Trouble starting Honda generator

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Did it have fuel stabilizer in it while it was sitting for a year? Even if it did, my first suspicion would be that the carb is fouled. But usually that doesn't lead to backfiring, just not starting. On the other hand, the backfiring did start when you turned off the gas. If it was timing related, a valve, etc, curious that it started just when fuel was shut off. I suppose the float could be stuck open flooding it badly.
After checking the spark plug condition and for spark, I'd pull the carb and rebuild it. If you get a service manual it should be fairly easy. By taking it apart, you can completely clean it and remove any gunk. The rebuild kits are cheap, look on Ebay. I got one for a Tecumseh engine for ~$12.
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Thanks for your reply trader4.
I understand all that's been said about backfiring causes but it's hard for me to believe that turning off the gas did something that caused the timing to be off which thus caused the backfiring.
The spark plug condition is good and the spark is also good. The gas did have fuel stabilizer in it.
The backfiring occured when the fuel level had dropped very low, not quite empty. Perhaps there was floating junk in the fuel and it got into the carb only when the fuel dropped to a low enough level.
I think your tip to rebuild the carb will be the next step.
On Sat, 20 Mar 2010 08:06:29 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

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Like others have said, change the plug first just to be sure.
Unlike what others have said, lean mixture can create a backfire condition.
The generators that I have worked on that have sat for a year and wouldn't start is almost 95% due to dirty carbs. The carb has to be disassembled completely and EVERY passage clean. On a Honda, you'll most likely need to get a small wire and run it thru the pilot jet after removing the jet.
Also, drain all gas out of tank, check for rust. It will be a waste of time to clean the carb is the tank is rusty.
Hank
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