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Neon, smoking.
10-10-2011, 10:04 AM
Post: #11
RE: Neon, smoking.
Take heart in the fact that there's one less thing on the "to do" list and the problem is out of your hair for the moment.

While we are on this oil consumption issue, I'm still working with generators that had problems from the storm last month and the high running hours (some ran for a week straight) combined with steady 3600 RPM engine speed had us scratching our heads at times. Seeing as these are all "fully automatic" the customer has no clue for pending problems till it goes into a shut down fault. 9 times out of 10 it's low oil and they ask "how would I know?" I tell them there's no way to know without checking and to consider each day of running like a trip to Florida in the car. At some point you would stop for gas and check the oil, right? A week's run time is like a round trip to Cailfornia. How many times would you stop for gas and check the oil? Sometimes they answer, "oh, I put in a 500 (or more) gallon propane tank so I don't have to worry about fuel." I go on to explain that if they were driving a car they would be sitting in front of the dashboard to see the warning lights. In the case of a gen set the "dashboard" is out in the back yard. On most of our sets all you need to do is look and it will tell you the problem. Solve that and start it back up again. Not too hard, eh?

I digress, the reason I started this response is many times I see things you only notice in the long term and one of my tricks is looking at vac hoses while the engine is running because we had 2 models (going back a few years now) that came though with cheesy rubber hoses on the PCV that collapse. The $2 fix is a new piece of hose during routine service. Obviously the units in my territory have been handled but when I get around I see others that have not been done yet despite my talks with the other technicians. It's not a cure-all but it helps.

BTW, just to clarify things... not all of our sets are running at 3600 RPM. Those are considered as homeowner "stand by power" while others are built for longer run times and operate at 1800 RPM. Some of these are considered as "prime power" units and can run for weeks at a time without issue. Big difference in price and most people decide based on how often the power goes out for a lengthy period. Normally in these parts power is restored within 24 hours but twe have had two major outages within 18 months (outage that lasts 4 - 7 days) so we are now seeing the difference first hand.
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