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Procrastinate Now
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Lesson Learned with Generator

I live in Texas and the recent cold front is affecting us. We have not lost any power and are doing just fine. We are, however, expecting ice and snow on Friday. With ice comes frozen power lines and ice on trees that break power lines.

So I got the generator out to make sure everything was running o.k. just in case. It is a 5500 watt generator, gasoline engine.
I put in brand new gas. I replaced the oil.

Then the generator would not start.

I used it twice since 2005. Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008. I did a couple of test runs since then, but not more than one hour. It has been about a year since I last ran the generator.

Come to find out the problem was a fouled spark plug. $2.00 and the problem was fixed.

This leads me to the reason for this post: Buy several extra spark plugs for the generator to keep in the stock pile.

The manual says to change the spark plug every 300 hours. That is every 12 days on 24hr use. In a real SHTF you may not be able to buy more spark plugs.

Now that i got it running hopefully I won't need it.
 

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What would Mal do
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keep extra oil on hand as well....

several years back I had not taken proper care of my genny...did not do a gas stabilizer, and let the thing sit for well over a year...took quite a bit of cleaning...drop the bowl, pull the float pin, etc..to get that thing to run right again...not fun having to work on a rig when it's freezing..that's the time when you just want to pull the cord and have it start.

I keep all gas stabilized now, and test run the genny once a month faithfully.
 

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Lesson Learned with Generator

I live in Texas and the recent cold front is affecting us. We have not lost any power and are doing just fine. We are, however, expecting ice and snow on Friday. With ice comes frozen power lines and ice on trees that break power lines.

So I got the generator out to make sure everything was running o.k. just in case. It is a 5500 watt generator, gasoline engine.
I put in brand new gas. I replaced the oil.

Then the generator would not start.

I used it twice since 2005. Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008. I did a couple of test runs since then, but not more than one hour. It has been about a year since I last ran the generator.

Come to find out the problem was a fouled spark plug. $2.00 and the problem was fixed.

This leads me to the reason for this post: Buy several extra spark plugs for the generator to keep in the stock pile.

The manual says to change the spark plug every 300 hours. That is every 12 days on 24hr use. In a real SHTF you may not be able to buy more spark plugs.

Now that i got it running hopefully I won't need it.
Someone said to change the oil often in them, I at least run my for 15 minutes once a Month. I keep extra oil, spark plugs and fuel filters.

NIce reminder!
 

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You might want to look into getting a spark plug cleaner too. Granted you need an air compressor too but they work and can make plugs last much longer then 300 hours.
http://www.google.com/search?q=spar...tle&resnum=1&ved=0CEcQrQQwAA&biw=1680&bih=919

I got one because of my Harley. The front cylinder runs lean and the back one rich. If I remember I'll switch them around to burn off the gunk. But the plugs are hard to come by so I keep quite a few around and clean them when I run low.
 
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Rotties Rule
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Then the generator would not start.

I used it twice since 2005. Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008. I did a couple of test runs since then, but not more than one hour. It has been about a year since I last ran the generator.
I think you got lucky that it started with just changing the plug. The main reason that generators won't start after sitting unused is gas related.
While unstabilized gas will go "bad" eventually, (as will stabilized fuel - it just takes longer) the more likely problem (written very simply) is that gas will evaporate in the carburetor and the residue will gum up the works.

The only way around this is to run the generator every month.
Okay, it's not the only solution, but it is the easiest one.

I understand that it's a hassle to drag the generator out and run it every month, but to not do so is inviting a situation where when you finally do need generator power it's not there - due to lack of maintaince.

I'm as much of a slacker as the next guy :rolleyes: and I know of which I speak... two weeks ago I got my little generator - Honda 2000i (I also have a bigger 5500 watt Black Maxx) and it wouldn't start.
Wasn't something as easy as the spark plug unfortunately, and $200 later there is a new carburator on it.
I hadn't run the Honda for several months... my bad, thus my fault.

I had the repair shop drain the gas tank/carb and blow it all dry after ther replaced the carb and test ran it. So, now I don't have to run it every month :thumb:

I would have rather taken the generator out once a month and run it as opposed to spending the $200, but that's the price of slacking I reckon...

Edited to add: it was mentioned above to store extra plugs, oil, etc... for a couple bucks you might want to add an extra air filter too.
 

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Lesson Learned with Generator

I live in Texas and the recent cold front is affecting us. We have not lost any power and are doing just fine. We are, however, expecting ice and snow on Friday. With ice comes frozen power lines and ice on trees that break power lines.

.


Now that i got it running hopefully I won't need it.
Little leason I learned up here. I put my Generator on a garden cart, 4 wheeled so I can move it around easily.
During the ice storm of 07 it was so cold it wouldnt turn over . Solution, small can of sterno placed under the crank case, just enough heat to warm the oil and it would crank easily. Also, keep a can or starting fluid around. A little shot in the carb plus the warm oil and thats the other edge ya need in this super cold weather.
Thank gosh I didnt need the gennie this time..............

Oh another trick, is to shut of the gas flow after yo have ran it and just let the carb run dry..........
 

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Since I live totally on solar. I have found that if you add stabil to your gas tanks, in your gennies of course , run it for around 15 minutes or so, then shut it off, you will do much better if you don't use them often. Once I shut them off during cold weather, I wait about 15 minutes or so for the gennie to cool , and then go wrap them up with old sleeping bags tightly so that they stay much warmer. You can get these old sleeping bags cheap at thrift stores etc especially during the summers. Old wool blankets also work well . But don't allow them to get wet or they will freeze solid.
 

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Good thread! I run my generator once a week and add a load to it. The gas is treated with Pri-G and I hadn't had any problems until a recent cold snap. I had refueled it with fresh gas just before the cold weather and apparently the gas had some water in it. When I tried to open the fuel shutoff valve it broke and I could see ice inside it and the end of the fuel line. Checked the fuel tank and there was ice crystals in it too. :taped:

Luckily a new fuel shutoff was only 6 bucks but during a power outage parts would have likely been scarce. I replaced the broken one after draining the bad gas and refilling the tank and it runs fine now.

I've added an extra fuel shutoff,fuel line and clamps to the extra fuel filters,air filters,oil and spark plugs I keep on hand.
 

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Little leason I learned up here. I put my Generator on a garden cart, 4 wheeled so I can move it around easily.
During the ice storm of 07 it was so cold it wouldnt turn over . Solution, small can of sterno placed under the crank case, just enough heat to warm the oil and it would crank easily. Also, keep a can or starting fluid around. A little shot in the carb plus the warm oil and thats the other edge ya need in this super cold weather.
Thank gosh I didnt need the gennie this time..............

Oh another trick, is to shut of the gas flow after yo have ran it and just let the carb run dry..........
You need to be careful with the starting fluid, its extremely flammable. More isn't better, more = bomb! I personally don't think too much of the sterno idea, or any open flame around my generator, especially in the presence of starting fluid. So if you go this route, with the sterno, make sure it is fully extinguished before using the starting fluid. The last thing you need are 3rd degree burns or a burning house when the fire dept/EMTs cant reach you!
 

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I recommend keeping a foot or two of right sized fuel line on hand to.. Never know when it's gunna spit/hole on ya..Learned that during my last maintenance check.

* I have an over-sized ziplock bag duct taped to the side of my rig with extra fuel line, filter, spark plug, starting fld, stabil, screw driver and manual in it, makes it easy to find the stuff when your working on it in less than ideal situations.
 

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My Temperature is Right
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spark plugs are a lost art in this disposable society. Buy a sand blasting attachment for your air compressor. Buy a small flat file. Learn how to recondition the bottom electrode. Throwing them away and buying a new one is far easier, but when you can't, it'll get awful dark and your beer will be awful warm.
 

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Plugs are not alll that hard to clean,
don't break the electrode or porcelin , get most of the carbon out , I use a fine stainless steel tooth brush , or , if in the shop ,the sand blaster, but the brush does nicer job .
brake cleaner works well too .
if it's carbon fouled check you oil often ,and keep it clean. when changing, if you can, flush out the old, diesel fuel or kerosesne work ok, solvent is best .
The first oil change is the most important ,because metals are in the pan from the break in period, and they get recirculated back into the engine . A lot of those small engines have no oil filter and are diper lubricated , and rarely does any one think to put a magnet on the drain plug .
Ideally synthetic oils are best ,both for starting in cold weather and viscosity in heat durability. I add a little Rislone 3 or 4 oz. to each oil change , It gets into the metal perminantly,and generally keeps things from locking up like valves and rings .
Govenor and throttle linkages do not move much on a generator and develop a "set" .If neglected long enough a freeze,depending on the type of weather it endures when not running . Spraying a sylicone lubricant around the linkkages will reduce this "Set" propensity. Speaking of "set "
If the generator is not going to be moved and it has wheels, vibration mounting blocks work well in absorbing some of the transfirred noise against the floor/concrete ,and prolonging the life of the tires and frame of the unit. I took the tires off of mine and it is mounted on the shop floor on vibration blocks. If you leave it on the wheels ,some can develop a set in them and make it hard to roll if required. (unless they are penumatic)
Good luck with your genne, stay warm
 

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I just saw the mention of starting fluid and shuttered.
For some unknown reason, engines get addicted to either, (Starting fluid).
I can't tell you why , but almost every instance where starting fluid is being used ,be it diesel or gas, it is like an addiction and won't start with out it ever again. Or it just seeems that way.
As a mechanic, I purchased a pressure sprayer designed to house gasoline for just that purpouse, and I really love it. But a good oil (pump type) can works well too.
if you have to resort to that , I know it sounds laborious but at least put the air filter back in place before trying to start, and have your alternate fuel well aside away from the potential fire.
Even though there never is one , it is still a good practice .
Engine starting problems can be the result of a sticky intake valve , which if the engine fires against the gas in the cylinder and the valve is stuck open the fire is pushed out the carb. Usually the air filter stopps the flame right there. Usually.If it's the exhause valve that is not closed and the pipe is facing the gas can , guess what ? Not that I did but I know a few that have . Please be careful
 

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I recently had to have the carb rebuilt on my large snowblower as I had not had to use it for a couple of years as my smaller one was able to do the job, but not this year.

Anyway I have learned my lesson and will now not only drain the gas from the tank, but also shut off the fuel and run it till dry.

As for disposing of the old gas the suggestion was to add it to a car's fuel tank.

My question is why do cars start up so much easier and problem free than do small gasoline engines and why doesn't someone make a small gasoline engine that is as trouble free to start as a car?
 

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My Temperature is Right
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I recently had to have the carb rebuilt on my large snowblower as I had not had to use it for a couple of years as my smaller one was able to do the job, but not this year.

Anyway I have learned my lesson and will now not only drain the gas from the tank, but also shut off the fuel and run it till dry.

As for disposing of the old gas the suggestion was to add it to a car's fuel tank.

My question is why do cars start up so much easier and problem free than do small gasoline engines and why doesn't someone make a small gasoline engine that is as trouble free to start as a car?
If you ran and maintained your mower and as much as you run your car it would be relatively trouble free. Prof Lawn mowers rarely have the trouble homeowners do.
 
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