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Old 06-22-2011, 08:27 PM
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Default Generator starts, but won't stay running

I have a Kohler 5e generator on my 2000 Grady White Marlin 300. The boat is new to me and has not seen a lot of use.....the generator has a whopping 4 hours. At first the generator wouldn't start. I suspected it may have been because my fuel level was low so I topped off my tanks. The generator started right up and ran for approximately 5 minutes without a load. It was putting out 120 volts and appeared to be working. All of a sudden, the generator quit and will no longer run.

The generator will start right up, but cuts off as soon as I let go of the starter switch. The problem seems electrical, but I know little to nothing about generators. If I hold the starter switch on, the generator will keep running. Any help with my problem would be GREATLY appreciated.

Dave

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Old 06-22-2011, 08:43 PM
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I'd be willing to bet it's on the circuit board inside the electrical box (black box) on top of the gennie...

Seen this many times before. Do you have a Kohler guy nearby?
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:22 PM
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The closest Kohler dealer is in NJ. I'm in VA, so nobody is close enough to help me out. My boat is out in the Northern Neck of Va. which is pretty rural. Unfortunately, I'm on my own for this one.

I have read where others had luck adding oil to their units. Mine measures full when the dipstick is not screwed back in. If I add anymore oil, it will definitely be overfull.

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Old 06-22-2011, 10:10 PM
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If this Geni has been sitting un-used (aka 4 hours) since the year 2000, I'd bet ALL your money, it's a fuel problem from old fuel sitting in the lines and filter. Especially if it's a GAS geni.

CHANGE the fuel lines to it, and it's fuel lines, probably all gummed up from ethenol issues. If you haven't already changed the fuel filter, do so immediately!!
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:24 PM
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I had the same problem with my 2001 Grady. My problem was the box was rusted all to pieces. I had a mechanic look at it.Mine did the same thing as long as you held the starter button down. My thoughts were I wouldn't use the generator enough to justify the money to fix it and that boat just doesn't have enough room for a generator anyway. You can't even get to the batteries. Grady needs to take a look at a Boston Whaler and learn something. (easy access) Getting back to your problem though, it's probably in the electrical box. I've had the generator sitting in the garage if anybody is looking for a deal on one. Good luck!
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:52 PM
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I think you are right. I found a service manual for the unit that says there are LED's in the control box. The problem is that my control box is rusted to hell. If and I mean IF I can get the lid off, I'm not sure it will ever go on again. I'm guessing Seabob4 is right and my problem is the circuit board. 10 years of salt air probably haven't been kind to it.

Birdman, thanks for the reply. I added 200 gallons of fuel this afternoon prior to trying to start the generator. Funny enough, it fired right up and ran for a good 5 minutes before it died. I'm fairly certain the problem is not fuel related as it will start and stay running if I keep my finger on the start button. It's definitely electrical. As I said earlier, the control box is rusted to the point where it is falling apart. If I had to guess, the insides of the box are in the same shape as the outside.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:03 PM
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does any of your lights for codes work?
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:21 PM
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By lights are you referring to the LED's on the control board? If so, I have not gotten the chance to look at them yet. I will attempted to access the control board tomorrow and will use the service manual to trouble shoot my problem.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:29 PM
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well i am a generator tech , but i would need more info on what kind of generator it is if you want help? sounds like a wireing thing, but it also can be a bunch of other stuff also, you have to start by ruleing some stuff out.
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Old 06-23-2011, 02:21 AM
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work for 5 mins then cuts out-- see if u have an exhaust temp sensor - most probably stuffed(somewhere close to exhaust manifild on most motors)-should b a lil copper cup over it -shouldnt look as if it s "copper coated" should b a firm lil "hat"
cheap and easy to replace
could possibly b also an oil pressure sensor but try the exhaust 1st
reckon it wouldnt even run if the control box was that bad - but seeing u saying it is corroded maybe replace that as well
sad on a 14 day trip when the genie goes day 3- so get it shipshape
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Old 06-23-2011, 03:14 AM
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The starter switch bypasses the oil press switch and other sensors and allows current to flow to the fuel solenoid. When you let up on the starter switch, the bypass is gone and if everything isn't right, the voltage to the fuel solenoid goes away and the generator dies. Put a voltmeter on the feed wires to the fuel solenoid and see if the feed leaves when you let up on the starter button. If it does, it's a matter of jumpering the sensors to see which is the culprit, but don't run it long in this condition.
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Old 06-23-2011, 04:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgreen1069 View Post
........I have read where others had luck adding oil to their units. Mine measures full when the dipstick is not screwed back in. If I add anymore oil, it will definitely be overfull.
If you believe adding oil is going to solve your problem, I suggest getting a pro to work on the genset. There will be qualified repair people in your area, you don't have to take it to a dealer.

Gensets typically have a lot of safety features that shut the engin off if there's a problem. Low oil pressure, low water flow, overheating, electrical overload, etc.

Your genset might have one of these problems or there could be a problem with the sensor or controls.
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:01 AM
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My thought on adding oil was because several other posts had mentioned the oil pressure switch needing a full crankcase. I did not add oil to my unit because it was already full. Being new to generators, I'm going to have to learn my way around the unit. I am doubting a temp. sensor because it will only run for as long as my finger is on the starter switch. There is no way anything is up to temp in that short of time. The only time it ran was the first time I started it. It ran for 5 minutes then quit. After that it will only start and run if I hold the starter switch. Just to note, the exhaust appeared to be pumping plenty of water.

Thank you for all of the replies. I'm new to this forum, but I like the fact that so many are willing to help a fellow boater. Dieselpower, the generator is a Kohler 5e marine generator. It has a kawasaki 2 cylinder motor that is carbureted with an electric fuel pump. I have tested the fuel pump and can hear it running when connected to leads. What other info do you need?
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:13 AM
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Maybe I missed it but is the generator diesel or gas? I had an 8kw in my GW and it was diesel. If diesel it may need to be primed.
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgreen1069 View Post
........... I am doubting a temp. sensor because it will only run for as long as my finger is on the starter switch. There is no way anything is up to temp in that short of time.
But the sensor or the circuit could be defective.
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:24 AM
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First off, is it pumping water? If not then impeller, check seacock. If the impeller has gone to pieces, you will need to go through the cooling system and get them out or you will have blockage. The start switch is a bypass for all the shutdowns. When you let go of the start after its running the low oil pressure, high water temp, high exhaust temp are all "in the run circuit".
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgreen1069 View Post
............... The only time it ran was the first time I started it. It ran for 5 minutes then quit. After that it will only start and run if I hold the starter switch.
A slip neighbor of mine had the very same problem. He asked to borrow a meter and I took it to him. He had some idiot from the dock trying to fix it who kept trying to find 12 volts at the starter terminal. Even though it would start and run a few seconds, this guy thought the problem was with power to the starter. The owner was reading the manual to him and it was going in one ear and out the other.

I finally took my meter and walked away. I couldn't stand it anymore. The slip neighbor is going to remove the genset and take it to a "real" mechanic. I think he said something about corroded wires or control box.
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:37 AM
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I'm in the Northern Neck of VA, too. There are two service companies that may be able to help you. Call Northern Neck Marine, talk to Brian. He's in White Stone. or call Irvin's Marine in Heathsville. You might get one of them to come out to your boat. Or you can take your boat over to Deltaville, Coastal Marine, on Broad Creek does good work, as does Zimmerman marine at Norview Marina (also on Broad Creek). Or call Tiffany's Yacht on the Great Wicomico, they might be able to work on it.

I agree with the assessment that one of your temp/oil pressure safet shutdown circuits is causing it to shut down. Have you replaced the impeller? If not, I'd suspect an over heat issue (that's why it ran for 5 minutes before it shut down). Check that first.
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Old 06-23-2011, 06:10 AM
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In one of the manuals there is a trouble shooting flow chart. See if this helps.





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Old 06-23-2011, 06:13 AM
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