Dropped some coin on Inverter Generators, want to break in correctly. Advice?

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Hey all. New member account, but definitely not new to the site as I have been lurking for a long time. Been a friend of @Patman for...well over 20 years...I think. Pat...has it been since 1997 or 1998? Something like that... Anyway...

I bought a couple of inverter generators, one cheap and one not so cheap.
One is a Champion 5500w Dual Fuel and the other is a Sportsman cheap-o 1,000w. Either way, I want to break them in correctly and then have the best lubrication in place so I can have them at the ready for use when needed and have them last a long, long time.

I am seeing a lot of conflicting advice on how to break a generator in and what oil to use during and after break-in so I thought I would ask here.

According to my research, this is the best break-in process:
  1. Remove spark plug, put a small amount of Lucas oil treatment in spark plug hole
  2. Leave plug out, pull the cord slowly 10-15 times to lubricate internals, then replace spark plug
  3. Add a small amount of Lucas into the oil reservoir with the oil that comes with the generator (Champion came with some 10W-30, Sportsman didn't)
  4. Add highest octane and/or non-ethanol gas to the tank and start.
  5. After running for about an hour, change the oil.
  6. Run the generator again for about an hour, and again change the oil.
  7. Run the generator a third time for about an hour, this time with some small appliance plugged into it.
  8. Good to go.
Questions...
  1. Is the above process accurate?
  2. Should I use special "break-in" oil or "break-in" oil treatment that I saw on the shelf at my local auto parts store? Or should I just use standard non-synthetic oil?
  3. Once broken in, I plan to use synthetic 5W-30. Any reasons why I shouldn't?
I've already spent some money on these, so I don't mind spending a little more if it is worth it in the long run, I also realize I may be overthinking this, so I am definitely open to expert thoughts and guidance.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Feb 6, 2021
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No need to use proper break in oil, but make sure you use a good oil, if it has a warranty use the oil specified but use something really good like castrol GTX 5w30 or 5w40, mobil 1 stuff is good too.

Instead of using STP oil treatment, use something like 2 stroke oil , but not alot, without gas in it , pull the starter rope a couple times, and then add non ethanol fuel so you dont have any headaches with fuel system maintenance if its carbureted.

Otherwise you are good to go!

Make sure you change your oil after 1 or 2 hours of usage.
 
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These small engines dont really need much break in but since an inverter generator varies its rpm according to load unlike a regular genset I would not want to run it for 2 hrs at what will be idle. I would start it up and give it 10 to 15 min to warm up properly and then put a small load on it. Run it for 1/2 hr and increase the load. Then bump it up again. After 1/2 hr each time reduce the load. What you are trying to do is avoid running it at a constant low rpm during the entire breakin.
 

gathermewool

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Warm it up and load’er up. Ditch the Lucas and use the recommended oil.

This has also been discussed a few times. Google will help you find the threads.
 
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The new small engines I've messed with lately seem to have residual oil in them from the factory. Not sure if it's assembly lube or if they were test fired.

I'd throw some cheap dino oil in there, run for about 2 minutes unloaded, then gradually load 'em up. Change to "good" oil after 1-5 hours.

Ethanol fuel isn't an issue for break-in if you follow up with EO or properly treated E10. In other words, rinse with something quality before lay-up. Run it dry, add 3 oz of tru-fuel, then run it dry again.
 
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Don't over think it. What you plan to do is good. Run in normally and change every hour or so until the oil no longer "shimmers".
Use something cheap like Chevron supreme or supertech/kirkland (syn or conventional) for break in. at this point is is really only keeping the shavings in suspension so they can be flushed out at the next change. 3-4 changes at the 1 hours interval should clean it out. Change the oil as soon as you can after turn off so the flakes don't have time to settle. Dont burn youself though. :)

Then its good to go. My Westinghouse recommend 5w30 synthetic. I run M1 since that what on my shelf and what I use in my truck.
 
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I would add find an NGK plug that matches your generator and keep it handy. Some of the plugs (Torch, etc) tend to fail strangely with rough idle etc. switch to NGK fixes that. Not saying chage it immediately but maybe after breakin.
 

4WD

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Have 6 generators … all of them were broke in on name brand 10w30’s with a half hour of no load … and an hour of loaded around 50% … Then dump that oil and fill with Delvac 1 5w40 or Redline 10w30 …
 
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Keep the Lucas on the shelf and far away from engines.

I would recommend a magnetic dipstick before you crank it up. I have pics on this site from 2 engines , showing what it captures during break in.
Get an NGK iridium spark plug, and ditch the torch.
 
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I just bought a Firman inverter generator from Costco. I just swapped out the plug with an NGK and filled it with the factory supplied oil. Ran it for 30 minutes. Dumped it. Put M1 10W30 in it and ran it hard for an hour. Dumped again. The oil was fine. Dumping the first oil it looked pretty nasty.
 

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Magnetic dipstick pics.


 
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I'm guessing the manual had a blurb on how to break it in per the manufacturers recommendation. My Wen came with pretty specific instructions on loading and length of time between oil changes etc. There are several good ideas here as well.

Just my $0.02
 
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Hey all. New member account...
You seemed to have forgotten dancing naked under a full moon while breaking it in. But seriously, all you need to do is run it at 25-50% load for the first five hours, change the oil, and swap the Chinese plug for a Japanese NGK plug. I have a Harbor Freight Predator 3500 inverter generator. I broke it in on M1 10w-30 HM for five hours at 25-50% load. Then I changed the oil (M1 10w-30 HM again) and spark plug and ran it for another 25 hours at loads ranging from 25-100%. At 30 hours I changed the oil to RT6 5w-40.

This particular generator hasn't seen a real emergency yet, but I always exercise it against the target loads. I've seen it running at 2875 watts continuously vs. it's 3000 watt continuous capacity. I keep it stored in an attached garage where the temperature seldom goes much below freezing, so it may see 15w-40 RT6 on the next oil change.

Enjoy your new generators!
 
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I break in small engines with frequent oil changes. The first at 30 mins, then 1 hour, then every 5 hours. The first oil change will have a lot of 'glitter' in the oil from initial metal parts wearing in together and leftover manufacturing debris. Each change after that should have less and less glitter. Just keep changing every 5 hours until the oil drains clean. After that, you can leave the oil in for a full oil change interval (according to your manual).
 
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Fill with oil. Start engine. Run a light load for a couple minutes. Load it to 80% output and run for a tank of fuel. This will seat the rings properly, utilizing friction against the crosshatching in the cylinder wall, as intended. All bearing surfaces will be worn in and properly set in place. If you baby it during break in then you risk glazing the cylinder, rings not properly seated, leads to oil consumption, etc. Change the oil after this run. Fill with oil that you want and you are good to go.
 
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