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

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Just bought a Generac 18kw NG/LP generator from Lowes, should be delivered next week. What's the recommended method for breaking one of these in, since it's a constant engine speed? Is varying the load enough? Alternate between powering the house, then powering nothing?
 
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A neat tip I picked up here on another thread is to use a toaster oven to break in a small inverter generator. The heating element will automatically toggle on and off to vary the load. I thought it was quite clever.
 
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Just bought a Generac 18kw NG/LP generator from Lowes, should be delivered next week. What's the recommended method for breaking one of these in, since it's a constant engine speed? Is varying the load enough? Alternate between powering the house, then powering nothing?
Both my Generac automatic standby generator and the portable one had break-in procedures in the owner's manual. Have you looked there? Same question applies to the OP assuming he ever returns to this thread.

For example this is from the standby generator manual:

2.1 BREAK-IN PROCEDURE
Once the unit has been installed and all electrical
checks have been made, it is strongly recommended
that the following "Break-in Procedure" be completed to
ensure correct generator operation in the future.

l . Set the generator's Auto/Off; Manual switch to AUTO.
2. Turn OFF the utility power supply to the transfer
switch using the means provided (such as a utility
main line circuit breaker).
3. The unit will start, and the transfer switch will
transfer to standby.
4. Using the main distribution panel or the emergency
distribution panel (if so equipped), tum on circuits
to load the generator to approximately 25 percent
load and run the unit for one hour.
5. Run the unit for one hour at 50 percent load.
6. Run the unit for one hour at 75 percent load.
7. Run the unit for one hour at 100 percent load.
8. Turn ON the utility power supply to the transfer
switch, which will allow the transfer switch to
transfer back to utility power. The unit will continue
to run for one minute and then shut down.
9. Allow the unit to cool.
10. Drain the oil and remove the oil filter. Replace the
oil filter according to Section 3.4, "Changing the
Oil Filter" (Page 12). Replace the oil with synthetic
oil as recommended in Section 3.3, "Changing
the Engine Oil" (Page 11 ).
11. The generator is now ready for service.
 
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4WD

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None of my Chonda motors … all the way up to 457cc have oil filters … Only my B&S Vanguard has a filter …
Just something to consider in these break-in threads …
 
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Location
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Both my Generac automatic standby generator and the portable one had break-in procedures in the owner's manual. Have you looked there? Same question applies to the OP assuming he ever returns to this thread.

For example this is from the standby generator manual:

2.1 BREAK-IN PROCEDURE
Once the unit has been installed and all electrical
checks have been made, it is strongly recommended
that the following "Break-in Procedure" be completed to
ensure correct generator operation in the future.

l . Set the generator's Auto/Off; Manual switch to AUTO.
2. Turn OFF the utility power supply to the transfer
switch using the means provided (such as a utility
main line circuit breaker).
3. The unit will start, and the transfer switch will
transfer to standby.
4. Using the main distribution panel or the emergency
distribution panel (if so equipped), tum on circuits
to load the generator to approximately 25 percent
load and run the unit for one hour.
5. Run the unit for one hour at 50 percent load.
6. Run the unit for one hour at 75 percent load.
7. Run the unit for one hour at 100 percent load.
8. Turn ON the utility power supply to the transfer
switch, which will allow the transfer switch to
transfer back to utility power. The unit will continue
to run for one minute and then shut down.
9. Allow the unit to cool.
10. Drain the oil and remove the oil filter. Replace the
oil filter according to Section 3.4, "Changing the
Oil Filter" (Page 12). Replace the oil with synthetic
oil as recommended in Section 3.3, "Changing
the Engine Oil" (Page 11 ).
11. The generator is now ready for service.
Thanks for posting that. Mine hasn't arrived yet, but it's good to know that they include a procedure.
Also still trying to decide if I'm going to put it on the east side of the house next to the A/C, which is in very close proximity to the gas line and breaker box, or if I'm going to put it on the patio in the back yard, away from prying eyes. This would require some electrical & gas line running to the back wall of the house.
There's not a crime issue in my area, but I'm horrified at the thought of someone rupturing a pressured gas line to steal the generator.
 
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Yeah to reduce the noise exposure to our neighbors the city asked us to put the generator on the opposite side of the house from where the electrical service entrance and the gas line were located. It wasn't that big of a deal in the end, more wire and more pipe of course but nothing major. What cost the most was that the generator required 14" of pressure so the house had to be converted to 2lb pressure with a regulator at each appliance. But even then that whole exercise was only about $800. Perhaps the newer generator sets don't require this any more, I don't know.

The only exposed gas line is the flexible coupling between the house and the generator but if someone did cut that it would certainly leak a lot of gas. But since it is is located on the far side in an alcove of sorts nobody can see we have one.
 
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None of my Chonda motors … all the way up to 457cc have oil filters … Only my B&S Vanguard has a filter …
Just something to consider in these break-in threads …
I agree.
Without an oil filter, the oil needs to be drained to get the glitter out or else it just continues to circulate around inside the engine. That's why so many people recommend short and frequent oil changes during break in.
 
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Forget the " High octane " gas . Wasting your money . Non ethanol if you wish , and synthetic or synthetic blend oil .
 
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Fill up the fluids, start the engine, let it warm up for 5 minutes and then hook up a load that'll vary from low load up to around 80%. Let it run for a couple hours then change the oil and put in a good name brand spark plug if it came with the china craptastic sparker. Poor idle quality, surging, poor response to changes in load on the cheaper generators is almost always the junk spark plug they come with from the factory.

Change the oil again after 5-10 hours then follow whatever the manufacturer recommends. I generally use a 5w-40 synthetic HDEO (Rotella T6, Mobil 1, etc...) I've been running a powerhorse 3500w (same as the HF predator 3500) for several years without issue, last weekend I ran it for 4 days straight without shutting down in 90F heat powering my camper with AC maxed out the whole time, load varied between 400 and 2600w.
 

JDebler

Thread starter
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Ok guys, thanks a ton for the thoughts and opinions. I appreciate it.

The Champion 5500w came with some oil, so I will use that for break in.
The Sportsman 1000w didn't, so I picked up a quart of cheapo Super Tech full synthetic from Walmart. I'll use that up doing break-in changes on both until they drain without sparkles in it.
After that, I will use M1 5W-30 on both, as I have a lot of it on hand for my cars.

I also ordered up some NGK plugs to replace the Torch plugs that came with both.
The Champion is dual fuel, so I will run propane on it as much as possible.

I searched all over and no one seems to make a magnetic dipstick for either one, I am sorry to say. I even ordered some up on Amazon to see if they would fit and I struck out.

The manual for the Champion doesn't have much about break-in:
The first 5 hours of run time are the break-in period for the unit. During the break in period stay at or below 50% of the running watt rating and vary the load occasionally to allow stator windings to heat and cool. Adjusting the load will also cause engine speed to vary slightly and help seat piston rings. After the 5 hour break-in period, change the oil.

The Sportsman manual actually had a bit more info...
You can avoid small engine problems if you follow the break-in procedure below. Because the pistons and rings wear into the engine's walls, small pieces of metal can flake off into the oil. It's important to flush these pieces out of your generator by frequently changing the oil. Maintain at least a 50-75 percent load on your generator for the first 20 hours. (Do not operate the engine at full load during the first 20 hours of operation.) Varying the load will help seat the rings.
1. Allow the engine to run for 5 minutes before adding any load.
2. Change the break-in oil within the first 5 hours of use
3. Do not operate the engine at full load during the first 20 hours of operation.
4. Read and follow the Maintenance/Care section of this Generator manual.

I think I can do a bit better than that, because...why not? Kinda fun, and worth the peace of mind. I think I'll do something like this...
Put oil and gas/hook up to propane.
Run it an hour or so, vary light to medium loads after it is warm.
Change oil after an hour.
Repeat until no glitter in oil.
Pull crappy plug out, put NGK in.
Use it, change the oil at the next 5 hour mark.
Change it again at the manufacturer suggested schedule.
Enjoy powered comfort in a post-apocalyptic world when the time comes.

Thanks again, all.
 
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Change oil after an hour.
Repeat until no glitter in oil.
I think you'll find that the first 1-hour oil change will have the most glitter, the next 1-hour will have significantly less. After that, I recommend a 5-hour interval and assess the glitter then.

On mine, I did an oil change after the first 10 minutes. Then again at 1, 2, 5, and 10 hours. The 10 hour change looked clean. Every engine is different, so let your eyes be your guide.
 

4WD

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Ok guys, thanks a ton for the thoughts and opinions. I appreciate it.

The Champion 5500w came with some oil, so I will use that for break in.
The Sportsman 1000w didn't, so I picked up a quart of cheapo Super Tech full synthetic from Walmart. I'll use that up doing break-in changes on both until they drain without sparkles in it.
After that, I will use M1 5W-30 on both, as I have a lot of it on hand for my cars.

I also ordered up some NGK plugs to replace the Torch plugs that came with both.
The Champion is dual fuel, so I will run propane on it as much as possible.

I searched all over and no one seems to make a magnetic dipstick for either one, I am sorry to say. I even ordered some up on Amazon to see if they would fit and I struck out.

The manual for the Champion doesn't have much about break-in:


The Sportsman manual actually had a bit more info...



I think I can do a bit better than that, because...why not? Kinda fun, and worth the peace of mind. I think I'll do something like this...
Put oil and gas/hook up to propane.
Run it an hour or so, vary light to medium loads after it is warm.
Change oil after an hour.
Repeat until no glitter in oil.
Pull crappy plug out, put NGK in.
Use it, change the oil at the next 5 hour mark.
Change it again at the manufacturer suggested schedule.
Enjoy powered comfort in a post-apocalyptic world when the time comes.

Thanks again, all.
I never put gasoline in the tank of my dual fuel … had enough fuel system issues through the years
In fact, have ordered a NG conversion kit to “get off the bottle” 😷
 
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The manual usually gives you a break in procedure . The ones I've seen say to turn the ECO function off and run it for an hour . Change the oil and you're good to go . No need for a complicated procedure .
 
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I never understood the running it with no load for a long time - WTF reason would there be for that?

On Wednesday I started a new pressure washer for the first time - Used the conventional oil that came with it.

I ran it on slow idle for a couple minutes to warm it up - then half throttle for about 1/2 an hour - then full throttle for another hour -

I was done with one section so I stopped - let it idle back for a while then shut it off and let it cool down a little - changed the oil using 10W30 SuperTec synthetic blend - WM no longer carries or at least didn't have any conventional in stock.

I ran it hard Thursday mostly wide open - for about an hour - then stopped and took a break - moved the unit so I could reach the far sidewalk - and ran it wide open for another hour.

I will drain the oil - and at this point can't decide between 15W40 conventional (just bought a 2 gallon jug of SuperTec heavy duty15W40 for $20.49 / $2.56 a quart) or stick with 10W30 synthetic blend - I only have 10 ounces left and I need 18 -- considering mixing 8 ounces of 15W40 or all 15W40.

I am pretty sure I want a heavier oil in this engine because it will be run wide open almost all the time and always on a hot days -

I would say break them in like you plan to run them --

A lawn mower cutting grass - a pressure washer wide open - an inverter generator vary the speed -

But put some full throttle time on them during break in - it is an engine not a virgin.

BTW - the pressure washer manual said if I use Kohler 10W50 synthetic - no oil change is needed until 300 hours!

Crazy - I doubt this engine will live that long - I will use it maybe 10 hours a year - so that would be 30 years old - and since I am 63 I will be long since dead and buried - so IDGAF.
 
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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!
Every small engine I have says 85 or 86 octane - since regular is 87 that is plenty good. No reason to buy premium fuel. In fact premium has a higher flash point - no reason NONE to use 93 octane in a small air cooled engine - unless it is required in the owners manual.

So many people fret over ethanol - back when ethanol first came out (gasohol!) there were millions of small engines that were not designed to use it and it tore them up - made the fuel lines hard and plugged up the carbs -

I think some places sell an ethanol free premium - not med grade and regular are ethanol only. IMHO this is why some say to use premium.

I would have to drive 50 miles to find non ethanol fuel - don't get me wrong I would rather have ethanol free gas for my vehicles and other gas engines - but most stuff today has been designed for ethanol - I use it without any issue.

I add fuel stabilizer - StaBil 360 - treats for ethanol and fuel stabilizer - I would use some fuel stabilizer even if I could buy ethanol free fuel.

If it was an engine that is going to be stored for months without using it I will drain the fuel tank and carb float bowl - even ethanol free gas will go bad if it sits in the carb for months.
 
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The manual usually gives you a break in procedure . The ones I've seen say to turn the ECO function off and run it for an hour . Change the oil and you're good to go . No need for a complicated procedure .

None of the small engines I have purchased in the last 13 years had much of a "break in" procedure in the manual. They all said change the oil after 5 or 10 hours then again every 50 or 100 hours.

One generator said change the oil after 20 then every 100 -

But as far as anything else nada -

3 lawn mowers, 3 generators, pressure washer and edger

Either the manufacturer doesn't care or maybe other than a faster first oil change - it doesn't matter.
 
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