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Wittenham

grumpy LPG - powered generator

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I have a honda EU2200i suitcase generator converted from new to run on LPG.  The first few months, it started second pull.  Now, it takes 7 or 8 pulls, runs a bit, stops, starts again after a few pulls, runs a bit, might stop again, eventually gets its act together and does the running thing properly and batteries are made happy.  A minor irritation to me, but another user of the generator struggles with getting it started at all now [she could do it easily before].

 

Any thoughts on where to look to solve the problem?  I cleaned the air filter [it didn't need it].

 

thanks

 

 

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Just now, Mike the Boilerman said:

Have you removed and inspected the spark plug?

 

 

I have not, but after I RTFM the manual this morning, that is next on the list.  Could a plug foul after just a couple dozen hours of use? 

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2 minutes ago, Wittenham said:

I have not, but after I RTFM the manual this morning, that is next on the list.  Could a plug foul after just a couple dozen hours of use? 

 

That little?!

 

No not a foul, but I've an idea in my head that LPG fueled engines eat spark plugs at a higher rate than when running on petrol. Erosion of the electrodes and enlarging spark gaps. This would be consistent with the symptoms you report.

 

 

 

Edited by Mike the Boilerman
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might it be anything to do with temperature?  Worked fine in the summer, working less fine as the weather cools off?

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From past experience I'd start by giving it a new spark plug. I've had a couple of new plugs fail prematurely.  They were probably 'knock offs.'

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22 minutes ago, Taslim said:

From past experience I'd start by giving it a new spark plug. I've had a couple of new plugs fail prematurely.  They were probably 'knock offs.'

I will give it a try, thanks.

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2 hours ago, Wittenham said:

might it be anything to do with temperature?  Worked fine in the summer, working less fine as the weather cools off?

 

Isn't poor starting on gas why cars with LPG conversions always start on petrol, then changeover to gas?

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I had a similar problem some years ago . There is no lead, or substitute in LPG , thus the valves were sticking. I ran my engine on petrol for a few hours, before changing back to LPG. That cured the fault for me and I suspect it would yours too. Thereafter, after every 40hrs on LPG, I used petrol for 5 or 6 hours.

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2 hours ago, cuthound said:

 

Isn't poor starting on gas why cars with LPG conversions always start on petrol, then changeover to gas?

I think also giving the engine a regular dose of petrol is kinder on the valve heads & seats as the lubricity of lpg is lower than unleaded which is much lower than leaded petrol.  Lead in petrol might damage kids brains, but it is good for engines.

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10 minutes ago, Chewbacka said:

I think also giving the engine a regular dose of petrol is kinder on the valve heads & seats as the lubricity of lpg is lower than unleaded which is much lower than leaded petrol.  Lead in petrol might damage kids brains, but it is good for engines.

I reckon kids have got progressively more stoopid over the years, since we stopped using leaded petrol in fact 😎

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No lubrication in unleaded fuel, as others have said check plug, we used to make the gap smaller when we did gas conversions on cars. After a large amount of hours check valve gaps, I have known them to be tight on brand new cars so the same could happen on a genny. I must have done over a thousand LPG conversions on cars, and quite a few on gennies, I know of one on a catering van that has done thousands of hours with no issues, it is of course a Honda

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Forget to say that after a few hours you do have to adjust idle mixture and full load mixture on genny conversion should be in the instructions 

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Also.

Starts, runs, stops.

Does oil light flicker?

Change the oil. Check the level.

Really common as the air temp drops.

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5 minutes ago, Dinz said:

Also.

Starts, runs, stops.

Does oil light flicker?

Change the oil. Check the level.

Really common as the air temp drops.

What he said - probably.

 

I had a similar problem on a several years old Honda EU20i. Pete Power advised that it would be the low oil sensor activating, and said that the oil has to be full to overflowing. I filled it so that it was full with the machine leaning very slightly away from me, and let it run out when level. This solved the problem.

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I spoke to Honda UK about converting to lpg several years ago and their technical dept echoed some of what is being said on this thread about reduced lubrication and also higher cylinder head temperatures, all of which results in more frequent servicing required. 

 

They also said that if any fault developed which they felt resulted from a lpg conversion, the Honda 5 year warranty would be invalidated. Only an issue if you're buying from new.

Edited by blackrose

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Reread OP.

Yep oil has gone gloopy.

Change.

Now it is colder the oil has 'thickened up' and as such makes it harder to pull start.

As soon as it starts the oil level appears to drop as it isn't returning to the sump quick enough until it warms up thus causing oil level switch to trigger.

After a couple of runs oil is thinning down with warmth and then the Genny continues to run.

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23 minutes ago, Dinz said:

Reread OP.

Yep oil has gone gloopy.

Change.

Now it is colder the oil has 'thickened up' and as such makes it harder to pull start.

As soon as it starts the oil level appears to drop as it isn't returning to the sump quick enough until it warms up thus causing oil level switch to trigger.

After a couple of runs oil is thinning down with warmth and then the Genny continues to run.

that is interesting, I was trying to figure out how a less than full oil level would trigger a stop . The oil red light did flicker a few times but the level showed mid - tank, so i left it.  

 

in the home and native land, the temperature range means we need to use winter and summer weight oils - is there a need to do that here, too?

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Well its the way I understand/explain it is all. When cold the old knackered oil can be really thick at air temp. Like treacle.

When warm it flows nice and easy.

No doubt someone more technical will come along and argue it?

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