Kohler Ignition Coil Problems [Diagnosis and Effective Fixes]

Does your Kohler engine fail to start, misfire, or stall, and you can’t determine the cause? While several reasons explain your engine’s behavior, a faulty ignition coil could be to blame.

The ignition coil plays a significant role in your Kohler engine’s ignition system. It ensures the plug produces the required spark for igniting the air-fuel mixture. This component has low failure rates, but over time, it can malfunction and cause performance issues.

Herein, I dissect common Kohler ignition coil problems, how to fix them, and more.

How Does a Kohler Ignition Coil Work?

Like in other engines, an ignition coil in Kohler engines ramps up the low battery voltage, making it more potent to fire the plugs. The 12-volt battery current is insufficient to fire the plugs and ignite the fuel. That’s why the ignition coil transforms this low voltage into a higher voltage.

Note that the spark plug in your Kohler engine requires about 15K-20K volts or more to generate an electric spark. If your engine has a functional ignition coil, it will create a high voltage to produce an electric spark. As a result, this spark will ignite the air-fuel mixture and start the engine.

If you have a bad ignition coil, it won’t create the required spark to fire the engine. And if the engine starts, you might encounter several performance issues.

Kohler Ignition Coil Problems

Below are the common ignition coil problems you might experience with your Kohler engine.

The Engine is Difficult to Start

If your Kohler engine is difficult to start or won’t start at all, the ignition coil might be faulty. This problem occurs in the late stages of a failing ignition coil.

A faulty ignition coil doesn’t provide the spark plugs with an electrical spark to ignite the fuel. Sometimes, the engine might require several attempts to get it going. When this happens, the ignition coil might be in its early stages of failure.

Before fixing a problematic ignition coil, ensure your Kohler engine has enough fuel. The fuel lines must also be clean to allow an efficient fuel flow. Then examine the spark plugs to ascertain they’re in working condition.

If your engine doesn’t have other issues, examine the ignition coil’s performance. A failing ignition coil doesn’t create an electrical spark on the plugs. You can also use a multimeter to measure the coil’s resistance. Replacing a bad coil will resolve the Kohler engine starting problems.

Engine Stalls Abruptly

Another common Kohler ignition coil issue is the engine dying or stalling after running for a while. In this case, the engine will start but may abruptly stop running.

An engine stalling problem can come with warning signs such as overheating or loss of power. However, there are instances when your Kohler engine stops without warning.

Engine stalling can occur if there’s no high electrical voltage in the spark plugs for igniting the fuel. This problem causes incomplete combustion of the air-fuel mixture. With time, the engine loses power and shuts down.

Your Kohler engine can shut down due to other issues, such as a clogged carburetor, insufficient fuel, clogged fuel lines, faulty plugs, or excessive oil in the reservoir. So always consider these issues when diagnosing the engine.

If none of the above causes the engine to stall, you might have a bad ignition coil that needs replacing.

Misfiring Engine

Kohler ignition coil problems can cause the engine to misfire during operations. And in most cases, a misfiring engine will lose power, accelerate poorly and eventually stall. A misfiring engine usually produces a coughing or sputtering noise while running.

But how does a bad ignition coil cause the engine to misfire?

The spark plugs require a consistent electrical spark to allow complete combustion. If the coil is bad, it will create an inconsistent spark. This issue will cause the engine to skip combustion cycles and misfire. You might also notice that the engine shakes, vibrates, or runs rough.

When fixing this problem, ensure you have functional spark plugs and plug wires. You can also inspect the fuel injector to ensure it’s not clogged. Lastly, examine your Kohler ignition coil and replace it if faulty.

Poor Fuel Economy

A failing Kohler ignition coil can affect the engine’s fuel efficiency. This problem occurs during the early stages of the coil’s failure, resulting in fuel overconsumption.

The fuel requires a consistent and sufficient spark from the plugs to burn efficiently. If the ignition coil is bad, it won’t create a spark to ignite the fuel. As a result, the fuel fails to burn as required and escapes unburned through the exhaust.

You can notice this problem if your engine consumes more fuel while covering less mileage.

Other issues, such as an overloaded engine, improper air flow, or faulty fuel injectors, can cause poor fuel economy. Check your engine to ensure these issues are not to blame. Then replace the faulty ignition coil and check if the engine uses fuel efficiently.

Check Engine Light

The check engine light on modern lawnmowers or construction equipment with a Kohler engine can light up to indicate a faulty ignition coil. This light pops up when the engine has a problem. And to troubleshoot the underlying problem, you must determine the cause of the light turning on.

A diagnostic tool can help you scan for the fault code to know if the ignition coil is the culprit. Alternatively, you can take your machine to a specialist to determine the cause of the check engine light. If the light results from a defective ignition coil, replace it.

How To Fix a Bad Kohler Ignition Coil

To fix the above Kohler ignition coil problems, you’ll need to examine or test the coil and replace it if necessary. These steps will help you test for a faulty ignition coil:

  • Turn off the engine.
  • Disconnect the spark plug.
  • Ensure the multimeter is set to the appropriate ohms range.
  • Connect the multimeter’s red and black leads to the ignition coil’s positive and negative terminals.
  • Check the readings. If the multimeter indicates a resistance between 2.5 and 5 ohms, your ignition coil is okay. You have a bad ignition coil if the reading falls outside this range.

Replacing a faulty Kohler ignition coil is straightforward and inexpensive. Depending on the model, a new Kohler ignition coil costs between $30 and $50. If you’re a DIYer, you’ll spend less than $50 to replace the coil. If a professional replaces the coil, expect to pay between $50 and $150.

To replace the coil:

  • Locate it on the engine and disconnect the wires. Your machine’s owner’s manual should help you locate the ignition coil.
  • Unscrew the coil and wiggle it a bit to make it loose.
  • Remove it and install the new coil.
  • Then reconnect the wires and the spark plug. 
  • Start the engine to see if you’ve fixed the problem.
Kohler ignition coil problems

Final Thoughts

Kohler ignition coil problems can affect your engine’s performance. The engine might be difficult to start. And if the engine starts, it might misfire, consume much fuel, or stall. A check engine light might pop up on your machine’s dash.

If you have a faulty ignition coil, replace it with a compatible coil. You can also examine your engine to ensure no other underlying problems exist. If you can’t test or replace a bad ignition coil, allow a professional to do the job.