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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Winter Storage
Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2000 15:30:47 EST
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel

GBinNC wrote:
> On Tue, 04 Jan 2000 23:18:37 -0500, Bob <> wrote:
> >Don't forget to run the generator for a couple
> >of hours a month.
> Under half to three-quarters load, that is, for best results.
> Repeating what I've learned here (and said myself several times) --
> the overwhelming majority of problems with generators are caused by
> their not being used enough, rather than too much.
> Running your generator several hours a month will NOT wear it out. NOT
> running it at least that much will surely cause fuel delivery
> problems, and it won't work when you need it. Exercise it!

Another thing to do that will completely eliminate fuel system
problems is to simply turn off the gas valve and let the generator
run dry.  This removes almost all the gas from the carb float bowl,
fuel lines and fuel pump.  This is actually a better solution than
using gas stabilizers because the stabilizers don't do anything
about residue left in the carb by evaporating fuel.  I still use
stabilizer in the gas tank to preserve THAT fuel but that's a
different problem.  

I do the same thing on the vehicle engine.  This is easy to do if
the vehicle has an electric fuel pump.  Just pop the fuse and let
the engine run till it dies.  Almost as easy to do with a mechanical
fuel pump.  The car parts places sell special pliers designed to
safely clamp hoses shut without damaging them.  About $10.  Just
clamp the gas line shut and let the engine idle till it dies.  None
of this applies to EFI gas engines.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Winter Storage
Date: Thu, 06 Jan 2000 14:52:45 EST
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel

Wendell Dohrmann wrote:
> I think that the suggested longer run time on the unit is to allow a
> heat build up in the generator itself rather than the engine. This will
> keep the windings free of moisture.

That may be a consideration but the main reason for operating the
engine for an extended period of time is that it takes time put
diffuse the absorbed moisture from the oil.  Oil will absorb
considerable moisture before actual liquid water appears.  This
moisture will combine with acidic combustion products to corrode
metal in the engine.  It also helps catalyze the oil to polymerize,
forming sludge.  Bringing the oil up to operating temperature fairly
rapidly evaporates the liquid water that may be present.  But it
takes much more time to drive the absorbed/bound water from the
oil.  Not driving this bound water from the oil is actually worse
than not running it at all because the damaging chemical reactions,
like all reactions, double in speed for every 10 deg C rise in
temperature.  The harmful reactions proceed at a high speed and then
the oil is cooled, trapping the products in the oil.

If one doesn't want to take the time to properly run the engine
(such as following Onan's instructions), then it is better to not
run the engine at all and best to put it up in long-term storage. 
Long term storage involves draining all the fluids, overfilling the
crankcase with as much oil as possible (to immerse the seals in oil
and protect as much of the metal as possible with liquid oil),
remove the plug, dribble several ounces of oil in the sparkplug
hole, rotating the engine a few times and then fitting a vapor
protection plug in the plug hole. The exhaust and intakes should be
sealed as well.  If the generator has brushes, the spring tension on
the brushes should be relaxed.  There is a MIL-spec on this
procedure if anyone wants to dig a bit.  An engine put up with this
type preparation can be preserved for decades.

An example:  I recently removed a Korean-war vintage mil surplus
generator from my warehouse in order to take advantage of the Y2K
hysteria and get top dollar for it.  I had put it up using this
procedure back in the mid 70s.  The procedure was outlined in the
generator's military manual.  After changing the oil, fitting a new
plug and filling the tank, the thing started on the second pull.

Hope we didn't confuse our good doctor (sic) too much.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Winterize Questions - But not the usual pink stuff questions
Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 26 Oct 2002 19:10:35 -0400

On 26 Oct 2002 12:55:47 GMT, (RVnNOW) wrote:

>>1.  Batteries - should I remove them from the rig.  They are easy to get at.
>>If I do remove them should they be placed on a trickle charge or can they
>>just sit in my basement.
>If you remove the batteries, it is very difficult to exercise you generator,
>and most generator problems come from lack of use. Run the generator once a
>month for at least 2 hours with a load on it. We used 2 electric heater in the
>MH, which helped remove moisture from the rv as well.

I can't imagine many people who put their rigs up in storage lots actually
doing that.  Much better to just lay the generator up over the winter. Drain
the float bowl, put in fresh oil, remove the plug and screw in preservative
vapor dispensers in the sparkplug and oil fill holes.  These things are
designed for long engine layups and dispense a vapor that prevents rust and
corrosion.  They're inexpensive and easy to use.  Get a Hemmins Motor News to
find a dealer.

I recently pulled a korean war vintage lighting plant out of long term storage
(at least 15 years) that was laid up like this.  Started on the 2nd pull and
ran without smoke or oil consumption.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Winterize Questions - But not the usual pink stuff questions
Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 26 Oct 2002 22:22:01 -0400

On Sat, 26 Oct 2002 19:29:36 -0400, "Steve Wolf" <> wrote:

>> (at least 15 years) that was laid up like this.  Started on the 2nd
>> pull and ran without smoke or oil consumption.
>This isn't a flame!  That's fine for 15 years but what of four months?  Is
>it REALLY necessary to oil the pistons for that short a time?  I can't
>imagine anyone taking the time.

Well, emptying the carb requires only turning the gas valve off and running
the engine until it quits.  Changing the oil, no big deal. Probably needs to
be done anyway. I'd not want potentially acidic oil sitting in the genny all
winter.  As for the vapor plugs, they take no longer than changing the plug or
opening the oil filler.

I honestly don't know whether it is necessary or not but I do it.  I have a
lot of gas engine powered devices and I want them to last a long time.  I
never know what might happen in the future to disrupt my plan and cause me not
to use the device for a long time.  Cheap insurance in my view.

For short layups I usually just oil the cylinders and put the plugs back in.
But I don't know what someone else's skills or situations are and I don't know
what might interfere with their spring plans so I make my advice conservative.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Help with Honda EU1000i
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 16:16:19 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Tue, 30 Aug 2005 05:28:02 -0700, Ralph E Lindberg
<> wrote:

>In article <>,
> "DP" <> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I own a Honda Eu1000i that is just over a year old.  Bought it to
>> charge up my popup's battery on long trips.  I am very particular about
>> it's care and never store it with gas for extended periods of time and
>> never use gas any older than a few months.
>> Recently it has started running a little rough.  When I start it after
>> transport, it starts surging.  I shut it down and restart and it seems
>> to run fairly well, but about every min or two, it runs rough for a sec
>> or two.

>  I'll bet you have not been using a fuel stabilizer and the carb has a
>little fuel "varnish" on it now.
>  If you store the generator for a little as a month at time, you should
>stabilize the fuel. I just stabiize the entire 5 gallon can of
>generator/lawn mower/etc fuel as I buy and fill it.

My thoughts too.  I've had trouble with my small Honda generators and
varnish buildup even though I run the carb dry after each use.  It
seems that the idle passages are so small in these tiny carburetors
that they clog up enough to affect the running at the least little
hint of varnish.

I'd do a couple of things.  First, get some Techron additive and put
in the gas.  Mix it about twice as concentrated as the directions say
to make it work faster.  This detergent works very well.  Run a tank
or two through the generator.

Remove the air cleaner and see if you can spot the idle air passages.
These will be little holes off to the side of the main bore and some
holes in the vicinity of the throttle plate when it is closed.  Hose
these down with aerosol carb cleaner, preferably with the engine
running.  Quick bursts won't choke the engine to a stall.

If you have compressed air available, try blowing out these passages.
Be GENTLE.  You an easily distort the float or blow out seals on these
tiny engines.  I'd use no more than maybe 40 psi and I'd hold the
blowgun back away from the carb an inch or so.

If all else fails, remove the carb and blow the passages from the
inside out, with the aid of some carb cleaner.  Do NOT try to rod them
out with wire - you will only damage the precision machining.

While you're in there, look for any possible air leaks into the intake
tract.  Even a tiny leak will cause lean surge at low loads.  One good
method of looking for leaks is to fill an eye dropper or wash bottle
with gasoline and with the engine running, dribble the gas around each
gasket and hose connection.  A leak will change the character of the
engine's running.

One of my Hondas in particular has varnish problems.  I've started
draining the float bowl after each run, then popping the air cleaner
and blowing out the idle passages with canned air.  A pain in the butt
but it stops the problem cold.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Small inverter for emergencies
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 20:46:26 -0500
Message-ID: <>

On 19 Dec 2006 05:20:12 -0800, "" <>

>Solar Flare wrote:
>> You are ridiculous. Who cares about the efficiency? He is talking
>> about emergency power here.
>> Where will the generator be for $1K when he needs it?
>> Will it even run every 5 years?
>> Where will the gas can be?
>> Is the gas too old?
>> When was the last time the spark plug was changed?
>> Maybe the thing has rusted inside the cylinders for lack of use?
>> You gonn'a come over and start it once a month for him, change the
>> oil, test it?

And of course, I disagree totally with all of that. Man, that solar
flare is a piece'o'work!

A properly laid-up generator requires NO periodic maintenance.  I have
a 4KW Yamaha that I bought in 1990 that proves that.  It's been
sitting laid up for standby duty for at least 10 years.  Yet, when I
run it once a year it starts on the first pull.

Lay-up procedures aren't any great secret.  Some generator manuals
even contain them.  My procedure:

Drain all the fuel from the carb and tank.  Drain to dryness.  If the
generator is to be stored where there will be large temperature swings
(unheated garage) then insert either a vapor rust-preventing sheet
(available from machine shop supply stores) or a few crystals of moth
flakes in the tank to displace the air and prevent corrosion.

Drain the oil and replace with fresh.  Remove the spark plug, give the
cylinder a good shot of motor oil and crank with the plug out to
distribute the oil.  Replace the plug with a storage plug (an old
spark plug will do, even better, a vapor-emitting lay-up plug)

Cover the air vents and exhaust opening with duct tape to keep spiders
and dirt daubers out.  Leave a folded-back tab on the tape so it can
be quickly removed even in the cold.  I have a little checklist of
vents taped to the tank to remind me to get all the vents open.

If possible, store the unit in an area that is at least partially
heated to keep condensation out of the machine.  If the unit must be
stored in an unconditioned space, remove the crankcase vent from the
carb and insert an HVAC liquid line refrigerant dryer (about $10 from
HVAC and appliance parts places) in the line opening.  This dries the
air that goes into the crankcase as the temperature drops and prevents
condensation.  The dryer will last indefinitely and can be rejuvenated
by baking in the oven at 250 deg for a few hours.  I bake mine out
annually when I do the exercise run. Crankcase dryers are commercially
available but I've found the HVAC dryer to work fine and it's far more
widely available and it's probably cheaper.

When it's time to run the engine, remove the tape covering the vents,
remove the dryer, replace the plug with a new one (a used plug may
foul from the oil in the cylinder), fuel it up and go.  One or two
pull starts every time.

For fuel, in the summer just keep the lawn mower gas can full, in a
cool place out of the sun and tightly sealed.  In winter, fill the can
fresh from the gas station, apply some Sta-Bil and tightly seal.  The
fuel will last all winter and will be ready for the first grass
cutting next spring.

A second, only slightly more complicated fuel solution and one that
I've used for decades, is to tap the fuel line of a car with a Tee, a
valve and a length of hose.  When one needs fuel for anything (lawn
mower, generator, weed whacker, etc), start the car to operate the
fuel pump, stick the hose in a 1 gallon can and turn the valve. Voila!
Fresh fuel any time of the year.  What isn't used can be poured back
into the car. The major added benefit is that never again does one
have to lug a gas can to the filling station.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Small inverter for emergencies
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 23:02:31 -0500
Message-ID: <>

On Thu, 21 Dec 2006 09:56:31 -0700, sylvan butler
<ZsdbUse1+noZs_0612@Zbigfoot.Zcom.invalid> wrote:

>On Tue, 19 Dec 2006 20:46:26 -0500, Neon John <> wrote:
>> A second, only slightly more complicated fuel solution and one that
>> I've used for decades, is to tap the fuel line of a car with a Tee, a
>> valve and a length of hose.  When one needs fuel for anything (lawn
>> mower, generator, weed whacker, etc), start the car to operate the
>> fuel pump, stick the hose in a 1 gallon can and turn the valve. Voila!
>Some vehicles, like my ford, will pressurize the fuel system without
>running the engine.  Simply turning the key to 'run' is sufficient.
>(Sometimes, if the system has been sitting long enough to lose pressure,
>you can hear the fuel pump before you start the engine.)

Yep, most of 'em do that.  For 2-3 seconds.  Then the pump shuts off
until either the engine starts or the key is recycled back to off and
on again.

If you want to actually run the pump to pump fuel to a can then ya
gotta either install a switch to power the pump manually or just crank
the engine.  Being lazy, I just crank the engine.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: Rarely-Used Generator: Storage?
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2007 00:26:05 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Sun, 21 Oct 2007 21:05:30 -0400, "(PeteCresswell)" <x@y.Invalid> wrote:

>Got a little 2kw generator that will get used maybe once every
>two years - if ever.
>Installed a Hobbs meter, ran the gennie through the engine's
>break-in period, changed the oil, drained the gas tank, drained
>the carb, and put it in a more-or-less airtight (or, at least,
>vermin-tight) polyethylene container to await the big day.
>In light of somebody's observation that these things need tb run
>every so often (to dry out any condensation in the electronics,
>for one thing...) I'm re-thinking my little strategy.

I suggest putting it in dry layup and let it be until you need it.


* empty the gas tank completely.  Slosh a little oil/gas (about 50:50) around to coat
the inside to stop it from rusting.

* drain ALL the gas from the carb.  Use an air hose or canned air to make sure the
bowl is dry

* change the oil.  Rotate the generator through all angles to distribute the oil on
all the internals.

* clean the foam air cleaner and put it back in place dry.  Oil it before use.  If
you have a paper air filter then do nothing.

* Squirt a little oil in the sparkplug hole, pull the cord a few times with the plug
out to distribute the oil.  Either replace the plug or install an anti-corrosive
vapor dispenser that screws in the plug hole.

* plug the exhaust port and tape over the air openings.  This is to keep dirt daubers
out of the works.

* try to position the flywheel so that the magnet is aligned with the magneto.  This
will let the magneto serve as a "keeper", preserving the magnetism in the magnet.

To bring the thing out of dry layup, simply rip off the tape covering the openings,
put some gas in it and crank.

The bit about "drying the windings" is highly over-promoted, especially with modern
insulation.  Double-especially if you can keep it conditioned spaces.  I highly
recommend that, if for no other reason than to keep the daubers and spiders out.

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