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Confused about oil level on generator


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03-12-12, 11:50 AM   #1  
Confused about oil level on generator

I picked up a used generator, the thing was covered in grimy oil. I got the thing cleaned up then went to check the oil level. Basically it was dark in color and almost non-existent.
Here is the deal, it has 2 oil fill caps. One on each side. If I'm reading this picture right, the side with the carburetor should have had a dipstick on it, it doesn't. The directions for filing it are a bit confusing to say the least. See picture 2, this is on the machine itself, the other is from the manual.

What I'm afraid has happened is the guy who previously owned it didn't understand it and filled the one with the longer tube full to overflowing. I'm assuming that would put excess pressure on the motor and blow the seal on the gasket? How do I know if that is the case??? I'm assuming that since it does not have a dipstick, I should just fill it so one side (the short side) overflows. Am I right, or do I have to put oil in both sides?? If the later is the case how do I know when I have the right amount? Also, do I have to tear this thing apart and put a new gasket on the crankcase, or can I fire it up and see if it leaks once I have oil in it?

Here is link to the pictures



 
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sidny's Avatar
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03-12-12, 02:07 PM   #2  
The oil level

The oil level on the dipstick should be the same height as the overflow level on the lower plug.
Sid

 
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03-12-12, 02:14 PM   #3  
You posted the instructions. They say to fill with 2 3/4 pints of oil.

Drain the old, put in 2 3/4 pints, and see if it runs. If you are missing the dip stick, then just use the other plug. 2 3/4 pints should be the overflow point.


Woody


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03-13-12, 08:59 AM   #4  
After closer inspection I can see that oil seeped out of the bottom of this thing. That would probably explain why it was so low on oil.

So, having an oil fill on both sides is for sake of convenience as to which side might be more accessible? Basically one side fills all?

This is a 4,000 watt unit. what I can run at the same time? I found this chart, but am not sure I'm reading it right. Are surge watts the power it takes to start the selected thing to run? In the case of a sump pump and the furnace, if they both started at the same time I be over the 4,000 watt limit would I not? The sump pump is a must have my basement will flood without it and I have a wood shop down there. We are talking thousands of dollars in tools & lumber I'd lose. That is basically why I bought this generator.
I have another question, how the heck are you supposed to plug in stuff like your refrigerator, microwave and things with a short cord? Can I plug them into a plug strip and hook that to an extension cord?

Sorry, guess I didn't do my homework first on this one. I am way out of my element here as if you can't tell. I can get the generator fixed, but is it worth it or should I be investing in something a whole lot bigger? I want to run the basic stuff you need to survive a 3 day power outage. Electronics (TV, computer etc) are not a necessity, heat, refrigerator, microwave and sump pump I consider necessities.

 
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03-13-12, 09:16 AM   #5  
"heat, refrigerator, microwave and sump pump I consider necessities."

Yes I believe you will need a bigger generator to run all of those at the same time.

 
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03-13-12, 09:22 AM   #6  
I'm no expert on generator sizing, but a 4000 watt generator won't run much. I don't think it would run both a fridge and much else at the same time but it might, depending on the requirements of them. Check the current draw on what you want to run. If your furnace is electric, you will need a much bigger generator to run it. Making heat takes a whole lot of electricity. The reason for the short cords is because the longer your cord, the more voltage drop you will have. Freezers and many appliances should never be connected to a regular extension cord. If you do use a cord, make sure it is a heavy gauge cord. I'd say at least a 12 gauge cord for running 50 feet.


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03-13-12, 10:03 AM   #7  
I don't know if your generator is capable of producing 4kw continuously or if that's it's surge capacity but that's still over thirty amps of 110/120. Plenty to run a fridge, freezer or anything else that uses a standard household plug. You may not be able to run everything on your wish list at the same time but you should be able to run a couple simultaneously.

After you get the generator running your next big issue will be how do you store three days worth of fuel. Generally when the power is out gas stations cannot dispense/pump gas so you might be stuck with what you have on hand when the storm hits.

 
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03-13-12, 01:22 PM   #8  
Thanks for all the advice, I appreciate it.
Storing gas, hmmmmm hadn't thought of that one. Good catch!! I have 3 / 5 gallon cans I usually keep full. In the summer I mow for hire and running to the gas station to fill one can is a major PITA. Guess I'm going to have to fill er up and see how long a tank last.
Just to be sure we're on the same page, if I use a heavy duty extension cord, I'm good to go? I have 5 or 6 of those if I can find them. They are in my shop someplace.

 
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03-13-12, 04:16 PM   #9  
The wires inside the walls of your house are probably 14ga for the 15 amp circuits and 12ga for the 20 amp ones. If your extension cords are that gauge or heavier for that amp load you should be OK but going bigger is always better especially for long runs. How many circuits does your generator have? Often there will be one or maybe two 15amp 120 volt ones and one 240 volt which on some models means you cannot get the full capacity of the generator by just using the 120 volt plugs.

Your summer mowing work will help keep your cans of gas fresh. Whenever my car needs gas I pour in one can. I keep them stored in a line with oldest on the left which is what I grab to dump in the car. Sticking to this method insures that my fuel is no more than about a month old if I've been a good boy.

 
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03-14-12, 01:58 PM   #10  
I have 4 regular type (120) plug holes, a 240 looks different doesn't it?

I go through a lot of gas using the same method.

 
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