Generators need maintenance?

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by Magnethead, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. Magnethead

    Magnethead Admin & Resident Techie Staff Member

    Turns out that the Honda EU gensets are very picky on maintenance. Ours ran fine at the race in October when we shut it off, but wouldn't run during an ice storm 2 weeks ago. We finally had time to look at it.

    It kept backfiring through the intake, so we took it all apart, removed the valve cover, and found the intake rocker just floating free and the intake valve stuck half open. The oil (1-year old, probably 1000 hours or longer) varnished on the stem, so we had to get creative with chemicals to clean all that up. It runs just fine now after adding more chemicals for a flush, and a new change of oil. Also, in the manual it says to set the valve lash every 300 hours or so (surprise!). Getting to the valve cover is a PITA, but once we fixed the sticking valves, the lash was way, way out. So we put it back where it should be (006 intake, 008 exhaust).

    Our old Craftsman unit from 1996 is now running, it's been sitting since we bought the EU 4 years ago. Fixed the recoil starter, blew out the carburetor, cleaned all the oil sludge out of the fairing, tightened several loose screws, valve lash was stable at 007, and now it runs again.

    Just because generators run when you turn them off, doesn't mean they'll run the next time you need them, be it a month later or years later.
  2. Johali

    Johali Team Owner Contributor

    The only maintenance that I've ever done to a generator is the usual oil and gas stuff. Time to check'em I guess.
  3. dpkimmel2001

    dpkimmel2001 Team Owner

    I have a Honda 3000Eu. I run it and my other generator once a month for about 30 minutes. Probably overkill but I change the oil after any prolonged use with either of them. The Honda is only used for camping purposes. If it's a weekend at the NASCAR race or a week at the beach, the first thing that happens when I unload is to change the oil, give it a short run. My other one is used for power outages at home. Same thing with it though..... After it's done its job, it gets a fresh oil change. A short run and then put away for its next use. So far, I've not had any issues with either.
    Johali likes this.
  4. Magnethead

    Magnethead Admin & Resident Techie Staff Member

    Ours is the 3000 handi (wheeled version). The manual says to check valve lash and change oil every 300 hours or so. Apparently the valve seats are soft and the valve is known to creep up until there is zero lash, then hang open. We don't know if that affected our case any, because the intake valve was just hung halfway open. We managed to clean the stem up without removing the spring, we just kept spraying it with solvents and WD-40 and working it back and forth.

    It runs for 12-16 hours a day (sometimes 24 hours a day if we have the ceramic heater on overnight) for 3-4 days per race weekend. The hours add up fast on it, but I don't see an hour meter anywhere.

    The old craftsman doesn't put out exactly 60 hz so some electronics that lack PFC don't like it, but it's helpful to have running again in a pinch.
  5. dpkimmel2001

    dpkimmel2001 Team Owner

    I opted for the non wheeled version thinking the wheeled version might grow legs. :eek:
    Johali likes this.
  6. BobbyFord

    BobbyFord Resident Gearhead Contributor

    What kind of oil you running?
  7. dpkimmel2001

    dpkimmel2001 Team Owner

    10w30 Pennzoil.
    Johali and BobbyFord like this.
  8. Johali

    Johali Team Owner Contributor

  9. Magnethead

    Magnethead Admin & Resident Techie Staff Member

    Lucas high-zinc racing oil...just put valvoline straight 30 in both generators and the lawnmower.
    BobbyFord likes this.
  10. sdj

    sdj Just a race fan

    Just a thought, you might want to change the oil a little more often than at 1000 hours.;)

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