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I killed my carburetor on the Onan Generator

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Anne and Bob

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I killed my carburetor on the Onan Generator
« on: October 14, 2013, 11:29:42 pm »
That was the bottom line.  I didn't start the genset enough this summer when Bob was ill and in the hospital.  Finally it would not start so I called the repairman.  Said the gas had turned to varnish and that I needed a new carburetor.

He installed the new carburetor and then added a plastic hose that fits on the end of the carburetor drain and showed me how to drain the fuel from the carburetor if I know that we will not be using it for a few months.  I went out this morning and drained the carburetor making sure to tighten the screw after I had loosened it to drain the gas out.  He said that when I want to start using the genset again to just hold the rocker down for 8-10 seconds to get fuel back into the carburetor and then start it.  I took pictures.


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2 Frazzled

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Re: I killed my carburetor on the Onan Generator
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2013, 06:29:46 am »
Anne, thank you for posting this. As newbies we are still trying to figure out what we have to do and when to keep all the systems happy. My brain told me we had to exercise the generator if we stored the Phoenix but since we are in it full time I didn't think more about it. Reading your post made me think we should be exercising it periodically anyhow. We haven't needed to run it for over a month so I figure it's time.
John, Holly, and sometimes Chloe.
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TomHanlon

Re: I killed my carburetor on the Onan Generator
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2013, 09:00:57 am »
Another approach would be to add a fuel cutoff switch to the input fuel line. Just turn off the fuel while the generator is running and let it run until it stops. Then hit the off switch to make sure it is truly off. No need to mess with fuel around a hot engine, which can turn bad in a hurry. The cutoff switch can be had at most hardware store or lawn mover repair shops.

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: I killed my carburetor on the Onan Generator
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2013, 09:16:44 am »
Here I go again with a different opinion.....down goes my helpful rating, 173 at the moment.

I have a hard time buying the "Varnish" condition.  Today's fuels evaporate in the carb leaving no varnish, almost no residue of any kind.  This because of the detergents added for fuel injection and the 10%-15% ethonol content in all fuel.

I won't start my PC generator for a year at a time and it starts up.  Yes hard to start at first, runs rough for a little while, then smooths out and all is well for the season.

The same goes for my 24 year old 18hp lawn tractor, 8 hp snow blower, and 8 hp roto-tiller.  I never do any with my carbureted lawn/yard equipment when put away for the season.

Keep in-mind my off-season storage is indoors for everything except for the snow blower.  That stays outside off-season in a storage shed, yet still runs perfectly fine when I wake it up.

Back to the PC generator, I can't imagine the carb going bad from lack of use.  I don't know how to feel about the generator portion considering outdoor storage.  That is a different subject matter.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2013, 09:22:21 am by ron.dittmer »
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keelhauler

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Re: I killed my carburetor on the Onan Generator
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2013, 10:09:07 am »
In an old RV I owned with a Kohler genset in the mid 90's my carburetor plugged up and would not start because I did not run it at least once a month.
I pulled the carburetor and had a small engine company throw it in an ultrasonic cleaner. It worked fine and after that I always run my generator once a month.

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skipper

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Re: I killed my carburetor on the Onan Generator
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2013, 12:33:06 pm »
I took my atv in last year because it would barely start and wouldn't idle.  I took the carb off and cleaned out all the ports I could get to with carb cleaner.  It still didn't work so I took it to a motorcycle dealer.  The service guy told me they soak the carb for 2 days to dissolve the deposits.  It worked when I got it back.  I wonder what they use to dissolve the varnish.  I've also had the same problem with other small engines.  I always put stabil in my gas cans and sometimes still have issues.  I can believe your mechanic although I'm not sure a whole new carb was necessary.  And simply turning off the gas and waiting for the gas to burn up isn't effective because the carb float bowl doesn't always completely empty before starving the engine for fuel.
Mark