Replacement gen-set

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  #1  
Old 04-01-14, 05:03 PM
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Replacement gen-set

After some TLC and many years of service I'm afraid that my good ol 1999 Generac/Tecumseh portable gen-set is on it's last leg. It has served me well over the years but now it's time to purchase a new one and possibly a slightly larger unit then the 5000 watt I currently have.

I wanted to get a general consensus regarding diesel vs. gas. I know the 1800-rpm diesels are far superior to the 3600-rpm gas portables but budget doesn’t allow for it at this time, since it will only be used occasionally as a backup during power outages. What I wanted to know is, do the 3600-rpm portable diesels have any advantage over the gas portables in terms of durability and possible long run times? My old 99 Tecumseh powered Generac did a 4-day stretch averaging 11-12 hour a day for 4 days.

One of the gas portables I was interested in was the Northstar 8000 watt powered by the Honda GX 390 engine sold by Northern Tool. It looked like a decent buy with regard to the specs and affordable price and it is powered by Honda's commercial engine. The other unit that peaked my interest was a 3600 rpm diesel unit by a Canadian company called Aurora.
Does anyone have any experience with either the Northstar or Aurora gen-sets? I know most will shout buy a Honda but like I said budget doesn’t allow for it at this time.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 
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Old 04-01-14, 06:29 PM
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I would not buy any of them.......

Whats your budget?

What are you using it for?

Answer that and we can help you better....
 
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Old 04-01-14, 10:47 PM
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The honda GX390 you mentioned is a top notch engine. I would never hesitate to rely on a honda GX series engine. I don't know about the quality of the rest of the unit, but the honda is not even in the same galaxy as that tecumseh you had, it is that much better. I am not familiar with the aurora company. I like diesels, usually they are stronger, last longer, get more work done per gallon, have no carburetor to clog up and less fuel problems, and will run on other things in a pinch (can't get gas or diesel, but you can find kerosene, mineral oil, transmission fluid, motor oil?... no problem, most small diesels can run on those too, as well as many other things, although possibly not optimally).
 
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Old 04-02-14, 05:38 PM
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As I stated in my post, it will only be used occasionally as a backup for home essentials during power outages, well pump, furnace, fridge and a few lights. My budget for this is $2,000.00 max. With regard to Lawrosa's comment knowing why you would not buy any of them might be helpful. I figured since my 1999 Costco $400.00 Generac special with the Tecumseh engine lasted this long that the gen-sets I was looking at especially the Honda powered North Star might be a little bit better. If budget was no object I would be buying a 1800 RPM diesel or Yanmar portable.
 
  #5  
Old 04-02-14, 06:22 PM
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Did the 5000 watt model power your well pump?

If so why do you want to go bigger? You probably know that during sandy fuel was at a premium... My little 3250 watt gen sipped 12 gallons the whole 9 days...

If I had a budget like you I would get a tri fuel unit if anything.

You have NG?

Bigger is not always better...


Lawrosa's comment knowing why you would not buy any of them might be helpful.

Im not familar with the GX motor. If cheese says its good then I would maybe consider it.. I myself like the briggs motors.

If I had 2 k and could get by with a 5 kw gen I would look for something else.
 
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Old 04-02-14, 08:06 PM
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My current gen-set is rated at 5000 running watts and 6250 peak watts, my current demand if everything was to run simultaneously draws 4,720 watts. When I say bigger I mean around 6000 running watts, just to allow a little growing room should I need it.

With regard to the tri fuel natural gas is not available in my rural area so that's not an option. LP, at least around here is almost the same price per gallon as reg gas and when you factor in the lower BTU's of propane compared to gasoline it comes out to about a 10% loss it's really no cheaper to run then gasoline. On the up side LP doesn't have the short shelf life of gasoline. The other reason I really haven't looked into tri fuel is Honda does not recommend nor do they warranty their engines if it's modified for LP and considering the GX engine is one of the best out there with respect to durability and reliability plus a 3 year warranty I much rather run a unit that has a Honda engine then an engine that was modified for LP. I was considering the North Star because of the Honda engine and they were one of the few manufactures that listed the specs for the power head. Most other companies I had contacted with questions regarding their power head design and materials either said very little or would not give any info whatsoever. In addition the North Star comes with a 3 year engine warranty and 4 year warranty on everything else.
 
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Old 04-02-14, 08:24 PM
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The northstar sounds like a decent unit. I'd probably lean that direction given the choice of the two. I have said on different occasions that if I had to rely on one particular common small utility engine for my life for whatever occasion, it would be a honda GX series. The only briggs engines that can come close to providing the same kind of service would be the japanese built vanguards. I guess that's why the chinese picked the GX engines to copy for their knockoff engines.
 
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