generator storage

question on 3 year old generator (self-starter, battery equipped) stored unused for 3 years
if unit was stored drained from fuel, is there anything detrimental to the non-use, assuming it was brand new, used for 60 to 90 minutes and then fuel was drained and item stored ? the battery is totally dead of course, but what about the mechanical or electronic parts?
oil sat for 3 years but is not colored dark, likely it would contain some moisture but would it deteriorate just sitting?
anything else that I am not asking, but should ask ?
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jack wrote:

Depending on the storage location mice can wreak havoc. You might have to re flash the field...
http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/20372/Field-flashing
Field flashing is used when the exciter poles of generator lose their magnetism and will not allow gen set to build voltage.. This sometimes happens if a machine has not been run for long periods of time. To rectify this problem we use a 12vdc battery to repolarize the exciter poles by applying voltage to the exciter circuit directly. The gen-set must be offline and proper polarity must be observed.. The gen-set or voltage regulator manufacturer usually has procedure for this in manual..
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Steve gave you a good lineup of the most common issues. Mild cylinder pitting is possible depending on the storage location, and a stuck valve is also a tiny possibility. In general, I would be optimistic that the thing is just as good as new.
Vaughn
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Depending on where it was stored, some problems you might want to check for:
Rust in Gas tank if it is not plastic. Oil leaks from dried up seals. The carb could have developed some moisture and be clogged. Corroded electrical terminals.
Basically, check everything.
Hank
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jack wrote:

I gas mine up yearly. I drain the old gas and use it in my lawn tractors and refill the tank again. I start it and run it until it warms up good twice a year. No problems when I need it.
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You drained it, but after that did you run it until it stopped running?
Depending on what opening you drained it from, there might have been gas in the carb still, no?
I have 6 lawnmowers that won't start, and I think gas gum is the reason for 5 of them.
One of them started last year after sitting still for two years, but I think that was because I put Sta-bil in the gas two years earlier, while I was still using the mower, so the stabil-mixed gas made it to every part of the carb. If I knew how many times I was going to use an engine before not using it, I might be able to put Sta-bil only in a while before I stop using it, but since I never know, on imporant stuff, I've been using it all the time.
Anyhow, that lawnmower worked last summer, but by August, I left it in the hands of a friend who probalby didn't use stabil. When I got it back, I added some, I had doubts whether it could work its way from the tank through the line to the small passages wheich is where the clogging occurred, but no time to use the thing enough. I should have made the time. It wouldn't start this year.
Another one wouldn't start but I removed the carburetor bowl and soaked a few parts in professional parts cleaner, which is unfortunately not as strong as it was 50 years ago aiui, and didn't do enough, but a wire through one passage got the thing running. The actual jet, the last part before the gas goes into the flowing air, shouldn't be cleaned this way, because you'll change the dimensions of the hole, but then again, this isn't a car, only a lawnmower (or generator) and one can buy a whole new carb if necessary, so if you have wire thin enough, it's probalby worth doing. Your engine doesn't have the performance demands under varying conditions that a car does and there's probably some allowance possible in jet dimensions.
I ended up buying an electric lawnmower, used, and for 10 dollars in parts, that's fixed, and I'm going to try to give away the gas mowers, any day now.

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The cilinder is dry, removing the plug and squirting a foaming fogging oil will lube it imediatly so you dont score it. On my unit first time startup after sitting I start it on a cup of 2 stroke gas since it lubes immediatly and the oil system will take alot more time, after its running I fill it with gas. If you get no voltage out of it then flashing it will be necessary, it should have been run every 6-12 months so this would not happen, but some bigger generators have a circuit that removes this worry. Check the air filter and exhaust, gen openings for nests, I had a mouse nest in my air filter. It should have been stored with fogging oil, there is one that foams that coats everything, you might have rust in the cilinder you cant see that could have caused alot of damage, see how it runs. Even on new units the first oil change is recomended after not many hours, change it before it gets alot of use.
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...
Are you considering buying this thing, or you already own it?
Could be a bear to get running again, could have issues making power as well. If you are considering buying it, consider those things very carefully and calibrate your offer low enough.
If you already own it, nothing to do but look it over for mouse & wasp nests (removing those and replacing any chewed wires), change the oil, try putting a little gas in, and see if you can get it to go. Perhaps put some oil (a small spoonful or less) down the spark plug hole(s) first to help with the likely pitting and flash rust and certain lack of adequate lubrication as you start up there. If you can't get it to go, take off the carburetor and clean it. If you get it running, see if it makes power - if not, you may have to flash the generator. Letting stuff sit without much more through preparation than "draining the gas" is a recipe for trouble when you go to start up again.
If looking for "how to do it right" both fuel stabilizer and running all your equipment with gasoline or diesel engines for an hour once a month is good. Yes, it uses some fuel - but much less costly than the time, parts and frustration you may go through if you don't. You can get away with less often, you may shoot yourself in the foot if you do it for less time (things need to get hot enough for long enough to boil off any accumulated water). Local climate may well affect what you can get away with (dry desert obviously will have less issues with condensate in the oil than wet/humid areas.)
3-6 months at a very bare minimum. Personally I consider 6 months much too long.
If intentionally arranging for long term storage, the first best option is sell the thing and avoid storing it. If not that, then a much more through preparation of the engine helps - running all gas out of it, oiling the cylinders, changing and perhaps overfilling the crankcase oil, covering intake and exhaust with aluminum foil - with a subsequent need to undo all those things at the far end of storage. Generator excitation loss is not something you can prevent, so about all you can do to help with that if the thing cannot be run regularly is to document how to fix it ahead of time, and include that in the unstoring instructions - then make sure those don't get eaten by mice.
--
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by

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First and foremost, read the manual. Storage instructions are almost always in there. Honda gives short, medium, and long-term storage instructions. Follow them!
That selling idea does not work for me. Following a disaster, generator stocks quickly disappear nationwide. If you don't already have one, you are out of luck!
I keep an EU2000 "pickled" for long-term storage as per the manual, & packed in a crate ready for shipping. That single generator is there for me to use as a "backup for my backup" following a Florida hurricane or for use by my daughter following any of several natural disasters that seem to occur periodically in California.
Vaughn
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