'D-service' portable generator

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  #1  
Old 08-08-12, 01:53 PM
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'D-service' portable generator

I'm not very mechanically inclined - but with age I'm trying to do more things on my own.

Since they are starting to use the H word on the weather reports I thought I'd pull our 7 year old generator out of the garage and see if it starts. No such luck. I probably had left about a pint of gas in it the last time I started it (2 years ago). I ran out and picked up a new spark plug. The old one was in pretty bad shape. The air filter looked brand new. Unknowingly I opened the cover over the valves. I've since learned that you should never open that up. (It looked very clean anyway although the gasket came out in two pieces). I opened the fuel filter cover (not really knowing what to look for). The cover had a little grit on the inside and when I rubbed my finger around the plastic contents (I guess those are called jets), it felt a little gritty as well.

I put everything back together and it still wouldn't start.

Took it to a service shop in the area. They charged $69 to clean it up and 'D-service' it which means after service they removed the fuel and used something call 'Sea Foam' to make sure it would start right up next time it is needed. Oh - the problem was found to be the jets which had "green death" buildup.

Question #1. Should I have put more effort into cleaning the jets myself ? Maybe I could have put some sort of carb cleaner in a small dish/bowl and shoved the dish up over the jets to loosen things up ?

When I asked him how I could 'D-service' the generator myself next time he wasn't very open. He suggested starting the generator once a month after the next time I use it (until he d-services it again).

Question #2. Let's say we do need to use the generator this fall and come Thanksgiving Day I don't need it anymore. What do I need to do to not repeat this year's experience. Can I drain most of the gas out of the tank, add some amount of 'Sea Foam' to what remains at the bottom of the tank. Then run the generator until it runs out of fuel. Then turn off the generator and turn off the fuel switch. ?

Thanks for any advice.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-08-12, 02:20 PM
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Can I drain most of the gas out of the tank, add some amount of 'Sea Foam' to what remains at the bottom of the tank. Then run the generator until it runs out of fuel. Then turn off the generator and turn off the fuel switch. ?
Thats what I do but I use stabil.

The debate is about draining the gas makes the parts in the carb dry out. I have not had an issue with that in my gen or snow blower. If not used I do start them once a year, change the oil, and repeat the process.

Never had an issue, but you will get different opinions.


 
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Old 08-08-12, 08:44 PM
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Continue using the Sea Foam,,,,,,My words of advice do not ever use Sta Bil. Drain gas when you feel it is time for that gas to get outa there. Do not let it set in the Carburetor to long it will gum up again. I have had really good luck with draining the gas from tank and then start Generator and letting in run gas out of Carburetor. After everytime using generator shut off gas an let run dry, until it quits. Good Luck.
 
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Old 08-10-12, 10:59 AM
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The generator

My experience with running the engine dry is I allways run my engines dry after what season it happens to be, and really have had no trouble. I think that when them dry, a small amount of fuel is laying in pockets in the carbs etc, probably enough keep the gaskets from "drying out". I did this with a 350 chevy engine in a boat for 21 years, then I had it rebuilt, cause I was pretty sure it was "time".
Sid
 
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Old 08-10-12, 11:08 AM
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No scientific evidence but I drain the gas in the snowblower and the lawnmower at the end of each season and have had no issue.

I put Sta Bil in the gas I use in each of them but I only buy $5 at a time, so less than a gallon and a half.
 
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Old 08-10-12, 12:41 PM
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Continue using the Sea Foam,,,,,,My words of advice do not ever use Sta Bil.
Why? I only use stabil when I run the tank dry. I add a little when the tank has about a pint or two left.


Sea foam IMO is snake oil.


I put Sta Bil in the gas I use in each of them but I only buy $5 at a time, so less than a gallon and a half.

If Mitch uses it it must be good.......



 
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Old 08-10-12, 01:17 PM
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Or do what I did and convert the generator to use gaseous fuels. Using propane or natural gas I will NEVER have the problems of stale gasoline, plugged jets, gasoline "varnish" or dried out gaskets. Since I have natural gas service at my home I also don't need to store fuel nor fill a tank. If you do not have natural gas you can use propane and it can be from any size tank with a few limitations.

If you need to be able to use the generator at a remote location where gasoline is the only viable option there are tri-fuel conversions that allow switching from gasoline to gaseous fuels with ease. A gaseous only conversion is about $150 and a tri-fuel conversion around $200.
 
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Old 08-10-12, 01:19 PM
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I use it 'cause my old man and my ex-father-in-law used it. That's not evidence which will stand up in court....
 
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Old 08-10-12, 02:44 PM
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Yeah, Furd, I found out during lead time on Ivan that my Kubota was a dual fuel, Duh. I immediately switched it to propane. Tank is 4' away.
I use Stabil in my stuff, and have never had a problem. I don't crank it with stabil in it, but that's just me. I pour out the old gas and pour in new and they always fire up.
I use Sea Foam in my Cummins and it seems to help with keeping it from idling rough....of course with a Cummins, how do you tell I wait until I am nearly empty (which is most of the time) and pour in a can and run it to the fuel store for a fill up. Almost like Christmas when you can do that.
 
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Old 08-10-12, 03:42 PM
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I use fuel stabilizer at the end of each season but what seems to have given me better service out of my small engines was switching to premium grade fuel in all of them.
Not sure if our fuel is any different than other areas but I have several 5hp B&S engines and have had to change the rubber fuel pump diaphragm in most of them, some after only two years.
They seemed to be stretched and deformed and would not pump fuel.
 
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Old 08-10-12, 04:20 PM
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I have seen and worked on carburetors that have been destroyed by sta bil. Full of residue.
 
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