Small Engine Troubleshooting Problems? Ask a Mechanic Now.
Kohler does use a compression release, but this engine is not hard to start. Do you have a voltmeter to test the battery voltage and the voltage at the starter when trying to start? I suspect you have a bad starter or cables! And what is the battery CCA rating?
Page 8-10 shows the decompression lever, on the back side of the camshaft gear.
If battery voltage drops lower than 8 volts at the starter when trying to start, battery or cable problem. Or run a compression test and see if compression is above 120 psi. If it is, the decompression lever is not working, If lower, I would replace the starter!