Any great way to start my generator?


I have a 4 year old Honda EU2000i with about 200 hours of use. I have done the proper maintenance on it. I leave it with gas and gas stabilizer, and start it up for 5 minutes once a month. When it gets hard to start I change the gas; that is about once a year.
Tonight we had 2 brief power losses, and since it is 5 degrees out, I thought it would be a good idea to warm up the generator. It wouldn't start. I brought it in the house for a half hour, but that didn't help. I changed the gas; that did the trick. As I understand it, the most volatile parts of the gas evaporate, leaving something behind that is inadequate to start the engine; is that correct? Is there anything I could add to the old gas to revive it? Everything worked out fine (no outage so far, and the generator finally started) but I would hate to have to do this in the dark during a real outage. (I mean, besides changing the gas more often...)
Thanks.
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Ether? I'm not a huge fan of the magic juice, but if I needed to get the generator started, it would come out quickly. Bonus!, you could use up the tired gas, once it was started, I'll bet it would run on it ok.
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Same here on the ether. It might be time for a new spark plug and air cleaner filter.
Dean
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On Sun, 04 Feb 2007 19:11:39 -0600, Dean Hoffman

Same here on the ether.
I have a lawn mower that runs fine, but it will never start without a jolt of ether first (known as starting fluid, in an aerosol can. Some cans say they include "top cylinder lubricant" and they sell for the same price.)
When I had a '67 Pontiac, before fuel injection and electronic ignition, it was hard to start in the winter. I ran some small diameter aquarium tubing from the glove box through the fire wall to the carburetor. I took the small stiff tube that fits into the top of some aerosol can buttons, and I cut it in 2 pieces, part on the can, to which I attached the hose, and part in the carb end of the hose, to make it come out as a spray and not a dribble. Then when it was cold out, I only had to open the glove box and spray some ether and the car started every time, for more than 2 winters. Easy to do. No more opening the hood.
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It's OK to spray ether on the air filter. So that only vapor goes into the cylinder.
If you spray ether into the cylinder, it dries out the cylinder wall, and the generator becomes a very expensive chunk of scrap. My Dad had this done for him, or done to him, by a "helpful" neighbor.
In the box with my generator, I have a quart of Castrol 10W30 oil (Castrol is my favorite brand). And a spray can of ether.
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b-12 carb cleaner makes a good starting fluid that's not quite as volatile as starting fluid. Try pulling the plug, warm it over your stove burner or with a propane torch, pull the engine through several times with the plug out, then stick the hot plug back in. Try it several times without the choke, then go back to the choke if necessary.
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Steve Barker


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Toller wrote:

If you are using real stabilizer and if you are replacing the gas at least once a year you should be fine, I think for your use I would switch out the gas every six months..
The usual problem with old gas is not evaporation. Gasoline is usually stored in air and gasoline proof containers. The problem is polymerization. where the smaller molecule combine into larger ones.
You can burn that old gas in your car, but don't add a couple of gallons to an almost empty tank. Fill it almost up and add about a half gallon at a time. It will not hurt your car.
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Joseph Meehan

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My emergency generator is alowed to run dry and the tank left empty waiting for the next use. I keep a small gas can near it, and that gets used for the lawnmowers and such. The gas is usualy less than a month old.
Since they went in my area to ethanol in the gas, I have had problems with gas stabilizers in the snowthrowers and lawnmowers. I now run everything dry after draining the tanks, and store it that way. I havent had a problem the last two winters. The emergency generator is moved inside an attached garage if a major storm is expected, so it is above freezing . We wheel it out onto a covered patio when running.
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Even using stabiliser guarntees nothing, you are best to run it dry, you are definatly leaving old gas in to long as you have issues, you are ruining the carb slowly.
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I'm not sure you can revive flat gas. But, who knows?
I like name brand gas. Mobil seems to last a bit longer than the discount brands. Stabil and Pri G are supposed to help. Do they? I don't know for sure.
A hearty congratulations for running your generator every month. I know I should, but I do not. I know what you mean about doing this in the dark. Hint: Buy a battery power head lamp. Worth every penny when you are working and it's dark and you need to see. I own and use several strap on head lamps.
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Funny,because all the gas in an area comes from the same terminal. Additives may differ,though.Tank maintenance may vary from station to station,too.
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Jim Yanik
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On Tue, 6 Feb 2007 21:56:44 -0500, "Stormin Mormon"

I have one of those head lamps. It really makes some things easier. I regular flashlight can be impossible to position correctly.
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Toller wrote:

Try keeping a can of WD40 near the generator. When it won't start, remove the air filter and spray the WD40 directly into the carburetor throat. Full choke and it should start, leave the choke on until the engine starts to flood out, and it should continue to run after that.
The WD40 will not "wash away" the oil on the cylinder wall as badly as will ether or starting fluid. Also, the WD is slightly oily, helping replace any oil it does displace. Lastly, even the reformulated WD40 is highly flammable, it just doesn't have the flammable gas propellants any more. Where they used to use butane and propane, they now use carbon dioxide.
The fuel stabilizer isn't the problem, the evaporation in the carburetor itself most likely is the problem. The gas in the bowl and main jet dry up leaving a film of varnish (and even stabilizer). Running the engine regularly will keep this film flushed out, but starting it and then shutting it off right away will in turn foul the spark plug, making it hard to start for different reasons. Start the engine and run it for at least 10 to 15 minutes to reach full operating temperature.
Hondas have always had precise carburetors, and although they don't normally require warm up on choke, they will still do better on "old" fuel if given a chance to warm up on part choke. Other engines may require more or less choke, depending on the condition of the carb, engine overall, and fuel.
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<...snipped...>

WD40 is not even close to working like starting fluid and in many cases will make things WORSE. (Speaking from 29+ years experience in vehicle and mobile equipment maintenance) Where it CAN be helpful is hard/no start conditions resulting from wet or worn ignition system components such as spark plug wires, distributor caps, and ignition coils. Spraying it on the exterior of these items will displace water and help insulate them, often enabling an engine to start. BTW the 'WD' stands for "Water Displacing"
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The problem is the gas refineries. When I was a kid (over 3 decades ago), gas would last forever. We never had these problems with it and never added stabilizer. Today we are paying 5 to 10 times what gas cost back then, and it's junk. There is not as many BTUs per gallon, the octane and power are both lower, and the stuff is so poorly made that it goes bad in short time. We all need to begin contacting the oil companies and complaining until something is done about the problem.
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I also have a Honda EU2000i. It's about 8 months old. Every couple of months or so, I pour a little bit of gas in the tank and start it and let it run completely dry (usually about 1/2 to 1 hour). I use gas with double the amount of recommended stabilizer in it.
To start the EU2000i, I pour a little bit of gas in the tank and turn the choke and fuel valve on. Then I pull on the starter rope VERY GENTLY and fairly slowly about 8 to 10 times and it always fires right up. It's not a problem. It's very easy. Just don't get rough with it.
I use the same gasoline that I use for my lawnmower so it never gets to old, maybe 6 months old or so at the most. If it gets older than that, I pour it into my car.
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