*GEN-SET MAINTENANCE*
By: Pike
31 August 2003

Some generators can get quite expensive and the cheapest and best way to keep them in top working order is to keep them maintained. Generators sit and do not run for long periods at a time for most people. When you need the generator to run you usually need it . N O W, and do not have the time to get it repaired or serviced.

The major things that need to be kept up to date on, is the fuel, air and oiling system. These systems need to be kept serviced regularly. The fuel system needs to be used with clean and current fuel to run properly. At the end of the last running before storage it is wise to use up all the fuel or treat the fuel that will be in it with a good fuel stabilizer. You can also run it dry and add a cup of white gas in the fuel tank and start and run it with this fuel in the carb. system to coat all the internal parts, run it a few minutes then shut it off. White gas has no gum residue in it, this is why you can start your lantern with no problems. It will start and run good when you fill it up with fuel the next time you need to run it. A fuel filter should be installed in-line to keep out small debris to keep the fuel system clean.

The ignition system for gen/sets is fairly straight forward and easy to keep in tip top shape. The spark plug is the part that needs to be checked and replaced when worn out. The plug gap in most gen/sets is .025 and is cheap to replace.You should have in your extra parts for your gen/set you need spark plugs, fuel and air filters lots of oil for all your mechanical needs.

The air intake system should have a good quality air filter used in it. This air system needs to be sealed tight so as to only let air in through the air filter, especially if running in dusty climate. Fine particles of dirt can get through the filter and score the cylinder walls of your generator and then it will use oil and have less power. The air filter should be checked for cleanliness when each tank of fuel is run through it. It only takea a minute to ck it.

The oiling system is like the blood to a human and since it can not clean itself like we can it has to be changed regularly at approximately 25 hrs on the run time. Top quality oil should be used depending on your weather climate it will be running in (manual should be checked for proper type of oil), most air-cooled gen/sets have no oil filter so changing the oil is a must on a regular basis. The oil has to be checked with every fuel fill up till you know your gen/set and how much oil YOURS does use. The oil is usually easy to drain from the lowest drain plug in the crankcase. If you change it after the last use when it is still warm you will get more of the old oil out of it than when it is cold. Sorry to all you Penzoil users I DO NOT recommend Penzoil AT ALL, being a mechanic all my life (and work in the industry still today in management), I have seen too many problems and engine failures associated with Penzoil usage. Myself I am a Valvoline user, anything but Penzoil you can use is OK.

 
My generator is a Honda Whisper Quiet ( see pics below)and it is a 5500watt, twin cylinder OHV, water cooled, electric start and requires a lot more maintenance listed here but most do not want to spend the money for this type of a system.

The reason I use this size of water cooled gen/set is to be able to run all the tools that I have and a well pump and my home and what ever else I need to use. A person needs only to be without power for a little while to see how ones life changes without power and all the modern conveniences that are lost. Just see how happy you will be after a day and I mean a day, beating your clothes on a rock at the local water hole to see what I mean. All in all maintenance is easy to do on your gen/set, read and follow the guide book that came with it or get a small engine maintenance manual that covers all types of small engines you may have in your home.

As we preach here In the Rubicon "Knowledge is Power" and the more knowledge you have on this subject the better, sooooo get well informed for yourself and for the benefit of your friends and family. I hope this helps you in your quest.
Pike



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