Kohler 5ECD generator trouble shooting

Discussion in 'Sport Cruisers' started by Lola1, Jun 20, 2019.

  1. Lola1

    Lola1 New Member

    Jun 20, 2019
    2008 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.0 MPI DTS Bravo III drives
    Hello everyone, this is my first ever post, as I ashamed to say I tend to read and enjoy but never find the time to share! but this was such a long and challenging problem (Great end!) that I felt I must share and hopefully help someone else!

    I recently purchased a 2008 290 Sundancer which came with a non functional Kohler 5 ECD generator. The mechanics report was "High pressure fuel pump failure"

    I research high pressure fuel pumps and they ran for around $600. So before I made that purchase I thought I would trouble shoot it myself.

    So I tried to start the generator:
    To my surprise it started but within 2 seconds stopped giving error AF. After reading several manuals it turns out AF is a fault from outside the system.
    In my case it was the CO2 detectors. The previous owner had disconnected them. My system has the remote control module at the breaker panel which includes that interlock. You will find the remote connection at the rear of the generator which you can unplug to remove any issues with the remote system. (Its a white connect directly behind the LED panel on the rear case. I think its 9 pins but I may be mistaken)

    So with the remote disconnected I tried again! It started but stumbled and stopped, the 2nd attempt same thing, 3rd and final it stopped with a UU error. (Under voltage)

    After asking around everyone said "Change the plugs! that's what I always do".
    So I listened a got new plugs. (BPR4ES $3!!! at Autozone gap .024 to .028")
    Installed no difference. Strangely the old plugs were clean (No oxide) and "Wet" very strange. I checked both for spark and it was blue and strong?

    Still the same problem, it starts but stumbles and stops (Giving several errors)

    So maybe the mechanic was correct. High pressure fuel pump.

    Unfortunately the Kohler fuel pressure gauge was very expensive so I went in with my trusty harbor freight unit. (Just for reference the generator has 2 fuel pumps in series, a small primer pump that runs after the fuel filter that feeds the high pressure (50 psi) fuel pump that is water cooled). I connected my fuel pressure connection to the schrader value on top of the high pressure fuel pump to get a reading. 0 psi? very strange? I removed the Schrader value to see if it was blocked? Nothing? After much head scratching and research it turns out the value isn't connected to the system and should read 0. OMG!. If you follow the output pipe from the high pressure fuel pump it leads to the fuel injector and there is another Schrader value that is used for purging after fuel filter replacement. I was definitely getting pressure there but it was impossible to connect too, to get a reading. With a little creativity I disconnected and reconnected only the fuel pump end off the fuel line and connected my inline pressure gauge to the end of the pipe. (Hope that makes sense I'm connected to the fuel pump but disconnected from the injector) Magically I have 50 psi of pressure!!! Glad I didn't purchase the $600 fuel pump!

    Confused? I have a spark and Fuel pressure? The plugs are wet?
    Not sure why but I sprayed a little starter fluid on the spark plug and magically the generator started up very strong? (Don't recommend start fluid in the cylinder etc. it can cause over pressure situations! But a little on a spark plug may give you a change in behavior. Which happened for me)

    It had to be the fuel injector! It must be dripping out gas not spraying gas as it should.
    The injector sits on the top of the engine and is attached to the output pipe of the high pressure fuel pump. There is only one and it has a single electrical connector.

    So I went on the hunt for a new injector. This turned out a little more tricky that I expected as they wanted to sell me the injector assembly (Including the head casting). Finally I was able to get the injector alone GM62619. It was $127.

    The replacement is easy but you may want a chapman set to help you with the 2 cap head screws (little tricky for fat fingers!) Just unclip the old injector and install the new one to the fuel line assembly.

    Replacing the injector took 10 mins and the generators has run perfectly ever since!!!
  2. JimG

    JimG Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 4, 2008
    Southern WV
    2007 310 DA
    Kohler 5ECD
    Twin 350 Mags
    Raw Water Cooled
  3. Seadreamer

    Seadreamer New Member

    Jun 21, 2019
    2007 320 Sundancer, Garmin HD GPS
    350 MAG MPI
    I am new to the CSR forum, however I have owned Searays for over 15 years. I have a 2007 2007 320 with a Kohler 5KW genset, and after years, the heat exchange unit has finally clogged, and needs replacement. I'm at my limitation for being able to do the work myself, and my boat has been marina maintained since I bought in 2007. Received an estimate of $3400 to do all the work, but was hoping I might be able to get some guidance on where I might be able to find replacement parts. Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks in advance
  4. Lola1

    Lola1 New Member

    Jun 20, 2019
    2008 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.0 MPI DTS Bravo III drives
    Haven't been into the cooling system but have read numerous people have had blockages due to impeller rubber getting into the system. Best advice I have heard was compressed air (in reverse) to try and remove the rubber.
  5. Ethan's Tank

    Ethan's Tank Member

    Jun 1, 2014
    aquia creek.potomac river United States
    2009 Searay sundancer 350DA with twin 496 seacores
    2000 wellcraft 2600 martinique [old]
    Mercruiser 350 5.7 EFI
    I'll give this a try, I gave up on my genny after my diagnosis of similar errors (if not the same...) and was prepared to rebuild the carb as a final straw, once I get my boat back up and running again.
  6. Todd320

    Todd320 Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jul 21, 2016
    St. Petersburg, FL
    2007 Sea Ray 320DA
    Twin V-drive 5.7L 350 Horizon
    I found this site that seems to specialize in building after market heat exchangers.
    https://lencoheatexchangers.com/collections/types?q=Kohler Heat Exchangers
  7. Wanderer 290

    Wanderer 290 Member

    Jul 1, 2019
    01 sea ray 290 sundancer
    Twin 5.7 b3’s
  8. Wanderer 290

    Wanderer 290 Member

    Jul 1, 2019
    01 sea ray 290 sundancer
    Twin 5.7 b3’s
    I have a 01 290 Sundancer with a kohler 5e, 750 hours, that has a “hunting” problem. After changing plugs, rebuilding the carb, compression check, fuel flow check and finally pulling it out of the boat (pita) I rebuilt the carb again and had it running perfectly in the garage with no load. Installed it in the boat and it ran perfectly with no load but went full throttle and bogged with load pumping out carbon.
    Finally I ordered a carb and bingo.

    I did cross the kohler info over to Kawasaki and saved 100$. Kohler wanted 250+ and I ended up paying less than 155$.
  9. Gunn

    Gunn Active Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Oct 4, 2006
    Potomac River - MD
    2003 280DA and 1995 Sea Ray 175
    Twin 4.3l and 3.0l, all w/ AlphaI GenII drives
    Great writeup, thanks for sharing! And I'm sure you saved a bunch buying the boat with a generator that didn't work, and fixing it yourself :)
    Wanderer 290 likes this.
  10. msw1382

    msw1382 New Member

    Mar 4, 2019
    2005 Sundancer 260
    5.8 Mercruiser w/Bravo III
    I actually just went through this.

    The heat exchanger is on the top of the generator. If looking at the generator from the impeller side, the intake is on the left and the exit is on the right.

    Go to home Depot, get a few feet of tubing (I don't recall the size) with a barbed hose adapter. Connect this to the exit of the heat exchanger and connect a hose to it. Connect another line of tubing to the intake side and feed it into a bucket. Turn on hose and watch the broken vanes come out. I flushed six out of my generator.
  11. Pilot

    Pilot Member

    May 7, 2009
    Chesapeake Bay
    2009 370 Searay DA
    V Drives
    Twin 8.1's
    The Kohler get clogged from sing ethanol. I've been though 2 cool fuel modules, 3 fuel pumps and have had to go in and chisel away at the water exhaust manifold to get all the calcified stuff out of it. Folks with diesel gens have no idea how lucky they are.

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