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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone:

I have a Honda EM3500S. I bought it new and it's my baby. It is 4 years old and has 8.5 hours of run time. I change the oil every year and run it for 15 minutes or so every six weeks. I change the gasoline every year and add stabil to the new fuel. It's always run like a champ. The purpose of the unit is to provide back up power and I need to be able to count on it. It's stored under a vinyl cover in the garage.

Today I fired it up and it ran normally for about 10 minutes then died out. I could restart it after a few seconds and it would run for about a minute and die out, backfiring as it dies. It would for less time under load.

I suspected a fuel problem and checked the fuel filter in the drain petcock. Clean as a whistle. Drained the carb using the drain valve. Remembering I had a similar problem with my Honda powered pressure washer, I drained the fuel (it was fresh in April 2009 and has stabil in it) and replaced it. Also installed a new NGK properly gappped plug.

I restarted the unit and it seemed to run better. It still balked under a 2500 watt load. After running for an hour or so, it seems to be operating properly. The auto idle responds well and it ran with a heavy load for 45 minutes.

I was suspecting perhaps a gummed up needle and seat assembly but it now seems okay.

What do you think? Could it have been poor quality gas?

I must admit that when I test run it to exercise it, I do not always apply an electrical load to the generator. I will do so from now on.

Should I take the carb apart and install a new needle and seat? I'd much rather do it now than in winter.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Regards,

Dave
 

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get some Seafoam and run it thru a full tank. that will clean the carb and let you know if you have futher problems. most likely you are suffering from the "wonders" of ethanol. gas just don't work as good as it used to since they added it. a local car nut tested his truck with gas from different stations here. there is 1 local independant station that still has straight gas no ethanol and he gets 5 mpg better mileage than at any of the ethanol blended stations! plus ethanol goes stale quicker, stabil or not.
 

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no. unless your manual calls for it premium is a waste in a small engine.

we ran into the same problem at work. we usually keep 3 gennys gas and ready and once a month run them for 20 minutes. last year we started having poor run conditions like you and we simply started keeping only enough gas in them to run them. then we keep a couple 5 gallon cans near that are full. every other month the cans get dumped in the service truck and refilled with fresh gas.

oh, and yes you should put some load on the genny or it can quit outputing. there are ways to fix that, but the best thign is to just put a load on it each time it is run. we use a couple of small heaters, puts a constant known load on it.
 

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Put a load of at least half the sets rating on it for another hour or longer. It will probably run a lot better after that. Infrequent, short exercise runs may do more harm than good, particularly if the engine oil isn't getting hot enough to drive out moisture. Humid storage conditions and stale fuel are the primary reasons portable sets fail to run when needed.

IMHO, you should be running your set quite a bit more, on the order of an hour a month. If you exercise without load, do not use the auto-idle feature; let it run at full RPM. Load it to at least 1/2 capacity a mimimum of once a year for an hour, this will heat up the generator windings and drive out any collected moisture. Run the carb out of fuel if you can before storage. The less fuel you have sitting in the carb, the less opportunity for it to stop up something. With 8.5 hours in 4 years it looks like this set gets more "exercise" than regular use. If that is the case, you may want to think about putting it in "dry" storage until you need it, if for some reason you prefer not to make longer, more frequent exercise runs.
 

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Sounds like the gas cap vent may be plugged - have you checked that?
 

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Do you "rock" the unit to "mix up" the gas before you start it. Even with stabilizer I believe gas can "stratify" in the tank, especially this new alcohol laced (expletive deleted). I test run my 3Kw with just enough gas to last arond 30 minutes and then run dry, then I disconnect the fuel line and let the last of it drain out of the "low spot"... So far the little Tecumseh is a first pull starter going on 10 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the advice.

I checked to make sure the gas cap was venting, the behaviour did not change whether the cap was on the tank or not.

I will change my gasoline habits and only keep a small supply in the tank. I'll also run the unit more frequently often for longer times under load.

I bought a can of SeaFoam. It sure claims to have many benefits. I have never used it before.

What dilution do you guys use? The 16 oz can says one can can treat 35 - 90 litres or 9.25 to 24 US gallons. That's a pretty wide range to mix.

Thanks again for all your ideas.

Regards,

Dave
 
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