Discover a Hidden Treasure: Kohler 30R82 30KW 3 Phase Generator

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Discover a Hidden Treasure: Kohler 30R82 30KW 3 Phase Generator

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Find
  3. The Weight and Size
  4. The Generator Specifications
  5. The Engine and Components
  6. The Cooling System
  7. The Air Filter
  8. The Pricing and Condition
  9. The Control Panel and Gauges
  10. The Power Output and Wiring
  11. Flushing the Engine
  12. Spark Plug Replacement
  13. Attempting to Start the Engine
  14. Troubleshooting the Starter
  15. Finding the Right Battery
  16. Purging Water from the Exhaust
  17. Next Steps: Fuel

Trying to Get an Old Generator Up and Running

Have you ever come across a hidden treasure in a junkyard? Well, that's exactly what happened to me. In this series of videos, I will be documenting my journey of trying to bring an old generator back to life. This junkyard find is not only unique but also the heaviest thing I've ever encountered. Join me as I dive into the world of refurbishing and restoring this piece of machinery.

The Find

It all started when I stumbled upon this hidden gem in a local junkyard. This beast of a generator caught my eye instantly. Despite its worn-out appearance, there was something intriguing about it. Without a second thought, I decided to bring it back to life.

The Weight and Size

One thing I quickly learned was that moving this generator was no easy task. According to the scale at the junkyard, it weighed a staggering 1,250 pounds. To transport it, I rented a trailer from Home Depot and enlisted the help of a friend's engine hoist. Maneuvering it was a challenge, but I was determined to bring it home.

The Generator Specifications

Upon closer inspection, I discovered that this generator was a four-cylinder, water-cooled, three-phase machine. The chassis nameplate indicated a power output of 104 amps at 120/208 volts. Judging from its design and features, I estimated that it was manufactured around the 1970s. However, what intrigued me even more were the solid-state components hidden within.

The Engine and Components

The engine of this generator resembled a standard gasoline engine. However, it was originally designed to run on propane. The original LP gas tag confirmed this. The engine itself was a robust cast-iron model made by a company called Hercules, which had a significant presence between World War I and World War II. Unfortunately, they went defunct in 1999 due to post-war challenges.

The Cooling System

To keep the engine running smoothly, a reliable cooling system was essential. This generator featured a large fan-cooled radiator and an old-style oil bath air filter. While the oil bath filter did its job, I was curious if a modern, non-oil-requiring paper filter could be a viable replacement. Exploring options for better filtration was on my to-do list.

The Pricing and Condition

When it came to the price, I lucked out. The seller was asking a mere $250 for this generator, considering its good condition. While it may not have been a high-end model, I saw the potential in it. The blank plates on the control panel gave me the freedom to add additional gauges and customize it to my liking.

The Control Panel and Gauges

Speaking of the control panel, this generator had a basic set of controls. It lacked some of the gauges and features that higher-end models had. However, I saw this as an opportunity to enhance the generator by adding gauges and other accessories. The simplicity of the control panel allowed for customization without any limitations.

The Power Output and Wiring

Understanding the power output and wiring of the generator was crucial. The black box housed the power output connections, including the three-phase output with a bonded neutral. Taking a closer look at the wiring, I noted the attention to detail and the importance of proper grounding. This generator was designed to provide reliable and stable power.

Flushing the Engine

Before I could start the generator, I needed to ensure that the engine was free of any obstructions. Due to its time spent outside, it had accumulated some water in the exhaust. Flushing the engine with a few buckets of rusty-colored water was the first step in preparing it for operation. Once the water was cleared out, it was time to move on to the next task.

Spark Plug Replacement

To guarantee efficient combustion, the spark plugs needed to be replaced. Finding the right spark plugs proved to be a bit of a challenge, as compatibility codes were necessary to locate the suitable ones. Finally, armed with the correct spark plugs, I was ready to install them and move closer to restarting the engine.

Attempting to Start the Engine

The moment of truth had arrived. With the spark plugs removed, I connected a bank of super capacitors charged to 13 volts to provide the starting power. Using my jumper cables as oversized alligator clips, I made the necessary connections. However, it became apparent that there was too much resistance, hindering the engine from starting.

Troubleshooting the Starter

The starter motor was not receiving the required power to turn the engine over smoothly. The jumper cables and clips were not providing sufficient current flow. It was time to explore other options and consider investing in a proper engine starting battery or finding a more suitable power source.

Finding the Right Battery

To ensure a reliable and consistent starting power, I needed to find a suitable battery for the generator. The clips and adapters I used to connect the jumper cables were not ideal. After a few failed attempts to start the engine, it became clear that a dedicated battery was necessary, no matter the cost. Researching battery options and their compatibility with the generator was my next step.

Purging Water from the Exhaust

As part of the preparation process, purging any remaining water from the exhaust was crucial. Water can obstruct the exhaust flow and cause potential damage to the engine. By clearing out the water, I aimed to optimize the engine's performance and increase the chances of a successful startup.

Next Steps: Fuel

With the water purged from the exhaust and the engine prepped, the next step was to address the fuel supply. In part two, I will explore the fuel system of this generator and determine what steps are needed to ensure a steady supply of fuel for a successful startup. Join me as I uncover the mysteries of this old generator and embark on the journey of restoration and revival.


  1. A journey of reviving an old generator found in a junkyard.
  2. The challenges of moving a 1,250-pound generator.
  3. Exploring the specifications and components of the generator.
  4. Uncovering the history and features of the engine.
  5. Examining the cooling system and air filter.
  6. The affordable price and customization opportunities.
  7. Understanding the power output and wiring of the generator.
  8. Flushing the engine and replacing spark plugs.
  9. Troubleshooting the starter motor for smooth engine cranking.
  10. Finding the right battery for reliable starting power.
  11. Purging water from the exhaust to optimize engine performance.
  12. The next steps: addressing the fuel system.


Q: How much did the generator cost? A: The generator was purchased for $250, an affordable price considering its condition.

Q: Can the generator work on gasoline? A: The generator was originally fitted for gas operation using propane. However, it may be possible to modify it for gasoline use.

Q: Are there any customization options for the control panel? A: Yes, the control panel allows for customization with additional gauges and accessories.

Q: How heavy is the generator? A: The generator weighs approximately 1,250 pounds, making it a challenging object to move and transport.

Q: What is the power output of the generator? A: The generator has a power output of 104 amps at 120/208 volts, providing stable and reliable three-phase power.

Q: What is the next step after purging water from the exhaust? A: The next step is to address the fuel system to ensure a steady supply of fuel for a successful startup.

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