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Author Topic: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare  (Read 7724 times)

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Offline POSTONLT40HD

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Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« on: April 01, 2017, 09:46:30 pm »
Kohler EFI 29hp

Today was the 3rd time in less than a year we have installed a new Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) on my engine.
the first time was last April 18th, the second time was this past January 26th and now today.

I have a Kohler mechanic that makes house calls now.  8)

After the January 26th episode, the engine started running rough 5 days ago. I made my calls and set up a house call with my mechanic but kept on sawing.....spitting, sputtering, smoking and back firing.

The code light will not throw up a fault code for the TPS for some reason but did throw the code up for the crank shaft sensor needing to be reset. The engine would hardly run but after the reset, it was back to running at about 95%.

Thanks to Marty for helping me reset the crank shaft and reset the ECU. He took time out of his day to do this over the phone from Pennsylvania. Resetting can be done with out the software.

We installed the new TPS this afternoon...take 15 minutes...set the throttle, let the software set the TPS and ECU and I'm now back at 100% on my codes except for 1 thing.

For some reason the exhaust sounds like a baffle loose inside. Will order a new muffler Monday.
Kohler is making the TPS part good under their warranty

Hopefully things will be OK for a while....but who knows.....this engine has drove me crazy!

I tried to buy the software through the Kohler dealer but Kohler won't sell it to the general public or a Kohler engine owner.

There is a tractor place a few miles away that sells lawn equipment with these EFI engines. They had to order the software this week because the new engines on some of their equipment need updates before they can be sold.

I heard out west that the farmers have a law suit against John Deere because they are unable to work on their new tractors. You have to have software to set or reset parts on these new tractors.
Its a racket if ya ask me.....but I keep getting lucky with help from different people and I appreciate it.
I'm thinking......

Offline Brucer

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2017, 10:46:12 pm »
Dare I use the word ... lemon?

When I bought my first mill in 2005, the Kohler EFI engine had only been available on WM mills for a year or so. I was pretty skeptical about hanging a computer on a portable mill, but I didn't have much choice (other than forking out $4000 extra for a diesel). Our local WM outlet wasn't selling the carburetor version of that engine because it had icing problems in the winter in our climate.

I was pleasantly surprised at how reliable the engine was -- starting on the first turn of the key even in -10 C (14 F) winter. I had no concerns when I upgraded to a new mill the following year with the same engine. That's been running just fine for a little over 2500 hours now.

The only issue I had with it was in January this year, when I fired it up for the first time in 3 months. I had to crank it repeatedly and it would fire and die, over and over. Eventually it would kick over, and run just fine. Next day, same thing. Then it occurred to me ... I'd filled the tank in the summer (and yes I put conditioner in it). Thing is, in these parts they sell a special cold weather gasoline blend in the winter season -- it has a lot more butane in the mix to help with those cold starts. As soon as I put a new tank of gas on the mill, it started up just fine.

So from my point of view, it's been a great engine.



As for software upgrades on machines, if you read the fine print on most farm equipment, you'll discover that you don't actually own the software that's required to operate the machine. You also aren't allowed to modify or reverse engineer the code. This does not bode well for the future.

I just read a case where someone bought a fancy new computerized home security system several years ago. The manufacturer was bought out by a competitor, and eventually the model was discontinued. Then the system stopped working. It seems it required a periodic update to the software and would stop working if it went too long without being updated. Since it was no longer supported, the system couldn't be updated and was useless. Sorry.

This may well become the trend in all forms of computerized hardware >:(.
Bruce    LT40HDG28 bandsaw with two 6' extensions.
"Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers."

Offline POSTONLT40HD

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2017, 11:27:32 pm »
Another thing to think about.....if anyone thinks NON-ethanol gas has no ethanol in it, think again.
I'm thinking......

Offline scleigh

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2017, 12:39:15 am »
You dont think the petroleum folks would lie to us do ya? :D

Offline starmac

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2017, 02:15:37 am »
I can see your concerns, but think about all the time you have saved not having to adjust the carb. lol
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Offline fishpharmer

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2017, 04:58:17 am »
I see a diesel mill in your future. :-\
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2017, 06:38:53 am »
Of course there is always the open source option,

http://megasquirt.info/

Of course if there is an inherent defect with the TPS sensor, then a generic ECU isn't going to help.

But engine ECUs can be reverse engineered and generic ones built.  The same technology the big guys uses soon finds it's way into general use,
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline warren46

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2017, 07:16:09 am »
Better than diesel, go electric.  No software, no injectors.  Just push the button and go.
Warren E. Johnson
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Offline sprucebunny

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2017, 08:20:00 am »
I read somewhere that 8 or 9 States have passed "Right to Repair" laws in an attempt to slow down this silliness.
I don't know if it will make a difference but it might be a small step.

There have more computer/sensor related problems with things like my Ford 7.3 diesel than mechanical problems. Pretty stupid.
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Offline red

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2017, 08:30:09 am »
I was told you will need a laptop computer to tune some new chainsaws ?
We have a lot of good boys and girls in harms way
lets all support them and their familys.

Offline Den-Den

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2017, 09:14:56 am »
Needing a laptop to tune something is not necessarily a bad thing.  A vendor that refuses to sell the software or that charges unreasonable prices for the software should not get our business.
You may think that you can or may think you can't; either way, you are right.

Offline Skip

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2017, 09:35:27 am »
Yes u need software to tune some new chain saws allready have had it done to one of mine  >:( :P

Online Kbeitz

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2017, 09:37:59 am »
Absolutely something that I don't ever want to buy...
Missing the old days when we could fix anything.
I'm the type of guy that fixes all my stuff. I don't care
if it's under warranty of not. I don't want anyone fixing
anything I have. I will learn to do it. Even medical if I can.
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Offline 4x4American

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2017, 10:17:10 am »
I have an ethanol tester from Stihl and I had tested some non-ethanol fuel locally and the tester said that there wasn't any ethanol in it. 


Jeez with all the problems you've had by now you could have paid for a diesel upgrade when you bought the thing I'm sure. 
Boy, back in my day..

Offline drobertson

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2017, 10:24:39 am »
Not a big fan of the new Kohler's either, the little one on our push mower, a simple little push mower, been through two repairs one new carb, quite certain not had 5 gallons of fuel through it, it died again yesterday, pos, if you ask me,
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline Ox

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2017, 10:27:31 am »
Another thing to think about.....if anyone thinks NON-ethanol gas has no ethanol in it, think again.
Does it mean that there is just little enough in it to lessen or eliminate the problems associated with having more of this devil's brew in the fuel?
K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid
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Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2017, 10:43:55 am »
Around here the high test does not have ethanol. If you get mid grade, it is blended with regular and you will get some ethanol. You can test for ethanol yourself by filling a small jar part way with water and making a mark at water level. Then you add the gas. If there is any ethanol,  the level of the water will rise. To know exactly how much is in the gas a graduated cylinder would be best.
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Offline Ox

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2017, 10:48:22 am »
I've never tested our non ethanol high test.  It's advertised that way and all my small engine problems disappeared after we started using it exclusively so I simply assumed there was none in it.
I think I'll do a small experiment after I buy the next batch (if I remember - lots going on here all the time to distract me).
K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid
Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without
1989 GMC 3500 4x4 diesel dump and plow truck, 1964 Oliver 1600 Industrial with Parsons loader and backhoe, 1986 Zetor 5211, Cat's Claw sharpener, single tooth setter, homemade Linn Lumber 1900 style mill, old tools

Offline 4x4American

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2017, 12:30:49 pm »
What I always wonder, is if there is any lower grade ethanol still in the line before I pump it.  Most gas stations around here that sell high test ethanol free have 3 grades pumping through one line.  So if the guy in head of you pumped 87 ethanol full fuel, is there still some residing in the line that will mix in with your non-ethanol requirements.  What I've done before to remedy this is I'd empty 1 gal first into my pickup, and then fill my gas jugs, but I don't have a gas eating pickup anymore so now I just prime the line onto the ground or into the garbage can before I fill up my fuel can. 







(ok I'm just kidding about priming it onto the ground or into a garbage can. I just don't worry about it anymore, but I had thought about that lol)
Boy, back in my day..

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Re: Kohler Engine is a Nightmare
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2017, 01:49:31 pm »
I always pump a gallon into the Jeep first. The Stewart's in Hillsdale, where I'm parked at the moment, coincidentally, used to have three separate hoses until they upgraded.
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