Hey. Long time no see.
I thought the Commander Club might be interested in the rehab I'm doing to the original Kohler genset on our 1968 Commander 42. It has less than 300 hours on it, but when we got the boat the carb, raw water pump, coolant circulator pump pulley, and other parts had been removed and did not come with the boat. I'd been collecting the parts to put it back together since 2012, when we got the boat. In preparation for selling the boat later this year, I wanted to get the genset running.
The genset originally came with open circuit (raw water) cooling, but I wanted to convert it to antifreeze. That complicated things quite a bit, since the open cooling gensets don't have heat exchangers built into the exhaust manifolds. There's no place to put a radiator cap on an open circuit genset without a fair bit of customization.
So...I did a bunch of customization. lol
I'm putting together some videos of the rehab of this beast. Here's the first in the series showing the Kohler as-is when we bought the boat, the parts needed to get it running and convert it from open to closed cooling and initial assembly.
Stay tuned for more!
Quentin, do you have Kohler's replacement for the recalled exhaust manifold? It would be good to do any needed modifications to it while things are apart.
Keep up the good work and thanks for taking us along , Tim
The boat came with a brand new stainless showerhead, but it takes a quick 90° turn and points straight down. It's also a smaller OD than the one on my boat. I'd have to modify the muffler inlet or make a hose adapter to make it work, but I don't think I need to.
It's my understanding that the recall involved "a black iron wet exhaust pipe," but that's not what mine is. In the linked video, you can see the water-cooled exhaust manifold and the showerhead assembly. I suspect the part described in the recall was replaced by something Chris Craft made as the boat was being built. My showerhead assembly is a copper tube (for the exhaust) inside a copper tube waterjacket, not black iron. There is a short dry section where the choke attaches that's between the manifold and wet showerhead section, and that could be iron...but it's not "wet."
I'd be interested to hear from other Commander 42 owners who've got the same genset. I wonder if their showerheads looked like mine in the video, or something made of black iron?
Link to earlier discussion which I can't make work, search "Kohler Genset Heat Exchanger "
The link worked for me. But it doesn't add any new information. The Kohler link goes to their home page. The part described in the lawsuit is wet (i.e. water cooled) and it's described as a pipe made of black iron. As I mentioned, the only pipe-like part in mine that MIGHT be iron (it could also be bronze) isn't wet.
I don't think the 1968 42 Commander came with the problem part. Thanks for bringing it up, though. Better safe than sorry.
That said, I posted another video on the Kohler genset rehab. There are lots of close-ups of the part in question if you want to give it a gander and let me know if that's what you had. But that style of exhaust pipe/choke combo wasn't used from the 1960s through the 1980s. It was superseded by the new style choke actuators that are integral to the carb in the late 1960s, I believe.
The cast iron part is where your heater box is mounted, hope it's not cast iron. Mine has regular plugs, I think the vhf non-interferring plugs and wires can be swapped with regular wires and plugs.
I have the 1972 7.5kw, L354 model. I called Kohler, gave them serial number. Mine did not have the faulty exhaust part.
Tim, I'm not sure what a "heater box" is on this genset. The fitting that connects the water-cooled exhaust manifold to the showerhead isn't cast iron. I confirmed it's bronze. Also, like I said, it's not water-cooled like the part described in the lawsuit. I think I'm good. Also, the plug wires are fine. The little copper spring I installed works as good as the original. You'd have to do quite a bit of work to get standard plug wires to work on the shielded magneto, since the plug wire ends thread into the unit.
Thanks for the info, Joe.
This is the 3rd video in the series trying to get this old Kohler 6.5kw marine genset running. 14 minutes of repeated failure. This was so frustrating.
Heater box better called the exhaust box/contraption bolted to the head. Glad you don't have the cast iron. if you change the magneto cap will can you use the regular wires? I have the manuals but about 80% is part numbers which mostly result in confusion. As far as the do it part some areas are quite detailed and others are more of the everyone knows this variety.
Just watched your vid, do you have a load on the unit? Mine is an autostart and it will try to start with no load when forced but will quit just as yours did after 1 to 3 seconds.
Ah! The "heater box" is the water-cooled exhaust manifold. That's not the part that's described in the lawsuit. The comparable part on mine is not water-cooled and it's bronze, so I'm in the clear.
Yeah, the Kohler tech bible can be confusing, but only because they had so many variants of the same basic unit. But since most of the parts are already obsolete, if you just ignore all the part numbers and stick to the initial startup and maintenance sections, I found it's very useful...but also misleading. That's a hint to be sure and watch the next video. You'll be intrigued by what I discovered. ;-)
My magneto works just fine and the wires are in good shape now that I replaced that one spring. With all of the time it took to find the original parts for this thing, I wouldn't bother trying to swap out magneto caps. Also, if memory serves, the magneto bases aren't the same. The radio shielded one was purpose-built for gas boats back in the olden days. There's no window into the points area, which I believe you have on the standard magneto. There may be other differences. But in any case, mine works fine so I won't be looking into swapping parts out in the ignition system.
Mine's an auto-start, but it's not wired for auto-start. I'd have to power it like the boat came originally, with two 6-volt batteries. The auto-start on mine only powers up when it's got 6v centertapped in addition to the main, combined 12v. Mine's just straight-up 12v.
In the videos I've shown thus far, the engine hasn't actually run. It's come close, but for reasons that will blow your mind after you see the next video.
Mine has no window. I will be happy to take pictures and email to or faster pm your phone number let me know what pictures you want. All is decommissioned but the water is still wiggly so no problem going aboard, beyond the travel time.
Nice work! You're quite the boat wizard! (been following your Roamer project too).