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Old 10-06-2016, 02:09 PM   #1
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New Generator - Kohler?

I think I have a pretty good idea what's going on with the old ONAN discussed in a thread below and we can keep it going for a while. However, Mathew may be changing things. Docks and infrastructure are apt to be severely damaged all over our winter cruising grounds this year which raises the ante on having a very reliable generator. It may be a lot harder to find shore power to save that freezer full of food than in past years.

Our boatyard is a Kohler dealer. They said they would put in anything we want but the mechanic said he has had less trouble with the Kohler's than others and that they are very common in RV's so have a large support network.

Does this jibe with the collective wisdom here?

I'm liking the 3 cylinder 6EKOD. It is only 6 KW as opposed to the 7.5 which is in the boat but I wouldn't mind doing some load management, such as shutting down AC and heat while cooking on the electric stove, in return for less up front cost and not having the generator running so lightly most of the time.

We haven't found the noise level of the ONAN 2 banger objectionable but the vibration is. I'm thinking of maybe trying the new unit without the sound shield and then adding it later if we think it is needed. Working on the ONAN with the shield certainly has been a pain.

Any opinions on the quietest and smoothest gen set in the 6 -7.5 KW range? That's the first mate's biggest concern. Service and support shouldn't be a major issue for a brand new installation.
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Old 10-06-2016, 08:37 PM   #2
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Is this a diesel or gas?
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Old 10-06-2016, 08:56 PM   #3
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We have gas along with a Koehler 7.5KW generator. Some of the things I would want, gas or diesel is a machine that operates at 1800RPM and not 3600RPM. Further, if available I would also always prefer a 4 cylinder machine over anything with less. The number of cylinders along with the operating RPM have a direct influence on the low frequency vibrations.

The more cylinders the less vibration same for RPMs. Personally, I do not want a screaming generator even if low frequency vibrations are better contained
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Old 10-07-2016, 03:01 AM   #4
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10/4 on not wanting a screaming genny
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Old 10-07-2016, 06:30 AM   #5
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10/4 on not wanting a screaming genny
The Kohler is an 1800 rpm. I would like another cylinder though.
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Old 10-07-2016, 08:43 AM   #6
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I have a 8KW diesel Kohler in my Mainship 400 (as do most Mainships, I think). It has about 600 hours on it, 500 or so from me since 2013.

I've had two breakdowns in that time. A start relay failed while we were in the Bahamas and I was able to repair it myself. Luckily my mechanic foretold that failure and I had a spare on board. Access to the relay is pretty easy if you know where it to look but it is hidden behind a panel. I also had the temp sensor fail, which caused the genset to shut down after a few minutes of run time. I was local when that happened. It was a $25 part and a pretty easy repair.

We tend to use the generator heavily for about a month out of the year when we go to the Bahamas then not much after that. I run it under load for 30 minutes or so at the dock every month or so to keep it happy.

The original installation did not allow reasonable access so I had to remove the sound shield but that's not the genset's fault. I don't notice much sound difference without the shield, but our genset is in the Lazerette.

It's been a good unit, it runs our split AC system, electric stove, fridge, separate freezer and battery charger all at the same time with no issues.
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Old 10-07-2016, 08:54 AM   #7
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I installed a 9EKOZD a few years ago. No problems or complaints.

I have the sound shield. At least in my installation it doesn't make working on the unit significantly more difficult.
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Old 10-07-2016, 09:34 AM   #8
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We have an older (2002) Kohler 8EOZ, and it works well, is quiet, powers everything we run, even simultaneously – including 2 ACs, water heater, microwave/convection oven, and the cooktop.

It has about 1000 hours on it now. Two failures in that time. One was the fuel filter housing. This is a Yanmar part, and the inlet port is a separate piece from the cast filter housing (top), simply pressed into the housing. If it pops slightly out of its hole, fuel can spew all over the engine room while the genset runs bravely on. I might have been seeing – but not understanding – slight hints, in that I was occasionally finding some weeping around the filter assembly… but I never did identify that as having to do with the inlet port.

Kohler said they’ve never heard of this type of failure happening before. Wasn’t able to find the right Yanmar guy to discuss it. (The filter assembly on the genset is similar in design to the filter assembly on our John Deere tractor, with Yanmar power, which only has about 700 hours on it… so I’m watching that closely, too.)

Direct replacement was easy, but I’m not comfortable that’s “fixed” the problem. I’ve (lightly) investigated alternative fuel filter assemblies, but haven’t yet found something that will fit within the sound shield. In the meantime, I’m probably going to band a big hose clamp around the thing, so that inlet port is mechanically locked into the housing top.

The second failure was the fuel pump, a Carter product. Just recently. Probably got my money’s worth from it. Direct replacement fixed that.

The most common service points are all mounted on the front of the unit, so removing one sound shield door provides decent access to most everything. Access to the belt needs a side door to be removed, not so hard. Access to the air cleaner, OTOH, is pretty much impossible, so far. It’s on the back of the unit, and there’s not enough clearance over the top to get in there. I suspect the answer to that, should it become necessary, is to open an access port through the bulkhead of our guest stateroom. That was probably a boat builder issue, not necessarily a Kohler issue… and then Kohler is at the mercy of the engine maker, to a certain extent, when it comes to where serviceable parts are located.


I suspect newer models use engines from other makers. My approach would likely be to review service manual for both genset and engine (documentation direct from engine manufacturer) before deciding on a new unit.


OTOH, I've been satisfied with that we've got.

-Chris
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Old 10-07-2016, 09:50 AM   #9
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An often forgotten install issue is exhaust run height differential and access to critical areas. Does the unit you are contemplating satisfy your vessels ER, service/repair requirements and exhaust run layout?
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Old 10-07-2016, 09:50 AM   #10
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Definitely go for a 1,800 rpm unit. But three cylinders will be just as smooth as four. And I am not sure that you can find a 4 cylinder genset in the 6-8 KW range.

Northern Lights is another solid brand. Good marinization and a solid and simple generator end.

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Old 10-07-2016, 10:01 AM   #11
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I'd rather have a three cyl than a four. Four has a second order vibe that occurs twice per rev, straight up and down. Creates a buzzing noise. A three has a first order "waddle" that is easily handled by the resilient mounts. Fours usually only seen above 10kW, so moot point in this discussion.

And yep to 1800. Nope to two cyl or belt drive strangeness.

Kohler makes a good machine. Engine is probably a Yanmar 3TN series, also good stuff.

I have found some late model Kohlers with computer controls to do some strange things.

Kohler also has a good warranty, I think six years.
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Old 10-07-2016, 10:10 AM   #12
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Koehler has a great reputation in the smaller gas boats. Onan seems to be the choice in diesels.

Overall support form Koehler has been great.

I've got the 5kw Koehler, but gas, and has been great. Just change the impeller and filters and zinc annually.
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Old 10-07-2016, 12:13 PM   #13
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I could have mentioned, our 8EOZ is diesel, and it is indeed a Yanmar 3TN-something engine. 74, I think, from off-hand memory.


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Old 10-07-2016, 04:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danderer View Post
I installed a 9EKOZD a few years ago. No problems or complaints.

I have the sound shield. At least in my installation it doesn't make working on the unit significantly more difficult.
Agree w Dave Ski & others re Kohler
Our Mainship came w a Kohler 9EOZ diesel (Yanmar) w a sound shield and you can hardly hear it run. So far access for maint hasn't been a problem...some areas are tight but not impossible...e.g. "zinc" access takes a little patience and RW impeller easier if you remove pump & bracket.
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Old 10-07-2016, 05:49 PM   #15
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We have diesel Kohler generators in a couple of boats. Italian boats and the builder uses them exclusively. We love them, no problems at all. However, I would still choose Northern Lights over them, just as a personal preference. Now, I would select based on your cruising grounds, not your home boatyard. What brand do you think you can get best serviced down the east coast? in Fort Lauderdale there are 8 dealers supporting Kohler plus TAW. In Jacksonville, only TAW. Do a search in between, in NC, SC, GA and you won't find much. Search NC for Northern Lights and you'll find 11 dealers. Search the coast of NC for Onan and you'll find 5. For those reasons, I would not make Kohler my first choice, although I would be no means fault the choice.
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Old 10-10-2016, 02:32 PM   #16
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We have and love our Diesel Northern Lights Generator. 8KW with sound shield and the split muffler. Best generators on the market IMO. Also they quote you retail prices on parts so the dealer can 't stiff you on prices. Added bonus I have a dealer that sells everything to boaters at a 10% discount. Never get that with other brands.
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Old 10-10-2016, 02:35 PM   #17
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New Generator - Kohler?

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Easy access to all service parts on a Northern Lights. This unit is 14 years old with 1600 hours without ANY repairs.
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Old 10-10-2016, 02:53 PM   #18
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Attachment 57201
Easy access to all service parts on a Northern Lights. This unit is 14 years old with 1600 hours without ANY repairs.
That's what I was going to suggest if it was a diesel. They are fairly quiet without a sound shield too.
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Old 10-10-2016, 03:05 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Pgitug View Post
We have and love our Diesel Northern Lights Generator. 8KW with sound shield and the split muffler. Best generators on the market IMO. Also they quote you retail prices on parts so the dealer can 't stiff you on prices. Added bonus I have a dealer that sells everything to boaters at a 10% discount. Never get that with other brands.
Northern Lights is known for great service and they have plenty of coverage where most boat.
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Old 10-10-2016, 06:09 PM   #20
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Is that NL in post 17 Kubota engined?
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