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Thread: Portable AC Generator

  1. #1
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    Portable AC Generator

    Anyone own a portable generator?
    I have one bought 20 years ago and has been running perfectly . I keep it for emergency use...power outage, etc..... I run it at least once a month, the last being in March 15 2007. On April 25 2007 I tried to start it. It caught on for two seconds, then stalled.Maybe I over-choked it so an hour later I tried again. It started briefly, then stalled. Continuous pulling of the cord still it wouldn't start. Maybe cleaning, regapping might help? I tried to remove the spark plug without success (I don't have a socket to fit).

    Any comment? ???

  2. #2
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Portable AC Generator

    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyMan
    Anyone own a portable generator?
    I have one bought 20 years ago and has been running perfectly . I keep it for emergency use...power outage, etc..... I run it at least once a month, the last being in March 15 2007. On April 25 2007 I tried to start it. It caught on for two seconds, then stalled.Maybe I over-choked it so an hour later I tried again. It started briefly, then stalled. Continuous pulling of the cord still it wouldn't start. Maybe cleaning, regapping might help? I tried to remove the spark plug without success (I don't have a socket to fit).

    Any comment? ???
    I have a generator; most of these units have engines very similar to what you'd find on a lawn mower/riding tractor. (i.e., small , air-cooled four-strokes). They are prone to the same maladies, resulting most often from things like infrequent use, contaminated/old fuel, gunked-up carb, etc.

    Have you tried draining the fuel that's in there and using fresh fuel?

    Also, get some starting fluid (ether) and squirt some in the carb throat, then try to start it. It should run - unless there is some other problem, probably ignition-related.

  3. #3
    rbagley
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    Re: Portable AC Generator

    Based on the "runs then stops" description, you've got air, spark, and fuel, but it's quickly running out of fuel for one reason or another.

    First, check the fuel filter. Take the fuel line from the filter to the carb and pull it off the carb. Put it in a clean bucket or cup (that you won't use for drinking after this) on the ground (or as low as possible) and turn on the fuel petcock. Fuel should steadily dribble from the line into the container. If it doesn't, or if it's really slow, buy a new filter. Either way, get rid of all of the gas in the generator (just because fuel quality may also be the issue) and try again.

    You can put a small amount of bad/old gas in your car's tank with plenty of good gas and get some use out of it that way.

    If the filter and fuel are good, the next best guess is that carb needs a tear-down and cleaning. You may have varnish from old fuel that's become dislodged and is clogging the jets. Tearing down the carbs on one of these little motors is astonishingly easy. If you change your own oil and would be willing to look at a kitchen appliance to see what's wrong, you probably have enough skill to disassemble and reassemble the carb on that motor.

    If you're nervous about the complexity or don't see where to start, get a book on the subject (that's the first result from a search for "small engine" at Amazon). But really, there's not a lot to it. Have a clean area to work, put the parts in plastic trays as you remove them (take pictures before removing something if you're afraid of not getting it back right), scrub everything with carb or fuel injector cleaner and an old toothbrush (just spray the cleaner into the small holes, don't try to put anything down there), put it back together, try again.

    If neither of these approaches works, get the book and see if it can't help you diagnose the issue. Otherwise, take it to the local lawn mower repair center and they'll set you right.

    Regards,
    Ross

  4. #4
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    Re: Portable AC Generator

    >>>Have you tried draining the fuel that's in there and using using fresh fuel?<<<

    After pondering for days on what I should do, whether to clean the carburetor, cleaning or replacing the fuel filter (I doubt this particular model has a fuel filter..the manual doesn't show a filter in any of their diagrams), I merely drained the fuel and refilled with fresh fuel and ..presto!, 0ne pull of the cord started it. I guess the hard starting was due to accumulation of water condensation in the tank (This is the first time I EVER drained the tank of old fuel since I bought it over 20 years ago.)

    Anyhow, thanks for all your suggestions .

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Portable AC Generator

    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyMan
    >>>Have you tried draining the fuel that's in there and using using fresh fuel?<<<

    After pondering for days on what I should do, whether to clean the carburetor, cleaning or replacing the fuel filter (I doubt this particular model has a fuel filter..the manual doesn't show a filter in any of their diagrams), I merely drained the fuel and refilled with fresh fuel and ..presto!, 0ne pull of the cord started it. I guess the hard starting was due to accumulation of water condensation in the tank (This is the first time I EVER drained the tank of old fuel since I bought it over 20 years ago.)

    Anyhow, thanks for all your suggestions .
    Excellent!

    And I'mnot surprised about the water; these days, alcohol (ethanol) laced fuel is commonplace - and that can increase the chances of water formation in the tank.

    By the way: If you leave fuel in the tank for longer than a month, I recommend adding fuel stabilizer (Sta-Bil is what I use) ....

  6. #6
    mrblanche
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    Re: Portable AC Generator

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    And I'mnot surprised about the water; these days, alcohol (ethanol) laced fuel is commonplace - and that can increase the chances of water formation in the tank.

    By the way: If you leave fuel in the tank for longer than a month, I recommend adding fuel stabilizer (Sta-Bil is what I use) ....
    I don't think alcohol will increase water in the tank, since alcohol readily combines with water, the mixture combines with gasoline, and the combination burns just fine. This is the basis of Drygas. You pour in alcohol, it combines with the water, and is then burned.

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