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Thread: Starting Generator in the cold

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    Default Starting Generator in the cold

    Any tips on starting a generator in the cold? I have 1000W Honda and 2000W Yamaha. I could not start either this last week at -38F without warming them up. I keep one in the Honda in the truck to start it, but I couldn't get the Honda started for the life of me.

    Thanks

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    Move to somewhere warmer

    Turn on gas

    Turn on choke

    Pull til it fires.....


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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Both of those generators are light enough that you can carry them in and put them in an arctic entry or even in the cabin overnight with a catch pan under them. I've started our 2000w honda plenty of times at -30 or -40, but it is not the best thing for them to start that cold and you will go thru recoil cords ALOT quicker...

    Also, using 0W synthetic oil helps alot for those cold start issues....and that includes the stupid low oil sensor turning off the engine 5 times before the oil warms up enough to register...

    Once one is running, you can aim its exhaust at the other until it warms enough to start if you need them both running....

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyLow View Post
    Any tips on starting a generator in the cold? I have 1000W Honda and 2000W Yamaha. I could not start either this last week at -38F without warming them up. I keep one in the Honda in the truck to start it, but I couldn't get the Honda started for the life of me.

    Thanks
    My Honda eu2000 starts at -45 but not easily. My advice is to change the spark plug often or at least keep a new spark plug handy for difficult starting times. These new Hondas are very particular about good, clean spark plugs when cold starting. Expect many full speed rope pulls to get it to fire. The last time I started mine in sub -40 temps it took 15-20 pulls and a little starting fluid. Nothing beats getting sweaty in -45* temps! One of these days I'll try to prime a bit through the spark plug hole. Cold starts need lots of gas. These super efficient carburetors might be a little too stingy on fuel for cold starting. My old Yamaha 1000 (not an inverter type) starts in cold temps. it's hard to pull through fast on a warm day so it takes a few slow pulls to loosen it up but after that it'll go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    Both of those generators are light enough that you can carry them in and put them in an arctic entry or even in the cabin overnight with a catch pan under them. I've started our 2000w honda plenty of times at -30 or -40, but it is not the best thing for them to start that cold and you will go thru recoil cords ALOT quicker...
    Thanks for the replies. I've started the Yamaha before at -40 but it wasn't having it this last week. In the past, I haul the 2000W yamaha from the cabin to the truck to make sure I can get the truck start. I bought the 1000W Honda so I wouldn't need to haul the Yamaha and to keep it at the cabin.

    While I did warm up the Yamaha for an hour in the cabin, I can't always bring the generator into the cabin/house. I don't always have heat available and keep the 1000w in the airplane when I fly in places. While I don't like to fly below -30F, sometimes the temperatures drop lower than expected.

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Sounds like Mr PID's advice might be more in line with what you are asking, as far as plugs go. I've never(!) changed the plugs in my honda 2000eu(s) so I cant comment on that , maybe I ought to do that!! LOL

    I will say that using the 0W synthetic oil has made a big difference in cold weather operations...

    Good luck..I have found that generally if you keep pulling and pulling and pulling and.....well, ad nauseum.....eventually they will run...as mentioned above, nothing like getting all sweaty when its -40 ....thats how you know you are really alive!!!

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    Thanks. I'll try the 0W oil. I pulled enough snowmachines and generators to keep me warm last week!

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Is it straight 0W or a blend?
    Also, are you running the same weight oil year round or swapping out to a more viscous oil in the summer like 10W-30 or what-not?

    Mine reacts the same as comments above. Starts, then turns off, repeat 2-3 times till the oil gets moving around.
    BK

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    I've never had a generator start and stop like you guys describe but Amsoil 0-30 is all I've ever used.

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    bk, I just switched to the 0W a couple of months ago for the first time when the weather first got really cold. It solved the start/stop thing immediately.

    It is just standard synthetic 0W oil. Mobile maybe? it was in a silver quart jug. I will swap it out come March or april for cheap 5W-30, which is what I've always run.

    We lived with the start stop deal for years. I was too lazy to try to fix it. Wish I would have done it a long time ago...

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Thanks guys,
    Been running Amsiol 5W-30 for years in mine and will get the 0W-30 as Mr Pid suggests.
    It's something we have "accepeted" when its cold....hopefully no more.
    BK

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    FWIW, all my power equipment, generators, 4 wheelers, etc run 0-30 year-round. No need to avoid it for summer temps.

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    I got 0W-30 in my Honda 2000 and this year, for the first time, I had it shut down with a low oil alert. Checked the oil, good, started it again and it ran fine from there. -15F, so not as cold as you guys are talking. I has done that a number of other times since. Not sure why now. I've run that weight oil in it since the first oil change.

    Looking at the chart, 0W-30 is still acceptable at 70F, so I don't change to something thicker in the summer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NRick View Post
    I got 0W-30 in my Honda 2000 and this year, for the first time, I had it shut down with a low oil alert. Checked the oil, good, started it again and it ran fine from there. -15F, so not as cold as you guys are talking. I has done that a number of other times since. Not sure why now. I've run that weight oil in it since the first oil change.

    Looking at the chart, 0W-30 is still acceptable at 70F, so I don't change to something thicker in the summer.
    Mine always does this, even as high as +30. I just plan on starting it, waiting 1-3 minutes, and starting it again. I think it's pretty conservative on the oil pressure alarm. If the oil is thick at all, it shuts down. I'm running 5w-30, but I have gallons of it.
    ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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    Thread drift. Has anyone installed the Honda cold weather breather kit? I bought one early last winter and haven't installed it yet. I figure maybe it's time. Anything difficult about it?

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Once started the cold doesn't seem to effect ours. I cover it with an igloo plastic dog house and it stays slightly warmer than ambient. Main reason is to keep the weather off of it and it muffles it slightly.
    These days we don't run it much as the solar system does a great job. We fire up the generator once a day for two hours in the winter to charge the batts since very little comes from the sun this time of year.
    BK

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    I tried to get one of those cold weather kits when I had trouble with mine in -25F temps. Everyone close was sold out at the time so I went with the pull the breather hose off method. Seemed to work and was a whole lot cheaper.

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    I have a Yamaha that has worked terrific the last 6 years and will be buying another one when this one wears out for sure. It will start down to -20 every time. Any colder and I have a 50/50 chance of it starting till I warm it up. Used to keep it out on the deck so I would just roll it into the cabin and put it in front of the wood stove while the cabin heated up. Now I have built a gen shed with a wood stove. If it doesn't start when we first get there, it will take 30 minutes to warm the shed and gen to be able to start. Like bkmail, we now hardly even fire it up. Solor and batteries are NICE!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NRick View Post
    I tried to get one of those cold weather kits when I had trouble with mine in -25F temps. Everyone close was sold out at the time so I went with the pull the breather hose off method. Seemed to work and was a whole lot cheaper.
    you can order them online here ... http://www.babbittshondageneratorhou...d-weather-kits

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    If you freeze the breather over, it will blow the case/engine oil seal(s) out. The unit will shut down when the low oil switch does its job. Makes a bit of a mess though. Can't be real good for the engine either. Before you use synthetic oil, run it with the regular oil until the rings seat and it quits using oil. You really should attempt to warm these things up a bit @ -20F or colder.

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