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Kohler Engine Condenser Failure


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#1 bread320i OFFLINE  

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Posted December 20, 2013 - 10:24 AM

Last week while plowing snow my Bolens 1886 died. I swapped the condenser with a good one and away I went.

 

Today it blew another condenser after about 20 minutes of running.

What causes a condenser to fail so quickly?



#2 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted December 20, 2013 - 12:02 PM

A good condenser should last a long time. They are inherently reliable. High heat or physical damage will do them in. If the case has a leak that will also do it. Are you sure you haven't got another issue. I'd check all the wiring including the connectors on the ends of the wires connecting to the coil and your ground connection from the condenser case and the chassis of the engine/tractor.


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#3 Arti ONLINE  

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Posted December 20, 2013 - 12:20 PM

I'd check the charging voltage

#4 bread320i OFFLINE  

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Posted December 20, 2013 - 12:55 PM

I checked voltage at battery while running full throttle and read 13.05V

 

I am assuming I have another issue somewhere I don't know about yet.



#5 Bill 76 OFFLINE  

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Posted December 20, 2013 - 04:35 PM

I would suspect coil failure,when it warms up it shorts out inside and when you changed condenser the coil cooled off enought to run  and  shorts out as soon as it gets warm.Happened to me and drove me nuts.As JD Brian said condensers last a long time.And what are the odds of having two bad ones.I know of no good way to check a condenser.

Good luck Bread and hope you get her running soon,We are getting snow this week end here in Wisconsin.


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#6 wilberj OFFLINE  

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Posted December 20, 2013 - 05:33 PM

Look for a crack in the coil...



#7 superaben OFFLINE  

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Posted December 20, 2013 - 07:35 PM

If it is doing that, drop on a new coil.   My John Deere M did that to me and drove me nuts until I replaced the coil. As I fixed it, I bought an expensive coil, and the best quality ("antique car standards") condenser I could get.  Cheap isn't always better!

 

Ben W.


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#8 bread320i OFFLINE  

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Posted December 20, 2013 - 09:27 PM

I guess I'll be making a trip to the Harley dealer.



#9 wilberj OFFLINE  

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Posted December 20, 2013 - 09:34 PM

ebay has them for $30/$40



#10 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted December 21, 2013 - 07:09 AM

A condenser is just a capacitor. It has a certain value of capacitance and a voltage rating. Exceeding that voltage rating will cause an arc across the capacitor and usually permanent  damage. You can test them on a capacitance meter which is on many modern digital multi meters. You can check for a short with an ohm meter. it should read as an open circuit. Whenever you are dealing with a coil you have the potential for very high voltages to be generated if there is a bad connection. This could take out the condenser. I think the values on these are somewhere between .02 and .1 microfarads. 



#11 bread320i OFFLINE  

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Posted January 19, 2014 - 11:49 AM

I changed the coil for a so called good coil. It does have a crack in the case, but was told it worked fine.

20 minutes later it blew another coil.


Edited by bread320i, January 19, 2014 - 11:50 AM.


#12 bread320i OFFLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2014 - 12:15 PM

I did some investigating today. While running I checked voltage. I am using 2 different multi-meters.

1 meter shows the voltage jumping from 10-19 constantly. Its all over the place and constantly changing.

Other meter shows 13v most of the time and every 5-10 sec it shows a spike of 18-19v. (this meter my read slower)?

 

So I replaced the voltage regulator and I get the same results.



#13 Bruce Dorsi ONLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2014 - 05:10 PM

I did some investigating today. While running I checked voltage. I am using 2 different multi-meters.

1 meter shows the voltage jumping from 10-19 constantly. Its all over the place and constantly changing.

Other meter shows 13v most of the time and every 5-10 sec it shows a spike of 18-19v. (this meter my read slower)?

 

So I replaced the voltage regulator and I get the same results.

 

Are you using an analog or a digital meter? 

 

I have heard that in some instances, an inexpensive digital meter will give erroneous (fluctuating) readings.  .....Supposedly, analog meters and high-end digital meters do not have this problem. 

 

If your redings are correct, I would think that 18-19v would definitely be unfriendly to the coil.



#14 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2014 - 06:05 PM

Adam ,I don't have any answers but questions lol  Does this tractor have a good battery ?  How are the cables and connections ?



#15 bread320i OFFLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2014 - 07:03 PM

I went through all the wiring this morning. I replaced a few that look questionable and no change.


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