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I own a 17KW Kohler generator which only has 785 hours on it. Recently the fan became unattached from the engine and damaged the fan shroud on the unit. Kohler has discontinued the part and no replacement is available. So now I am left with a hunk of metal that cannot be used since Kohler does not have a replacement part. I would not recommend a Kohler generator because even if it works today like it may not work tomorrow because a critical part is not available.
Installed and company started it up. It never came on weekly. I called on Monday. Did not come out until Thurs. Brand new & they have to order a part for it. DO NOT BUY KOHLER. Generator Power Systems said they are the best. If this is the best I would hate to see the worst.
We are an electrical contractor who have installed over 200 generators. To keep the review legit, we will not disclose the brand we have sold exclusively since 2012, however we will share that Kohler machines have been the least reliable and most problematic of any generator we have ever sold or serviced, including; Winco, Generac, and Briggs and Stratton. Kohler will not answer tech questions directly, you must call the distributor. Our local distributor has a guy who pages through the manual and reads it to you over the phone. We finally partnered with another strictly generator company so that we’d have someone with years of field experience on actual machines, and regarding more complex issues. Here are examples of problems we’ve had. Should mention that these units were all serviced annually:
- 14 RESA 211 hours. Stepper motor failed, easy fix. 6 months later and 1 yr out of warranty, the windings smoked and burnt up, $2500-3000 fix. We junked it and put in a _____ __. ______.
- 8 RES 3 years old Controller failed, replaced with new. $1600.
- 14 RESL 56 hours, that’s right 56! Shut down repeatedly on UU. Racked our brains and tried the logical steps per the service manual to figure out why. Gave up and called our friendly competition who loaned us a new controller. That was it. Customer bought the home with the generator and had not service records, but was ineligible for warranty coverage according to our distributor.
Proceed with caution and a contingency budget for repairs out of warranty.... Our biggest complaint is reliability.
Purchased a Kohler 20KW natural gas unit 1-9-17 -unit installation turned into a disaster, finally got unit installed and started. We live along the East Coast. Wanted the peace of mind when the power went out that the unit would keep our home livable, unit worked great until 11-29-2018. Have been trying to get unit repaired properly since, today is 12-5-2019. For a year I've had techs here multiple times, replaced battery and gas regulator at a cost of $300.00 to me. Unit still will not start and run spins over but doesn't start. Tech came again replaced stepper motor, same issue. Tech came back removed throttle body to check gasket at butterfly, was ok. Tech came back checked all the internal wires for poor connection none found, tech came back took out controller and took it to shop to check it over, came back reinstalled controller same issue, ordered new controller and installed, unit now will start but hunts terribly.
Told tech if the unit will start I would live with it. That was end of August 2019. September of 2019 we had to evacuate due to hurricane. Unit did not start when the power went out. Called tech. Came back got failure history out of unit. Today 12-5-2019 unit doesn't start! 2019- The Kohler company doesn't stand behind their units. If they did this would certainly deserve a replacement unit. I filed a complaint with the BBB. I would urge everyone with problems to do the same.
Purchased a 20KW Kohler Generator from a Generator Retailer. They were great installing and servicing it. The thing has had problems since day one hunting, voltage drops constantly. Kohler has said the motor needs to be replaced but won't pay for it. The Tech. has been out here in storms in winter and summer at least 20 times. Called Kohler Customer Service, that's a waste of time. I contacted the President of Kohler. He was nice but palmed me off to his VP of Customer who is of no help just puts you off, he was useless and told me not to contact them any longer, what kind of company are they????
Anyone wanting a generator stays away from Kohler. They do not honor their warranty and their Customer Service just puts you off and tells you, "It's your problem. Pay up!" The controller was changed 2X, the entire generator parts except for the motor were replaced, gas regulator, all the other components carb, idler arms, everything at considerable costs, and now they say it's the motor. 1800.00 just for motor and labor. It's cheaper to replace the entire unit with another better brand and better customer service. Pissed of Customer.
If you are considering installing a whole-house generator, I would recommend against Kohler. After having our Kohler 20 RESAL model professionally installed five years ago, the machine has almost never operated correctly. It has only kicked on automatically for a few of the many power outages we’ve had. We’ve had to call repairmen at least 8 times in the short duration since it was installed, and have already poured more money into repairs than the machine is worth. Kohler has been resistant and argumentative over honoring their short warranty. After just 9 hours of operation, the machine now requires another thousand dollars worth of repairs. Kohler has refused any help. I would rate Kohler generator operation, customer service, warranty, and my satisfaction with this product as poor. We are now replacing this machine with a Generac. The Generac comes with a ten year warranty.
I purchased a new boat 9 months ago with 11 kw Kohler generator model 11EK0ZD. From day one the generator shut down continuously due to the LOP (Low Oil Pressure). The oil has been change twice. Despite endless phone calls describing the situation and disappointment in their product, Kohler customer service accepted that they have problem with the oil pressure sensor and they are running a campaign to replace the sensor. I tried to get the Kohler tech to replace the sensor in South Florida and everyone wants to charge $200 per hour and $1.95 per mile, and they requested a credit card to before they send a technician.
I contacted Kohler Marine South Florida Rep and no help from him. They just didn’t care if the generator is under warranty. I would expect more from a company and would imagine that they would want to stand by their product. Kohler is not a reputable company based on my experience with them. I am stuck and will likely have to replace my generator with another brand as the cost to repair this piece of junk will be more than the price of a new generator. They’ll sell them to you fast but good luck afterwards. You’re on your own. Think about this when considering buying a Kohler generator.
I purchased a new Kohler 20RES generator 6 months ago from a local good authorized dealer. They were the highest bidder. It locked up when running a weekly test 4 weeks ago. My dealer spent 8 hours in the freezing cold troubleshooting the problem and codes. My dealer says the engine is dead and the entire unit should be replaced with a new unit, but Kohler is wanting him to change the engine on site. Stupid. The warranty states Kohler Co. can only inspect a product for purpose of the warranty and an agent cannot, but Kohler will not send an employee to make the warranty adjustment inspection. I’m screwed.
I replaced a 6 year old Guardian generator that constantly broke down and finally the main stator failed. I had never heard of Kohler generators, just bathroom fixtures! My repairman suggested it, as he had been installing them for many years and seldom had any problems. I paid a little more than the repairs for my old generator to install the new Kohler (Kohler 20KW Residential Backup Generator). It now has been almost 3 years of flawless reliable service. I just had it serviced (I never had it serviced and it was not exercising) and the tech told me not to let it exercise regularly as it never really gets a chance to warm up and builds up a white film in the crankcase. He said my generator looks brand new; it has about 43 hours of run time on it and he said it is well made. I live on the West Coast close to the ocean, so I am always concerned about moisture build-up, but if the tech says everything looks brand new, I will assume this is a well-made machine!
I just wanted to share a blog article I wrote about my bad experience with a Kohler 20RESAL home standby generator. Poor support, frequent failures, unreliable, Kohler won't help much at all, have to deal with "authorized service providers" which are expensive even for warranty issues, etc. If you are considering a Kohler I recommend that you please read this. Thank you.
Kohler Generators author review by ConsumerAffairs
Kohler can trace its roots back to 1873 making cast iron castings. Today, along with plumbing fixtures, engines and furniture, it manufactures multiple models of industrial, home, portable, mobile and marine generators. Kohler generators can be fueled by natural gas or diesel and can be used to power anything from campers, boats and RVs, to large businesses and data centers.
Gas generators: Kohler designs and manufactures over 100 customizable gas generators for light commercial and heavy industrial use. They are designed specifically for standby, prime or continuous power applications and can run on fuel, dual-fuel, natural gas or propane. A full list of gas generator models and specifications are available online.
Diesel generators: Kohler’s diesel-fueled generators are designed and built to power large businesses such as hospitals, data centers, gas stations and airports. Models that are fueled by diesel range in output from 100-4,000 watts with their newest line of KD series diesel generators producing up to 4 megawatts of power. A full list of models and specifications is available online.
Paralleling systems: Designed for large businesses and data centers, Kohler’s Decision-Maker Paralleling System offers 100 percent integration into your current utility setup. Whether you just need emergency backup power or prime power, Kohler can customize a system to fit your business’ needs. The paralleling system uses multiple generators (up to 9+) to provide enough power to run large facilities.
Marine generators: Using a variation of the Decision-Maker paralleling system, Kohler lets you pair two or more generators with a single communication wire. This allows boat owners to place a generator in the starboard and port side, as well as a nighttime generator in the back, all connected to one switchgear.
Sizing program: Kohler has a sizing program app called “Power Solutions Center” that you can download on your PC or mobile device. Its easy-to-use features like drag-and-drop, automatic one-line diagrams and pre-populated engineering tools let you spec and size your power system on the go.
Kohler Generators Company Information
- Company Name:
- Kohler Generators