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Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

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Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by nutgone on Sun Jan 27 2013, 20:14

I know very little about it, except it's now mine! Very Happy

I've kept very very quiet about this one, as I knew it was always going to be a bit iffy, but I won it (now I've just got to pay for it Embarassed ). I've always loved these engines, & am really pleased to own a multi cylinder water cooled engine at last!

I've spoken to the seller & the engine is complete with mag & carb. But I forgot to ask if it turns over. I've also spoken to someone in Scotland who owns & has restored one of these (his was complete with generator), they are a pushrod engine (OHV) & apparently are very well made. The man in Scotland also had a look over the pics & noted it still has it's fitted starting handle, which is a weak point on these (I'm told never to lift or move it by this).

Here's a couple of pics (the only ones I have), I won't link to the eBay listing, I don't want to be reminded of how much I went up to Embarassed , but if anyone else finds it & wants to put a link up, you're very much welcome....





BTW, if anyone else was bidding on this one, I'm sorry to have jumped in, I never like the idea of a bidding war between mates.

As for plans, I think I will keep this one, & sell my Stuart Turner P6M with gearbox (when it's up & running). It will probably be going to live at Ian's place, but I will endeavour to get it over here (depends how heavy it is, engines here need to me moveable, for access purposes).


Last edited by nutgone on Fri Feb 01 2013, 14:23; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by Foden on Sun Jan 27 2013, 20:32

They are a nice thing, I used to attend rallies with a lad from Gretna Green or Lockerbie (can't recall which) who had a couple and they ran well when loaded.

Pete.

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by nutgone on Sun Jan 27 2013, 20:36

I've only ever seen one running example before, it certainly purred along very nicely. Aparently they're good for about 1400rpm all day long, but the big ends are Babbit, & are only splash lubricated (oil pump is just for top end I believe).

Can't wait to get my hands on it now! bounce

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by Ianhw77k on Sun Jan 27 2013, 20:45

This'll be an interesting project.
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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by stationary stu on Mon Jan 28 2013, 12:54

This will be a first for the forum, a multi cylinder overhaul, and the first Kohler. Have you any idea how old it is?

Stu.

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by nutgone on Mon Jan 28 2013, 12:59

I'm told these were built in the 1930s & 40s, so quite old. It's a bit of a shame it doesn't have the genny with it, but if it did it would have gone well over my budget & there's no way I could've picked it up, they are around 450 - 500lbs with the genny attached, so we're looking at Lister D weight without. I've been told to remove the rad surround before transporting, as it's cast iron & the rad is all brass, so that gets rid of a bit of weight.

The earliest I can collect it will be this Friday morning, otherwise it got to be next Thursday. I'm hoping to get it on Friday.

Just got to invent some money to pay for it now. Shocked

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by stationary stu on Mon Jan 28 2013, 13:21

Oh no Nuts not another post office hold up lol! lol! lol! You don't fool us if you couldn't manage to raise the cash you wouldn't have bid for it.
Wink Very Happy Any interest on ebay about your Tarpen yet?

Stu.

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by nutgone on Mon Jan 28 2013, 14:44

stationary stu wrote:Oh no Nuts not another post office hold up lol! lol! lol! You don't fool us if you couldn't manage to raise the cash you wouldn't have bid for it.
Wink Very Happy Any interest on ebay about your Tarpen yet?

Stu.

No interest in the Tarpen yet, but I've only just put the pictures up.

I expect I will borrow the money for the Kohler, just lay low for the following month & pay it back. It'll soon be paid for & over though, then I can start to enjoy it. Very Happy

Would love to have it running by the end of the season though, but as I still don't know if it turns over or not, I shouldn't say too much, or I will jinx it!

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by nutgone on Fri Feb 01 2013, 14:36

Right, the good news is I've picked it up. It is very heavy, so in order to shed some weight I have started to dismantle it in the back of the car. I suddenly realised I hadn't taken any pics, so here's a few I took when I realised....

Engine (or what's left of it) in the back of the car....



Magneto (which turns)....



& the bits I had taken off up to that point....



I went to on remove the cylinder head & had a look down the barrels. There's a problem with number 4 cylinder, the piston was quite badly rusted in, I had a good feel in there & it appears that someone has tried to free this piston with a small bar & a hammer, & they've cracked & caved in the crown of the piston! So that one's scrap! Embarassed

The other possible problem is that the pistons are all at exactly the same height, which to me is very dubious. I'm starting to wonder if the bottom end is all there.

the guy bought it with a job lot of old bikes about 35 years ago. He says it was all restored back then, but he's never done anything with it. So either it was made to look nice before he bought it, or he's lying? He didn't seem interested in it though, & there was loads of other scrap up there, many many old motorbike bits just strewn about, rotting away amongst the leaf litter. He's a bike enthusiast really, not a stationary engine man, & he seems to show little regard for engines & stuff. The amount of stuff just laying about up there, most of it now past saving. I think maybe he's telling the truth, it certainly looks like it's untouched for many years.

Next job is to get it out of the car, then I can look into the bottom end. If that's OK then I can look for a piston & think about getting it running again. If there's something more sinister afoot then I've just blown a hundred quid on a pile of scrap! Crying or Very sad

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by nutgone on Fri Feb 01 2013, 19:07

I'm too tired to go into it now, but the bottom end is all fine, I got the crank shaft out OK & all the bearings seem OK.

I see what some idiot has done, they've tried to un-seize a 4 cylinder engine by hitting one piston with something that's too hard & too small. There are some complete idiots about, I mean how retarded can you get? For a start you don't try to un-seize all 4 pistons together, you take the damn crank shaft out! & Secondly you don't use small diameter, hard objects to force pistons!

Anyway, I will tell the full story, with pics, later......

Sleep Sleep Sleep

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by nutgone on Fri Feb 01 2013, 22:44

Oh yeah, I've started the obligatory photobucket album for this one, it can be found here....

http://photobucket.com/nutgoneskohler

Will bring you all up to speed tomorrow, but after looking inside, things aren't looking too bad, she's pretty much disassembled into large(ish) chunks now.

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by Andrew1971 on Sat Feb 02 2013, 08:21

What cc is it. It look's smaller than i thought. Are you keeping the original colour.
The rate your going with it will be done in 2 week's !!
Many Thank's
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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by matt86 on Sat Feb 02 2013, 10:13

now that is certainly different , not my cup of tea but i will be watching this thread , seems a interesting engine .

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by nutgone on Sat Feb 02 2013, 11:46

If my info is right it is a 2" bore by 3" stroke engine, which gives a cubic capacity of about 37 cu" which is just under 620cc, so not very big & not very powerful either, they ranged from 3 to 5 horsepower depending on engine revs (between 1000rpm & about 1400rpm). They're very much like a car engine of the 1920s, like the Austin 7 they only have a 2 bearing crank & they have a pumped oil feed to the shaft ends & the rockers. But like a stationary engine they rely on dip/splash lubrication for the con rods. Anyway, I suppose I should bring this thread up to date (now I've had a reasonable nights sleep)....

So I was working in the back of my dad's car/van (we call it a van), trying to shed some weight. Eventually we lifted the engine into the workshop (I think it would've been easier for me to do it on my own in the end Rolling Eyes ) & I set to work on it. I started by removing the timing gear cover, to see if I could see into the bottom end of the engine from there (remember, at this point I wasn't sure there was any bottom end, as all the pistons were conspicuously at the same height), but it was no good, I couldn't see anything through the small gap, but everything looked as it should at this end.

Just below the gear cover is an inspection plate into the sump, so I took this off (not sure this has ever been off before, I thought it was going to snap coming off Shocked ). But even with this off I still couldn't see the big ends! The trouble is there's a tray in the top of the sump, this is where return oil goes from the top end, this tray has 4 troughs in it which the dippers on the big ends are supposed to splash into, scooping up oil for themselves & splashing it around for the little ends & pistons/bores etc. So at least this tray was in there, but what about the big ends! I still couldn't see them!

So there was just one thing for it, around the base of this engine is a row of bolts holding together the sump & the crank case (it's a horizontal split on these). I could see that the main bearings were held into the top part of this split, so if I could get all these bolts undone & somehow prise the 2 halves apart I could lift the block off the top, complete with crank shaft & flywheel (that was going to be heavy).
So I set about removing this row of bolts, only trouble was all down one side they had corroded badly & the heads of each bolt was down to practically nothing. So with the aid of mole grips for some, hammer & screw driver for others, & the correct size socket for one of the 7 bolts down that side, I got 6 out of 7 off, the last one I had to cut with the dremmel as it wouldn't budge. The other side must have been facing east, as the bolts were all in good condition there & came un-done easy. Anyway, here's a shot (taken later) of all the bolts out (apart from the one I cut off)....



I then jacked the engine up on it's crank shaft onto blocks of wood so the sump was about an inch off the ground, then started tapping with a copper mallet at various spots, & using a hammer & punch on the cut off bolt to get the 2 halves apart. Eventually the gap opened up & I knew I had been successful. But it was 4 o'clock by then & I had to walk the dogs, so I was going to leave the big reveal until I got back, but I couldn't resist a look.

It was all there, a complete crank shaft & 4 big ends, seemingly un-touched for a very long time, if at all. Here's a pic I took to remind me how it all goes together & which way round the holes face on the big end dippers....



So i set to removing the crank shaft, complete with flywheel (still don't know how that's attached), I left all the big end shims in place, as each one has a different number of different thickness shims on each side of each bearing (seems odd) so I didn't want to mix anything up. Soon enough I had it looking like this....



& here's the sump, with that tray in place (just about to be removed)....



Here's one of the big end shells, showing the directional hole in the dipper, which must be in the right direction for it to scoop up oil from the trough as it is running....



& here's that skinny crank shaft....



I removed the tray from the sump & put the top of the engine back in place. Now I can try & knock the pistons out the bottom of the barrels without the risk of the big ends hitting the tray & causing any damage.

After a quick tinker I found the cam shaft just pulls out. there is no cam anywhere for a fuel pump, but the oil pump works fine. the big end shells seem OK, but I won't be able to tell for sure until each piston is out & I can try them out. I really need some sort of system to avoid mixing up any parts. I know the cylinder numbering on this engine starts from the handle end, not the flywheel end, so I can give everything a number, I just need some different containers to avoid mixing up pistons, valves & con rods etc. Although the head's not so much of a hassle, I always remember when I was a kid, there would be a cardboard box in the hallway from time to time with numbers written on it & valves stuck through the cardboard. My dad was a mobile car mechanic, working from home, all through the 80s & much of the 90s, & back then people used to rebuild engines, not just throw them away & get a new one.

Anyway, this is how I left it, I put some of my easing oil solution into each pot, & it doesn't seem to be leaking through the smashed piston in pot 4, so maybe it's repairable? You never know. Also see the piece of wood I've made specially for the job, it just fits in the 2" barrels (a piece of 2x2 with the corners cut off), all ready for the job, whenever I decide to do it (I will leave them soaking for a few days before attempting anything)....





As you can see from all the pics, there is massive cleaning job to be done, there's still a good half inch of sludge in the bottom of the sump, (I drained over 5 litres of oil out of there, so this one's going to be expensive to service), so I will do bits as & when, with my home-made parts wash station. I've still got to investigate the mag & the carb, which are both complete & moving, but have both been open to the elements for a very long time. I've also got the head to take apart & clean up & the rad to test.

Lots of work to be done, but plenty of time to do it. I've got no plans to rally this one this year, although it would be nice, but 4 cylinders is a lot of work, even if they are small ones.

As for paint colours, I'm not sure this is original, the seller told my dad it had been cosmetically restored when he got it about 35 years ago with a job lot of old bikes. I will probably re-paint it as there will be quite a few new nuts & bolts to cover up. I will be looking for the same colour though, I quite like it.

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by stationary stu on Sat Feb 02 2013, 12:37

Nice work Nuts, hope you can find a cheap solution for the piston but I think it will need a new one if it's damaged.

Stu.

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by nutgone on Sat Feb 02 2013, 23:57

Right, what have I done today? well, I've had the carb to bits & put it back together, I will do it properly later, I was more checking to see it was all there & how it works. It appears to still have the remnants of it's original electric auto choke as well (a simple electromagnetic device which seems to still have an intact coil, it must be 24v though as it did nothing when I connected it to a 12v battery).

I've also had the mag to bits, given it a once over & put it back together. I really wanted to spend more time on it but I'm not even supposed to be working on the mag & the bench is getting very overcrowded, so I thought it best to put it back together so I don't lose anything.

But, it does turn over & I am getting sparks from it. Only little sparks, but sparks nonetheless. It looks to me like it may have been re-wound at some point in the distant past. Also, it appears to be a British mag, but a make I've never heard of. Now Kohler did make an export model of this one, maybe they deliberately put Brit mags & Zenith carbs on these? I don't know. here's some pics of the mag, see if anyone recognises it....











There is a makers plate on each side of the base....





Also today I managed to get the radiator out of it's cast iron surround & fill it with water. It seems to hold it well, I pressurised it by blowing into the top & it felt OK, but obviously that's no real test.
I also took the fan out & inspected the bearings, which are all good....





After dinner I went out for a smoke & decided to give one of the pistons a tap with my specially crafted piece of wood, & it moved! I didn't even have to use the big hammer, just a normal ball-pein hammer. Within a few minutes I had all 4 pistons out! I've started to clean one of them, all the rings are stuck & the one I'm working on has a broken oil scraper ring, but all the pistons are numbered, as are the con rods & the big end shell cases, so all I need to do is keep a note of the different shims & where they go, although my dad tells me I will be checking all the shimming when I put it back together (he's taken quite an interest in this one). Here's a few pics of the broken one, it's been sprayed with brake & clutch cleaner to highlight the cracks, so they look slightly worse than they are....







I think it can be repaired, but it would need someone who is very good with a TIG gun, so would be costly. It's only the crown which is damaged, but they are cast iron.

I also got the stuck valve out of the head, but didn't get any pics of that (it's only a valve). It looks quite pitted, but I think it will be OK. It might need to be re-faced on a lathe, but I will grind it first & see what it looks like, that's if the seat is OK (haven't checked that bit yet).

As you can see this project lacks direction. I am definitely going to put it down tomorrow & concentrate on finishing the Briggs & Stratton RC, as the bench is getting very crowded & the whole workshop is just a mess. I need order.

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by kevjhnsn on Sun Feb 03 2013, 00:21

i find when i have a few projects on the go ,i use baby sma milk powder tins and nappy boxes labels up with marker pen whats in what and stack it up out the way untill needed again
so far never lost a washer or bolt yet ,and if you have a tin with all the oil bits in just add some parrafin and stick the lid on and forget about it
is there a part or casting number on the piston ,as i used to sell onan/kolar/jlo 2 stroke and 4 stroke ex mod engine geny parts, and my mate up york way still has some on the shelf but with out some form of id ?????
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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by stationary stu on Sun Feb 03 2013, 12:58

Good work Nuts, not sure about welding the piston as I've never heard it done before, think I'd be worried that the heat will mis-shape the piston so it won't fit back into the bore correctly. Maybe worth trying to save some pennies as the piston crown gets all the force when the engines running.

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by nutgone on Sun Feb 03 2013, 19:08

Yeah, it might be worth a try if I can find a good TIG welder who fancies taking on the challenge. Basically the crown would need removing, the hole made round (or the edges cleaned up) & a new plate made up to go in the hole.

I think the piston would need heating up first, & I would hope that a TIG welder would be so localised as to avoid any heat distortion. That's the theory anyway, if not I've got the feelers out for a new one & I'm looking for markings to see if Kev knows anything (about the pistons that is, we all know Kev knows lots of stuff, don't need any markings to tell us that Very Happy )

So far all I've found is the cylinder number stamped into the top & the marking: 2.005" (signifying the size I guess. I was told it's a 2" bore & I doubt it's had a re-bore, as you don't generally get .005" re-bores)

When I've cleaned them up a bit more I will look for some other markings, but I've got a Briggs to finish & a workshop to tidy up first (not necessarily in that order, so I'm told Neutral ).

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by steve w on Sun Feb 03 2013, 19:53

i have a big respect for you to take on this project, the rad is a great looking item.
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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by nutgone on Sun Feb 03 2013, 21:14

steve w wrote:i have a big respect for you to take on this project, the rad is a great looking item.

Thanks. Very Happy

I'm not sure what to do with the rad, I've been looking at some videos on YouTube & someone on there has painted the top tank on theirs then rubbed off the paint where the name markings are, it looked very effective, although I'm not sure I could bring myself to paint that lovely big brass tank.

Looking at the videos, they sound very nice when running, they sound much smoother than the larger side valve units.

Also, the exhaust has rotted away on mine, so I've got to think what to do with that. I don't like up-swept exhausts, from an engineering sense they represent quite bad practise, especially with 4 cylinder engines (as there are 4 cylinders, there will always be one open exhaust valve to let moisture back into the engine & exhausts will always contain moisture at some point) & I know many engine manufacturers stated not to use up-swept exhausts on their engines, so although they look quite nice, I doubt I will go for one, unless I can incorporate a moisture trap of some kind.

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by Stamford24 on Sun Feb 03 2013, 21:22

Definitely a bit different, might suond like a small car engine when its running though. Been having a think, Ive seen somewhere on the net pics of a Kohler lighting set down your way, Surrey? Sussex?? Will have to see if I can find it again.

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by Stamford24 on Sun Feb 03 2013, 21:32

nutgone wrote:Yeah, it might be worth a try if I can find a good TIG welder who fancies taking on the challenge. Basically the crown would need removing, the hole made round (or the edges cleaned up) & a new plate made up to go in the hole.

I think the piston would need heating up first, & I would hope that a TIG welder would be so localised as to avoid any heat distortion. That's the theory anyway, if not I've got the feelers out for a new one & I'm looking for markings to see if Kev knows anything (about the pistons that is, we all know Kev knows lots of stuff, don't need any markings to tell us that Very Happy )

So far all I've found is the cylinder number stamped into the top & the marking: 2.005" (signifying the size I guess. I was told it's a 2" bore & I doubt it's had a re-bore, as you don't generally get .005" re-bores)

When I've cleaned them up a bit more I will look for some other markings, but I've got a Briggs to finish & a workshop to tidy up first (not necessarily in that order, so I'm told Neutral ).

I'd forget the idea of welding it. Looking at it, there is such a small land between crown and top groove, you would be asking for trouble. No matter how hard you try there will be distortion. Look for another, I'd try looking at car pistons with a 2" bore, you might get lucky and fing something close.

Stamford24
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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by nutgone on Sun Feb 03 2013, 21:35

Stamford24 wrote:Definitely a bit different, might suond like a small car engine when its running though. Been having a think, Ive seen somewhere on the net pics of a Kohler lighting set down your way, Surrey? Sussex?? Will have to see if I can find it again.

I'm sure I saw one at the rallies down this way, years back, so wouldn't be surprised. But I would like to know more, of course.

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

Post by nutgone on Sun Feb 03 2013, 23:16

kevjhnsn wrote:
............is there a part or casting number on the piston ,as i used to sell onan/kolar/jlo 2 stroke and 4 stroke ex mod engine geny parts, and my mate up york way still has some on the shelf but with out some form of id ?????
kev

Kev, the only mark I can find on the pistons is the numbers stamped on the tops. Each one is stamped with it's own cylinder number & each one has the same other mark on it: 2.005 (which is the size in inches, I guess).

They are very distinctive though, & Kohler didn't make many different models of 4 cylinder engine, I think there were only 3 different types (this one & 2 larger side-valve units), although they were each coupled to a bewildering array of different generators.

I've cleaned a few of them up now, got them all off their con rods & removed the 2 compression rings from one of them (that took a very long time! Embarassed ). I will put some more pics up tomorrow.

Also, the oil scraper rings seem very well stuck on. One is broken (not my fault).

I have also started to play with the broken one, but had to stop as it was getting too late to be hammering in the workshop. Now it's off I can clearly see daylight through the cracks. I was going to see if I could punch the top back up from inside, not sure where I would go from there. metal putty maybe??? Very Happy (I'm only half joking there, if I could somehow secure it from the bottom a repair may be possible, but it's a massive & very doubtful maybe)

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Re: Kohler 4 cylinder engine.

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