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Houseboat Generators - Koehler generator won't run

by Dave

A typical new Koehler Generator for Houseboats.

A typical new Koehler Generator for Houseboats.

Have a '71 Koehler generator 4 cylinder on our houseboat, and it will only run for 30 sec and trip the reset switch. I have tried to make sure there was enough electric pull on it.

Any ideas? Dave.

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Reply - Answer
I can sympathize how you feel, since there is nothing worse than a generator that isn't running properly.

Not sure what you mean "there was enough electric pull on it"

Since I'm not a certified mechanic, yet have spent enough time around boats to get a good basic understanding of most of the equipment on board a houseboat. Let's try and troubleshoot this together.

I presume the generator can run consistently without a load (electrical demand) without shutting down? Try and remove all the load on the output side.

If the generator can run without a electrical load than there could be a short, or poor connection on the windings, or output side of it. Since it shuts down after @ 30 seconds, it's just enough time for the breaker to overheat and trip.

Beyond that, I would suggest a call to a Koehler Service Center, and possibly a kind service technician can give you a quick telephone diagnosis, and where to continue troubleshooting.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their houseboat generator experiences and troubleshooting.

IAN from all-about-houseboats

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Comments for Houseboat Generators - Koehler generator won't run

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Houseboat Generators - koehler genny
by: Sweet Pea

I have a 72 River Queen. Same generator, check fuel supply as these generators will crank until the genny starts or the reset pops. Yes they need 120 volts or they won't crank. They start when a load is put on them.

Houseboat Generator Problems - it is possible to overheat
by: Anonymous

When it comes to possible houseboat generator problems, your generator could possibly be overheating. Be sure it is getting enough cooling water. I put a fan blowing on mine it helped a lot as it was shutting off also.

Generator Problem
by: Russell

Okay, I had the same problem on one of my gensets, and these are some things to check:

1) the reset switch. If the spring is weak or has been overheated it will not react properly.

2) check your oil pressure sensor. These sets are set to shut down if proper oil pressure is not reached in 30 seconds.

3) Impeller. The improper amount of cooling water will also activate the shutdown sequence.

4) The 120 volt system needs the rectifier activated to maintain the 12 volt ignition system. Any interruption in the 12 volt supply will also shut down the system.

Today I started up my generator just to run it under a load for an hour or so. I am docklocked and on shore power, but I still run the genset at least an hour a week under the normal house load.

Sitting without use is the worst thing you can do to any marine engine. The old addage of "use it or lose it" is truer than you can believe.

Good luck with finding your problem and post it if you find the answer. It may help someone else in the future. Russell

Reply - Answer
Russell, those are some excellent tips for the generator.
IAN from

Koehler generator won't run
by: Anonymous

If it's not "over heating", just pull the cover off the generator side of the unit and check the brushes.

One or more of the brushes may be worn out, or just need to be cleaned. They're easy to replace on a unit that old.

Genset quits after 30 seconds
by: Bob

If it's water cooled, your impeller is shot. Put in a new one & it will work.

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