Kohler 20RZ82 Not starting/No Fire

RobbieBott

New member
I acquired a Kohler 20RZ82 Spec: PA-185037-82N, with a Ford LSG-4231-6005-F.

I cannot get it to start. I get fire at the plugs only for a split second when I flick the start switch to Run, I can leave it spin for 10 seconds or so to check for fire and nothing. Then for a split second when I flick it back to the Off position, I get a spark.
Can anyone help me troubleshoot this? Where do I even start to look?
 

dkamp

eMail NOT Working
Hey Robbie-

I do NOT have first-hand experience with that model, or that engine, but if you get initial spark, but none after, the very first thing I'd check is wether the ignition coil primary, and it's control system were getting proper power and ground.

Here's some of the things I've seen in the past that caused that same characteristic:

1) Ignition switch contact in START position has failed. If you put the ignition switch in RUN position, then turn the engine over by hand, or use a hand-held temporary starter switch on the solenoid, and you get spark when it cranks, it's a failed start switch contact.

2) Starter solenoid IGN contact or wiring connection. Many ignition systems have ballast resistance in the RUN position, but when cranking, the starter solenoid has an auxiliary contact to bypass the ignition run wiring's ballast resistance. If that contact or wire has failed, you won't have sufficient voltage downstream of the ballast resistance to get good spark.

3) Bad coil. When internal problems occur, they CAN fire fine once, and then be shorted internally, so they're discharging inside, rather than sending the spark out.

4) bad cap or rotor... same action as above... you'll get one, mebbie two spark events, and then they jump to ground inside the cap. Cracks, carbon tracking, moisture, a pinhole thorugh the rotor...

5) Failed ignition trigger coil or amplifier (for electronic ignition)

6) Worn distributor shaft... the other end of the shaft drives the oil pump... when you crank the engine initially, you'll get spark, but as soon as there's any oil pressure, the oil pump shaft deflects, pushing the distributor shaft out of alignment with the trigger or points...


7) Bad battery cables, terminals, or battery. A failed battery, cables, or terminals may be cranking an engine just fine, but the current load is high enough to pull down the system voltage during cranking below a threshold neccesary to fire the coil well.

8) Bad ground, particularly between the battery ground-point, and the ignition and other wiring.

9) Bad coil ground. Doesn't happen often, but a bad coil ground will limit primary current AND... reduce the happiness of secondary (high-voltage) too. Loose clamp on coil, etc., will limit the amount of current that can flow through coil primary, hence, limit spark intensity.

And finally:

More modern generator control systems have safety circuits... if the oil pressure falls below a certain threshold, or the water temperature rises above, or the frequency exceeds a certain point, the generator shuts down.

In order to START, though... the safety loop must be bypassed... at least... the oil pressure segment. If yours has such a system, the oil pressure switch bypass circuit may have failed.
 

AlanR

Member
I acquired a Kohler 20RZ82 Spec: PA-185037-82N, with a Ford LSG-4231-6005-F.

I cannot get it to start. I get fire at the plugs only for a split second when I flick the start switch to Run, I can leave it spin for 10 seconds or so to check for fire and nothing. Then for a split second when I flick it back to the Off position, I get a spark.
Can anyone help me troubleshoot this? Where do I even start to look?
If you are only getting one spark when switching to run, and one spark when switching to off, it sounds like the coil negative is staying grounded - either the ignition amplifier is not switching the ground connection off when the pickup tells it to, or the pickup is bad and not telling the amplifier to switch. Note that I'm assuming you HAVE verified that the distributor shaft IS turning....
http://www.skilledcrafting.com/onanfiles/00-OEM Engine Manuals/194-216 Ford LSG423 2.3L Industrial Engine Service manual (Sep1998).pdf
This manual gives you the Ford service/diagnosis procedures, but note that this basic engine was used on Pintos and Ranger pickups, so you might check your public library for a Chiltons or Motors manual.

Alan
 

Zephyr7

Active member
Does this unit have the coil and distributor or the newer electronic ignition system that ford used?

Bill
 

RobbieBott

New member
I am very sorry for the delayed response. Work has me going all over.

So here is what I found. I took off the cap of the distributor, turned over the engine and it is not turning. Neither is the cam at the top of the motor. The timing belt is still good. I will have to take a little more time to pull off the radiator and etc to bet a better view of what's going on.

Does anyone know what turns the distributor gear? The oil pump maybe? But I have to now figure out why the oil pump isn't turning.

Thank You all for the responses it gave me a starting place.
 

Birken Vogt

Email NOT Working
Yes, the oil pump turns the distributor and the camshaft. If neither is turning then the belt is stripped or something. Easy fix, depending on how the radiator is mounted.
 

RobbieBott

New member
Had to drain and remove the radiator and etc. in order to get to the timing belt but I ordered a new belt, and got it in place, and timed. How is it better to run these things +10, TDC/0, or -10 degrees in timing?

Just a note on this engine there is no timing mark on the gear that turns the oil pump. You set that position by putting the distributor on firing position one. Mine was marked by a yellow dot. You can also find position one by following the first cylinder spark plug wire back to the distributor. I regret not taking pictures to post here. If I have to take it apart again for something I'll make sure I take pictures for reference for someone else.

Here is the outcome. I am not able to get it up to full speed my LP regulator is too small to flow enough fuel. Or at least I hope that is the issue.... I ordered a two stage regulator which will hopefully be able to flow enough to get me enough BTUs. Once I know for sure this thing will handle a load and actually produces a electricity I will more it to its final resting place and cut my under ground fuel line and splice it in. Anyone know how much propane these things use?

http://pc.cd/D4m

Is there no way to edit a post after you've posted a reply?

Anyways on this particular engine parts from a 1980 Ford Mustang 2.3L seem to be matching up perfectly. Timing belt, gaskets, thermostat housing, valve cover gasket, have all fit perfectly. I haven't tried anything electrical yet such as distributor and etc.
 

Zephyr7

Active member
I seem to recall the 20RZ uses around 250,000-300,000 BTUH at full load. That’s just from memory. If you need an exact number for sizing I can go dig out my manual and quote the specs.

Bill
 

RobbieBott

New member
Hi Bill,

Thanks for the info. So my 120 gallon tank won't last but a few days at that rate....

Are the newer 20kw units from today more efficient or not by that much?

I would love to get a copy of that manual. Would you by chance have it digital form so you can email it or upload. I can provide you a link to upload it to my storage if its to big to email.

Thank You,
Robbie Bott
 

Zephyr7

Active member
I actually went to look in the manual for the fuel consumption table to send you a pic, but the manual doesn’t have a copy of the data sheet in it! Ugh!

The genset will use about half the fuel at 1/4 load.

I probably have an electronic copy in archives somewhere. I’ll have to see if I can find it.

I don’t think the 20RZ is bad for fuel consumption, it’s probably pretty close to current units in terms of fuel use. The only way to really see a big difference in fuel consumption over the load curve is to use a variable speed generator, and that means an inverter generator.


Bill
 

Zephyr7

Active member
Would you be able to tell me what/how this selector knob works?

What would I need it to be set to for a standard 240V Single phase home?
It just picks meter options, basically what you want the meters to see. Lower text is where it’s reading voltage, upper text is which leg it’s reading for current (amps). You don’t use the 3 phase positions on the right when it’s connected for single phase.

The two lights are just set with a manual connection inside the controller to tell the operator which of the meter scales applies (the volt meter has a low-voltage scale and a high voltage scale printed on it).

To configure the generati for 120/240 split phase (single phase) output, you need to connect the 12 generator leads as shown on the diagram that should be inside the panel on the generator end housing. You might also need to adjust the voltage adjustment screw on the front of the controller a bit. You want the “80 amp” breaker installed too — the 480v configuration I think used a 30 amp breaker.

Bill
 

RobbieBott

New member
I just noticed that breaker said 80 on it. I also noticed that you put "80 amp" in quotes. Why is that?

I'm a bit confused as to how I can run my whole home, which currently has a 200 Amp service, on this generator, if it only has an 80 amp breaker, which being a 20kw should be more than capable of doing. Am I missing something here?.....
 

Zephyr7

Active member
I just noticed that breaker said 80 on it. I also noticed that you put "80 amp" in quotes. Why is that?
Just to make it stand out, no other reason. The 20RZ shipped with two different breaker options depending on the voltage configuration. 120/208/240 was an 80A breaker, 277/480 was a 30A breaker

I’m a bit confused as to how I can run my whole home, which currently has a 200 Amp service, on this generator, if it only has an 80 amp breaker, which being a 20kw should be more than capable of doing. Am I missing something here?.....
Your home likely never uses anywhere near the full 200A capability of your service. Average load of houses over a large area is about 1kw per house (this is the number utility companies use). If you have a transformer dedicated to your house only, it’s likely 25kva (104A at 240V) or less.

I have a 20RZ on my house here, which is rated for 18kw when configured for single phase operation. With everything in my house running, I can only get yo to around 12kw or so. Your 20RZ will probably have no trouble running your entire house.

Bill
 

RobbieBott

New member
How many hours are these things normally good for? The one I have has 487 hrs, I'm not sure how accurate it is but as the motor runs it counts, I have yet t run it long enough to see if it's accurate.

One thing I have noticed is an emergency stop is not present on this unit. How do you stop it in an emergency. Once it is running, if I move the switch to the off position it still runs for a bit, which I will assume is a cool down period.

Also this thing is purely manual. What kind of signal does this thing look for to make it automatic? Could I use any automatic transfer switch? Or what would I need to look for?
I have a small red and black pair that is taped off inside the transfer switch, I have yet to trace it back to see where it leads. I just assume they where the signal leads at one time when the automatic switch was functional.
 

Birken Vogt

Email NOT Working
How many hours are these things normally good for? The one I have has 487 hrs, I'm not sure how accurate it is but as the motor runs it counts, I have yet t run it long enough to see if it's accurate.
Tens of thousands for the base engine if it is maintained properly. Those hours are in line with what a normal standby set would have if pulled from a working environment after getting "too old".

There will be a small wire 3 and 4 in the wiring area somewhere. Set the switch to auto, connect them together, it starts. Disconnect them, it stops.
 

Zephyr7

Active member
How many hours are these things normally good for? The one I have has 487 hrs, I'm not sure how accurate it is but as the motor runs it counts, I have yet t run it long enough to see if it's accurate.
487 hours is practically new! I have two 20RZ sets, one has around 500 hours like yours and is basically new. I put in new platinum spark plugs a few years ago (there is a thread here on the Stak about that), and replaced the thermostat (which turned out to be unecassary). I did a coolant flush too. All that was just preventative maintenance though, the unit runs fine.

The other 20RZ is at my dads place. It has around 5,000 hours on it and still runs fine. Last year I replaced the brushes in the 12v alternator (which was getting flaky but is fine now), and did a collant flush. I put platinum plugs in it too maybe 10 years ago. The only thing I notice is the oil on this one is a little dirtier at oil change time. It’s never failed to start or run though and is a reliable unit.

I’ve always been told you’ll reliably get about 8,000 hours on one of these before you might have to start doing some more involved maintenance. Keep up on your oil changes, do periodic coolant flush (at least every 5 years is the usual recommendation), and these gensets will last a looong time.

Bill
 

RobbieBott

New member
I ran the generator today hoping to try and put a load on it, but after about a min of running, The Axillary Fault light comes on and it shuts down. If I put the switch to the off position and back to run it cranks and runs fine again for about a min. What is that fault?
 

Birken Vogt

Email NOT Working
That is the fault that catches everything not otherwise on the display.

Usually the low coolant level switch. Check water level and/or disconnect switch and see what happens.
 
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