Every prepper has at least one generator at home. We already explained the importance of having more than one generator for maximizing efficiency. And now, we will focus on the problem that you can experience. Keep in mind that you need to do frequent maintenance to ensure that you get the most out of the generator’s lifespan. Most of the problems are caused by neglect, so routine checks and maintenance are essential. They will help you detect problems at their early stage.
Before you even disassemble the generator, you need to take pictures of it. Take photos with your phone or digital camera so that you know how it used to look. This will help you in the process when you need to reassemble the parts.
When you perform repairs, keep in mind that you will work with gasoline and other flammable liquids. To prevent accidents, make sure that you don’t work near a source of sparks or open flame.
Portable generator repair tips
Before you get started, keep in in mind that the engine needs three things to be able to work: spark, fuel, and oxygen. If you are experiencing a malfunction, then it means that there is something wrong with one of them.
If the engine doesn’t start, then you might have problems with fuel delivery. The carburetor mixes the gasoline and air in the correct proportions to initiate combustion. When the carburetor doesn’t receive sufficient gas, it won’t start the process. You need to check if the gasoline enters the carburetor.
How to check fuel delivery? Remove the air filter and add a little bit of starting liquid in the carburetor. Start the engine and see the results. If it does start but stall immediately, then the problem is connected to fuel delivery. Be sure that you perform this carefully, as it can be dangerous.
Some high-end generators have fuel pumps. You would want to inspect it according to the manual to see if there is a problem.
2. Clogged filter
Most of the generators have a small fuel filter. It is there to trap the debris and dust particles in the gasoline and prevent them from damaging the system. Over time, the debris will buildup, and the filter will disturb the flow of gas. When the engine receives too little fuel, it won’t work correctly. To check this, you should detach the fuel line at the point where it connects with the carburetor. Make sure that it is placed over a bucket so that the leftover fuel leaks inside. If the fuel doesn’t pass through the filter and drain into the bucket, this is a sign that you should get a new one.
3. Clogged valve
There is a small valve that allows fuel flow from the tank to the carburetor. In some cases, it might get clogged and prevent the flow. The fuel won’t enter into the carburetor, so the benign won’t start at all. If it is completely clogged, it won’t start. In cases when the valve is partially clogged, the engine will start but stall in a short time. Cleaning is so simple, as all you need to do is poke with wire or a shot of compressed air.
4. Unclog or replace fuel lines
The fuel lines can get clogged and prevent the gasoline from reaching the fuel system. You can clean them if clogging is the only problem. However, if the fuel lines are torn and leaking, don’t bother fixing them. You can buy new ones at any auto shop and replace the old and torn lines.
5. Clean the carburetor
If you determine that fuel is delivered to the carburetor, but the engine runs rough, the issue lies in the carburetor. First, you can try to drain the old gas and replace it with new. If you leave untreated gas and don’t start the engine for some time, this can be a problem.
According to technicians, leaving old gas is the number one problem. If you leave the old gas for a longer time, make sure that you treat it with a fuel stabilizer. Otherwise, the gas can thicken and clog the carburetor.
If this method doesn’t work, you need to clean the carburetor. Check with the manual to see how to clean the carburetor. In some cases, you can spray it with a special cleaner. Make sure that you don’t use any sharp metal objects, as you can damage the inside parts. However, you will have to remove the carburetor and clean it in case of severe debris buildup. After this, the problem should be solved, and the generator will work properly.
6. Check the spark plug
You need to check if the spark is “rich” or “lean.” For this type of issue, you will need the help of an experienced mechanic. But if the spark plug is too old, you can replace it. New ones are very cheap, and you can install them by yourself. Check with the manufacturer’s manual and use a special tool to adjust the gap between the ground electrode and the center electrode. Also, make sure that the spark plug is generating a spark. Check some video tutorials on how to perform this.
7. Check the air filter
The air filter traps the dust and debris from the air that enters the carburetor. If your generator works in a dusty environment, the filter might be clogged. A clogged filter won’t supply enough air to achieve the right gasoline to air ratio. An engine that receives too much gas will work and then stall. You can tap the filter against a hard surface to remove the dirt. In cases when there is too much dirt, simply replace it with a new one. Never use compressed air to clean it, as it can enlarge the holes. This means that the filter won’t work correctly and will release the debris into the carburetor.
8. Torn pull cord
A broken pull cord is a common issue that has an easy fix. However, it comes with a tricky part. You need to make sure that the spring is wound as far as it can go. If you don’t do this correctly, the cord will hang without having a spring pull it back inside. As a result, the engine won’t start at all.
9. Check the electric starter
If the engine doesn’t start when you press the button, check the electric starter. Make sure that the battery isn’t dead by checking it with a multimeter. If you left the battery empty for months, you wouldn’t be able to charge it again. In this case, it is better to get a new one.
If the battery is working, you need to check for a fuse that has blown. If you find one, you need to replace it. Make sure that you use a fuse with the same amp rating.
Make sure that the battery terminals are clean and there are no signs of corrosion. You can remove them and clean them with a wire brush.
You can also try to gently tap the starter housing with the plastic part of the screwdriver. If there is corrosion inside, it will break free.
Another issue related to the malfunctioning starter system can be a solenoid. Check with the user’s manual about this device, but don’t try to fix it. If it doesn’t work, you will need to replace it.
10. Check oil level
In case when the oil levels are low, the engine will shut down. Many generators have this feature to avoid damage due to unlubricated moving parts. Ensure that you check the oil level and see if it corresponds to the manufacturer’s recommended level.