Generac 5500 watt submerged

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Nov 9, 2020
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My son brought me a Generac rs5550 portable generator from cape coral, (site of the Hurricane Ian) today. Hydrolocked. When I pulled out the Torch spark plug it pulled over and puked several ounces of water.I drained the fuel tank.carburetor and lines, put in fresh no-ethanol. Cleaned the plug,dumped an ounce of gas in the carb throat and it fired up.Ran for 30 seconds and changed out the milkshake oil.Started right back, up ran five minutes and changed the oil again.Running perfectly now but what are the chances the bearings for the generator itself will last?I actually think it was only fresh water in this engine.
 

scrowley

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Nov 9, 2020
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Thats what I thought too.It makes no unusual noises, runs a circular saw as tested, just wondering If I should try to replace the ball bearings on the generator itself, or run it til it messes up.
 

scrowley

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Well if it messes up My son will give it back to me (he got it free) I guess I can build a go-cart. Bloody thing has 20 hours on it.
 

wwillson

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Corrosion from the saltwater is what will kill the generator. I don't know the best way to clean the salt from the generator or if it's even possible. However, if it isn't done quickly, it's game over. My approach would be spray it off as thoroughly as possible with hot water and/or steam. I still don't think it will help long term.
 
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Run it as is and maintain it.

Good thing is that owners manual and parts list are available online. I would run it some more, change the oil again, air filter.... and work that generator until it fails. Rebuild as needed.

Solvents can help with residual milk. For future oil change, maybe add an ounce of marvel or seafoam, run for 5 minutes, and then change the oil.
 
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The inside of the engine will be fine, but the generator and electrical parts will corrode. If it was salt water, rinse thoroughly with fresh water and allow a long time to dry completely before running again.
 
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Why not repack the generator head bearing. Quite often, the generator head mounts on the engine's male J609B tapered shaft. Meaning (sometimes) the only bearing is on the head's end cap end. While you are in there, treat any parts to a good cleaning and corrosion prevention program.

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Plan on it not lasting even if initially it works. Water into the windings will corrode and eventually short out / fail. By the time the tight windings ''dry'' out corrosion has started.
Decades of flooded electric motor experience here, windings are windings, and submerged failure is inevitable.
 
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Have you determined whether it was salt water or not ? Shouldn't take long to determine . If it was fresh water you might be ok . Mine is still running just fine after being submerged .
 

scrowley

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Nah, my son said its salt water. Its in cape Coral now. 150miles away. He will have to live with the consequences. I suppose I will get it back when its broken.
 
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Nah, my son said its salt water. Its in cape Coral now. 150miles away. He will have to live with the consequences. I suppose I will get it back when its broken.
I'd be tempted to run it out of fuel and drain the oil, then try and dunk the whole generator head in warm fresh/distilled water, keeping the engine out of the water. Maybe it might remove some of the salt. Either way its probably not reliable. I'd have another generator at least on hand in a box and use that one till it dies.
I would not rely on it solely for outages.
 

scrowley

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Yeah, he's been told.If I had more time to work on it I would have tried to take the generator apart and clean it or as you suggested, submerge it in fresh water.
 
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a buddy of mine did this with a 32 channel mixing board in his apartment shower after it was doused with a fruity alcoholic beverage. Just clear water in all the pots in the shower for a few minutes. It lasted a number of years of regular use after that. Sometimes clear water helps. In this case I’d follow any deep rinse with a complete bearing repack.
 
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