Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

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  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator
    Good question. I'm going out there tomorrow (I think) so can check.

    The reason I ask is because straight-grade oils are not that common for automotive anymore. But very common for diesels. I use Cenex Superlube 518 SAE 30 in all my off-road diesels because they are generally run at wide-open throttle for hours on end. I've never had any problems using it in the older Honda GX engines with the internal oil sensor. But the newer iGX electronic engine has problems with it. The stuff clings to parts so well that it coats the oil sensor and the sensor stops working and shuts the engine down.

    So I'm using Phillips Super HDII 15W-40 (which is what I run in all my trucks year 'round) in the Honda iGX on our EM4000SX generator now. No problems with the low oil sensor with the Super HDII.
    --
    Chris
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,344 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator
    If this wanders off into a discussion of motorcycles it's getting killed. Especially if it turns to "my bike can beat up your bike" junk.

    Sorry not my intent!
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    Does the manual only say to use 10W-30 for the EU2000? Or does it have that temp chart in there that shows SAE30 for warmer temps?
    --
    Chris

    Manual says to choose the viscosity for the average temperature in your area. If ambient temp is between 10C and 40C, SAE 30 is OK. Best to use either 10W-30 or 5W-30 for colder temperatures. The chart goes down to -15C for those grades. You would likely want to go with something even lighter for temps down around -30C.

    For fuel, they just specify using a gasoline with a pump octane of 86 or higher. It also specifies regular unleaded gasoline with no more than 10% ethanol or 5% methanol by volume in the manual. Using gas with higher percentages of methanol or ethanol will void the warranty. It also mentions that you may have starting and/or performance problems, and it may damage metal, rubber and plastic parts of the fuel system.

    I'll be running on natural gas soon so the fuel won't be so much of an issue. I'm sure that the output power will be lower, however, plus I'm at about 2000 feet elevation. The manual specifies that for every 1000 foot increase in altitude, engine horsepower will decrease by about 3.5%.
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

    As for oil type for the EU2000, they specify a high detergent, premium quality 4 stroke engine oil certified to meet or exceed US automobile manufacturers requirements for API Service Classification SJ or later (or equivalent).

    http://www.pqiamerica.com/apiserviceclass.htm
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

    That's the same thing they got in the manual for the iGX engine in our EM-series genset. The thing is, based on warranty problems the race guys have had with engines in the EU2000/EU3000, which are both very popular with racers for trailer power, Honda will warranty the first engine when it goes prematurely (installing the second engine since new). The second engine that fails (actually the third engine in the unit since new) they'll tell you it's not covered due to "abuse" and they'll blame it on the type of oil used - UNLESS you have proof that you have been using their GN4 oil in it.

    In the US there is legal issues with a manufacturer requiring a specific brand of oil. They can't do that, and I don't remember what or how that legal issue got put into place. But when it comes to actual warranty coverage they can get around it by a shop tech tearing the engine down, pointing at a failed part and saying "see - wrong oil used in it".
    --
    Chris
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

    The chart in my manual gives recommendations for both fixed and multi-viscosity oils. Nothing lighter than 10W-30, which it is indicated is suitable for -20C to +30C. 10W-40 it shows as being good to over 40C.

    It also says "Do not use 2 cycle oil" and "Use high-detergent, premium-quality, 4-stroke engine oil certified to meet or exceed automobile manufacturer's requirements for API Service Classification SG, SF."

    Note that "premium-quality" gets them an "instant out" on warranty claims; they can just say anything but their oil doesn't meet that requirement.

    Since I've never had a problem with either gen and they are both well out of warranty period I'm not going to worry about it. :D
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator
    Note that "premium-quality" gets them an "instant out" on warranty claims; they can just say anything but their oil doesn't meet that requirement.

    That's the kicker. It's possible Honda has made some engineering changes to make the engine suitable for the "energy conserving" low-ZDDP oils. But I doubt it. And air-cooled engines with flat-tappet cams NEED that zinc and phos for proper lubrication. It would be nice if Honda would publish an actual spec or test like Caterpillar, Mack, Cummins, Detroit, et al do for diesel oils. But they don't. All you get is a generic "recommendation" that has more holes in it than a sieve.

    The basic assumption that Honda makes is that when they sell a piece of equipment with an engine on it that it will get "normal" use. Meaning maybe 50 hours of run time in a season. And it will last long enough so the warranty is not an issue - without having to spend a bunch of R & D money on testing and specs. So along comes somebody that puts the equipment and engine to the test and runs it 500+ hours in a season - probably under severe duty conditions - and then the problems show up. And that's what I've seen with racers. They pull into the pits on Friday night and start that generator up and it runs 24/7 for the whole weekend until Sunday afternoon - usually a unit that's sized too small for the loads. And nobody even looks at it unless it quits and their trailer goes dead. I'd venture that some of them get used that way for the whole season and never even gets the oil changed in it.
    --
    Chris
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,314 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

    I think to have it dialed Chris,

    Honda is building (good) consumer items, and they perform well for the use of most of thier customers a few hundre hours per year, yer after year and (nearly) everyone is happy. There is a big difference between these little machines and true industrial hardware. And at the price I think it a good trade.

    Tony
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

    Tony, yes that's true. It would just be nice if the small engine industry got together like the motorcycle industry did and outright tell people that the current "energy conserving" oils for cars aren't suitable for air-cooled engines. That's why the JASO 4T standard was developed for oils for motorcycle engines after they started this "energy conserving" nonsense in the automotive industry.

    Power equipment with small air-cooled engines is mostly considered throwaway stuff these days. Remember the old days when we used to run a Briggs 5 horse rototiller engine until it knocked and turned the air blue from oil smoke? Then tear it down, hone it .010" over and put a new piston and rings in it and run it for another 10 years? Nobody does that anymore - today you just throw it away and go get another one.
    --
    Chris
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    today you just throw it away and go get another one.
    --
    Chris

    So true. And the biggest mistake society as a whole has ever made. We're into renewable energy here obviously, and conservation too. Some of that surely has to be found in not tossing out equipment and piling up garbage in landfills. I grew up with old hit-n-miss stationary engines with greased bearings and drip oilers for the cylinders. They were not terribly efficient really, but some had been running for nearly a century already. Will a modern light-weight, aluminium cylinder, high-rev lawn mower engine be around so long? No; not even with the best of care. They are specifically designed not to be.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,639 admin
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

    I will be a bit on the other side--I remember driving with my parents in the early 1960's on the freeway and wondering how my Dad could stand the pollution every day at work--And wondering how I would.

    Now--the only time I "notice" that sort of pollution is when following a 1960's or earlier car. And--The SUV's at the time were pretty worn out at 100,000 miles (before needing lots of work).

    Was in China back ~30 years ago--And pollution from burning coal (cooking/heating/etc.) in the cities was terrible... Now????

    There has been some improvements (pollution, efficiency, safety) that have not been too bad so far.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,344 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

    I was in Mumbia India 10 years ago, and the weather forecasts were like "visibility 1/4 mile in smoke". We saw smokestacks belching the blackest of smoke, I can only imagine the industrial revolution time here. I stayed in a hotel on an upper floor and didn't realize the bay was only blocks away because you could never see it. I bet it is no better today.

    Things here had improved, Denver's brown cloud is better as is LA's. Gary Indiana used to stink to high heaven from the mills, no more.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

    The amount of pollution an engine produces has nothing to do with its longevity. Nor vice-versa.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator
    The amount of pollution an engine produces has nothing to do with its longevity. Nor vice-versa.

    That is true. While modern engineering has provided engines that run cleaner, there is nothing wrong with the old stuff for longevity, if it was designed for it. The local town has a Fairbanks-Morse 38 8-1/8 OP diesel that powers the lift pumps for the town's sewage system at their lagoons. It was installed in 1939 and is a bad polluter, but it still runs fine today, every single day.

    F-M still builds the 38-series, but over time has improved them so they don't pollute as bad:
    http://www.fairbanksmorse.com/engines/opposed-piston-model-38/

    All manufacturers have pretty much done the same thing over time. Today we have quality control and manufacturing/materials techniques that weren't available to us up thru the 1970's. But the engineers of yesteryear still knew how to build stuff that stands the test of time.
    --
    Chris
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    But the engineers of yesteryear still knew how to build stuff that stands the test of time.

    On the other hand, everything from the 70-s that didn't have longevity has disapperaed. What we see now had to have longevity, otherwise we would not see it. Somebody in the 2050-s will look at whatever is still left from present times and will tell - "Yes, this old stuff had longevity!".
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    Somebody in the 2050-s will look at whatever is still left from present times and will tell - "Yes, this old stuff had longevity!".

    Yeah, but I'll tell you right now that won't be the Honda EU2000 or GX engine. I got an old 4 horse Witte that was built in 1931 and we used to use it on the farm for running the sawmill when I was a kid. I ended up with it and it still runs fine and I start it up a couple times a year and run it to keep it limbered up. That engine will still be running in 2050 - I guarantee you it will. It's made out of 600 lbs of cast iron and you can fit a whole Honda EU2000 generator in the bore.

    They don't even make a 4 horse engine anymore that would run our old sawmill because the horses these days are ponies while the horses in them old engines were Belgians.
    --
    Chris
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,314 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

    My lister SL2, built in the '40s still runs like new. I did out new pistons and berings in it 25 years ago, from wet stackin! It probably weights 800# and was rated at 8 HP, 5 kw genset.

    Tony
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

    I got a lot of older stuff that other people threw out. My Honda Passport C70 that I pulled out of the junkyard and bought for 15 bucks. Can't get a six volt battery for it anymore so I got a junk Ever Start car battery strapped to it that's only got 8 volts left in it. Works good. I ride it into town all the time to get parts and only ever been stopped by the cops once. The cop looked at my license plate, shook his head and told me he ain't never seen nothing like it before so he couldn't even write me up a ticket for it.

    Photo0103.jpg

    Photo0105.jpg

    And then my Grazer G1142 zero-turn lawnmower that I got for free because the engine was bad in it. I put a "re-power kit" in it. The Honda GX160 drives the hydro pumps and the Briggs 5.5 drives the deck. And I found a couple barn door hinges that I welded on it so it so the seat can be tilted up to get to the Briggs to start it. I even got the original throttle cable hooked up to the Main Deck Engine. But you have to reach back to run the throttle on the Main Propulsion Engine.

    HPIM1478.jpg

    HPIM1479.jpg

    Yep. It's old stuff. But it's still good :cool:
    --
    Chris
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    Yeah, but I'll tell you right now that won't be the Honda EU2000 or GX engine. I got an old 4 horse Witte that was built in 1931 and we used to use it on the farm for running the sawmill when I was a kid. I ended up with it and it still runs fine and I start it up a couple times a year and run it to keep it limbered up. That engine will still be running in 2050 - I guarantee you it will. It's made out of 600 lbs of cast iron and you can fit a whole Honda EU2000 generator in the bore.

    They don't even make a 4 horse engine anymore that would run our old sawmill because the horses these days are ponies while the horses in them old engines were Belgians.
    --
    Chris

    Had a Witte. Also a Hercules, Jaegar, United, Elmira ... and even several B&S made the right way. The B&S on my 5kW gen is already junk and it has no place near the hours the Hondas have on them.

    Some companies due still make 'em to last, but you pay for it. Too much buying the cheap equipment to "save money" - like no-name charge controllers/inverters. If you think the available quality of the name brands is bad, you should see the fly-by-nighters: any label will do if it sells the product.

    My Toyota might be around in 50 years. Although it's already got 328,000 miles (yes miles) on it. :D On the other hand the Ford has chewed its way through 1.1 million klicks. Don't start to think I have exceptional luck with motors either; I've had my share of ones that went "kerblooie" far before their time. Strike a line through the name and never buy again.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator
    Had a Witte. Also a Hercules, Jaegar, United, Elmira ... and even several B&S made the right way. The B&S on my 5kW gen is already junk and it has no place near the hours the Hondas have on them..

    Briggs does build some good engines, but they're more expensive than the aluminum bore ones. The I/C-series cast iron sleeve flat-heat engines are louder than loud. But you can't break one.
    --
    Chris
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,314 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

    While we're deviating from the OP...I've got an old Wisconsin 8 HP single, with an impulse coupled external magneto. It will take your hand off if you don't pull it right. Ran it on a water pump for decades, but no one else could start it safety, so I replaced with a simple Honda Gx unit.

    Tony

    PS. I have a 20s vintage 4 cyl water cooled Kohler Dc genny that ran like new when it was tossed aside a decade or so ago. Even had an auto start system. Now if you wish me to talk about the outboard motor collection!

    t
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,153 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

    OK, back on track, I'm with Dave, motorcycle oil is my preferred for hot running engines. I will admit though, that I did NOT think of the Eu1000i gen or the 3000i as 'hot' runners. I have changed my mind after the wife used the 1000 to run the vacuum today, on ECO setting and it ramps up to a hard working little brute... running at that speed for over 1 hour with some short reprieves while she moved the ladder. I think I will try Castrol.

    History: the ONLY oil my 72 BMW R60/5 has seen is CASTROL...60,000+ Miles.

    You can still get it... even at Canadian Tire.... (once had a kid try to send me to the pharmacy for Castor oil!).... a 10/30 oil that allowed kick starting at sub freezing temps (don't ask) to running across Nebraska in 90+*F temps at 90 mph, just to try staying cool, on that darned BLACK TOP.

    from their M/C page:
    For over 100 years, Castrol has played a vital role in developing and producing high-quality motorcycle engine oils. Castrol works closely with motorcycle manufacturers, race teams, and customers to develop the most technically advanced lubricants available. Our motorcycle products include synthetic, synthetic blend and conventional oil for both 2- and 4-stroke engines. http://www.castrol.com/castrol/iframe.do?categoryId=4592&contentId=7081246
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
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    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,314 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

    Eric,

    Bck off topic, I have a 67 R50/2 wth 250k on the clock! Castro, is all it has ever had!

    Been in long term storeage for. Years of late! One of these days I will consider a restoration!

    I ran it is all my Air cooled VWs and Porsches as well.

    Tony
  • mtdocmtdoc Solar Expert Posts: 600 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

    The subject of which is the "best oil" for an eu2000i has been debated ad nauseum over on the Yahoo eu2000i group forum. Some who have maintained many of these gens over thousands of hours swear by Mobil One, others say using a synthetic doesn't matter. No consensus. One thing that there is consensus on though is that because there is no oil filter on these generators, frequent oil changes - like every 100 hrs or less - IS important. Magnetic oil plugs also help - maybe..
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

    i am not going to perpetuate a sideshow on the oil portion of this thread as mtdoc has a good point of the forums that do address the subject matter. now i will add my thoughts that it won't matter what oil you would use if the oil isn't filtered and requires changing every 100hrs. the full life span of either type will not be realized because of it not being filtered. make sense?
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator

    From this thread:
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    So I'm using Phillips Super HDII 15W-40 (which is what I run in all my trucks year 'round) in the Honda iGX on our EM4000SX generator now. No problems with the low oil sensor with the Super HDII.
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    vtmaps wrote: »
    Chris, does this mean that synthetic oils (such as Mobil One) are NOT suitable for air cooled engines?
    I know lots of people have used it with good success.

    and from the sticky "Choosing a good generator" thread:
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    I don't know what a lot of folks use for oil, but I recommend Mobil 1 synthetic for air-cooled generator engines (I have absolutely no affiliation with the company that sells it). Experience has shown me that Mobil 1 will never carbon foul the top piston ring and underside of the valve heads, and it withstands the high temperatures that air-cooled engines run at better than conventional oil does. I use 5W-30 in mine at temps below freezing, and switch to 10W-30 in the summer time.

    Chris, why the evolution in thought?

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator
    vtmaps wrote: »
    Chris, why the evolution in thought?

    I have gotten to see the exchange between the racers that I see wrecking engines all the time (and they burn out inverters too) and the local Honda dealer refusing warranty coverage on more than one engine if they use it. I don't believe that for normal operation that the Mobil 1 synthetics will hurt anything. But if you have an engine problem under warranty and Honda refuses to cover it based on the oil used, the only recourse you have is to go to your oil manufacturer and have them either cover it or provide proof to Honda that their lubricant meets Honda's requirements. Mobil 1 will not do that for their "energy conserving" oils in air-cooled engines, as I found out. They will do it for their Mobil 1 4T racing blends that have adequate amounts of ZDDP in them.

    All the diesel oil makers are really proud of their diesel oils (which contains ridiculous amounts of zinc and phos) and will stand behind them, even providing oil analysis services for both preventive maintenance and engine failure purposes.

    So it's a grey area where Honda is concerned. They don't publish an actual spec or test, just a vague "recommendation" that gives them an "out" on the warranty coverage.

    Edit:
    It's a grey area with some diesel oils too, I should mention. As I said, I had a problem with Cenex oils (which are formulated for off-road duty, for the most part) with causing our Honda EM4000SX to start, then shut down because the stuff coated the low oil sensor and it thought there was no oil in it and it would quit. I have used the Cenex oil in my older GX engines with the internal sensor with no problems. But the iGX engine's externally serviceable sensor evidently doesn't like it. I'm not sure how that sensor works - being it has a single wire going to it, and if you disconnect the wire the engine runs fine, it must require a ground to shut the engine down if there's no oil in it. So the Cenex oil's higher amounts of some metals that are added to oils to enhance their lubricating qualities must cause it to ground and shut the engine off.

    But despite all that I still like the Mobil 1 synthetics for cold weather because there's a noticeable difference in how easy the engine starts and how much it labors when it's cold during warmup. But if you ask Mobil 1, they specifically recommend their 4T blend for air-cooled engines and motorcycles - not the "energy conserving" blends with the SAE 5W-30 and 10W-30 grades.
    --
    Chris
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator
    niel wrote: »
    i am not going to perpetuate a sideshow on the oil portion of this thread as mtdoc has a good point of the forums that do address the subject matter. now i will add my thoughts that it won't matter what oil you would use if the oil isn't filtered and requires changing every 100hrs. the full life span of either type will not be realized because of it not being filtered. make sense?

    Yes. (Says the man who changes the oil in his generator every 50 hours.)
  • mtdocmtdoc Solar Expert Posts: 600 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    I have gotten to see the exchange between the racers that I see wrecking engines all the time (and they burn out inverters too) and the local Honda dealer refusing warranty coverage on more than one engine if they use it. I don't believe that for normal operation that the Mobil 1 synthetics will hurt anything. But if you have an engine problem under warranty and Honda refuses to cover it based on the oil used, the only recourse you have is to go to your oil manufacturer and have them either cover it or provide proof to Honda that their lubricant meets Honda's requirements. Mobil 1 will not do that for their "energy conserving" oils in air-cooled engines, as I found out.

    That's interesting but in reality how many Honda generator engines fail within the warranty period? From what I can tell, very few. Those that do have likely been severely abused (or the very rare manufacturing defect)

    So choosing your oil based on possible warranty considerations seems kind of silly to me. If one was concerned about this - it would be short lived since the warranty expires in 2-3 yrs.

    For me, since my 2 eu2000is are no longer in warranty it is not a concern. I use Moble 1 only because I have lots of it around since I use it in my Autos. I have no strong opinion about which oils is best...
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Troubleshooting Honda 2000i generator
    mtdoc wrote: »
    I have no strong opinion about which oils is best...

    I don't either because there's nobody that's really proven that one is better than the other. Although I have tended to shy away from the so-called "energy conserving" oils for my small engines after some of the local guys got into warranty issues with Honda over using it. And there are some of the older SG oils, and earlier, that can still be bought for collector cars, that are bad for air-cooled engines because they'll cause fouling of the top piston ring and valves. But beyond that, I think pretty much anything works.
    --
    Chris
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