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Old 05-21-2006, 11:43 AM   #1
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Generator troubleshooting

Last week while traveling in western NC my Generac 40 Quietpac began to shut down intermitantly. I figured it might be some of the unusual angles associated with climbing and twisting and turning. It always started right back up when I hit the remote button.
Thursday was the end of that though and now it will not stay running. It would start but not stay lit.
Yesterday I changed out the fuel filter and spark plug. I also removed the air filter to reduce any restriction of air flow.
No luck... I'm wondering if the low oil sensor can be bypassed to troubleshoot this item or the over temp sensor?
I've got lots of compression via the finger in the spark plug hole.
I appreciate any and all suggestions.
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Old 05-21-2006, 05:08 PM   #2
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How much fuel do you have in the tank. The generator fuel line pickup is located higher up on the tank than the engine fuel line is. This way if you are out boondocking with your generator running you will have a reserve amount of fuel to get to a gas station.

Just a idea,
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Old 05-21-2006, 05:31 PM   #3
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Glen, this may sound dumb, but did you check to make sure the generator actually has oil in it? I have forgotten how the sensor works, but I think if you connect the two wires going to the sensor, it will bypass it.
It's been almost 10 years since I worked on one, so if doing what I just said looks like it will break something, don't do it (obviously).
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Old 05-21-2006, 08:17 PM   #4
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Pat/OL63, yes I've looked at the obvious. I keep a check on the oil at all times. Run Mobile 1 synth. As my genset runs all day every day I change my oil about once ever two or three weeks. My setup is retrofit so does not have a generator fuel pickup. I run from a direct splice on the main fuel line.... hence changing the filter.
I'm going to look at the schematic tomorrow and try a bypass of the low oil sensor to start, as it's up front.
I even tried disconnecting the remote harness to see if the kill switch was causing the trouble...but no joy.
I am leaning toward one of the sensors or .... a bad coil, the spark is looking a little weak to me but that's just an uninformed speculation on my part.
Still looking for more info....
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Old 05-21-2006, 08:29 PM   #5
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Blue spark is best

If the spark is blue, you have plenty of spark. If it is orange, it is so-so, but should still run with no problem. If it is yellow, well, it may not be enough to ignite the fuel/air mixture.
Also, IIRC, if the sensor shuts down the engine for lack of oil, it does it by shutting off the spark, so if it is sparking, the low oil sensor is probably good.
Also, I don't know what your feelings are about this, but a small spritz of carb cleaner in the intake, and cranking the generator will tell you a lot. If it fires, and dies again, you have a fuel problem. If it just mindlessly cranks, you have a spark problem.
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Old 05-21-2006, 09:29 PM   #6
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Glen,

On top of the previously posted good ideas, have you checked the fuel pump pressure?
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Old 05-22-2006, 06:26 AM   #7
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Now we're getting somewhere! Great ideas both of you. I've been waiting for you, Lew, to chime in here. Thanks.
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Old 05-22-2006, 12:31 PM   #8
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O.K. so today I go out and apply some carb cleaner to the throat of the carb as I'm cranking. Generator starts. Ah, could be the fuel pump. Take off the line out to the carb from pump. Test prime... lot of fuel...now all over of course.
Apply a little presure via carb cleaner to the hose up to carb. Apply liberal amount to the carb and adjacent parts too. Reconnect the line and start the generator. Now no problems!! All is well, but what did I do?? Choke silenoid was working up and down. Seems like it was getting fuel via the pump.
It's just like a computer problem that I can fix and not know what I did right. Makes me crazy....
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Old 05-22-2006, 06:36 PM   #9
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Glen,

I guess you'll just have to wait 'till it quits on you again to really get into it! I would just keep running it as you do and not worry until it dies again.You know, 'IIABDFI' (if it ain't broke- don't fix it). I use a product made by Onan called '4C' for 'combustion chamber and carburetor cleaner. The stuff is magical in the way it gets sluggish, sputtering and otherwise poorly operating gen-set motors to work again by de-carbonizing all of the combustion related components. I would venture a guess that you did something similar with your application of the carb cleaner!
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Old 05-22-2006, 08:58 PM   #10
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Lew, how is 4C applied? The Generac has lots of hours on it and this is the first problem I've encountered. I figured it might have been a blockage in the carb but at this point who knows. As the carb has never been gone through in the three years I've been running it I'm figuring it may be time.
I use synth. oil and am diligent about changing it and the filter. That was only the second spark plug since new.
As the genset runs as much as 16 hours a day when I'm working it has served me well.
I agree with your IFIABDFI and also thing that if you use it regularly it will work a lot better than some that are used only sparingly.
Thanks for the info and your time.
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Old 07-11-2006, 02:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlenCoombe
Lew, how is 4C applied?
I Just picked up a can of this stuff to see if it helps my situation.

Ď4Cí COMBUSTION CHAMBER & CARBURETOR CLEANER
-For chemical removal of carbon deposits in internal combustion engines-
Directions:
Use one can of 4C for all one and two cylinder gasoline engines and two cans for four cylinder gasoline engines. (Itís a 12oz can)
1. Warm engine up to normal operating temperature in an open well ventilated area. Shut engine off.
2. Remove air cleaner to expose carb air inlet. Restart engine and position throttle for approximately 1800 RPM.
3. With 4C at room temperature, shake thoroughly before using.
4. Spray cleaner into carb inlet, washing choke plate and inside walls. Spray as rapidly as possible without stalling engine. (RPM will decrease slightly)
5. Continue to spray cleaner until approximately 1 oz. of 4C cleaner remains. Spray the remaining oz. as quickly as possible until the engine floods and stalls.
6. Let the engine stand for 15 minutes. Reinstall air cleaner.
7. Restart Procedure
For industrial engines: restart and use the throttle to rev the engine and enhance carbon removal.
For GENSETS: using a load bank, restart the engine and cycle the GENSET from no-load to full load to enhance carbon removal

I've been researching here trying to figure out why my generator is cutting out. It blows black smoke, sputters, and then dies. It only happens once the choke comes off. I pulled off the black plastic air manifold going into the carb while it was running, and it got a lot better. So I went to get a new air filter.

Tomorrow Iím going to put on the new air filter, turn some of the jet adjustments, and hope I can tune her in. If I can get her to run for a while, Iíll then administer this magic Ď4Cí. The guy at the counter said that it's fun to do because tons of black carbon chunks fly out the exhaust. --we'll see.

-Kevin
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Old 07-11-2006, 03:06 AM   #12
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Kevin,

Thanks for posting the application of the 4-C. Looks like it came right from the label. It does do great things to the motor but is a little scarey to use , especially when the nasties come flying out the exhaust!!!

As far as the load bank goes, just run it under load like a microwave or A/C unit. It will do accomplish the same thing, since I don't know anyone except Onan that has a load bank to use.
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Old 07-11-2006, 04:10 AM   #13
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Yup. Straight from the label.
I was kind of shocked at the proceedure. I was reading the can right at the counter, and the guy was laughing.
The only problem I see right now is that I have to get the thing running preperly before I use it.

-Kevin
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Old 07-11-2006, 11:54 AM   #14
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Can of 4C
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