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Kohler starter problems

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by fixer67, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. fixer67

    fixer67 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,098

    Kohler was using a wire wound field starter made by Nippondenso from Japan and now in the past few years have changed to a permanent magnet field starter made by Deco-Remy out of Korea. I have been seeing problems with the Deco-Remy starters. First the Nippondenso starter engage the flywheel and then start turning but the Deco-Remy starters are already turning by the time they engage the flywheel because of the way they are made due to them being permanent magnet type. The Deco-Remy starters seem to have a lot more problems and have to be removed for service a lot more than the Nippondenso did. The flywheel shows a lot more ware as well due to the fact the starter is already turning when it makes contact with the flywheel when using the Deco-Remy starter. The Deco-Remy starter is about half the price of the Nippondenso is the reason Kohler started using it. I have talked to Kohler about this more than once and they say there is no problem and point out the fact of all the unit they have in the field with this starter. I am saying it is only a matter of time before this comes back on them. The reason for this thread is to collect data on both type of starter and if I can collect enough data I hope to have something to show Kohler that they is in deed a problem with the Deco-Remy permanent magnet field type starters. These starter are used mainly on the CV and CH Command engines but are not limited to them. Please post your feelings and experiences with these starters. Look and this thread as a public letter to Kohler because when I get enough data I am going to give a link of this thread to Kohler for them to come here and read it and see first hand about this. Thank You
  2. fixer67

    fixer67 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,098

    This is a picture of the Deco-Remy starter in question.

    Deco-Remy starter.jpg

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426

    First, I commend you on attempting to get Kohler or for that matter any manufacturer to respond regarding potential problems with their products. I have been hammering Kawasaki for years for not honoring their warrantee claims on the pieces of crap they make, and frankly they don't care. AS a whole, small engine manufacturers really could care less about the service end of their product and focus more on the sales end.

    Back to starters. When I had Kohlers in machines we ran, I found other problems with the Nip starters, in that the armatures would burn out and at the time, cost $250.00 (+-) a piece to replace. When the Delco starters came out, we went to them and had no problems as you describe, but it is not to say they are not happening. The typical manufacturers response is that they are not.
  4. Larry Davis

    Larry Davis LawnSite Member
    Messages: 116

    I've got 6 hours on a new Hustler Super Z with the Kohler 28 Hp EFI engine and I am having starter problems. The photo you have posted sure looks like the starter that is on this engine. Questions for you: 1. In your photo there are two brass colored pieces ....... what is inside the smaller one? And, 2. Should this smaller piece have play in it or should it be firmly attached to the silver metal piece with the 3 screws in the top? I can move this smaller brass colored piece with my hand. When you hit the ignition switch you will see a spark fly out from between the silver metal piece and the smaller brass colored piece. If you keep hitting the ingnition 6, 8, 10 times it will eventually engage the flywheel and start the motor. My dealer is supposed to call me as soon as he gets a new starter sent in.
  5. Redneckn

    Redneckn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    I happen to know as a fact that some of the Kohler people do come to this board and look around and discuss. They just dont advertise who they are.
    I know this because when the Kohler reps here (in austin)a few weeks back, we had a discussion about his site and how often they come here and talk and read. So, they will see this and it wont hurt to send something to them too. You could call them also.

    We interact with a lot of manufacturing firms and I have to say that I feel like of all the major engine guys, Kohler gives more of a crap than anyone else.

    even though the cv730's seem to keep having crankcase breather and head gasket issues.
  6. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    The smaller piece is the solenoid and it is sparking because it is loose, If you tighten the three screws that will likely fix your starting problem.
  7. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,465

    Didn't car starters have a switch that put power on the turning motor after the solenoid actuated. It was a crude reed type of switch as I recall? Are you saying this new starter puts power on the solenoid and the turning motor at the same time? So what are the failures you think we will see, cracked teeth on the starter gear?
  8. fixer67

    fixer67 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,098

    That is the problem here. The solenoid has two coils in it . A PULL-IN coil and a HOLD COIL. The pull in coil is ran in series with the starter and drops out when the solenoid closes the main contacts. The solenoid pulls any where from 30 to 40 amps on pull in. The power bleeds though the starter and makes it turn before it should. Now the Nip starters had wire wound fields and the bleed though power was taken up by the field winding and the starter did not trun before it should. Now the Deco-Remy starter use mangets for the field so the power has to go some where and that is what makes the starter trun before it should. Now if they changed the solenoid design they would lose the power need for the pull in so they need to re-design the starter gear so it can engage the flwwheel while turning with eating the flywheel up. I think I will see a lot of starters being replaced for no reason because they grind and do not engage right and even when new starters are put on the grinding will come back iin short order and then a lot of flywheels will haing to be replaced because the teeth at grounded up so bad no starter will work with it
  9. fixer67

    fixer67 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,098

    This shows the back side of the solenoid. The power bleed though I keep talking about is coming from the PULL-IN coil. Without the pull-in coil the solenoid would be too weak to pull the gear up to engage the flywheel. The hold coil would have to be made as strong as the pull in coil is and would burn out it a short time. So I see no way of getting around it easy so the gear is going to have to be made so this turning before engaging does not damage the flywheel

  10. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    Ok fixer67, This is my findings; I didn't have a new Delco starter in stock, So I stayed after work and pulled one off a brand new Dixie Chopper. I performed the bench test you described and sure enough it started spinning,But not at max engaged RPM but it did spin. So I thought maybe if it was hooked to the unit harness that mite lower the amount of feed back, So I layed the starter on the frame and plugged the start wire back up and ran a ground jumper. It did still spin but slower than the bench test. I thought about my findings and started looking at the drive, It had a taper on the leading edge so I pulled a old K series torque engage starter from under my work bench and compaired the taper, Then a new style rubber type drive from a Magnum and just for the heck of it a old tecumseh and I found all of these had the same amount of taper on the drive as the new delco. With all this visual information compiled I do not see how there would be such a big problem if the old torque engage starters worked fine for years and years.
    Kohler really lost their hind end on the denso solenoid problem.

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