Generac- cranking error?

Bought a house with a 1.7Kw Generac. It is set to run once a week for 30 minutes. It also has reminder notice for service and it was overdue for oil, air filter & plugs so I changed everything. Now, about every other week, it doesn't run and I get the error message that it had an over cranking error. Other weeks it starts fine automatically. I rechecked the gap on the plugs and they are correct and I don't know what else to look at. I can start it manually, but it does crank for about 10-15 secs before starting. Any thoughts?
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Joe J wrote:

Hi, Was it OK B4 you replaced those items? Dirty filter has an effect of choking. T\maybe too lean when cranking?
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Yes, it actually was ok before I screwed with it. Natural gas powered and I have no clue how to change the mixture. It did fire up and run today just fine on its own.
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Since it's natural gas it would not seem likely that it's a carburetor problem, as the usual suspect there is gasoline that fouls things up. I would make sure that nothing is blocking the air intake, eg rodent nests? Beyond that, don;t know how those natural gas carbs work. Presumably there is some orrifice that meters the gas out. If possible, check that to make sure it's not partially plugged, etc.
I'd then take a look at the spark. Take out the spark plug, reconnect it to the ignition wire, ground the body of the plug to the engine and crank it a bit. See if you get a good spark. Be aware that with the plug out you will get some natural gas coming out of the plug hole and you don't want that to ignite. Probably best to put a spare spark plug in there while doing the test.
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Joe J wrote the following:

2 or more hours of running a month? What does it need to check for 30 minutes at a time? If it starts and is able to provide current within seconds, what else is needed to check?

--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Not sure, this is a factory setting. Perhaps to charge the 12 volt car battery it uses to crank? If there is a way to change the interval, I can't find it in the manual.
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I would think the battery would be on some kind of battery tender that is AC powered, but if it's not then running it 30 mins each week could be for that purpose. If it's not, then I would think running just 10 mins would be fine, would be less wear on the unit, less fuel used, etc. Less than 10 mins the muffler might not get hot enough to drive condensation out. levaing moisture inside and it could lead to premature muffler failure.
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The factory suggests the 2 hour run time so that everything is warmed up and don't draw moisture in the windings, exhaust and other parts.
Hank <~~~ not smarter than factory engineers
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On 9/11/2011 11:00 AM, Hustlin' Hank wrote:

FWIW, my 14Kw Generac generator has a 12 minute test/run cycle per week...and I think its only at half throttle or so. The battery is on the built-in maintenance charger and is kept charged by utility power.
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I said 2 hours because that is what my manual for the Gnerator in my motorhome says. Stationary units may differ and probably do depending in size, type and such.
Personally I think 2 hours is too long and 14 minutes isn't enough. 30 minutes seems about right. :-)
Hank
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Regapped the plugs to .30, instead of factory recommended .40. Pulled the battery and it is dated 07/08. Would you change it? Info from previous home owner was in error as far as battery age. So, Generac 17KW generator, would you replace a 3 year old battery. With the .30 gap, it started on 2nd try and no over cranking errors.
WI, I don't want to be out there when it's 20 below zero, but 3 years old, doesn't seem that old, at least not for a car battery. Generac different?
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Any rating on the battery for life expectancy? Manufacturer and Model number that you can look up?
Is it 12 volt that you could at least jump it from your car?
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On 10/7/2011 4:03 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

The Generac user forums show clear evidence of poorly designed Generac chargers which can overcharge the battery, shortening the life considerably. Some people have resorted to using external float chargers instead of the Generac (built-in) charger to ensure better battery life and also avoid exploding batteries, another rare but serious consequence of poor charger design by Generac.
I replaced my 5 year old battery just a few weeks ago, on the theory that 5 years was a "safe" and prudent replacement interval. The cost of a new battery was about $80, and well worth it for the additional 'peace of mind' as far as I am concerned.
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On 10/7/2011 2:43 PM, Joe J wrote:

If regapping the plugs to a smaller setting helped it start, I'd be looking for the cause of a weak spark.
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Not sure what battery types are available in the size it uses, but if you can find a lead/acid battery that comes without acid, a solution might be to buy a battery and have it available in case you need it. If you don't put the acid in until you put it in service, it should have an indefinite shelf life. And with the acid in it will have enough energy to crank the generator.

That's a very good point. If it won't start with the factory gap, I think you're right. And that should be checked out, because it may be on it's way to total failure.
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Battery may be getting a little weak. We had a similar generator that charged off the generator and I dont think the regular runs would fully charge the battery after each crank. Cure was adding a battery charger that ran off of commercial AC. The charger was connected to AC via a inexpensive timmer that allowed it to charge for an hour a day.We got a couple of more years of life out of the battery. I think the next battery probably lasted longer because it was getting a better charge. A weak battery can also cause a weak spark that can effect starting. The only thing you did to it that I think could have likely caused the condition is changing the air filter. A dirty airfilter may have been causing a richer mixture some what compensating for another problem it may have.
Jimmie
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