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Old 11-12-2012, 05:49 PM   #1
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Generator choke issue


Hi;
I have a Craftsman portable generator. It's probably 10yrs old, but has only been run a total of about 200hrs. I have been keeping up with the maintenance sched, and the unit has been running like a champ.

We ran the generator for 12-14hrs/day for 7 days during the Sandy superstorm here in NJ. No problems with the generator, except one morning, after the temps had dropped about 15deg F, the engine would start, then stall out. I added a bit of "drygas" to the tank, and it was fine.
After that, no issues at all.

Now, a week after we got our power back, I wanted to do the maintenance on the machine. I tried to start it, but the engine would not turn over.
The choke was in the "start" position, fully on. This is the position it had been in every other time I had started it.

I checked that the rocker switch was in the ON position, that I had plenty of gas in the tank, and that the air filter was clean. I also checked to see that the choke moved when I moved the lever.
So the next thing I did was pull out the spark plug. It looked a bit ragged, and was due for replacement anyway, so I went and bought a new one.
But installing the new spark plug failed to correct the problem.
The engine was not turning over.
Next, I removed the wire from the spark plug, inserted a piece of wire to make contact with the clip, and left the other end of the wire almost touching the housing of the engine. When I drew the cord, I did see a spark, so I knew that was not the problem.

I poked around, scratched my head, then decided to try starting it with the choke partially off (moved towards the run position). I moved it about 1/2 way between start and run, and pulled the cord. The engine started up on the first pull, and ran fine once I had moved the choke fully over to run.

So, why did the engine start every other time with the choke in the start position, but today it required the choke halfway open?
One note here is that the last time I had the generator running, the outside temp was in the 40's, and today it was in the 60's.

Any ideas on this?

Thanks

FW

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Old 11-12-2012, 05:53 PM   #2
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Generator choke issue


Time to completly rebuild the carberator.
Bet your going to find water and trash in the bowl.

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Old 11-12-2012, 08:01 PM   #3
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Generator choke issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Time to completly rebuild the carberator.
Bet your going to find water and trash in the bowl.
Thanks for the reply;
Interestingly, last year when we used the generator for 3 days 24 hrs/day, I found a lot of sludge around the air filter gasket (at the bottom). This time I did not find any. Could be that some of the gas we used last time was old.

I'll have a look at the carburetor and get the rebuild kit if necessary. I think this is something I can handle.

FW
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:07 PM   #4
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Generator choke issue


When I'm done using the generator I shut the fuel valve off and let the moter just die so most of the fuel is out of the carberator.
Once the events over I also drain out the fuel in the tank and dump it in my truck. This way I know there's going to be fresh fuel in the tank when I go to use it.
I also only use nonethenal fuel. It's cut my maintance cost and down time to almost 0 in the past 5 years in all my power equipment.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:13 AM   #5
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Generator choke issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
When I'm done using the generator I shut the fuel valve off and let the moter just die so most of the fuel is out of the carberator.
Once the events over I also drain out the fuel in the tank and dump it in my truck. This way I know there's going to be fresh fuel in the tank when I go to use it.
I also only use nonethenal fuel. It's cut my maintance cost and down time to almost 0 in the past 5 years in all my power equipment.
Where do you buy non-ethanol fuel? As far as I know, all of the fuel in my area (NJ) contains ethanol.

FW
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:21 AM   #6
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Generator choke issue


May want to check at your local lawn equipment store or any place that sells or services boats. They may know of a place that sells it.
I'm lucky enough to live on the Chesapeake bay and there's so many boats in the area some service stations have two pumps just for non ethenal they sell so much of it.

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