Reliability of Honda GX390 For a Portable Generator

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Old 11-14-18, 08:55 AM
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Reliability of Honda GX390 For a Portable Generator

I would like to input on the reliability on the Honda GX390. This would be for a genset in the 6 - 7000 W range. I know the generator head also has a lot do with the overall reliability, so I will be looking into this also. The gen will be used for home backup power during a power failure. Power failures occur every few years and last about 8 hrs, with Sandy being the exception.

From what I found there are a few problem areas with the GX390 plastic cam gear/auto compression release, low oil alert and the carb. Should I consider other engine/gen combos such as the Yamaha MZ360 or any clones?
 
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Old 11-14-18, 12:26 PM
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Are you looking to buy a generator powered by that Honda engine or are you trying to build something yourself?
 
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Old 11-14-18, 12:51 PM
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I am looking to buy the generator.
 
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Old 11-14-18, 01:30 PM
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Any GX honda is pretty much top of the list to me. I have less experience with the Yamaha but I would put close to an equal amount of confidence in their engines as well. The Yamaha is likely to be much harder to find parts for in a pinch. The GX series is bulletproof and in wide use in many applications all over the country and very easy to find parts for. I have used a GX series on my service truck compressor for 20 years and still have not worn it out although it does use some oil now. It sits on the back exposed to the sun, rain, cold, etc... every day of it's life. Honda gets the nod from me.

The most reliable generator would be a diesel. You can find them with a yanmar or chinese yanmar clone. They don't have carburetors to gum up, which is the usual generator problem. They also use considerably less fuel. I have a 3 cylinder Kubota diesel and a 4 pole generator I hope to marry together one day. Being 4 pole, it will only have to purr along at 1800 rpm. Should make for a very efficient and quiet unit.
 
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Old 11-14-18, 04:39 PM
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I have 3 Honda EU generators, 2 Honda powered water pumps, 1 Honda roto tiller, 1 Honda line trimmer, 2 Honda pressure washers, 2 Honda lawn mowers... you get the idea. They get light industrial use which is more than most homeowners will ever do. A couple pieces are more than 20 years old and the newest machine is over 5 years old. I have never had to go into any of the Honda engines. I've never had a oil sensor problem. I have had to replace one ignition coil on a
pressure washer but that was a quick, easy and inexpensive fix for a machine that's worked hard for 20 years.

For a home use generator I would be less concerned about the engine and more focused on how you plan to keep it's fuel fresh and clean. Old fuel is the number one cause for engine trouble especially for things that don't get used regularly.

Propane and natural gas never go bad so that is one of the best fuel options. Also good is diesel but the generator will be heavy and expensive and overkill for most home users. The most unreliable fuel is gasoline. Think of it like milk. Several months sitting and it starts turning bad. You will need to be religious about running all the gas out of the carburetor when you are finished using the generator. Even if you use a fuel stabilizer that only buys you 6 months, a year max. and you still should run stabilized fuel out of the carburetor when the machine will sit unused.
 
 

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