Wicked storms, power out, generator gave up the ghost!

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
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Had 83mph winds and a couple 'probable' tornados roll past us last night.

Checked the generator as a precaution and everything was good . . . just in case I needed it.

2 storm fronts with some of the heaviest rains and winds I've seen in quite a while drove through. First storm front rolled by and it was like a light show with lightning strikes everywhere but little effect.

About an hour later a front rolling through at 50+ miles per hour passed by and knocked out our power about 9:30pm? Fired up the generator and all was good again. We were up until about midnight and I went down to shut down the generator for the night.

Woke up this morning and the generator fired up when I turned the key, no problems. About 90 minutes later the muffler blew off the generator! I let if cool down and checked it all out. Reinstalled the muffler. Pulled the air filter off the top of the unit and oil blew up through the carburetor??? WTF! Cleaned it up. Checked the oil (again). Oil was still at the 'full' line. Oil was still clean. Can't figure out why there would be clean oil up in the air cleaner.

Started it up and it ran like an old "hit & miss" single cylinder.

Thinking I blew a valve?

So we have no power and no generator.

On the bright side, I didn't see any obvious damage when I walked around a bit. So at least the house and workshop are in tact. Pool is full of leaves and branches. Some of the porch furniture is blown around the property. But I didn't see tree damage on the property.

About 77,000 people without power in the county.
 

EastTexFrank

Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
I can't really offer any advice because I'm not a small engine mechanic. I'm not even a big engine mechanic. I'm more of a tinkerer.

Bob, don't think of this as an inconvenience, think of it as an opportunity to get that whole house natural gas generator that you've been drooling over for years.

Anyway, that's my plan. My small, old generator blows blows oil out the exhaust when it's newly started. It clears up after it's been running a few minutes. I figure that it is "blow by" because the the rings or the cylinder is getting worn. I've hunted around the internet and had decided to get a Kubota diesel generator to replace it. That still meant that I had to be physically present to hook it up and refuel it if the power went out. So, I thought why not go the whole hog and get a 20 kW standby generator to power all the important things and that is my plan at the moment when the the old 3800/5200 watt gas generator bites the dust.

PS By the way, you're having about as much luck as I am this year. Every time I go to use stuff this year, it breaks. It gets boring after a while.
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
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Well a buddy of mine stopped by. He said the 'repair' will be to replace the whole valve head assembly on the affected cylinder. Suggest I replace both at the same time.

My electrician buddy will sell me a 17kw NG Generac that he has in stock for "cost" and won't charge me for labor, assuming I pay him cash for the system. I'd prefer a larger 20kw water cooled unit but the price is right on the air cooled 17kw unit he has in stock. Apparently Genarac is discontinuing the 17kw units and downsizing to 16kw units.

At this point I'm debating the options. Even at cost the Generac systems are not cheap, but that is the way I am leaning. Figure I could repair the current unit and take it over to the workshop/guest apartment and hook it up over there (that building is on its own meter). No decision yet, can't get the new Generac until next week so at this point I'm just hoping that the utility company gets us power before the day gets too hot and the house heats up. Currently the weather is pretty reasonable, house is comfortable.
 

bczoom

Super Moderator
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Bob - Do you have a heat pump for A/C? How big is the generator you've been using and did it run the A/C?
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
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No heat pump. My current (dead) generator did not run the AC.

We are now hearing power may take 4-5 days to get restored.

No phones at home either and cell is iffy.
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
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Well the latest news is that the area where I live, plus the north part of the county to my south, and parts of the county to my east may be out of power for about 5 days.

My buddy the electrician will have couple guys at my house about 7:30 or 8:00am tomorrow morning with the LAST of the 17kw Generac units he can get. Like I said, I really would have preferred a 20kw liquid cooled unit, they run quieter and have a longer lifespan, but I can't get one of those tomorrow morning.
 

redsqwrl

Bronze Member
SUPER Site Supporter
Hang in there. sounds like a good dose of weather induced reality.

five days is a long time if you are not prepared.

sounds like your fairly prepared. enjoy the time away from the grid.

Mike
 

Snowtrac Nome

member formerly known as dds
GOLD Site Supporter
while I'm not a big genrac fan I have been checking out some multiquip self contained generators with little 4 cylinder kubotas and I'm darned impressed how reliable and quiet they are.
 

Snowtrac Nome

member formerly known as dds
GOLD Site Supporter
what size is your old generator I have a Kubota that needs a generator attached to it.
 

EastTexFrank

Well-known member
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Bob, you'll have to bump this thread after you get everything up and running and give us your review. I'd be really interested.

I had my heart set on a Kohler 20kW liquid cooled unit but I'd decided to settle for the Generac 17 kW air cooled generator. I appreciate that the Kohler would last longer but I'm 67-years old and realistically, how much longer do I want or need it to last. :biggrin: Being a tight Scotsman is a curse at times.

I'm disappointed to hear that Generac is discontinuing the 17 kW generator as it was a nice size for our house and what we wanted to run in an emergency. Ah well, I'm back to the Kohler ... and more dollars. :biggrin:

I'm surprised that you don't keep an old corded phone for power outages. They get their power from the phone line so you are never without communications. Mine is many years old and only cost about $15 but in a power outage, it works.
 

EastTexFrank

Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
while I'm not a big genrac fan I have been checking out some multiquip self contained generators with little 4 cylinder kubotas and I'm darned impressed how reliable and quiet they are.

Yea, they are beautiful pieces of machinery that's for sure. I looked at them too. You do have to keep a fairly large quantity of diesel around all the time if you are going to be without power for more than a couple of days. With a natural gas generator (if you have natural gas) the fuel is always there and always fresh. There's no problem with supply, no refueling, no fuel stabilizers, no anti-gelling additives. If you're away from home when the power goes out, the NG unit comes on and runs as long as the outage lasts.
 

Melensdad

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Staff member
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Frank, I do have an old corded phone. Actually 2 of them. We have no phone service.

The new 16kw is replacing the old 17kw model. Apparently there was not enough difference between the 17 and the 20 so they are downsizing to 16 to offer a greater spread.

My house without AC can be easily powered by 12kw. With AC it will be a struggle at 17kw and 20kw would handle it. But 17 is what I can get now and NOW is the best option. Cheap is good too because I can't touch this price anywhere else, he is a $1000 cheaper than mail order and he's installing it. He said he's putting in a switch that will automatically switch off my AC when the well pump kicks on, or if both of the freezers kick in, etc. So 17kw will work out.

Honestly didn't miss not having power yesterday until last night. It was freaking hot and humid. Would have been nice to run a ceiling fan. Fortunately the weather turned, a cold front came through and about 1am the temps dropped enough that I got up, closed windows and put on a blanket.
 

JimVT

Bronze Member
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Lyndon has a generator for sale he brought down from Alaska. it will run 1o years non stop before a rebuild.like new.
 

Snowtrac Nome

member formerly known as dds
GOLD Site Supporter
Yea, they are beautiful pieces of machinery that's for sure. I looked at them too. You do have to keep a fairly large quantity of diesel around all the time if you are going to be without power for more than a couple of days. With a natural gas generator (if you have natural gas) the fuel is always there and always fresh. There's no problem with supply, no refueling, no fuel stabilizers, no anti-gelling additives. If you're away from home when the power goes out, the NG unit comes on and runs as long as the outage lasts.
there is no natural gas around here but if one is to hook an 8 k to a battery bank and inverter with the solar panels the thing will run all summer on a hundred gallons of diesel.
 

Snowtrac Nome

member formerly known as dds
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Jim the way my dog's have been with this new dog food I bet I could just plumb a pipe straight off their butts to run it
 

EastTexFrank

Well-known member
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My house without AC can be easily powered by 12kw. With AC it will be a struggle at 17kw and 20kw would handle it. But 17 is what I can get now and NOW is the best option. Cheap is good too because I can't touch this price anywhere else, he is a $1000 cheaper than mail order and he's installing it. He said he's putting in a switch that will automatically switch off my AC when the well pump kicks on, or if both of the freezers kick in, etc. So 17kw will work out.

About the same with me. 17kW would be a nice size for our house with plenty of spare capacity because the power hogs, a/c and well pump, are 3-phase and would need a separate generator of their own. It's not a problem if the lawn doesn't get watered. The loss of a/c during the summer is a tougher one but we have fans and evaporative coolers and a portable a/c unit, so we can get by as long as we have single phase power.

I still want a standby generator but with the lake and the barn and two vacations to come, I've pretty much disposed of our disposable income for this year. :biggrin: But, there's always next year. :clap::clap:

Come on stock market, break 17,000 and start heading for 18, 000.
 

Melensdad

Jerk in a Hawaiian Shirt & SNOWCAT Moderator
Staff member
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Well we have a new generator up and running. Oh, and we also got the power utility to provide us power. So we don't need the generator (at the moment). But I'm glad to get the new generator installed.

The old unit was 15-17 years old. I've been waiting for that one to die. It has been totally trouble free for its entire lifespan so I can't complain.

Now I can wait for the water heater to die. We have a 75 gallon water heater that is 19-1/2 years old. That is the last of the major mechanicals that is original to the house. And given the size of that thing and the fact that there are only 2 people living in the house most of the year, I think it might be reasonable to downsize it to smaller unit.

As for the weather, we had 3 tornadoes very close to us.

Grant Park is a town in Ill just a bit southwest of our house, 2 confirmed tornadoes there. Lowell is the town just east of our house, 1 confirmed tornado there.
 

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