Help with my generator needed.

nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
yes guys, i'm in a bit of a bad way and i'll give you a general rundown of what is so far. that snowstorm nailed me and i found myself without power. yes, my little solar setup helped with lights for awhile, but my system is not big and it cannot handle my furnace pump motor (means i had no heat) or refrigerator (not a problem with cold air outside). even the pvs, that i've emphasized others to raise up higher off of their mounting surfaces, were at least 2ft above the surface below and were partially buried as i received nearly 2ft of snow in about 24hrs.
to conserve i ran only 1 13w cfl for awhile and we made extensive use of candles for added heat and light. i do have a gas stove so that helped too. so all i did was huddle in the house? my wife, yes, me no. i have a generac 4kw gaso;ine generator and before unburying it (edit to add unbury it from its storage) i had to clear the snow from around the car so i could get some gasoline. i informed bb of my all day ordeal with that and those d*?% snowplows reburying me.:grr it was late upon getting the gas and upon refreshing my memory on it, as it has been many years since i fired it up during one summer, it failed to kick over. i tried choke off, halfway, and even on. no good. magneto is working as a small red bulb showed. gas was free to flow as i remembered to open the valve. i forgot once long ago to do that and that was embarrassing. yes the switch was turned to on as well. it didn't even try. i pulled the plug and though some carbon was there i gave it a quick swipe with very fine sandpaper to clear it and tried it again. nada.
the last time i ran it it was warm outside as a thunderstorm outage occurred years ago. i didn't have any outages lasting more than a half of a day or so for many years until this incident. you're right i should've checked it and ran it during the summer to be sure it works, but after it was buried in my utility closet i didn't want to unbury it to make noise with that thing. water over the dam now. anyway, before it was stored i did drain all of the gas from the tank after i ran it to a stop. i also changed the oil in it prior to the storage and do note the genny has less than 50hrs on it. any thoughts besides starting fluid as bb suggested as stupid me may be overlooking something more obvious?
btw, i need to try and get it running even though my lights came back on after about a day as more snow is on its way. temps down into the single digits f at night around here isn't helping matters in any way.
thanks
«13

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,070 admin
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    I would replace the spark plug first... If you have a "good but wrong" plug which fits--put that one in, start and warm up the engine. Then try to start with the old/correct plug after the engine has warmed up a bit with the "wrong plug".

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    Niel, is the plug 'wet ' when you pull it out? that will confirm fuel getting to that point.
    you can also use a lighter or BBQ lighter to warm up the plug just before replacing it.
    if you are not getting fuel, try squirting some gas in the plug hole and then pull like crazy.
    is the float free to let gas through some times they will stick in the closed position, gentle tapping can work to loosen it before dis-assembly is started....

    HTH
    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    eric,
    come to think of it you are right that the plug should've been wet when i inspected it.:roll: i may need to have a relook at the fuel system as i'll pull off the line and set it into a jar while i then open the valve to see if the fuel is free to flow. after if i see fuel flowing i'll try the priming of it with a bit of gas.
    hmm, do any of you think a few drops of fuel that were left over may be gumming it up either in the line or the carb? i have dry gas on hand and even a bit of sea foam left in the can. i really don't want to bring the genny back into the house to warm it due to gas fumes. it does vent some as the fuel warms up. i'd wind up being put outside so my wife would sayeth after making me drag it back out.:cry:
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    Neil
    I have no experience with generators but have some with chainsaws and snowmobiles. Seem like if they are not run for long periods of time that the plastic fuel lines crack. Also if you have a primer bulb they go bad also. Sometimes the fuel pick up inside the gas tank can go bad also. Would make sure you got spark first. If you have spark then next step is to check fuel lines. Also make sure no critters chewed any lines or put anything in the cooling fan. Saw many snowmobiles burn a piston that had stuff under the fan cooling shrouds that critters put there. If they did that will make your engine overheat if you get it to run. I see you must be in pittsburgh. I live north of I 80 in mercer county and we only got about 5 inches. Better get ready for the next storm due on tuesday. Got trouble with groundhogs and coon here. I had to put wireing in twice for my Bud,
    Bug ugly dish. Two sets of sparkplug wires in my car that the groundhogs cut into. Just put new wires in the car and saw a groundhog go under my car. It made me so mad, I opened the hood and there was a groundhog ready to crunch the wires again. I had leather gloves on so reached in there and grabed him by the tail and threw him as far as I could. I didn,t even think I could get bit as mad as I was. Another time one got under the engine and I tryed to poke him out but he wouldn,t get out. I took a ride down the road and after he got hot from the engine heat he bailed out. So I HATE them groundhogs. Solar vic
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    solarvic,
    i'm not too familiar with what is inside the tank, be it floats or whatever. i'm not sure why it would need a float as it gravity feeds into the generator from a 10 gallon tank. i'll not delve into that until i see if there is a problem with fuel not flowing. it was kept inside for storage so no critters got to it, except for maybe dustmites.:p gotta keep some sanity by humor.;)
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    Niel, concur with Svic re cracked lines, primer bulb, etc. If it is gravity feed there will be something to stop the gas from flowing out of the carb onto the ground (float or ?) yes a small bit of fuel could possibly have plugged the jet/orifice of the carb, seafoam may loosen it up but you have to get it to 'the spot'..

    first confirm spark by removing plug and cranking it over with the plug well grounded, next confirm fuel supply, as before, then try starting with gas in the cylinder direct, if no go then pull carb apart...do you have an air compressor? may need to blow jets out.

    no fun being cold...

    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.
    niel wrote: »
    solarvic,
    i'm not too familiar with what is inside the tank, be it floats or whatever. i'm not sure why it would need a float as it gravity feeds into the generator from a 10 gallon tank. i'll not delve into that until i see if there is a problem with fuel not flowing. it was kept inside for storage so no critters got to it, except for maybe dustmites.:p gotta keep some sanity by humor.;)

    A lot of fuel tanks have a plastic fitting that goes thru the tank, Sometimes has a short piece of plastic line inside the tank with a fuel pick up filter on the end of the fuel line. You should be able to look inside the tank to see if you got that. You can usualy take a piece of cloths hanger to fish it out from the bottom of tank. Vic
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    ok, i was thinking of a float in the tank and i was forgetting about the carb. if the problem is in the carb i will not be tearing it apart as i'd have to work on it outside. at best i may try the sea foam or gasoline. would you guys say i should try a pinch of seafoam first regardless? in carb or straight into cylinder? i don't think i have a cracked line as no gas was dripping down. i still have to confirm tomorrow if the gas is free to flow through the lines and take it from there. i will try to confirm the spark at the plug also, but that will be tricky to keep it grounded and pull the start rope at the same time.
    solarvic,
    there is some type of filter in the tank if i remember correctly as it is cone shaped in there and i believe there is a gas filter on the gas line as well if memory serves me. my pulling the gas line and opening the valve will reveal much.

    sidenote-the low temperature last night was -1 degree f with temps near 0 tonight as well. i feel for those still without their power and there are many still without it. 1 day was a scary ordeal for me and i am hearing of some related deaths due to this weather. i believe i heard the weather channel, or was it the local news, say that my area had nearly 1/4 million initially without power. this does not apply to dc or philly, but only in the pittsburgh area. some roofs besides the vast numbers of trees have also collapsed under the weight and i suspect more of these reports will happen with the next round as officially the weather service is already saying a winter storm watch with 6+ inches possible starting tuesday.
    i can say this was a strange snowfall in that the snow was very wet, heavy, and sticky. i have a siderailing made of pipe that is about 1.5 inches in diameter. snow normally would build up to a few inches on it and fall, but i saw it tower at least a foot above the rail. another example to ponder is the rg6 used by the local cable company around here and is roughly 3/8 inch in diameter woundup being about 8 inches in diameter as the snow clung to it.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,070 admin
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    I have heard people say nice things about Sea Foam--probably would not hurt. Otherwise, do they still sell carburetor cleaner in spray cans?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • blackswan555blackswan555 Solar Expert Posts: 246 ✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    Petrol ,Plug or both,
    To figure out which, Fill with "FRESH" petrol, Choke on full, Give it 10 pulls of the rope,
    Take plug out, Is it wet ?
    If it is, Smell it, Stale petrol smells different, but you could put that down to the last bit of "old" fuel,
    Either try a different plug or clean and dry the one you have, Heating the plug on a gas stove or the like before re-fitting it (quickly with gloves on) This can give it those first few "fires" to get rid of the last of the stale petrol (old petrol will not burn, you may as-well have water in it)
    To see if the plug is sparking if you don`t have a mate to hold, Jump leads or something with a crocodile type clamp on the end, Earthed to the gen or even a bit of wire wrapped round plug threads and to gen chassis,

    If you end up with a dry plug that`s sparking nicely, Chances are the jets in the carb are gummed up from old fuel,

    Have a good one
    Tim

    Just to add, Take care when you are "pulling it over" with the plug out, "If" the plug manages to ignite the mixture coming out the open spark plug hole, It may lead to shortened Eyebrows/Eyelashes:blush:
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.
    niel wrote: »
    ok, i was thinking of a float in the tank and i was forgetting about the carb. if the problem is in the carb i will not be tearing it apart as i'd have to work on it outside. at best i may try the sea foam or gasoline. would you guys say i should try a pinch of seafoam first regardless? in carb or straight into cylinder? i don't think i have a cracked line as no gas was dripping down. i still have to confirm tomorrow if the gas is free to flow through the lines and take it from there. i will try to confirm the spark at the plug also, but that will be tricky to keep it grounded and pull the start rope at the same time.
    solarvic,
    there is some type of filter in the tank if i remember correctly as it is cone shaped in there and i believe there is a gas filter on the gas line as well if memory serves me. my pulling the gas line and opening the valve will reveal much.

    sidenote-the low temperature last night was -1 degree f with temps near 0 tonight as well. i feel for those still without their power and there are many still without it. 1 day was a scary ordeal for me and i am hearing of some related deaths due to this weather. i believe i heard the weather channel, or was it the local news, say that my area had nearly 1/4 million initially without power. this does not apply to dc or philly, but only in the pittsburgh area. some roofs besides the vast numbers of trees have also collapsed under the weight and i suspect more of these reports will happen with the next round as officially the weather service is already saying a winter storm watch with 6+ inches possible starting tuesday.
    i can say this was a strange snowfall in that the snow was very wet, heavy, and sticky. i have a siderailing made of pipe that is about 1.5 inches in diameter. snow normally would build up to a few inches on it and fall, but i saw it tower at least a foot above the rail. another example to ponder is the rg6 used by the local cable company around here and is roughly 3/8 inch in diameter woundup being about 8 inches in diameter as the snow clung to it.

    See you still have school called of today. I get some of the PI channels from here about 80 miles north of PI And I saw 2 already had storm watchs starting tomorrow eve. Solar Vic
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,033 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    I'd get the car gassed up, and fill a small tank for the gen if you can. Drain the genset fuel & bowl, refill bowl with spray carb cleaner. pull & check plug, and try to start on the carb cleaner in the bowl. Then add gas to the tank. (engine off)
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    Sorry Neil,

    But if you left it "several years" with out starting it, filled with old gas you are most likely to have a gummed carb and possibly tank. I would drain the tank, fill with fresh fuel, drain the carb bowl too if you can. Then try again. Some starting ether is a good idea as well.

    Failing that, take the carb off, and give it a good cleaning.

    Chalk this one up to, run a genny once a month, at least, and or store it completely dry.

    Sorry for your trouble.

    Tony
  • SlappySlappy Solar Expert Posts: 251 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    3 things that makes a gas engine run....electric......fuel.....timing.......Pull plug wire and check for a healthy spark if good make sure the spark plug is not oil or gas fouled......if that checks out good pull the carberator bowl to check for stuck float/float needle.... and fuel flow......if those check O.K. check the sheer pin for sheering, if even partly sheered it will throw the timing off!....................a weak spark at the plug will "blow out" under compression.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    timing is very UNLIKELY to be off unless the engine has had a catastrophic failure. Even in old breaker point engine, timing only changed slowly as points wore. If you've got spark, it is most likely to be fuel related.

    Now days with electronic ignition 99% of all small engine problems are fuel. (99.9 if you have good spark) That said, a new plug can make a great difference at the price of a couple of bucks.

    Clean fuel, regular exercise is the key to keeping small engines healthy.

    Tony
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    wow lots of posts since i've been busy. i didn't get to work on it too long today as i had other priorities to go along with it, but i have fuel to the carb, but not in the cylider and i have spark. i had been trying to work fresh gas through it with seafoam added as i went to the store and told the guy i think there may be some gummed up spots. the guy said this stuff will work on the gums given some time. the spark i verified at dusk as ironically the sun was out strongly today and i wasn't about to verify by shocking myself. i also bought a new plug that i will keep inside tonight thus keeping it warm. when i try tomorrow i will use the starting fluid in the cylinder and keep cranking it. sooner or later he said this will force the softened gums to force through as he's done this a few times this year on other small type engines. if this fails the carb is messed up royally. the procedure if it works will be in the nick of time tomorrow as the snows will start probably late morning and it is a winter storm warning now with 6-10 inches predicted. of course many of these idiots predicted that much for here on the last storm.:grr even they were surprised the next day as to how wrong they were. i appreciate all of the input i'm getting and with some effort maybe i'll have it working this time. murphy's law says if i do the power will stay on.:roll:
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,070 admin
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    The bright side--people pay a couple hundred bucks a month in gym memberships to get the exercise you get for free. :p :-)

    Best Wishes to you and everyone out there.
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    If you can get it to run on ether (starting fluid) see if you can keep it running, keeping the choke closed as much as possible, causing the vacuum to draw hard against the carb jets, drawing the sea foam (and fresh) fuel through the jets.

    Having said that, I really would consider at least dropping the float bowl on the carb if not the entire carb. Over the years I have found that by the time engines won't run at all, (due to gumming up the carbs) the chances of getting them to run reliably after without doing a complete carb cleaning is pretty small.

    If you drop the float bowl, you can clean the float needle and seat (cause number two of carb failures) as well as being able to blow air and or carb cleaner up the main and idle jets, (cause number one in carb failures) and it also allows you to clean the crap out of the bowl, (cause number three!).

    Not being familiar with your particular rig, there you might just have to loosen a single bolt, or a ~4 screws to remove the bowl.

    Good luck,

    Tony

    PS Probably doesn't need to be said, but once you get it running, make sure it runs perfectly, then either run it once a week or two for ~15 minutes and/or drain it completely, especially the float bowl.

    One of the great features of Honda engines is a carb drain screw and hose. One, easy to turn screw, and the bowl drains clear into a jar via a hose. Turn the fuel off at the tank before hand thought. (Also start the engine after you drain the bowl to get the last of the fuel out.)

    I know I harp on this often here and elsewhere, but I know from hard won experience. We have a fleet of outboards that have to run perfectly for our own safety.(Not to mention snowmobiles whose failure could be fatal) We also have numerous other small engines that power compressors, generators, water pumps, and indeed emergency fire fighting pumps all of which need to run on a moments notice. After ~50 years of doing this kind of thing, we have learned that doing the small items keeps all this stuff reliable.


    Tony

    PPS Sorry for your troubles Neil.
  • SlappySlappy Solar Expert Posts: 251 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    icarus.....I agree 100% about the timming, had to throw that in for a last resort;)
  • TelcoTelco Solar Expert Posts: 201 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    Did you get it working?

    I'd suggest that you start keeping a few spare parts around for this sort of situation. A fresh carb, fuel line and fuel tank kept in an airtight box would have allowed you to get your generator up and running in the amount of time it took to unbolt the old parts and bolt in the new ones, then you'd be able to properly clean and store the set you pulled off for next time, during the warm summer months.

    I'm actually glad you had this issue (well, not glad, but have no better term to use) because I'd eventually like to be 100 percent offnet and plan on a backup generator. I'd not have thought about keeping a spare fueling setup around until I was out there at 3AM trying to start a plugged backup generator, but now that you've been there and shared... I'll just have to try and remember that when I buy a generator, I need to buy spare parts at the same time. I plan to learn from your example here. :p:D;)8) Hopefully some other folks here who already depend upon a backup generator will be too.

    Aside from you providing me a learning opportunity, hate seeing that you are having problems and I hope you can get it running again before the next snow hits.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    good news everybody, it's running!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:D:D:D

    this will be my 2nd endorsement of seafoam. the guy at the autoparts store suggested about a capfull per gallon of gas (preventative amount too) and let it work at it by pulling starter rope about 30 times to force it near the clogged areas. let set some time and use the ether to also force the jets open by operation attempts. it is running as smooth as new and i didn't even put the new plug in yet as i figured i'd do the bulk of the attempts on an already less than perfect plug. after only 2 attempts with the ether it fired and i have no doubt in my mind the seafoam gets a great deal of credit here.

    storm 2 has begun and it is light right now. i have not checked the updated forecast as of yet.

    the generator i have is a 4kw generac s4000 series model 194412.

    thank you all for your support in this.8)

    tony,
    it is not easy for me to pull a carb as i'm not as mechanically up on it to be certain i'd do it right. if i saw it done before then i might try it after knowing somebody else who knows would supervise my first attempt. the gumming in there is a problem though and i will need to address this one day in the future. maybe when the weather is good and i'm feeling brave without being supervised that you and others may help me address the carb. for now i run it to a stop.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    Niel,

    Congrats on getting it running. Now that it is running, keep the sea foam running through it for a bit and run a tank or two of fuel through it. If it runs and starts fine you should be good to go.

    When you store it, drain it dry, and/or add some fuel stabilizer to it. You'll be fine.

    Enjoy the snow!

    Tony

    PS You are right, the time to tackle the repair/cleaning is in the middle of the summer when you don't need it if you drop the float needle into the weeds! I spent my life field repairing stuff, and the best thing you can do is put a drop cloth under a BIG area to snag the parts that would otherwise get lost in the weeds. Then take the little stuff apart on the bench. Too often, I have been lazy, taken something apart in the bush instead of taking it back tot he shop, only to drop some small part! DOH!!
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    yes, a big relief that i can watch the snow without fear of the power going off. as to adding fuel stabilizer goes i did. it's called seafoam. read what it does for yourself.
    http://stevenbigler.tripod.com/scoutco/id12.html
  • peakbaggerpeakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    Generally if you drain the fuel tank and run the engine completely out of gas, it wont gum up significantly in storage. On a lot of engines, there is a spring loaded drain on the bottom of the fuel bowl that allows the gas to be drained (of course its also a potential leak point) I usually add Stabil to any fuel that goes in my gas cans which also helps. One thing also to keep in mind is that water can build up in the engine oil during long storage. It usually will boil off, but it can also wipe out the engine bearings. A lot of folks drain the oil after a long run and duct tape a couple of quarts of the appropriate oil to the generator frame.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,033 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    I generally add gas-saver to the last tankful, and after it's run a bit, cut the fuel off and let it run till it dies, often choking a bit as it sputters. Kept a honda mower going 9+ years with that method.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • blackswan555blackswan555 Solar Expert Posts: 246 ✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    Just to add,
    Not sure what petrol you get that side of the pond , But over here in Europe we also get, "super unleaded`s" 98 octane, Shell optimax, BP ultimate/ Repsol super etc, these "go off" even faster than normal unleaded, can be as little as 2 months in a car with 1/4 of a tank left standing,
    Have a good one
    Tim
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    I disagree about leaving an engine empty of oil. The "real" right way to do it, is to change the oil (and filter) and leave the engine with brand new oil that has no moisture nor acids in it while you store. Running an engine long enough during exercise cycles is very important as it allows the accumulated water to boil out of the oil. This also suggests much shorter oil change cycles for engines that are run just for emergencies.

    I try to do mine twice a year, and I'm lucky to get them all done one a year.

    Also, leaving tanks empty with the tank cap off to allow condensation to escape is good. If you are forced to leave the tank with fuel in it, leave it full so there is less air to contaminate the fuel and less air space for condensation to form.

    Tony
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,070 admin
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    Yea--our gasoline here can become "unburnable" if stored in small gas-can quantities--Assume 3 months before it "goes bad" if a fuel stabilizer is not added.

    And replace the store fuel at least once every year (if critical--may want to replace every 6 months even with fuel stabilizer).

    It is weird--see an old car that has sat for years with some fluid in the gas tank that looks and smells like gasoline--that seems to have the combustion properties of water. :roll:

    Why does gas go bad:
    The shelf life of gasoline depends on the type of gas and the storage conditions and can range from a couple months to a couple years. One wild card is that gas you buy at the pump may already have been in storage for anywhere from days to months.
    ...
    The shelf life of gasohol is difficult to determine--proponents claim it's similar to that of pure gasoline but present no hard data. Anecdotally speaking, boat owners and survivalists--people who often deal with stored gasoline--report a much shorter shelf life for gasoline-ethanol blends and advise against storing them long-term.

    How to keep your fuel April fresh? First, store it only in clean containers with tight caps. Whether the containers are metal or plastic doesn't matter much, although steel can eventually rust. Fiberglass containers should be avoided unless they're rated safe for alcohol-containing fuels. Keep the container nearly full to reduce exposure to air, but not completely full, so the gasoline can expand or contract as the temperature changes. That said, try to minimize those temperature swings--store gasoline in a cool place to reduce evaporation and oxidation. Consider a gas stabilizer for fuel you plan to keep awhile, but remember stabilizers are meant to prevent gasoline from going bad; they won't restore bad gas to its former health.

    There's no easy way to get rid of bad gasoline, but don't be a pig and dump it down the drain. If you really can't use it, contact your city or county to ask where you can dispose of it legally. Some people recommend using it in a lawn mower, but you risk gumming up the mower's works instead. What's left, tiki torches? Better to time your gas consumption and purchases so you don't need to store any–gas prices being what they are, no sense tying up cash in something that may just go to waste.
    I try to only store in Metal Cans--I think that plastics are too porous and let the some of the compounds evaporate out.

    Been storing fuel in 5 gallon metal cans with a fuel stabilizer (Stabil) for 1 year at a time before recycling back into a car or lawn motor for 5+ years now (earth quake preparedness). No problems so far.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    Speaking from more than limited experience, even very old, very stale gasoline is very dangerous to burn! Even though it won't vaporize well in a carb or fuel injection, it certainly can vaporize in free air well enough to flash very quickly and very dangerously.

    We're straying off topic a bit, but don't be tempted to use stale gasoline as a fire starter, and never, ever pour liquid gas on a burning fire! The fire can burn up the stream of gas faster than you can break the stream. (With terrifying as well as potentially fatal results!) It just isn't smart!

    Tony
  • audredgeraudredger Solar Expert Posts: 272 ✭✭
    Re: Help with my generator needed.

    Ok, now my 2cents

    When your done; drain the tank dry, run the engine till it dies, remove the bowl on the carb and drain, pull the spark plug and squirt LPS or transmision oil (NO WD-40)(it turns gummy)into the plug hole, give it a pull to distribute the LPS, put the plug back in, change the oil.

    Any fuel left in the system (even with gas stabilizer) will gum within 6 months. Oil changed to remove the the acids that build up.

    That, plus LPS on the flywheel, is the procedure I use on my dredge engines and, the may be in storage for up to two years. Fresh gas and you are good to go...
    Mike
Sign In or Register to comment.