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October 2022

Honda EU2200i generator maintenance for occasional use

The Honda EU2200i is a quiet and fuel efficient generator. It's ideal for small power outages. I use it about once a year. Here are some important tips for starting it after it has been in storage and storing it such that it will start the next time.

I recommend to use only ethanol free gas such as shell V91. If you use use ordinary gas then add stabilizer to the gas.

A note to European readers: power outages are very common in the more rural areas of North America. Power outages happen most of the time because of tree branches or entire trees falling into overhead power distribution systems. I have at least one power outage per year.

Note about the use of the word gas in North America: gas is short for gasoline. Others might call this petrol. So gas in this document is petrol. Side note: the stuff that's actual gas (term as used in physics and chemistry) is referred to as propane if it comes in bottles (even if it contains some amount of butane) or natural gas if it comes from a pipe.

Honda generator does not start

If your generator has difficulties to start even with the choke fully closed then try this procedure.

Dip a kitchen paper towel in gas. Open the air filter cover and put that paper towel on top of the filter. Close the air filter cover. Start the generator.

This method feeds the generator gas fumes via the air intake. It makes it possible to start and warm-up the generator engine even if there is some problem with the gas or the carburetor.

Let the generator run for a few minutes until the engine is slightly warm and then remove the paper towel.

2022-08-21_1943-122-generator_th.jpg
put a kitchen paper towel that was dipped in gas on top of the air filter, then close the filter


When the carburetor bowel is empty after taking the generator out of storage then it takes 5 to 10 pulls to start it. The above method will accelerate this.

If you notice that you need to keep the choke partially closed or that the generator dies on load change then check the chapter "cleaning fuel deposits from the carburetor without opening it".

Draining the gas from your Honda generator before storing it

The best solution for storing the generator is to remove all gas from the tank, the fuel line and the carburetor.

Procedure:

Turn the engine switch to "on" and start the generator. Let it run for a few minutes until the engine is warm.

Now set the engine switch below the starter handle to fuel off but ignition on (run engine with fuel line closed):
2022-08-28_1056-138-generator_th.jpg
engine switch in fuel off position


Let the generator run in "fuel off position" until the engine dies. Then turn the switch to completely off. This removes the gas from the fuel pump, fuel lines and the upper part of the carburetor.

There is still some amount of gas in the carburetor bowl. When you open the maintenance cover (big cover) of the generator then you see a number of transparent pink fuel lines. Those are not supply lines. Those are overflow and drain lines. All of them drain simply at the bottom of the generator.

One of those pink lines is attached next to a small valve at the bottom of the carburetor. The valve can be opened with a 6mm (1/4 inch) wide flat screw driver. The screw to open/close the valve is a delicate brass screw. Use the right screw driver and press it firmly in while turning the screw. Do not use a too small screw driver as this can easily damage the screw.
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valve and drain hose at the bottom of the carburetor bowl
2022-08-28_1128-156-generator_th.jpg
screw to open and close the valve the bottom of the carburetor bowl


Put a small flat pan below the generator housing where the drain hose ends and then open the drain valve at the bottom of the carburetor bowl (use a 6mm (1/4 inch) wide flat screw driver, turn counter clockwise). A few milliliter of gas will flow out.

2022-08-28_1107-151-generator_th.jpg
drain hole at the bottom of the generator housing

The fuel lines and the carburetor are now completely drained. If you intend to store the generator for less than one year then you can do that now. If you are not sure or if you want to store it for a longer period of time then empty also the gas tank as described below.

Unscrew the lid of the gas tank. Take a piece of rope or wire and tie the lid to the side by running the rope/wire around one of the feet of the generator. This is to avoid that all the gas drips in and onto the lid when you turn the generator over.

You want to turn the generator such that the carburetor side (large maintenance cover side) is up. This is because oil could flow from the crank case breather hose into the air filter and further into the carburetor if this side was down.

Get a large pan or bucket to empty the gas tank into. I use an old olive oil canister that I have cut open on the side. The generator is quite heavy. Make sure you have a good grip when you turn it over.

2022-08-28_1101-143-generator_th.jpg
draining the gas tank

All the draind fuel can be used in your car. Just use a big funnel to fill it into the gas tank of your car.

Cleaning fuel deposits from the carburetor without opening it

If the generator stutters sometimes or you need to keep the choke partially closed for it to not die then that is a sign of small amounts of gum and varnish build-up in the carburetor. All gas except super pure racing gas will eventually produce some deposits if that gas sits in the carburetor for a few month. Gas gets old when you store it and it gets more quickly old if that gas contains ethanol.

If the generator is still able to run but you notice that something is wrong especially during sudden load changes then the problem could still be small enough to fix it without opening the carburetor. You can clean the carburetor via the drain valve screw.

Procedure:
Put fresh gas into the tank and add "Sea Foam Motor Treatment". Run the generator for 5min to make sure the new gas and the Sea Foam makes it into the carburetor. After that just turn the engine off. Note: Sea Foam is a brand and they have all kinds of stuff. You want "Sea Foam Motor Treatment". That's a liquid to add to the gas. It's not a spray.

Put the generator aside and let the Sea Foam and gas mixture sit in the carburetor for a week. This is to dissolve any deposits in the carburetor. Some of those deposits might not completely dissolve and change from gum to soft paste. We will wash this away with carb-cleaner.

After a week you drain the carburetor completely via the drain valve screw at the bottom of the carburetor bowl. Note: don't start the engine. The just disolved gum might otherwise clog the nozzle of the carburetor.

Tilt the generator to the side such that the drain valve screw points slightly upwards. Unscrew the drain valve screw completely and take it out.

Take carburetor cleaner spray, attach the straw that comes with it and spray a good amount of carburetor cleaner via the drain valve screw hole into the bottom of the carburetor. Put the valve screw back-in. Wait a few minutes then drain the carburetor again via the drain valve.

Close the drain valve at the bottom of the carburetor. Set the engine switch to "on" position and start the engine. You need a few pulls to fill the carburetor again with gas. Let the generator run for a while and test it. If the generator runs now stable then congratulations! If the problem remains then see the videos in the references section for instructions on how to take the carburetor apart.

sea-foam-gum-out_th.jpg
Sea foam and gumout: sea foam is approximately a mixture of diesel, kerosine and isoproyl alcohol. gumout is mostly light petroleum distillates (easily evaporating gas as pressurized spray)

References


It is unlikely that you will need to open and clean your generator carburetor if you do always drain all gas before storing it.

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