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Frustrating night - (Update)

Post in 'The Gear' started by daveswoodhauler, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Ok, so we have power at our house, but our friends are without power since Sat night.
    Started up the generator before I left the houose, and it ran fine.
    Put it in the car, and took the 20 minute drive to our friends house. Had one of the local police officers meet us there, and we worked on making a male/male plug and were going to run it into the generator and then into the circuit that powers the furnace. (Yes, aware of the risks)
    Anyway, I showed my friends wife how to start the generator and it ran on the first pull. The husband came home, and had him start it on the first pull. Anyway, after about 10 minutes we got the cord hooked up and started the generator....ran fine for 30 seconds, then just died. Would only run for about 3-5 seconds on full choke, and then died off choke.
    The police office seemed to think there as either sediment in the tank, and something is stock open/closed. He said to remove the fuel, remove the bowl on the bottom of the carburator, and then give the carb a good cleaning, and to use some fuel stabilizer.
    Any other suggestions? (Fuel was new about 2 months ago, and ran fine for about 20 minutes when I started it last)
    Man, so frustrating.....met up with our friends at my sons karate class, so with our generator and the polices connections with an electrician, I would have really liked to get the folks up with power....felt so bad when we left thier house as they had some hope they were going to have power
    Any suggestions would be great.
    PS. Its a briggs and stratton gen, about 3 years old. 5500 running and 8250 peak watts I think

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  2. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I'd say the carb picked up some dirt. I'd get right into it, take the carb off, bowl off, jets out, and blow clean every orifice.

    Mine did that last time I actually had to use it last year - would run fine until a load hit it, then quit. I frigged around with it all day that day, doing everything except removing the carb - there was still dirt there somewhere I wasn't getting. I dug it out a month ago, did all that, and now it runs fine. With right tools at hand, it should take less than an hour. Be careful you don't strip somehting though, those jets are soft brass.
  3. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    It's obvious, but I'm ashamed to admit it's happened to me before: the fuel valve is turned on and there's fuel in the tank?
  4. tb525

    tb525 New Member

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    Have you checked the engine oil level? A lot of generators have an engine oil level sensor that shuts it down if the oil level is low..
  5. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    That's true: maybe the generator wasn't level, making it worse.

    How about taking out the spark plug and cleaning it (flooded?)
    You could try starter fluid.
  6. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Just got into work guys. Well, tried it before work this mornig, and it would not start at all.
    Fuel line was open, oil is in the motor, and had the lever set to choke.
    I guess I will take the bowl of and try cleaning the carb. Also heard that their might be stuck float? (Not sure what that is) But if someone could decribe it at least I would know what I would be looking for.
    basically, started 1st pull last night, then first pull about 20 minutes later when showing the folks how to start it....then started fine again about 10 minutes later once we had the connections completed....ran for about 15-30 seconds under load and it just died....would start at full choke after 5 minutes or so, but then would not run. This morning, couldn't start it at all even with choke on.
    So, after I take the bowl off, I just spray the carb cleaner up into the carb? What are the jets?
  7. yanksforever

    yanksforever Member

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    Before taking it apart...Just check to see if the breather hole on top of the fuel cap is clean . Run a paper clip through it. I had that same problem too one time and that little tiny pin hole was clogged and it kept stalling out on me. You can also just remove the gas cap and then try to start it with it off and see if it runs. If it does...that little tiny hole is clogged.
  8. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Another good tip, thanks. Found out my model number, it is a briggs and stratton 030424.
    Found the owner manual online, and a parts manual, but no repair manual for the actual engine/carb
  9. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    You might also check that the fuel filter looks good, or if it hasn't been changed recently, to change it. Check the air intake and the exhaust port for mouse nests or other blockage.

    When it did run, was it running normally, or rough?

    Agree with the other who said to try running with the gas cap loose.

    When was the last time it was used for an extended period?

    Sea Foam might be useful here.
  10. Fifelaker

    Fifelaker Feeling the Heat

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    A little late to the party but I have seen seafoam do wonders.
  11. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    And now that it won't start at all, you might also check for spark, with a spark tester, if you have one. If not, you can do it with the plug held in an insulated pliers. Change the plug if its more than a year old.
  12. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    I'm really old school. Diagnose! don't chase ghosts!

    1) Lack of Fuel?
    Air?
    Spark?

    Lot's of good suggestions above. But you need to find out which one of the elements of combustion is missing.

    It is easier to diagnose when you're not in a panic. As an example, I FINALLY got gas hooked up to my generator (AFTER the power was restored from Irene) and I COULD NOT get it running. Somehow having it in my head that propane gas was so different from gasoline, I gave up when it would not start. So i went on-line and found that a guy who claims to work on these all the time said to put your finger over the 'carb', effectivly choking it completely. Needless to say, started right up. Embarrassing because if it had been a gasoline engine, I woulda done that without help.

    Anyway, all I'm trying to say is take a mental step back, forget about how bad you need the electricity, and step by step diagnose it.

    Another step along the way . . . you say it ran 20 minutes at your house with it not hooked up . . . have you tried running it now with it NOT HOOKED UP?

    Jimbo
  13. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Ok, gotta figure out where the fuel filter is and I can check that out, will also try without the gas cap on.
    I ran it about 2 months ago for about 10 minutes or so....in prep for Hurricane Irene a few months back. (Not under load as we had power) Started first pull and ran fine. My plan is that I will drain the tank, take off the bowl, spray carb cleaner in the carb, and then try again with fresh gas. Is there anything I should not spray when I take the bowl off? i.e by taking off the bowl that will give me access to the carb? Sorry for the stupid questions.
  14. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Damnit Dave! Replicate the conditions when it ran last. Unhook it from the load. Did you change anything else since then? (Like add gas . . .which just happened to be MIX, not gas :roll: )
  15. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Jimbo. We have power, so I had brought the generator over to a friends house, as they have been without for 5 days now. (Not sure if I made that point in my first post) After it died at their house last night, brought it home last night...would not start last night, and would not start this morning. So, I am going to start with the basics and take it from there. I know how to take the bowl off, I just am not sure what I should be sraying inside the carb.
  16. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Replicated all conditions when it ran last. Not under load, same fuel, same spot in the driveway,, etc.. (Last time I added gas was before I ran it for 20 minutes a month ago prior to Irene)

    Gas added was 89 octane and not mix for my saw :)
  17. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Ok, so sounds like that little bit of questionable wiring has been removed . . . good.

    Do a standard pre-start check (switch(s) on, tank full, proper oil level, etc)

    Pull the spark plug, ground it against the head, pull the rip cord. Do you see and hear spark?

    Did all of its running occur BEFORE you attempted to wire it to your friend's house? How long did it run AFTER you wired it up?
  18. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    At work now, so will work on it later.
    To answer your ??'s
    Pre start check competed this morning. Not sure what you mean by pulling the spark plug and grounding? (Will check this tonight)
    It ran for about 10-20 seconds...then we plugged it it to the house...then ran about 10 seconds and died (while hooked up to the house) It tripped a GFI switch in their garage, so we were trying to find a plug without a GFI on the same circuit at their furnace. It would then start at full choke after sitting for 5 minutes, but then died as soon as I flipped the switch to run. Did this 3-4 times and it ran for 2-3 seconds each, then would not start. Tried this morning, and would not start at all. I think thats about it.
  19. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    If you find that it DOES have appropriate spark . . .

    remove air filter so there is no question it is getting enough air.

    Put the sprk plug back in, do NOT put the plug wire on, hold your hand over the carb, pull the rope 5 times. Pull the plug again, it should be wet with gas. If not . . . not sure whether to advise this or not. . . take a can of ether, and NOT DOWN INTO THE CARB, spray LIGHTLY ACROSS the top of the carb. If it starts and you can keep it running with LIGHT mists of starting spray, you know you are not getting gas.

    If you see the connecting rod sticking out of the cylinder wall, you used to much starting fluid.

    If the plus IS WET after the first test above, clean it before reinstalling it. :red:
  20. Iembalm4aLiving

    Iembalm4aLiving Feeling the Heat

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    If it was only running okay with the choke on, that's classic crud in the carb. I'll bet that when you jostled the generator taking it from home to your friends some dirt got dislodged from somewhere and found it's way into the carb. If it's running off and on, I'd hit it with a dose of Techron or other good carb cleaner and run it.....I've had good luck going this route to avoid dismantling carbs if I can help it.
  21. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Got it, I will try at home. Thanks much.
  22. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Ok, here is my question....what am I spraying on the carb? I am guessing after I remove the bowl I will have access to the carb? (Just don't want to damage the carb)
  23. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    LOL, Dave, you scare me! You can backward wire this to the house, but not pull the plug and check for spark?? :wow:

    Ok, you know I'm just bustin' yer azz . . .

    So, if it actually starts, we know it is getting at least some spark. I would put a new spark plug in it, appropriatly gapped.

    Not sure about the other guys/gals here, but I have sometimes found that carb cleaner sprayed liberally will end up @#$@ the combustion chamber (ie., no compression, fouled plug) and though the carb may be cleaner, the engine now will'nt start for other reasons. And carbs are funny little quirky things . . . sometimes carb cleaner and compressed air will move a piece of dirt from one orifice to a different one.

    And, dirt can cause either lean OR rich. You referenced the float . . . amazing how a lil bit of dirt (or broken down phenallic from ethanol degredation :shut: ) can get under the seat and let it flood. But next time you get it runing and it quits after 20 secs, pull the spark plug and see if it is wet with gas.

    Of course, a much more basic approach . . . if your neighbor's wife is cute, offer to let them come to your house for a hot shower. Just sayin'
  24. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    Gotta reiterate BTUs advice-

    If you have:
    Air
    Fuel
    Fire (Spark)
    Compression

    an engine will run unless you try to stop it.

    Let's assume you have compression. Put the gas cap back on, then undo the spark plug, then plug it back into the spark plug wire. Using insulated (rubber-handled) pliers, hold the tip of the plug against metal that is connected to the ground (the frame of the genset should do). Pull the starter cord- you should see a blue spark flashing across the electrodes of the spark plug. Then put it back.

    I won't repeat all the fuel advice you've already got, but since you asked what to spray and what not to spray- any auto parts store should have a spray can labelled carburetor cleaner- guess what that does? What not to spray? Silicone spray, WD40, Windex, paint, hairspray, Pam... the list goes on.
  25. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    What exactly am I doing here to check spark? Removing the plug from the engine while attached to the wire and then pulling cord? or vice versa....talk to me like I am an idiot lol

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