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I have 3 generators and I've never had to use them I start them up every 4 to 6 months for 10 minutes or less (perhaps I should run them a bit longer to burn off condensation) just to make sure they run without issue my question is how often I should I be changing the oil, my current schedule is once a year but I'm thinking that it maybe overkill I'm contemplating once every other year or go with synthetic and change it once every 3 three years?

Any thoughts?


I posted this question in another thread but I thought I would get a better response with it's own thread.
 

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Ephemerally here
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If you live in the Desert SouthWest, moisture is not requiring oil changed so often. Moondust is Your particular enemy: that flour-fine dust that is everywhere.

So, I would change Synthetic oil only Once a Year, right after the Once every Six Month's 50% Loaded, Half Hour runs. Air Filter service once a Year.

Store Zero fuel in the Generators, and shut off fuel after unloading the genset and allowing Ten Minutes,@minimum, Cooldown run. Running till completely out of Fuel. When dead cold, remove sparkplug and shoot a squirt of Marvel Mystery Motor Oil, and crank a few times, then using anti-Seize, replace plug with correct torque. (If you want to be completely OCD about it, use NEW sparkplug washer.) Finally, before storing, select Choke ON, as it closes off the intake passages into the Motor.

Then, to combat the moondust, completely enclose the Genset in a plastic Garbage bag. Tie or knot the bag shut, after tossing a couple camphor balls and/or cedar shavings(in a net bag) - keeps spiders, scorpions and rats from gen windings, fuel lines, and wires. The moondust is abrasive and insulating, both properties anathema to longevity.

I am also particular to Iridium (Platinum in a pinch)sparkplugs, as they don't erode anywhere as fast during long, hot runs. Further, they have a teensy area center electrode, concentrating the spark blast, thus burning off any fouling and reaching through any flooding as well. Aids in [email protected] pull. Pay attention to correct Heat Range, selecting exact or One step Cooler, as the arc concentration will compensate, and one range cooler helps at heavy loading.

Mobil 1 oil is absolute best, and since the oil sumps of these portable gensets are so small, the price differential is negligeable. Changing once every other or once every Three Years seems reasonable, but for me, was it last Year? Two years ago?...For me, Once every Year in Early Autumn, is no muss, no fuss, peace of mind.

If K&N makes an Air filter element for Your Gensets, buy Two per motor! In the absence of K&N, look into the OEM filter oiling procedure, and maybe add a prefilter sock of oiled sponge or cloth, as is done for Desert Motorsports' engines. Stop the moondust!
 

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After the first couple of changes of oil it is my opinion, for the amount of use you are having, you may not need to change the oil again. When the engine is brand new there will be break-in wear products that need to be removed (especially a small engine that does not have a oil filter) by a couple of oil changes. After that it will depend on usage.
 

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Oh Yeah! Only go to Any Synthetic AFTER initial break-in period, because the rings will never seat if you put in Synthetic right at New. Oil fouling, excessive oil use, and smoking will be the result of too soon!
 

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reluctant sinner
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While its new put antiseize compound on the exhaust system nuts.

Blow by from the rings will condense. 30 minute or longer runs will dry out the oil.

Extra plug and filters are good to have. The factory repair manual is nice if you can get one.
 

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I'd run them at least quarterly for half an hour to an hour and under at least a light load. I think both mine say change oil every 50 hours of use.
 

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Jihaadi GoBOOM
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I change oil in mine every 30 hours or yearly, if not used except for maintenance runs.

You're gonna laugh, but my hour meter is a little old 24hr electric clock. AC on, clock on...
 

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Roger Johnny Red....We do a LOT of generators and most are rarely used. When you really need it it won't be there...for long. Run it to temperature for around thirty minutes, give it a good load after it settles in. Oil changes are cheap maintenance. You really couldn't do it too often. Moisture will build up normally from combustion plus acids build up in the oil from not running them long enough and hard enough. Run it often. It'll have your back when you need it.
 

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What kind of engines are on the generators that you have? I'd say the only thing missing from your routine is more run time. You should run it up to full operating temp for a little while. The oil needs to get at least above 170 degrees and stay there for a while. The quickest way to do that is run it under load. The engines that they put in generators are pretty tough.

Here is a comprehensive list of what you need to do to keep a generator engine working well

Steps:
1- Keep the oil level topped off (Shortest interval for changing can be 150 hours in most cases)
2- Don't let it sit still with fuel in the carb for too long. It will clog the carb.
3- Keep your oil level topped off
4- Make sure it has enough oil in it

The end.
 

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Third World'er Lunatic
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I use Lucas oils, full synthetic on broken in generators, If it doesnt have one, install inline fuel shut off and fuel filter, i always shut the fuel off after its 30 min run, let it run out of gas, open the bowl drain and shoot a lil free all/pb miast into the bowl, and close it back up.
ethanol fuels are the worst thing for a generator. rust/crud up tanks and carbs. try to find ethanol free fuels. I start my generators once a month and run em. I don't like having to pull a carb down the day a hurricane is rolling in.

change my oil once a year, with a K&N filter and nylon sock on intake.
 

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One thing I can add is after you've switched your generator off, and it will sit for a while, is to pull the starter cable (key set to OFF) until you feel both engine valves have shut and compression builds. That way the seated valves will not allow atmospheric moisture to enter the cylinder.

I had one generator seize up because of that. A rust ring built up to where the piston left the cylinder unprotected. The piston would move up only up to the position of the rust ring, then stop. A dose of WD-40 through the spark plug hole freed the piston.
 

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Now how about a run down on diesel units. I have a 12.5kw Elliott. I cycle it once a year at near full load for an half hour. I change the oil and filtermevery two or 3 years and keep the tank full and with anti algae additive. Any other pointers?
 

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reluctant sinner
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I would run it 3 times a year for your 1/2 hour. Oil drains away from the parts when the sit for a long. I would use a oil enhancer like ER to help treat the metal.
 

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As others do I run Mobil 1 Full Syn oil and change every 50 hours of run time. I have a small hour meter on both of my units. I do keep them full of non ethanol fuel with Stabil. I run them every 4 months under full load for 30 minutes and then turn off fuel petcock and let them run dry. They have never failed to start in the 16 years I have had them.
 

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Great information guys, HandLoad you are over the top (in a good way).

That's an interesting thought about not changing the oil anymore...

You guys turn the petcock off and let the carb run out of gas so it doesn't get gummed up?
Yes, I always turn off the petcock valve to run the engine dry. The 2000 watt Honda generators don't let you do this, but the Yamaha models do, something that I believe to be a big plus.

I run my generator for at least 10-15 minutes every month and try to put a sizable enough load on it to make the engine rev up a bit at least. My wife's hair dryer does the trick, but so would an electric heater or vacuum cleaner.

Considering that my generator only holds .63 quart of oil, I just change it every spring. It takes a grand total of three minutes and costs me a few bucks. I only use Mobil 1 full synthetic.

IMHO, only running a generator once or twice a year is asking for trouble. When we had an intense wind storm here about a year ago and tens of thousands of people were without power, many who had generators discovered that they would not run. Some had not been run in years, which is obviously a terrible lack of planning.

I just don't see a good reason to not fire up the genny every month. It's very cheap and quick insurance. And if it's started up the last 24 months in a row, the odds that it will do so when your power actually does fail are very high.
 

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Manage your generator like your emergency food, "buy what you eat, eat what you buy", I really like using an electric chainsaw, weed eater, leaf blower, etc over gas powered. Use it, don't waste it by "testing" it.
 

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Manage your generator like your emergency food, "buy what you eat, eat what you buy", I really like using an electric chainsaw, weed eater, leaf blower, etc over gas powered. Use it, don't waste it by "testing" it.
An internal combustion engine that isn't run fairly often goes downhill quickly. Ask a mechanic.

That doesn't mean you should run it into the ground, but occasionally operating it in order to keep everything lubricated and in working order is highly recommended by virtually everyone for good reason.
 
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