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Brent_Baumer

Bearing Failure on Starter/Generators

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Brent_Baumer
How common is bearing failure on starter/generators? Reason I ask is, I have gone through 4 of them in 2 years on my 3416H. Granted, these were all low $ used ones. The last time it happened (before yesterday)though, I had the unit professionally rebuilt. I used it thru the winter maybe 8 times, and maybe another dozen times since this spring and summer. The sucker is already making the familiar grinding sound just prior to lockup and belt squeal time. I know there are two styles, one with a real bearing at the non-pulley end and one without. This has happened to me on both styles. According to the manual I have I should oil this type at some regular interval (I don't remember now, book ain't in front of me) but only getting 20 or so starts out of it is ridiculous. The "gen" light came on the dash this last time, I mowed for maybe another half hour, parked it and noticed the thing was 10 degrees hotter than H*ll. Loosened the belt, and found it in current state - almost ready to sieze. Thinking about installing a large pulley on the front of the crankshaft to make it easier to get a rope on to start it with and saying goodbye to this setup. Any suggestions? Brent

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jlasater
Possible the belt is too tight? A couple of Kohler 16hp engines I've had with generator/starters never had a problem for a number of years. Jeremy[A href='http://www.wheatfarm.com']http://www.wheatfarm.com[/a]

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jlasater
I believe that you may be overtightening the belt, Brent. There has to be something that is the same, even after replacing the unit to cause this. These starter generators where used for years because they ARE reliable. The most common cause of failure next to extreme lenghts of time is overtightening of the drive belt. Hope this helps. DaleC

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Al
Brent, I agree over tightening is the most likely cause. Something you should look at is the pulley on the engine and the one on the starter. If the one on the starter is one machined out of a solid bar of steel if you look at the groove it will likely be a U instead of a V and the belt is only pulling on the two corners and the flat on the inside some. The pulley on the engine is made of aluminum and the sides wear on it also. Then the belt bottoms out and you have a narrow flat belt turning the engine. The stamped steel pulleys on the starter units outlast the solid steel ones about 10 to 1. If your pulley(s) (is) (are) bad you have to wun the belt so tight that other problems arise. Good Luck, Al E.

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Brent_Baumer
Thanks for the tips. I'll try to disassemble and repair soon, and re-install not as tight. I still have a few of these laying around so I'll compare the pulleys on them and pick out the best one. Admittedly, I have put these suckers on about as tight as I could w/o using a prybar. Just didn't want the belt to slip. Brent

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palmrose2
The last time I had one rebuilt the rebuilder changed end caps so that he could replace the bronze bushing with a roller bearing. No problems in two years.

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jlasater
Belts grab by bulging as they go around a pulley, so being really tight just makes them wear out faster. I usually tension belts until I can push one in about 1/2" in the middle with a mild push. If you have a hanging fish scale or somesuch, hook it around the middle of the belt and pull till it reads about 15lbs and see if the belt deflects 1/4" to 1/2". Should be in the ballpark there.[A href='http://www.wheatfarm.com']http://www.wheatfarm.com[/a]

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