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Long term storage of generator

Old 07-16-2012, 07:24 AM
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Default Long term storage of generator

Several years ago I purchased one of these at Sam's Club:


I don't recall exactly how long ago it was, but it was the last "tax-free" hurricane related purchase days that Florida had. Maybe 3-4 years ago?

So, I brought it home took it out of the box and put together cables to connect to house and it's been sitting under the workbench ever since. I figured I would put gas/oil in it whenever the first time I need it comes around. Lately I've been thinking I should probably do something like start it. I never thought I would go all this time without a substantial power outage, but I have. Initially I figured if I put gas in it just to try it out, it would be a PIA to start when I needed it. Your thoughts?
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:31 AM
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I run my generator every 1-2 months for at least 1 hour. All the fuel has preservative in it, turn over the fuel completely every year. We maybe have 1 outage each year when I run the generator. Change the oil annually. Other than that, I do nothing else. Generator engine (B&S) starts easily first pull, every time.
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:33 AM
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Tough call. Presumably the unit was well prepped for storage when it was packed up by the manufacturer. What are the 'conditions' it is stored in now? I don't know that I'd want to run it, but it might not be a bad idea to put oil in, put a tiny bit of oil in the cylinders, and turn it over by hand a couple times.

Chances are it will be 100% fine either way. The only risk to you is that you have no idea if it actually works. Once you put gasoline in it and run it, I think you're gonna be on the hook to fire it up at least every couple of years.

Of course, I say all that - I had one that I ran every 6 months.. then ran annually... then it got buried in the back of my garage under a pile of stuff. 2-3 years later I pull it out and really it was 10 mins of trying to get it started and then 10 minutes of smoking like crazy, but it ran fine. It's been almost another 2 years, I should probably pull it out soon and try it again.
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:42 AM
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Your's SHOULD be fine as is till you need it. Problem is, what if it's not and you wait till you really need it.

Mine has non ethonal gas and Marine Stabil in it. It's electric start, so I have a Battery Tender hooked up to it. It should be run more often than I do, but has stated every time I've tried it.
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Flot View Post
Tough call. Presumably the unit was well prepped for storage when it was packed up by the manufacturer. What are the 'conditions' it is stored in now? I don't know that I'd want to run it, but it might not be a bad idea to put oil in, put a tiny bit of oil in the cylinders, and turn it over by hand a couple times.

Chances are it will be 100% fine either way.
Yep- personally I would start it and run it for a half hour or so and do this every 4 to 6 months and keep fresh gas in it. With store and start or similiar fuel anti gum preservative. Thanks for the reminder - I am gonna run mine now....
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:48 AM
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Ditto what Dave said. I'd make sure there isn't some kind of mfg issue with it right out of the box. I run mine at least once a year and also swap the gas out with fresh gas and stable once a year and use the old gas in my lawn mowers. It's a pain in the ass but worth when you need it.
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:58 AM
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I have a few Honda engines, and they seem better than most when they sit for prolonged periods. I Have a small Honda 1000w geny, I forgot I had it, sat in the garage for 7 years. I took it out and dumped the old gas, it fired 2nd pull. It did smoke allot at first, I know the rings where stuck. I put some PB Blaster in the plug hole and let it sit overnight, it runs like new again. They are one tough little engine.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:19 AM
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I run mine at beginning of hurricane season each year. I put the full load on it and run it for about an hour. I then turn the fuel off and let it run until it starves for fuel and quits. I then stry to start it a couple more time's. I change the oil in it every other year. This works pretty good for me. Genny starts on 3rd or 4th pull.
ed
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:25 AM
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My whole house generator does a self test every week for 15 minutes. It runs on NG so I don't have to worry about stale fuel. I had a portable unit and I could leave it alone for a year and it would fire up when I needed it to work. Fuel stabilizer is a must.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:33 AM
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Marvel Mystery Oil added to fresh gas before the storage. Run every few months. Keep a new spark plug handy and be sure you know the proper 'gap' for it.

I run numerous gen sets in a commercial setting and store them in trucks for a year at a time. Never a problem, at most a new plug and good to go. This is is triple degree summer heat and up to 60 below zero as well.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by TheRealMacGyver View Post
Several years ago I purchased one of these at Sam's Club:


I don't recall exactly how long ago it was, but it was the last "tax-free" hurricane related purchase days that Florida had. Maybe 3-4 years ago?

So, I brought it home took it out of the box and put together cables to connect to house and it's been sitting under the workbench ever since. I figured I would put gas/oil in it whenever the first time I need it comes around. Lately I've been thinking I should probably do something like start it. I never thought I would go all this time without a substantial power outage, but I have. Initially I figured if I put gas in it just to try it out, it would be a PIA to start when I needed it. Your thoughts?

I think its a good plan. I did the same thing. I bought a Rigid Generator from Home Depot with a Subaru Industrial engine in 2010 and put under the workbench in my garage with a cover, oil & spare spark plugs. Not as worried about finding a manufacturing defect as I am about the problems from decaying fuel & fuel system parts once you gas it up. The only reason I bought it is for possible post hurricane usage.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:57 AM
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if its been stored for 3-4 years before you start it
Pull the pulgs out
Spray a light oil in each cylinder and let it sit
Pull the drain screw out of the carb and drain the fuel out and drain the fuel tank also .
Change the oil
Pull the pull cord a few times to get new oil on the bearing surface as they will be dry after 3-4years
while pulling the cord little resitance should be felt with the plugs out , you don't want to start it until you feel the bearings, rings and oil ring in the engine has oil on them to keep the life of the engine .
Put the plugs back in and plug wires back on and fire it up .
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by docters oarders View Post
if its been stored for 3-4 years before you start it
Pull the pulgs out
Spray a light oil in each cylinder and let it sit
Pull the drain screw out of the carb and drain the fuel out and drain the fuel tank also .
Change the oil
Pull the pull cord a few times to get new oil on the bearing surface as they will be dry after 3-4years
while pulling the cord little resitance should be felt with the plugs out , you don't want to start it until you feel the bearings, rings and oil ring in the engine has oil on them to keep the life of the engine .
Put the plugs back in and plug wires back on and fire it up .
There is no fuel in the carb or tank of mine. Its never been fueled. I took it out of the box and put it on the shelf with a cover. I would imagine the bearings and internal surfaces have the original assembly and shipping oil on them.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Seacat FL View Post
There is no fuel in the carb or tank of mine. Its never been fueled. I took it out of the box and put it on the shelf with a cover. I would imagine the bearings and internal surfaces have the original assembly and shipping oil on them.
Still need a light oil on the rings and bearing surface. Assembly lube and 3-4 years in a hot garage . Just a small step for prolonged use.
I miss read you hadn't run it
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:15 AM
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I've got a honda GX6500 and a Honda EX5000. The 5000 I use for work. The 6500 for powering the house. After a power outage is resolved I drain all the fuel, empty the carb bowl and change the oil. I pull the fuel line into the carb and get some marvel mystery oil into the carb. Also pull the spark plugs and shoot 30W in and crank over a few times with the plugs out. Replace plugs cover and store. Battery tender on the 6500 every few months. Don't run it again till I need it. Generally starts right up but a bit smokey at first. .Always store your engine long term with new oil.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:30 AM
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Fog the engine , drain all the gas out it will be fine for yrs.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by TheRealMacGyver View Post
Several years ago I purchased one of these at Sam's Club:


I don't recall exactly how long ago it was, but it was the last "tax-free" hurricane related purchase days that Florida had. Maybe 3-4 years ago?

So, I brought it home took it out of the box and put together cables to connect to house and it's been sitting under the workbench ever since. I figured I would put gas/oil in it whenever the first time I need it comes around. Lately I've been thinking I should probably do something like start it. I never thought I would go all this time without a substantial power outage, but I have. Initially I figured if I put gas in it just to try it out, it would be a PIA to start when I needed it. Your thoughts?
Identical situation here (except it's a Sears unit). I'm going with the "they pickled it at the factory" and am going to wait until I need it. It's a toss up if you ask me.

I can live without it but I'm hoping it will start. (I have a portable A/C unit under the cover with it.)
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:24 PM
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Good points made, I guess it would be nice to know it actually works and my wiring cable is good. I think I'll do a drill and test everything out. I like the idea of draining the float and adding stabilizer. Thanks.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:50 PM
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on a related note, how are you connecting to the house? 220 Extension cord via Dryer Plug? With meter pulled?

Sister just hooked me up with their old Honda 7500. It was sitting for years with fuel in it and didnt run. I pulled the carb and cleaned it, changed the oil, fresh fuel, and it fires right up now and runs very well. But I would like to be able to hook it directly to the house instead of using extension cords.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:54 PM
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My plan is to backfeed an old dryer plug (circuit off) in the garage through the generators 220v/30 amp outlet and then turn the main and all breakers off before starting. Then I can control circuits as needed. I know some people freak out at this method, but I have a good understanding of what is going on and I'm the only one in my house that touches breakers!
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