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Author Topic: Honda genterator quirky  (Read 43433 times)
W8JX
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« Reply #45 on: December 11, 2015, 06:13:24 AM »

The symptoms the OP mentioned are classic clogged carb jet syndrome that can happen on any non-fuel injected small generator.  Its largely driven by alcohol and pollution control additives gelling in old gas.

It is not driven by alcohol by rather evaporation of fuel. If there is no water in fuel tank alcohol will bind to gas alone but if water is present it will suspend it in gas.  Gumming is driven by additives in gas left behind when gas evaporates including water that was suspended earlier. In a sealed tank gas keeps for along time. When left in a carburetor it can evaporate over time and leave normal additives and base stock behind. Winter gas is the worst for this because it has a higher volatility/vapor pressure than summer gas. The permanent fix is to run carb dry when stored and use a bit of dry gas to keep possible water from condensation from building up. You cannot ignore water possibility in stored fuel and only alcohol can bind with gas and water and allow it to pass. If there is so much water that it is starting to separate, more, not less, alcohol is needed.      
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
K6BRN
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« Reply #46 on: December 11, 2015, 09:48:35 AM »

OK.  I'm not sure we are really disagreeing - I never discussed the mechanism for gelling, nor have I studied it.  But what I've found in the carbs I've cleaned is... gel.   Usually in the jets, not so much in the bowl or filter.  And sometimes aluminum corrosion products. 

The heavily oxygenated gas does seem to be less stable.

And sealed or not, after 6 months, I've had issues with stored gasoline, in sealed tanks.  Note that I live in CA, which uses a lot of custom blends with high concentrations of additives.  Maybe thats why.
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W8JX
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« Reply #47 on: December 11, 2015, 05:12:02 PM »

OK.  I'm not sure we are really disagreeing - I never discussed the mechanism for gelling, nor have I studied it.  But what I've found in the carbs I've cleaned is... gel.   Usually in the jets, not so much in the bowl or filter.  And sometimes aluminum corrosion products. 

The heavily oxygenated gas does seem to be less stable.

And sealed or not, after 6 months, I've had issues with stored gasoline, in sealed tanks.  Note that I live in CA, which uses a lot of custom blends with high concentrations of additives.  Maybe thats why.

I have had gas sit in a 60 yr old tractor for a year or more in barn and it started and ran fine. I do shut off fuel to carb when not using tractor. The chevy Volt we have actually pressurizes fuel tank to keep fuel longer. To refuel you have to press a button to depressurize tank before you can open it to refuel.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
K6BRN
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« Reply #48 on: December 12, 2015, 10:03:53 AM »

Ha ha!  Good fun.  Left a great image in my mind of an antique diesel tractor "barn find" just starting up.

But we are talking modern small, carburated gasoline generators, built for efficiency, with many small jet orifices.   Nothing like an antique tractor.  I doubt your tractor has 6 or eight tiny jet orifices, like an 8 HP Vanguard or Honda engine, for example.  If it is a gas tractor, it probably has one, or two.  Big ones.

Your advice to small generator users amounts to:  "Go ahead, take a chance with old gas.  You may get lucky.  My 60 year old tractor did."  Not good counsel to people who rely on their generators, like the example in the OP.  Especially emergency generators.

My V6 I/O carburated boat engine has no trouble with 6 month or year old gas.  Nor does my fuel injected car.  But every generator I've had does - Honda's, Coleman, Generac...  or ChiCrap.  Much smaller jet orifices, and more of them.  When they clog, the generator begins to surge.  And then I pop out the orifice tube and clean it.  But mostly I rotate gas (in sealed containers) so that it rarely happens.  A simple job.  $75 if I bring it to a local shop.
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W8JX
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« Reply #49 on: December 12, 2015, 12:55:43 PM »

Ha ha!  Good fun.  Left a great image in my mind of an antique diesel tractor "barn find" just starting up.

But we are talking modern small, carburated gasoline generators, built for efficiency, with many small jet orifices.   Nothing like an antique tractor.  I doubt your tractor has 6 or eight tiny jet orifices, like an 8 HP Vanguard or Honda engine, for example.  If it is a gas tractor, it probably has one, or two.  Big ones.

Your advice to small generator users amounts to:  "Go ahead, take a chance with old gas.  You may get lucky.  My 60 year old tractor did."  Not good counsel to people who rely on their generators, like the example in the OP.  Especially emergency generators.

My V6 I/O carburated boat engine has no trouble with 6 month or year old gas.  Nor does my fuel injected car.  But every generator I've had does - Honda's, Coleman, Generac...  or ChiCrap.  Much smaller jet orifices, and more of them.  When they clog, the generator begins to surge.  And then I pop out the orifice tube and clean it.  But mostly I rotate gas (in sealed containers) so that it rarely happens.  A simple job.  $75 if I bring it to a local shop.

Actually my old tractor was fairly modern. It was John Deere's new venture in into front mounted vertical OHV engines with higher compression (7.5 to 1 vs older 5 to 1 all fuel engines) with foot clutch vs old JD's of many years with horizontal engines mounted sideways in front of platform with a hand clutch. I always shut fuel off when not in use. In gravity feed from tank to carbs when fuel is left on as fuel evaporates sitting fresh fuel takes its place and as more evaporates more of additives build up and over time the cycle produces gum/varnish in fuel bowl and jets. If fuel is off there is not enough additives to case a problem after gas evaporates especially if engine is run to fuel starve and choked with fuel shut off. I always run my snow blowers until gravity fed carb is dry. One year I did not on one of them and had carbs issues next season. Never had issues with carbs on non gravity feed power equipment.  Most generator are gravity feed and if you do not shut fuel off you can have issues. 
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K6BRN
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« Reply #50 on: December 12, 2015, 08:28:58 PM »

Totally agree with running carburated engines dry if they are not used for a time.

Interesting tractor history.  "All-Fuel"?  So previous John Deere tractors in this class were low-compression flat-heads?  And could therefore run gasoline, and probably kerosene as fuel?  Very handy, on a farm.  The OHV was more efficient, probably provided better HP/weight, but maybe less flexible.  Not sure why the flat-heads would be horizontal.

I grew up in the northeast and until 1990, my aunt still heated her (farm) house and cooked with kerosene ("New Perfection" wick stove), except for the potbellied coal stove in the basement.  Used to use it for lighting, too.  Never put in city gas, went straight to electric lights from kerosene.  Spent many a fun week there, with my cousin, in younger days.
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W8JX
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« Reply #51 on: December 13, 2015, 06:28:40 AM »

Totally agree with running carburated engines dry if they are not used for a time.

Interesting tractor history.  "All-Fuel"?  So previous John Deere tractors in this class were low-compression flat-heads?  And could therefore run gasoline, and probably kerosene as fuel?  Very handy, on a farm.  The OHV was more efficient, probably provided better HP/weight, but maybe less flexible.  Not sure why the flat-heads would be horizontal.

John Deere always had a OHV engine as far as I know it is just for many years they used a large displacement 2 cylinder engine with engine aligned horizontally and sideways in tractor to drive main gear to trans axle and a very bullet proof design. The displacement on some models well exceeded 400 cubic inches and would red line under 1000 RPM. They had massive flywheels and would pull strongly even at a few hundred RPM. All fuel engines started on gas and then switched to kero when warmed up. They used a hot manifold needed to vaporize the kero and why engine was started and warmed up on gas. They also had compression release valves on cylinders you opened manually to help you crank it over by hand. Once it lite and you saw exhaust coming from open valves you would shut them and let it warm up.  All fuel engines made less HP for same displacement as gas only due to low compression and fuel but kero was real cheap then and economy was good.


I grew up in the northeast and until 1990, my aunt still heated her (farm) house and cooked with kerosene ("New Perfection" wick stove), except for the potbellied coal stove in the basement.  Used to use it for lighting, too.  Never put in city gas, went straight to electric lights from kerosene.  Spent many a fun week there, with my cousin, in younger days.

I still heat with fuel oil fired hot water boiler. Heating oil is the cheapest it has been in years. When I bought house it was 48 cents a gallon and it peaked at 4+ a gallon and now is about 2 bucks a gallon. I have a large tank underground that will heat house all winter without refuel so I would buy fuel at best price in off season.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2015, 05:35:41 PM by W8JX » Logged

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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
KE4ZHN
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« Reply #52 on: December 14, 2015, 04:34:51 AM »

I have a Coleman Powermate 4kw that's at least 20 years old. It fires up on the second or third pull of the starter rope every time. I store it with no fuel in it. That's the key. No matter what brand it is, never store a generator with fuel in the carb or tank if you don't plan on running it right away. Stale fuel is the main cause of grief in small engines.
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W8JX
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« Reply #53 on: December 14, 2015, 07:07:25 AM »

I have a Coleman Powermate 4kw that's at least 20 years old. It fires up on the second or third pull of the starter rope every time. I store it with no fuel in it. That's the key. No matter what brand it is, never store a generator with fuel in the carb or tank if you don't plan on running it right away. Stale fuel is the main cause of grief in small engines.

My garage is well insulated and attached to house. It never gets below mid 40's in winter or above 80 in summer and is heated in winter at times as well as cooled on occasion in summer. Because of this gas stores well in it as there is no daily temperature swings.
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #54 on: December 14, 2015, 08:33:54 AM »

  Propane is what I have for my Generac, 22KW unit but, it is bolted to the pad.

At 22kw it would not be easy to move even not bolted down.

I have to relate a story told to me by an ex-Air Force friend:

He was at a forward operating base in Somalia.  The crew was playing cards in one of the tents when the lights went out.  The assumption was made that the generator had run out of fuel so someone was sent out to refuel.  He came back a short time time and his first words were "what generator?". 

It turns out the the Somalis had lifted the running generator and drove a truck under it.  Then, some brave soul had cut the power cable with an ax and they left.  The ax had a half moon melted out of it. 

Just goes to show what desperation can drive some people to do!  That is why my generator is bolted down.
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W8JX
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« Reply #55 on: December 14, 2015, 10:47:49 AM »

  Propane is what I have for my Generac, 22KW unit but, it is bolted to the pad.

At 22kw it would not be easy to move even not bolted down.

I have to relate a story told to me by an ex-Air Force friend:

He was at a forward operating base in Somalia.  The crew was playing cards in one of the tents when the lights went out.  The assumption was made that the generator had run out of fuel so someone was sent out to refuel.  He came back a short time time and his first words were "what generator?". 

It turns out the the Somalis had lifted the running generator and drove a truck under it.  Then, some brave soul had cut the power cable with an ax and they left.  The ax had a half moon melted out of it. 

Just goes to show what desperation can drive some people to do!  That is why my generator is bolted down.

I have another story for you. When I was in Air Force in early 70's we had MD3 power units that were 3 phase 208 v 400 hz unit that made some serious power and could fully power any aircraft they had. They also could produce 28vdc at about 300 amps. They were powered by a 6 cyl 540 cu air cooled aircraft motor driving a gearbox that drove generator.  They weighed a couple tons too. Sometimes they would parallel two of them for added 28v power for some old jet aircraft that used 28volt starters. On one occasion they got polarity crossed and when output contactors were engaged the sudden torque load for the basically short circuited unit caused them to suddenly flip like they were weightless corks. While they were generally very reliable units they would suck a valve on occasions. When they did at night it was quite a fireworks show from upward facing exhaust ports. I saw show one night.   
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
N4TTS
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« Reply #56 on: December 14, 2015, 04:48:30 PM »

I have a Coleman Powermate 4kw that's at least 20 years old. It fires up on the second or third pull of the starter rope every time. I store it with no fuel in it. <snip>

I have the same generator I bought in 1982 and I store it the same way. I run it dry after I'm done with it.
It always leaks a little from the float bowl the first few minutes after I put gas in it but after the gaskets swell up it stops.

During a power outage after a hurricane, I've hooked up a five gallon boat tank to it and it'll run 16 hours between fills.
Never had to worry about doing that because it has the low oil shutoff, although it's never used enough oil to even notice.

I've run it 24 hours a day for two weeks before and it just keeps on keepin' on.
Oh yeah, I've also never run unleaded gas in it.

Not sure if a Honda generator would provide that kind of performance for that many years.

Don N4TTS
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W8JX
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« Reply #57 on: December 14, 2015, 06:21:11 PM »

I have a Coleman Powermate 4kw that's at least 20 years old. It fires up on the second or third pull of the starter rope every time. I store it with no fuel in it. <snip>

I have the same generator I bought in 1982 and I store it the same way. I run it dry after I'm done with it.
It always leaks a little from the float bowl the first few minutes after I put gas in it but after the gaskets swell up it stops.

During a power outage after a hurricane, I've hooked up a five gallon boat tank to it and it'll run 16 hours between fills.
Never had to worry about doing that because it has the low oil shutoff, although it's never used enough oil to even notice.

I've run it 24 hours a day for two weeks before and it just keeps on keepin' on.
Oh yeah, I've also never run unleaded gas in it.

Not sure if a Honda generator would provide that kind of performance for that many years.

Don N4TTS

Some of those old flat head motors run forever. I have a old rotary mower I bought new 36 years ago. Still use it for small trim jobs and still starts by 2nd pull 99% of time. Only things bad about flat heads is they run a bit hotter and use a lot more fuel than modern OHV ones. I have a 30 year old Onan 18 hp opposed twin flat head with 1900 hrs in a JD 318. I uses 20w50 in it now to slow oil consumption and change it every 20 hrs because engine is worn and it gets dirty quick and when dirty it uses more oil than when clean. It still runs very smooth. It uses more gas than 32 HP OHV mower that replaced it.
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