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  • Generator maintence

    Hi. So today the power went out.. decided to drag the generator out and see if it still runs. Well.. yes and no.

    Got it started.. and then it started revving to hell, so unjammed the govoner.. Then I couldn't get the damn thing to run properly on no choke.

    Even after 30 mins of running, puting it on no choke would cause it to backfire and shoot fireballs out the exhaust while the RPM's surge up and down badly.

    Ran like a dream on half choke even once warm.. Although the exhaust getting all red from the catalytic converter working overtime couldn't of been a good sign.

    Also took awhile for fuel to even flow into the carb, like 10 minutes of taping/banging/swishing the fuel around before it started to flow into the clear fuel filter. (Removal of the filter showed good flow from the tank)

    So. Long story short, I am wondering what would cause that surging and backfiring.

    Since it runs on half choke and its been siting for 2 years with no fuel in it, Id kinda wager the jets are clogged up.. Or maybe an intake leak opened up? Ran fine last time I used it.

    Thoughts before I take it apart? its a 6000W 4 stroke generator.


    Other thing I noticed is the metal cage on the 'fuel gauge' gas cap had corroded to total hell. lots of wire brushing before the float would move -_-. Odd since that generator has been kept in a nice reasonably dry garage all this time.
    Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

  • #2
    Main jet in the carb is gummed up. We see this all the time
    in our shop. Try some SeaFoam. Put it in the gas run engine
    in order to get the mixture in the carb. Let it sit for 1, 2, or 3
    days. See if it is better or fixed. If not remove main jet and clean.
    Keep SeaFoam in gas and you will not have this happen again.
    olf20 / Bob

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    • #3
      Common problem with generators that sit for long periods of time with gas in the tank and go through the temp. and humidity changes.
      My neighbors did the same thing, I told him to put some gas stabilizer in the tank. It's been fine ever since, and don't use gas with ethanol.

      JL..................

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      • #4
        Used the non ethanol gas for my motorbike when I filled it up last actually. But then I drained it dry, so I thought...

        Will add seafoam and run it tomorrow. Gotta do SOMETHING with that damn bottle of it after I decided it wasent really doing anything for my 2 stroke bike. (Also I have been wanting that empty bottle. Its so nice, compact, metal and gasoline resistant... thought it might make a good emergency gas tank for my 2 stroke bike!)

        How much should I add to the 1/2 gallon of gas in there?
        Last edited by Black_Moons; 11-07-2013, 08:15 AM.
        Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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        • #5
          Sounds like you had a moisture (condensation) issue with the tank empty all this time hence the problem getting fuel to flow in addition to the corrosion in the fuel cap's gauge.
          The running issue is definitely an issue of clogged jets. Don't assume it is only the main jet that is clogged. Under light load or no load running, 90% of the fuel delivery is done either by the intermediate or idle jets so you may have to physically clean the carburetor depending on the results you achieve with the "mechanic in the can" program.

          When storing the generator make sure you remove all gas from the system by removing the float bowl drain plug and draining all fuel lines. I also like to give the inside of the tank a quick shot of some spray lubricant, you may also want to seal the tank with a piece of plastic at the tank's opening, your location is not an exactly a dry one so moisture related issues will surface without a little extra effort.
          Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
          Bad Decisions Make Good Stories

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          • #6
            when you store something it's not enough just to drain the tank - you have to either drain the carb too or run it dry,

            and sea foam is no protection against what's left behind after the fuel evaporates - varnish...

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            • #7
              Why don't you just take the carburator apart and clean it?
              And the fuel tank as well.
              This would clearly solve your problems.
              It's a small engine, not complicated.
              It's not a Quadrajet 4 barrel.

              --Doozer
              DZER

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              • #8
                Yes! And there nothing special about "seafoam" -another over marketed product.. (like WD40 is). Just isopropyl Alcohol, Naptha and "pale oil". Fresh tier 1 gas is just as good as a solvent.

                We lost power for 14 hours last weekend. I spent most of the time (between cleaning trees off the road) getting my neighbors generators to run. ALL of them either had bad gas or did not drain the carb. All but one of them of them came to life with new gas and a quick carb clean (take off, remove jets, clean out with real carb cleaner). 10 minutes maybe... One had the sump full of old gas - left the gas valve on and the carb leaked into the sump. Keep your gas valve turned off when not in use.

                Even "running dry" often doesn't suck out the last gas in the carb. Either run it once a month, open the carb drain (if it has one) or take the carb bowl off to do the same.
                Last edited by lakeside53; 11-07-2013, 11:14 AM.

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                • #9
                  Not the answer to the original question, but the solution may be converting the generator to propane and a run with a full load once a month. When the power is out, how are you going to get gasoline? Propane is forklift sized cylinders will still be available through an industreial dealer.

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                  • #10
                    This is pretty common and not limited to generators (we see it on turf equipment a lot). As you surmised, the main jet is plugged and will have to be removed and cleaned.
                    After a good thorough cleaning ( disassembled carb, hosed out with an aggressive spray carb cleaner and dried with compressed air. Wear eye protection) , inspect the fuel bowl for rust and replace if it has any. Otherwise, the rust will come back and undo all the work you just did.

                    Run the genny for at least an hour on fresh, non-ethanol fuel.

                    Unfortunately, non-ethanol fuel is expensive so we recommend Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment if using regular gas. It seems to work well, our customers buy lots of it.

                    I run my genny once a month on fresh non-ethanol fuel (with Star Tron just in case) for about a half an hour under load (plug in space heaters). I shut off the fuel and run the carb dry. I then drain the fuel from the tank (very easy on this genset).

                    Good luck!

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                    • #11
                      Although the popular rhetoric is "alcohol is the enemy", Ethanol added fuel (up to 10%) is fine if you keep it fresh (no more then 3 months old). We have 50 gensets in our community, and the only trouble is the guys that think they can run them only "when the power goes out" each winter. 1 year old automobile gas is a problem, and 2 year old is stupid.

                      There is no substitute for running your generator often, no matter the fuel. If you want a year or 2 (or more) from the fuel, go to your local airport and buy 100LL. Avgas is an entirely different formulation and does not break down rapidly. Of course... not legal to do this in most states, but.... you can run your airplane of it, so a few generators aren't going to hurt the atmosphere much. It has a slower flame front so watch your exhaust for sign of overheating (rare, but you might need to adjust your timing a tad).
                      Last edited by lakeside53; 11-07-2013, 01:40 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lakeside53 View Post
                        Although the popular rhetoric is "alcohol is the enemy", Ethanol added fuel (up to 10%) is fine if you keep it fresh (no more then 3 months old). We have 50 gensets in our community, and the only trouble is the guys that think they can run them only "when the power goes out" each winter. 1 year old automobile gas is a problem, and 2 year old is stupid.

                        There is no substitute for running your generator often, no matter the fuel. If you want a year or 2 (or more) from the fuel, go to your local airport and buy 100LL. Avgas is an entirely different formulation and does not break down rapidly. Of course... not legal to do this in most states, but.... you can run your airplane of it, so a few generators aren't going to hurt the atmosphere much. It has a slower flame front so watch your exhaust for sign of overheating (rare, but you might need to adjust your timing a tad).
                        Your comment about alcohol is contrary to what OEM small engine manufacturers like Briggs, Kohler, and Honda (we sell all three) say. They recommend non-ethanol fuel when possible.

                        Since every small engine we sell has absolutely no provision for adjusting timing (and even the bigger water-cooled four cylinder Ford Industrial or three cylinder gas Daihatsu we sell and service do not) exactly how do you "adjust your timing a tad"?

                        And why is it illegal to buy avgas at an airport?

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                        • #13
                          This is the stuff I use, I don't think you can use too much.

                          JL................

                          http://www.k100fueltreatment.com/k100-products.html

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                          • #14
                            It's not illegal to buy 100LL avgas at an airport -it's illegal to run leaded gas except in engines designated for such (old grandfathered, planes etc). 100LL LL= "low lead") still has 7X the lead of the 80's leaded automobile gas. I should have added - don't use it if you have a CAT muffler! I've seen 5 year old AvGas run well.. but I wouldn't recommend that.

                            'Timing a tad" - if you have to, move the coil very slightly - there always slop. Worst case, file the Flywheel key slightly. Generally not an issue, but we ran into this on big chainsaws for milling in Alaska - they were using the gas from the plane. We adjusted the timing and all was well.

                            Sure the manfs would like you not use alcohol gas (so long as they pass emissions without E10, and many don't), but that's just because they know it doesn't keep well, and they don't want to deal with the consumer who has no clue. The simple fact of life for most of the USA - you can't get it without. In my area the nearest pump is 30 miles way. Think about it - billions of car miles a year are on E10. Sure, some problems, but the cars pretty much stay on the road. Nothing special about small 4 strokes other then they don't get fueled regularly.

                            I worked for several years (still do now and then) at a Stihl dealer. It's even more of a problem for their 2 stoke and 4-mix OPE, but they adapted and tested everything against the E10 gas. Keep it fresh, use a synthetic mix oil and you'll be fine.
                            Last edited by lakeside53; 11-07-2013, 07:29 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by A.K. Boomer View Post
                              when you store something it's not enough just to drain the tank - you have to either drain the carb too or run it dry,

                              and sea foam is no protection against what's left behind after the fuel evaporates - varnish...
                              This is it. It is so simple, yet it takes care of this. My generator, my weed eater, chain saw, all are run out of gas before storing. Seems like gas in a tank doesn't go bad as fast as in the carb, within a half year or so. Stabilizer is always good. But I have run my engines out of gas for years and never have a problem.

                              Non ethanol gas I believe is best. There Are websites to find out who sells it. I have used Seafoam, and it does seem to help. My generator would stumble when going from idle to throttle, and sometimes miss enough to stop. So I used Seafoam, and be dammed if it didn't straighten right out!

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