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1946 Kohler 1A21

Turbo

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Last Subscription Date
07/12/2019
Me and my friend Tony drove 600 miles one way to Kansas to pick this up. I have been looking for one for a while to run some old washing machines at local shows. This one is very nice and shouldn't take much to get running. Along with this complete unit the seller had parted another one out and I bought 4 boxes of parts. Included was a unusual looking glass jar oiler. The seller thought it was for running on natural gas? It bolts up to the side of the cylinder head and looks factory. Has anyone seen one of these before? Thanks for looking.
 

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Vanman

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Last Subscription Date
07/10/2019
I’ve heard those are to provide upper cylinder lubrication, and that Kohler offered them as an option, or perhaps supplied them with plants destined to run on gaseous fuels.

I have also heard that they were snake oil. And it is thought that even Kohler may have been duped into using them. When you think about it gasoline is worse than gaseous fuels. At least gas won’t wash the oil off the cylinder walls like gasoline can!

Looks like a very nice plant you have there. I have six of them, three ac, three dc, none of them in particularly good shape lol.

Keith
 

Turbo

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Last Subscription Date
07/12/2019
Thanks Keith, that is what I have found online as well. There is another thread on here with a 1A22 plant that has a factory propane setup and this same oiler. It is a very unique piece. Yes, this plant is very nice. It has compression on all cylinders and after an oil change it should run easily.
 

Vanman

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Last Subscription Date
07/10/2019
I certainly don’t think the oilers would do any harm, so long as the plugs aren’t fouling. Sort of like running on two stroke gasoline. ;)

When changing the oil, I would make sure to pour fresh oil over all of the valve gear. After the plant is first started, watch for oil flow from the small drain pipe, visible through the inspection hole in the rocker cover. The oil that drains from there keeps the rod dip tray filled.

Also, have you cleaned the bottom of the oil base? Sometimes these can have a lot of sludge. If there is sludge, it will also be present in the rod drip tray.

Keith
 

Turbo

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Last Subscription Date
07/12/2019
Thanks for the great info. I got it to run today. I drained the oil and removed the cover plate. The crankcase was very clean. I rinsed it out with mineral spirits and cleaned out what little sludge was in there. I removed the oil filter canister and cleaned then installed a new filter. Filled with 7 quarts of SAE 30 oil. Removed the rocker cover and inspected. It was very clean. Removed the mag and cleaned the points and then the carb to clean as well. I noticed the frost plugs seeping so I replaced all 4 and removed the lower water elbow to flush the cooling system. Filled with new coolant and it started on the second pull!! It runs very well. I made sure there is oil running out the tube under the rocker cover. I am not able to get 120 Volts out of it yet. I am sure it is due to a bad connection somewhere. I flashed the field like the manual states and it will generate 10-50 volts with a constant 60 HTZ but when a 60 watt bulb is turned on the voltage drops to zero. I will tinker with it in a couple days when I have time.
 
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Turbo

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Last Subscription Date
07/12/2019
I had some free time last night to tinker with my generator. I removed the control box and put it on my bench. I completely disassembled, cleaned and tested the components. I found my problem. In the manual this is called a "fixed resistor". It is 320 ohms and according to the diagram sends power to the generating relay after the crank relay drops out. This resistor is totally shot, I took the resistor out of my parts control panel and it too is bad. I had a 500 ohm resistor laying around and tried it, but it must be too much because it does not work. I can jump it with a test lead and the coil pulls in and the gen puts out 120V. Is there a modern resistor that anyone can recommend? I haven't looked online yet, thought I would start here. Thanks
 

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Try either Digikey or Mouser Electronics online. Since their online catalogs contain thousands of various resistors, it might be easier to actually call them and ask for help......just describe what you need and they'll find it. Hint: Mouser has no minimum order quantity and ships the same day. Not sure about Digikey.

You might have to run two resistors in series in order to get 320 ohms, but that's no big deal as long as you get the desired result!
 

Frank DeWitt

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Last Subscription Date
12/17/2019
I don’t know what this means but my 1A21 doesn’t have that resistor or any indication it ever did have one. My ,annual has a photo that doesn’t show the resistor but it is shown in the wiring diagram and mentioned in the trouble shooting.
 

Turbo

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Last Subscription Date
07/12/2019
Thanks, It looks like several vendors have them. I wonder if it is really needed? Frank, I noticed that in the manual too. The picture does not show the resistor but the diagram does. All I have to do is momentarily tap the terminal with a test lead and the relay pulls in.
 

Vanman

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Last Subscription Date
07/10/2019
This is the generator relay, correct? The one in the center of the three?

IIRC, it’s coil is supplied from the exciter. It’s purpose to disconnect the battery and dc coil of the main relay, and connect the generator output to the load, through the ac coil of the main relay, as well as to lock out the cranking relay.

The resistor would delay the operation somewhat, ensuring that the set is up to speed before the load is connected, as well as limiting the current and the heat in the generator relay coil.

Admittedly I have not looked at one in quite a while, so this is off of memory.

Keith
 

Turbo

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Last Subscription Date
07/12/2019
Yes Keith, It is the middle generator relay. Your memory of the circuit is correct. The delay makes sense, especially on an automatic plant like this. When a load is applied the generator will start to crank and as soon as it is running the crank relay drops out closing a set of contacts that send power to the generator relay coil. A short few second delay would help the gen get up to speed before applying full power to the load.
 

Kohlerallen

Registered
Yes Keith, It is the middle generator relay. Your memory of the circuit is correct. The delay makes sense, especially on an automatic plant like this. When a load is applied the generator will start to crank and as soon as it is running the crank relay drops out closing a set of contacts that send power to the generator relay coil. A short few second delay would help the gen get up to speed before applying full power to the load.
My generator relay (the middle one of the three) appears to be no good. When I test the two leads that should energize the relay with an ohm meter it shows totally open, no resistance whatsoever. Does anyone have a spare one of these laying around, or have an idea where I might be able to get mine repaired?
If I have the generator running and manually push the contacts closed I get good power flowing into the 110 volt circuit.
 
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Frank DeWitt

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
12/17/2019
My generator relay (the middle one of the three) appears to be no good. When I test the two leads that should energize the relay with an ohm meter it shows totally open, no resistance whatsoever. Does anyone have a spare one of these laying around, or have an idea where I might be able to get mine repaired?
If I have the generator running and manually push the contacts closed I get good power flowing into the 110 volt circuit.
that appears to be one of the few “normal” relays in the generator. It looks like a 3 pole, double throw DC relay. Perhaps 24 Volt. I think a modern relay could be substitute. A 12 volt relay and a series resistor might give a little room for tuning.
 

Kohlerallen

Registered
that appears to be one of the few “normal” relays in the generator. It looks like a 3 pole, double throw DC relay. Perhaps 24 Volt. I think a modern relay could be substitute. A 12 volt relay and a series resistor might give a little room for tuning.
Thanks, good idea. I am searching now for a suitable replacement, so far finding lots of double pole, double throw at 24 volt, and some 3 pole at 24 volt, but only single throw. Good idea though, I will keep looking.
 

Vanman

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Last Subscription Date
07/10/2019
If you do go that route, please do not toss the original. I much prefer original or period correct parts, and it would be a straightforward task to repair this one. Would hate to see it lost forever.

Keith
 

Frank DeWitt

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Last Subscription Date
12/17/2019
Thanks, good idea. I am searching now for a suitable replacement, so far finding lots of double pole, double throw at 24 volt, and some 3 pole at 24 volt, but only single throw. Good idea though, I will keep looking.
It doesn't look right but this one would do the job.
LY4NJ HH64P-L DC24V 10A Coil 14-Pin 4PDT 4 Pole Electromagnetic Power Relay&base https://ebay.us/eeLNPe
https://ebay.us/eeLNPe

I agree, I would save the old one and solder pig tales to the old wires but not cut them for a some cold winter day project, but getting the light plant working is a good thing.
 

Kohlerallen

Registered
It doesn't look right but this one would do the job.
LY4NJ HH64P-L DC24V 10A Coil 14-Pin 4PDT 4 Pole Electromagnetic Power Relay&base https://ebay.us/eeLNPe
https://ebay.us/eeLNPe

I agree, I would save the old one and solder pig tales to the old wires but not cut them for a some cold winter day project, but getting the light plant working is a good thing.
I appreciate he suggestion, but it turns out I was putting the cart in front of the horse. I assumed that because the battery voltage for the unit is 24 volts that the relay would be 24 volts. This afternoon I measured the voltage on the terminal that energizes the relay and found it to be 60 volts. This voltage comes from the generator as it powers up. Upon looking further in the manual it says that the voltage has to be a minimum of 50 volts to energize the relay. I guess I am back to square one trying to find a compatible relay, or a way to use a 24 volt with some type of resistor to cut the voltage and not burn up a new relay. I don't imagine that a 110 volt relay would energize enough to be usable.
 

dkamp

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Okay, so... study the relay's function... and realize that the exciter does THREE things... it generates field excitation for the rotor, it provides charging power for the batteries, and when starting, provides the "DC MOTOR" of the starting operation. That relay, BEFORE being pulled in, keeps it in 'start' state, and AFTER pull in, goes to Generate/Charge state.

When cranking, that winding is under battery voltage... but once the armature starts going FASTER than cranking speed, it becomes a GENERATOR... and it's the rising generated voltage that, acting on the coil, causes the relay contacts to pull in, thus changing the exciter to 'running' mode.

Unwind and rewind it. While you've got it apart, check the core for magnetism, if there's any, degauss it, so that when you fire the machine back up, it'll rebuild it's character. It'll probably be funky for the first run or two, then be good afterwards.
 
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