines, but maybe they were licensed. It would be interesting to compare to the Lawson. I have a 1943 Kohler set that is driven by a Briggs Model B. Their literature from that period is careful not to show too much of the engine lol.

This little Kohler does have a rather odd valve arrangement. I've been trying to figure out just how that works. Sideways cam driven by bevel gears? Or maybe something really wild, like the cam on a radial engine??

Meanwhile, another fellow posted a question today about a 1949 Kohler model K7-1. Searching Google images for "Kohler K7 Engine" turned up lots of photos of engines as well as generator sets just like mine, so I guess my engine is looking to be a Kohler K7-"x".

I also was able to see where the engine nameplate *should* have been on the fan shroud. I can now see the holes in mine where it used to be. At least they left the generator nameplate alone!

The photos also made me realize that I don't have the wrong air cleaner after all. Someone just installed it very incorrectly!! It's still broken though, so I'll end up using at least part of the replacement to make a functional unit.

I need a cylinder shield too. Expect I'll have to make that, but it looks simple enough.

Keith
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Old 05-19-2017, 10:38:01 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

Worked on cleaning up the little Kohler this evening. When I got it, the oil was clean, but I did see a little sludge on the bottom, and I didn't know what oil was in it, so I drained it. Amazingly, even though I have run it literally for only seconds so far, the oil came out black!!

So I filled the crankcase with gasoline and sloshed it around while I was also cleaning the outside with gasoline and a paintbrush.

Upon draining, the gasoline was black. I filled and drained twice more, and twice more it came out black. Huh. Must be more sludge in there than I thought. I have it filled again, for now.

I really don't want to pull this one apart. It runs and sounds great. And I currently have a Wisconsin AA and a B&S ZZ apart, another ZZ with the flywheel off, and a bigger Kohler (1A21) with the generator apart. So I have PROMISED myself NOT to take apart anything else at this time!

Keith
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Old 05-20-2017, 08:08:17 AM
mschreiber mschreiber is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

sludge clean out is a bitch. i always pull the pan after i know it'll pop/run. heres the last sludge full pan i cleaned up. good luck with ur project.

u do know about this show coming up soon? https://bestofthewestshow.com and i think a show "california gold" this weekend?

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Old 05-21-2017, 02:22:36 PM
YellowLister YellowLister is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

Looks like a cool show I may go.. cool little kohler leave it be! I think I may have a original oil bath air cleaner for you
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Old 05-21-2017, 04:55:55 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

Mschreiber- that's some serious sludge you have there!!

I don't think this one was anywhere near that bad. I drained the fourth installment of crankcase gasoline and it came out dirty, but definitely better. The fifth round came out almost as clean as it went in.

Now I'll run it for a bit with fresh oil, then change that, and it ought to be good to go.

The show looks great, but we have a small bus rally that weekend, and may not even​ make that due to other obligations.

Yellow- thanks for the offer on the air cleaner. At this point I'm reasonably certain that the parts I have are going to do the trick. If it doesn't work out, I'll get in touch with you and see what we can work out.

As for "leaving it the way it is", all I've done is clean some of the grime off of it. It is missing almost all of it's paint, but I have way too many projects, and way too little time, energy, and money to do much more than the bare minimum for any of them at this time. Paint would be a real luxury!

I am hoping to get in it's first test run with gasoline in the tank soon. I'll try to get video of it.

Keith
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Old 05-21-2017, 07:55:29 PM
mschreiber mschreiber is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

that oil pan above was filled with gas like 4 times and was running mostly clear at 4th attempt. i stuck a bent weld rod into it and it was covered with goo. i pulled the pan.
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Old 05-21-2017, 08:59:59 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

Ah, ok. It has it's first round of fresh oil in it now, and I've run it for a few minutes so far. When I drain it, I'll run some wire up in there and see what I can drag out of it.

Here's the first video of it running.

https://youtu.be/ZGTIBrAshKI
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Old 05-21-2017, 09:27:02 PM
mschreiber mschreiber is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

nice.
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Old 05-22-2017, 12:04:09 AM
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

Thanks! Here's another video, taken at dusk, by the light of the bulb it was powering.

It appears that the needle and seat have decided to wake up, so I can leave the fuel on now. I set the governor to the most sensitive position, and the regulation is improved considerably as a result. I slightly adjusted the mixture as well, and now no more little random misfire, it can idle down slow and smooth, and let go of the governor and it comes right up to speed, without hesitation.

I want to add a small spring between governor arm and carburetor to take up the slack, and I'd like to turn up the speed slightly. The latter will require some studying as there is not any obvious way to increase the speed, other than lengthening the linkage between governor arm and carb.... Right now I'm seeing around 108 ish volts and 56 cycles or so with ~250 watt load.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otTJ...ature=youtu.be

Keith

Last edited by Vanman; 05-22-2017 at 01:54:22 AM.
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Old 05-22-2017, 02:03:08 AM
Thaumaturge Thaumaturge is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

Keep in mind that when that gen was made 110VAC was a bit of a standard. Then 117, 119 and finally 120, as I recall the progression.

The feet look nice (other than seeming too new.) When you first asked for suggestions McMaster came to mind. But reading further I see you found them. I got a great set of heavy duty vibration issolators from them for a compressor that was affecting our mechanical calibrations at a cal lab I worked at.

Your idea of rinsing out the block with gas was a good one. I've rinsed out a genset with diesel fuel before and know it to be effective. I figured diesel would leave a bit of lube while still desolving the crud.

Nice little generator.
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Old 05-22-2017, 08:48:25 AM
mschreiber mschreiber is offline
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Default Re: 1951 Kohler 350M21 350 watt generator set #154768

i rinsed out my d13000 genset with gallons of diesel, prob is u can't pick it up and slosh it around. after this i pulled the inspection covers and pulled out 4 gallons of slimy sludge. non detergent oil builds up sludge over the years. nuff said.
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